What I Cannes and Cannes not do!

There is nothing, activity wise, that I love more than TRAVELLING!

There is something truly wonderful about wandering, lost but completely aware that you have found some intrinsic part of yourself in the process. Luckily, this is something that I can share with my friends, family and loved one. And even better, I can actually afford to do so, which in itself is a miracle. So let me tell you about my latest, however relaxed, adventure!

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Cannes, Cannes, Cannes!

Where can I start? Walking the streets of Cannes I felt like the movie star I am just destined to become one day. To think I walked the pavements that some of the most influential cinema personalities have stepped was incredible. Not to mention the utter luxury! I might have done Cannes in a budget, but I still felt like a Queen!

The croisette is lined with the most expensive and luxurious brands for those who have some dollar to spend shopping there, guards that look like they are about to die of wearing a suit out in 40 degrees to protect the latest Hermes hand bag, and the most fabulous cars, that you’re scared of even staring at them. Except I have no shame, I stared from behind the safety of my dark sun glasses.

It is heavenly. Thinking about Cannes makes me just want to relax again. Aside from all the luxury, it’s the beauty of the soft warm sand in between your toes, the perfectly heated 26 degree Mediterranean sea, sunshine highlighting your skin’s beauty… It is the holiday of dreams. Especially with my friends! So let me share some of our highlights of the trip, and some of the things, quite frankly, we should have thought about.

Cannes on a budget

It works, in theory. Getting to Cannes itself is inexpensive. We flew with easyjet and in an hour and a half we were in bliss, and for peak time August, with luggage included, it really did not cost much. However, I have to say, you pay for what you get in terms of housing.

Let’s not get into a massive rant about how our accommodation got massively messed up because of a certain company – maybe on another post! *idea lightbulb* – however, we were slightly victim of false advertising. Here are my issues with La Floriana:

  1. We were told we had a two bedroom apartment for four people – it was a STUDIO with a double sofa bed and two blow up singles, and our feet were against the kitchen cupboards and fridge – no joke.
  2. We were told we had the linen included – we got there and had to pay a further 40 euros each.
  3. No mention on the website of lack of air con – I am dead serious! We were four in a bedroom, with no air conditioning or even fans, sleeping with the bedroom window open.
  4. Andre, the swimming pool supervisor.

To make things bright the apartment was actually considerably closer to the beach than we imagined, as it was advertised at 2.7 miles. We had an amazing swimming pool, and to be fair we are very good friends we just sucked it up and ate our dinners in the balcony, while being mosquitoes’ dinners for a week. Dare I say though, for the sake of sacrificing so many basic needs such as pure fresh air and ventilation, I would advise you all to be very mindful if looking for a lower priced accommodation in Cannes. It is a destination holiday, it will be costly, and if you just suck up your pride and dish out another 40 euros per person – which is what we each paid for a TOWEL! – then you will be in far better facilities.

Surviving in Cannes on a budget however, IS SO POSSIBLE! You just need to be patient and search. All the restaurants in the croisette and the sea front are out of bounds for you. We treated ourselves once! Because a cheese and ham sandwich at 20 euros and above is outrageous! So stay in the streets just behind the front buildings of the croisette. You will find some very quirky very cool cafes, and eat very well for very cheaply.

Drink rose wine. Lots of it, because everything else that is good, is ridiculously overpriced.

And walk! Cannes is so tiny, you can walk everywhere.

Now onto what we invested our money on!

Aqualand, Frejus

Do not do it!

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My friends and I are great lovers of water parks. We will go to one every time we go abroad together. It’s a thing, a day of complete madness and fun, and we get home and pass out. Aqualand was tiring, and we did get home and pass out, but only because it took us an hour to find it. Another hour to walk back to the train station, to get on a train for another hour and walk back to the apartment for 45 minutes.

So, granted, not everything bad about it was the location, but it is absolutely the smallest aquapark I have been to in a while. It has far too many people for its capacity, and I don’t think we ever got to repeat rides. I also swear I only found one set of toilets in the whole park. We made the most of it though, as it was Felts’ first time in a water park, and had an absolute blast, but I would not advise you to do it.

There are other water parks around the area, so try one of those. It is a bit too expensive for what it is, but you can have a blast, if you just forget about the pain you went through to get there in the first place.

St Tropez

There isn’t much I can say about St Tropez other than go! St Tropez embodied everything I imagined the French Riviera to be. Stunning, colourful, traditional, classy, warm, romantic and surrounded by grandeur. It was absolutely my most favourite day out.

From Cannes to St Tropez you can get a boat or a train. We took a boat which cost us 48 euros to return. It was brilliant. Plus I do enjoy a good boat ride.

It was the sort of place where I can imagine wearing a long wispy skirt, flowers on my hair, earthy ethereal clothing, light breezy, holding hands with the love of my life and getting lost in the middle of the coble stoned tight alleyways, secret kisses, and midnight swims.

See for yourself.

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The Cannes Cinema Tour

It’s an experience. Not always for good things. Sharon Stone must have spent a lot of time in Cannes, because I cannot imagine why else she would be mentioned so many times! It isn’t the fact that is costs 10 euros, it is the fact that you pay 10 euros to basically be driven around Cannes in an hour – you can walk it in an hour – with elevator classical music playing in a set of headphones, and information that only extends between 1997 and 2004. However, it does give you the chance to bask in this mesmerising view of Cannes. Let me leave you with this photo.

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Maybe not the tour, but how about comparing hand-prints? As everyone knows, Cannes is famous for its Film Festival, and some of the most influential and famous Hollywood stars have walked those same streets I did – though I doubt they went to Aqualand and on the cinema tour, you never know! So this was one of my favourite things that we found, accidentally!

All around the Palais de Festival is a trail of hand prints and autographs you can follow. From the likes of Sylvester Stalone and Cameron Diaz, to legends such as Liza Minelli and Julie Andrews, to absolute class acts like Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep! Hands everywhere! It was amazing. Follow this trail if you ever visit Cannes.

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Fireworks on a Friday night

Second only to the London 2012 Olympics fireworks, Cannes’ pyrotechnics show on a Friday night is absolutely mesmerising. Thousands flock to the beach, and all 3.5 km of its stretch is covered in bodies. People with blankets, picnics and bottles of wine; people who are eating at seaside restaurants. The whole croisette shuts down, no traffic to or from it, so that the masses of people, both habitants and tourists of Cannes can pave the streets with sheer delight at the spectacle that will unfold.

Even at sea people are brimming to see the night sky light up. Yachts lined up about 100/150 metres into see, with their lights one, all across the 3.5km bay, with exclusive seating to watch the whole show unfold. The lights alone of those enormous cruise liners and yachts was enough of a show, but not even their preparation was enough to anticipate the phenomenal performance that was provided by award winning team of English pyrotechnics – isn’t England just awesome!

It was magnificent. It even got a bit emotional for me, with great music accompanying it.

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Cannes was actually magical. If you ignore some minor incidents and tragedies along the way. It was filled with film history and wonder, which only us movie heads can truly appreciate. It was cultural but a melting pot, it was French and yet so inclusive. Its location is perfect, it allowed us to visit one of the most charming places I have set foot on. At night it brimmed with life and passion, lights everywhere, the scent of street food travelling down the streets to mix in with seafood from all the beach restaurants. Even if you are not rich in Cannes, you become a lot wealthier with knowledge and a true desire for life. Cannes was for me the most relaxed and yet the most inspired I have felt in a long time. Possibly the company helped too, as girl friends can always put things into perspective for you; but Cannes itself was enough to revive some things in me that were beginning to get lost. I would go again and encourage you to go too.

Onto my next adventure.

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Disclaimer: All photos used in this article are under Copywright of Diana Lava

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