Cannes, France

Several months ago I got to spend a few days in Cannes. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting… honestly, I think I was expecting something “newer”, something “flashier”, something “larger then life”.  I grew up associating Cannes with luxury hotels, opulent boutiques, impressive yachts and movie stars.  All these things exist in Cannes — but it is also a city filled with culture, history, art, and wonderful back alley markets and cafes. Life in Cannes is a little slower and people take their leisure time very seriously. I really enjoyed the “laid back” vibe of the city.  No one seemed to be in a hurry and I found myself wondering what it would be like to retire there…

A few of my favorite things about Cannes:

  • Swans… on the beach!  I loved this!
  • Stumbling upon the Notre-Dame d’Espérance. This old stone church overlooks the harbor and contains a large automatronic nativity scene. I was mesmerized by the 3 minute miniature sound and light show. It was probably the best 1 euro I spent on that trip.
  • French lingerie shops. I used to be a lingerie designer and I miss being surrounded by fancy “unmentionables”.  No one does lingerie better than the French.
  • Stockings! Call me “old fashioned” but I miss pantyhose. I really dislike that women in the US have almost completely stopped wearing them. Personally, I think they add a certain “finish” and professionalism. I understand that they can be hot in the summer but they just make you look so much more “put together” — not to mention, they help get rid of all the nasty bumps and bulges. I still wear them, regardless of how many people feel compelled to tease me. I loved all the different colors, patterns and textures that were readily available in Cannes and I made sure to stock up while I was there.
  • All the yachts. SO MANY YACHTS! I truly believe every yacht in the world was docked in Cannes the week I was there. I would never want to actually own a yacht (way too much upkeep) but I would love to be able to borrow or rent one. I really like the thought of being able to crawl into a big comfy bed on a big comfy yacht and be rocked to sleep by the sea. Cannes would be a nice place for that…
  • French protesters. There was a large group of protesters outside our hotel for several days while we were there. I couldn’t understand what they were chanting so one afternoon I went down to talk to them and find out their story.  Apparently, the hotel was under new management and the employees weren’t happy with a lot of the cutbacks and changes that were planned.  Unlike protests back in the US (that can often get violent and unsafe) this protest had more of a party feel.  They had pastries, coffee and other refreshments; everyone was very nice and took great care to make me feel welcome; most (if not all) of the protesters still worked at the hotel and as the employees were changing shifts everyone hugged and greeted each other as if they were actually holding some sort of pep rally or fundraiser.  I left thinking that maybe we could learn something from them…
  • Fragonard Parfumeur. I love scents! I can’t imagine a world in which I couldn’t smell. While most people hate having to walk through the perfume department I make a point of it. The Fragonard Parfumeur was started in 1926 in Grasse (a short distance north of Cannes). The perfumery still exists and is a staple on many tour itineraries. After much deliberation I finally settled on Figuier fleur for spring/summer (a blend of bergamot, bitter orange, neroli, magnolia and freesia on a background of cardamom, nutmeg and oak moss) and Cedre for fall/winter (Atlas Cedar paired with cinnamon and green tea with notes of  lemon, mandarin, sage, all on a base of musk and ambergris). Score!



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