19 Mar My Cannes Awards go to…
I’ve been to Cannes more times than any other town (not city) in Europe. It’s always for work, for an event, whether the Cannes Film Festival, the International Luxury Travel Market, MAPIC (retail) or MIPIM (real estate).
If I want good food in France, I go to Paris or Lyon. Cannes is about the spirit of the French Riviera … it’s also the place of my first seaside memories (aged four) and where my parents spent their honeymoon (in Mougins).
I was in Cannes this March for MIPIM …. working hard, but nevertheless with enough time to research my Cannes Awards 2022. Drum roll. The winners are:
- Best Luxury Hotel – THE MAJESTIC. (That might not be the official name, but that’s how it’s called.) I’ve stayed here. I’ve swum in their pool. This time it was only for a ‘hospitality’ buffet lunch. The food is good, the staff have hearts of gold (in a discrete, non-invasive way), it’s across the road from the Croisette and the Palais des Festivals (where all the main events in Cannes take place), and the design by Pascal Desprez is uplifting (which for me is what art should be).
- Best Quiet Hotel – RESIDÉAL PREMIUM APARTHOTEL. Very quiet. Behind the Carlton. Arrived at through big iron gates and across a garden with a magnificent pine tree. Perfect place to digest a day’s running around. Avoid the breakfast. Not a design destination.
- Best Leisure Activity – A SWIM ON THE BEACH, whatever the season. I went to the public beach where the Croisette meets the little park, just before the new (or not so new) port of Pierre-Canto. And a daily RUN – at 7am to avoid the crowds – down the Croisette and then along the sea wall protecting the port, with a few deep breaths when I got to the end.
- Best Quick Lunch near the Palais – CITRONELLE is a hole in the wall, across the street from the Church of Notre Dame de Bon Voyage, but the place to go to if you have a 15-minute break from the Palais and want a salad. One day I had falafel & couscous and the next fish & lentils. There are a few tables for sitting outside. Or take your lunch and sit by the beach.
- Best Bistrot – LA CIGALE BISTROT – I asked the chef, who has run this very simple, family-run bistrot for more than 30 years, about the origins of his cooking: Lebanese, Armenian, Greek, he replied. I had the dish of the day – stuffed cabbage together with lentils & rice (for €13), and bought some baklava to take home. In the queue for take-aways were local municipal workers… sitting next to me was a well-manicured retiree from Cherbourg, in Normandy, who had moved down for the warm air.
- Best Coffee & Vegetable Market Stall – LA CANNOISE – on the top side of the Forville market I found the best coffee I’ve ever had in Cannes. Family run. They roast their own beans. They escorted me (after I asked the question) to the best stall in the market – and it really was. Look out for a man with a moustache, the last stall at the eastern end of row three. He grows all the produce he says. Just check what you can bring with you if you’re travelling from outside the EU.
- Best Bar for After Dinner, or Before – LA QUINTESSENSE – a bar in the lively rue de Hoche. The staff were not that friendly but try and get the little corner at the back, and if you are six or even nine, you’ll have a great time, with a few plates of cold meats, cheese and tomatoes on bread to go with your wine. It’s always a good idea to nibble while you drink. And don’t be put off by their Instagram feed. I didn’t see anyone looking like that, and I went twice.
- Best Breakfast View – from the 7th floor of the RADISSON BLU HOTEL – I prefer to stay on the other side of town, but if anyone invites you for breakfast here, say yes. The restaurant has a view over the old port and across to the Palais.
And then there was also a special moment as I finished work on the Thursday. In the back streets behind the Majestic is the Clergerie shoe shop. I was going to drop in to see one of the Clergerie team who had moved to Cannes from London back in 2014. Eight years later, in 2022, she sees me coming through door, and her jaw drops and her eyes widen. ‘Gina!’ she exclaimed. Magical moments like this make the world go round.
For next time, I want to:
- Go to Cannes from London by train – and catch the coastal train route along the Mediterranean sea.
- Eat at Casa Corso, a Corsican restaurant in Cannes, which my MIPIM colleagues said was particularly good.
- Visit the Center of Photography in Mougins. I couldn’t believe I didn’t do it this time… but definitely next.
You may also like to read about my trip to Antibes in 2018. Antibes is between Nice and Cannes.