City break: Cannes

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A weekend in Cannes will be glamorous, but remember your credit card because it certainly won't be cheap.

City break: Cannes
Cannes sounds sophisticated and gorgeous, mainly due to the annual film festival held there each May. This beautiful city in southern France has a clean, sandy beach, the beautiful boulevard called La Croisette along the sea front and a port of bobbing fishing boats and luxury yachts. A weekend in Cannes will be glamorous, but remember your credit card because it certainly won't be cheap. Sights & activities

Just 30 minutes or so from Cannes (depending on the traffic and believe me, the traffic can be terrible) is St Paul de Vence. This celebrated medieval hilltop town is an artist's or art lover's dream. There are workshops and galleries to wander round and a wonderful hotel, La Columbe d'Or, whose restaurant has food to die for, so book in advance. This place has original works by Picasso on the walls and huge, roaring fires in winter. Closer to Cannes is the beautiful little village of Mougins. The views are spectacular: you can see the snow-capped southern Alps and wonderful countryside of the Riviera. There are two fabulous restaurants I can recommend here - La Brasserie Mediterranée and Le Bistro Alain. Food & drink

There are more than 600 restaurants in Cannes, many of them with a bias towards fish, but choose wisely, as it is said that the good ones are few and far between. Along La Croisette you will find Plage l'Ondine, a fish restaurant with tables both inside and on the beach itself. You will need to book a table in advance, but its lobster tricolore (the three colours coming from three different types of lobster) is worth waiting for. A wonderful place for dinner is Felix; it has a classic Art Deco interior and fantastic food. Vegetables don't often get a mention as a restaurant's signature dish, but at La Cave, the stuffed vegetables are a must. La Cave is just behind Hotel Martinez, so you could pop to the hotel's ground-floor bar for drinks beforehand - it's a good place to spot celebrities! If it's lunch you are after, then you can't go wrong with Le Caveau Trente on Rue d'Antibes. It has amazing fresh seafood and the best bouillabaisse you'll ever taste. For those on a tighter budget, Le Marais on Rue de Suquet is quite reasonable and has a great and inviting atmosphere. Cannes is well known for its piano bars, such as La Changa, opposite the Hotel Martinez. The Hotel Martinez has a resident pianist, who is quite a character, wearing one red and one yellow shoe matched with a harlequin-style jacket and trousers. Another option is the Bar des Célébrités at the Carlton, which is a wonderful place to start a special evening. Where to stay

The hotel offering the most fun in Cannes has got to be the aforementioned Martinez. The hotel is Art Deco through and through and has a restaurant with two Michelin stars called the Palme d'Or. This is the place to see and be seen, especially during the film festival. Shopping

The Croisette and Rue d'Antibes have all of the designer outlets - including Chanel, Dior and Kenzo - where you can window shop till you drop. But, as you get to the Palais des Festivals, the focal point for all the area's festivities, you arrive at a lovely little backstreet area called Le Suquet. This is the old town of Cannes and is a great place to walk around, watch the old men play boules and browse the market. Every day different produce is sold here, from flowers to antiques. Make your way back along the Rue Meynadier, a pedestrianised street packed with small, interesting shops. Remember, Italy is only one hour away from Cannes along the A8 and three nearby towns have become a shopper's heaven. They have markets selling leather coats and jackets, fake designer handbags and food, on different days of the week: San Remo on Saturdays and Wednesdays, Bordigheira on Thursdays and Ventimiglia on Fridays. These are very much on the tourist trail now, so make sure you are there by 9am to avoid the crowds. How to get there

Nice Airport is the most convenient, with a regular bus service to Cannes, which runs half-hourly every day. There are also three trains an hour from Nice to Cannes, and the journey takes approximately 25 minutes.
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