Yes You Cannes: How to See the Cote d’Azur on a Budget
It’s the beautiful sun-drenched playground of the rich and famous where super yachts and Ferraris are ten a penny, but look past the designer labels and you’ll find the best things about Cannes and the Cote d’Azur don’t cost a thing – sun, sea, sand and movie-star spotting all included. The following are a few ways to enjoy a trip to Cannes without breaking the bank – who says celebrities should have all the fun?
Make Friends with the 200 Line
Taxi Driver may have scooped the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, but hailing a cab in Cannes these days won’t get you very far if you’re watching your budget. Stick to public transport, especially if you’re planning to get out and about around the smaller villages and towns of the Cote d’Azur. The local bus service runs on the 200 line and is reliable, air-conditioned and extremely cheap – a trip to Nice costs just €1.50 one way. Stops are located at Gare Routiere, (close to Hôtel de Ville and the port) and outside the train station (the 200 stop is opposite Hotel Ligure). There is also a shuttle service from Nice airport, which is around €12 for those under 26, and around €15 otherwise.
The SNCF Isabelle rail pass offers equally good value. From July 1st – September 30th, passengers who snap up this €12 ticket are entitled to an unlimited amount of rail journeys in any one day on all non-express trains from Théoule-sur-Mer to Vintimiglia and from Nice to Tende. Tickets are available locally at stations. For a scenic day-trip, stop off at Grasse, the home of perfume, pretty Antibes or artists’ favourite, Menton.
Eat Like a Local
- Avoid the expensive restaurants and cafés of La Croisette, instead eat well for a fraction of the cost at the old harbour where you’ll find elegant restaurants such as L’Assiette Provencale with fixed price three-course menus from around €24.
- Lunch-time snacks don’t come much better than a traditional pan-bagnat. Originally from neighbouring Nice, it’s a pain de campagne (French sourdough) or rustic bread roll stuffed with salad Niçoise – tuna, tomatoes, egg, anchovies and salad. For one of the tastiest pan-bagnat in all of Cannes, head to promenade de la Pantiero, next to the port – there’s a blue and white snack kiosk called Philcat where their delicious version will get you through the afternoon for around €5.
- Self-catering? Follow the crowds to Marché Forville, Cannes’ vibrant market where stalls sell gourmet foods and organic fruit and vegetables much cheaper than the supermarket. There are a number of delis and bakeries surrounding the market also where you’ll find cooked roast chickens and Riviera street foods such as socca (chick-pea flour crepes).
- The market runs every day from 7am-1pm, except on Mondays when it hands over its stalls to antiques, bric-a-brac and vintage dealers (still worth a look). Sunday is another great day to browse – farmers and produce growers roll into town to sell their wares. Locals love it, you’re sure to pick up a tasty souvenir such as honey or olive oil to take home.
Cannes Film Festival Free Open Air Cinema
Visiting during the Film Festival? Take advantage of the free open-air cinema at Plage Macé. Films from the current competition as well as classics from the Palme d’Or vaults are screened nightly from around 9.15pm. Screenings are free and open to everyone – get there early to ensure you snag a deck-chair!
Shop on Rue d’Antibes
Window shopping is all very well along the fancy designer boutiques of La Croisette, but if you haven’t budgeted for Dior or Chanel, head instead to Rue d’Antibes and get acquainted with independent boutiques and French high street labels such as Comptoir des Cotonniers, you’ll also find global favourites including Zara, H&M and Mango.
Lounge for Less
Although much of the beach that lines the palm-fringed La Croisette is reserved for private beach clubs and hotels (sun lounger rental starts at around €20 per day), there are two public beaches worth setting an early alarm for – Plage Macé and Les Rochers, which is great for snorkelling. For a VIP-style day in the sun, hit the rooftop terrace at the Radisson Blu Hotel and laze in the shade on one of the stylish sun loungers while you check out the amazing panoramic view of the coastline, harbour and shiny super yachts. The price of a couple of cocktails will let you loll around like an A-lister for as long as you like.
Been to Cannes recently? Got a tip to share? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!