Self catering holidays
Be sure to don your most fashionable sunglasses for a rather chic outing; the Boulevard de la Croisette awaits! Famous worldwide for the festival, the red carpet and the Croisette, Cannes more than lives up to its reputation for glamour and luxury.
As you enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Croisette, you can admire the inviting waters of the big blue and take a refreshing break on the beach. The shoreline features a line of luxurious boutiques, grand hotels and palaces, in the shade of palm trees. The Carlton Hotel, a legendary symbol of Cannes, will certainly draw your eye.
Between the Mediterranean and limestone Provence, Esterel is a volcanic massif of 32,000 hectares of which 14,000 are classified. Its astonishing red colour comes from rhyolite, or red porphyry, volcanic rock from the Cambrian Period. Circuits have been created for mountain biking, horse-riders and hikers.
The flora is rich and varied. Aleppo pine, chestnut, fig and olive trees grow in abundance and happily coexist with palms, agaves and mimosas. Note that when the mistral is strong, the massif is prohibited for all forms of traffic.
In 1615 the île Sainte Marguerite, one of the Lérins Islands that lies opposite the bay of Cannes, passed to Charles de Lorraine, duke of Guise who gave it to Jean de Bellon: thus began the construction of the fort Royal.
After war was declared with Spain, Cardinal Richelieu ordered further work to be carried out in order to protect the Provence coast. The Spanish took the fort in 1635 and continued its construction.
Toward the end of the 17th century, the fort became a State prison, and hosted three companies of invalid soldiers, who were allowed to marry, and who founded a civil population on the island.
In 1712, Vauban redeveloped the fort royal of île Sainte Marguerite, fortifying it. Until the 20th century, the building remained in use as a state prison and even incarcerated famous prisoners including the Man in the Iron Mask.
Today, the fort royal on île Sainte-Marguerite houses the Cannes Sea Museum.
On the Cannes Croisette, you are only a few hundred yards from the paradisiacal Lérins Islands. Take a boat over the blue Mediterranean to reach them. The Lérins Islands archipelago is made up of four islands and islets, two of which are inhabited: Sainte-Marguerite Island and Saint-Honorat Island. Although these two islands are very different in character, they feature the same magical landscapes, where nature is protected and plants and animals abound.
Sainte-Marguerite Island is the largest. Follow the island's botanical trail among pines and eucalyptus trees. In the distance, you can see Cape Antibes. Full of mystery, Sainte-Marguerite Island was the place where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned for more than ten years. Resolve this mystery at the Maritime Museum on Sainte-Marguerite Island…
Saint-Honorat Island is the most pious of the Lérins Island, for a very good reason: Lérins Abbey has been the home of Cistercian monks since the 5th century.
Perched above the sea, surrounded by ramparts, a stroll through the shady streets of Saint-Paul de Vence is extremely pleasant.
In the Grande Rue of this artists' village, visitors will find workshops, art galleries and shops selling handicrafts that will appeal to art lovers. They can also visit the Maeght Foundation, which houses a rich collection of modern and contemporary art.
Visitors, like Verlaine before them, can listen to the tranquil murmurings of the water burbling in the fountain in the Place de la Grande Fontaine. The poet is not the only one to have been seduced by the charm of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The plane trees of the bowling square,
were the privileged spectators of games of pétanque between Yves Montand and Lino Ventura.
Discover the art de vivre in Saint-Paul-de-Vence's colourful markets featuring all the flavours and scents of Provence. Enjoy an excellent meal on the terrace accompanied with a glass of wine from Saint-Paul-de-Vence.