06 August 2015

Cannes: Beaches, Bites To Eat and Biot

As I was only in Cannes for a long weekend on this trip, I wanted to spend as much time as possible on the beach. This included spending the whole of Sunday relaxing on Île Sainte-Marguerite. When we were on the mainland, however, we mainly went to Plage Zamenhof, one of the public beaches, which is tucked in the eastern corner of the Bay of Cannes. It's a nice treat to spend the day at one of the many private beach clubs along the Croisette, but they aren't cheap. The public beaches are clean and have nice sand, and Zamenhof is great for sunbathing, swimming and people-watching. They even have lockers there in the summer, and there are plenty of snack options nearby. There is also a sand bar about 200 metres off shore, to which you can swim out.

Another favourite public beach of ours is Bijou Plage, which is close to the south-east tip of the Point de la Croisette. There's a family-friendly beach with a restaurant. It's a great place for swimming and for an evening picnic — on Friday, we ordered pizza from Jean Jean, a pizza van that delivers to the beach.

The beach on the eastern side of the Point de la Croisette (off Boulevard Eugène Gazagnaire), which we call Sunrise Beach, is great in the mornings, of course. You can swim out to the pontoon and take a diving excursion or sailing classes. We filled up the Thermos with some freshly brewed coffee, stocked up at our local bakery (Césarine; it's ace) and went to Sunrise for a breakfast picnic and swim on my last day.

By now, we've amassed a fair few food favourites in the town, including Da Laura, a lovely, family-run Italian restaurant on rue du Vingt-Quatre Août. The pasta there is superb: from the pesto gnocchi to the penne caprese and, most recently, the ravioli al astice (lobster), everything is delicious and comes beautifully presented.  The staff are friendly and full of banter and the coffee is also very good. What more could you want?

Da Laura is on the corner of the pedestrianised rue Hoche, which runs parallel to the hectic rue d'Antibes, and has a number of other interesting shops and restaurants. Itinéraire Café is there, and so is San Telmo, which does probably the best pizza in Cannes. On the Croisette itself, you do, of course, pay a poser tax but we have been going to Le Vésuvio for years. The pizzas are pretty good, but the meat and especially the fish dishes are better. The service — straight out of central casting — is all part of the fun.

If you need groceries or — more likely if you are just visiting — supplies for a picnic, head to the Marché Forville, a huge, grand market with colourful, fresh local food. Afterwards, do what the locals do and stop for a coffee and a spot of people-watching at Café de l'Horloge.

The last item on the agenda before my parents dropped me at Nice airport on Monday was a trip to the little town of Biot, which is famous for its glass-making. We had planned to have a wander around the town but it was so hot that we just went to the glass-making museum instead — because standing next to 1,500-degree furnaces is the ideal way to cool off on a hot day. It was really interesting to watch the craftsmen at work, though. Biot is famous for its unique bubbled glass, which they produce in a wide variety of colours. There were so many lovely items in the gift shop and I would have loved to bring home a jug or some cocktail glasses, but my tiny carry-on bag was already full. Another time.

This is the last post from my Cannes trip, but I think I'm going to put together a guide to Cannes in the near future. I've posted about my Cannes adventures on many occasions, but the information is poorly organised at present, so stay tuned!

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