FIVE questions
you should
ask ...
Speak to one of our travel
within 5 rings

Which of these is important to you?

  • Concierge style service. Your own dedicated travel manager who'll look after you until you travel.
  • Better value. Exclusive fares you won't find online to save you money.
  • 24 hour helpline. A worldwide team just a phone call away if you need help while you're overseas.
  • Top on Trustpilot. More highly rated than all our competitors with 98% saying they'd book again.
  • Risk free. Fully licensed with Client Trust Account to protect your money. ABTA, ATOL protected.

Your calls always answered within 5 rings.

You've read the reviews so why not call us NOW?
Tell us what you need. We'll find you a solution
Europe Reviews 7806
Europe Offers 33
Europe Fly-Drives 12
Star turn

Yes, you Cannes

You can live like a star here, even without a blockbuster budget - film producer Frank Mannion tells you how

The French Riviera was once described by Somerset Maugham as a sunny place for shady people. For its film festival, Cannes - with six five-star hotels and 24 four-star - becomes a melting pot of movie stars, wannabe exhibitionists and billionaires. Deals worth tens of millions are done during the 12-day event.

One-time Lord Chancellor Lord Brougham is seen as the founding father of Cannes. In 1834, he set out for Nice, but a cholera outbreak prevented him from travelling further and he found himself stuck in Cannes, then a small fishing village. It was love at first sight and he spent the next 30 winters there, acting as a remarkable one-man tourist board for the town. Soon aristocrats from all over Europe were flocking there.

Lord Brougham's statue overlooks the harbour, now teeming with Russian oligarchs' super-yachts. It's worth a stroll along the Jetee Albert Edouard to see the excesses on show.

The epicentre of the festival - this year's was the 68th - is Le Grand Palais, where the red-carpet premieres take place in the Grand Theatre Lumiere. The top films compete for the coveted Palme d'Or. 

The festival revolves around three iconic Art Deco hotels - The Majestic on one side and The Martinez (its top suite costs £35,000 a night during the festival) and The Carlton at the other end of the promenade known as La Croisette. The Carlton featured in Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief. You do not need to be a guest to enjoy a sundowner there.  

A few miles up the coast is the Hotel du Cap at Eden Roc. Stars including Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood stay here. The Eden-Roc restaurant is perched right at the top of the Cap d'Antibes. You can dine and spot A-listers lounging by the pool without being a guest.

Enjoy star-spotting at Tetou but don't forget to take cash

Just outside Cannes is seafood restaurant Tetou, facing the beach at Golfe Juan. After a long day promoting Kung Fu Panda 2, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had dinner at Tetou - I hope they remembered to take cash, as it doesn't accept credit cards.

If eating at The Majestic or The Carlton is too pricey, try the restaurants around Rue du Bateguier behind the Grand Hotel (such as La Mere Besson), or relatively cheap and cheerful Italian restaurant, La Piazza, in the old harbour.

The best reasonably-priced seafood is served at Gaston et Gastounette (the second floor has tables facing the sea).

Most of the beaches on La Croisette are privately owned by hotels. But if you baulk at £24 for a sun-lounger, there's a free beach opposite The Majestic at Plage Mace and another behind the Palais, at Plage de Casino.

The winding Rue Sainte Antoine is brimming with restaurants where you don't need a reservation (the Auberge Provencale is a favourite). Walk off dinner by continuing up to the clock tower and the ruins of the floodlit Castre Castle, for the most breathtaking view of the Bay of Cannes.

Last year, Leonardo DiCaprio hosted a party in an enchanting villa in the surrounding hills. While models reclined by the pool and DiCaprio served pizza, I visited the beautiful Lerins islands, where the Man In The Iron Mask - played by DiCaprio in 1998 - was incarcerated for 11 years.

The Lerins islands where the Man in the Iron Mask was a reluctant visitor

The neighbouring island of St Honorat is home to a Cistercian monastery called Lerins Abbey. It has a wonderful open-air restaurant, La Tonnelle, overlooking the sea - the grilled lobster with rosemary and onions is alone worth the pilgrimage.

Each year hundreds of people descend on Cannes hoping to be discovered, but few have been as lucky as Grace Kelly. In 1965 she arrived for the premiere of The Country Girl (for which she later won an Oscar). She was set up on a date with Prince Rainier, and within a few months the couple were married, with Kelly becoming Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.

I wonder if anyone met their Prince Charming this year...

First published in the Daily Mail - July 2015

More articles below...

For more inspiration, read what travel writers have to say...

Montenegro rediscovered

A new-found clamour for glamour awaited Jeff Mills in this chic little Balkan country

Greece is still divine

And this family resort is heavenly, says Jeremy Daniels

Loving Lyon

Giles Milton revels in the culinary capital of France

Good Morning Crete!

Charlotte Hawkins recharges her batteries on the Greek island

Magnificent Madeira

There’s a reason the capital is called Fun-chal, says Louise Thomas

Luxury afloat

On a super-yacht, Stephen Cole proves big isn't always best

Greek cliff-hanger

Louise Saunders discovers an iconic hotel carved into the volcanic cliff face

Milan glamour

Deirdre Fernand explores this treasure-house of culture

Florence in a flash

Italy's famous art capital wows with culture galore and delicious food

I just adore a parador

From magnificent castles to luxurious converted convents, Dave Balow takes a tour

Weekend in Seville

This Spanish city is perfect for a short break

Turkish delight

Yoga enthusiast or not, you'll love this oasis of luxury, says Sofia Zagzoule

The Durrells' Corfu

Read Thomas W. Hodgkinson's guide to their enchanting isle

Break for Rome

David Dillon and his sons discover the Italian capital

San Sebastian

A feast for the eyes and the tastebuds, as Martin Symington discovered

Modern Montenegro

James Hughes-Onslow reports from the Balkans

Sparkle at the Ritz-Carlton Abama

Anne Murray takes a lingering look at a hotel of unabashed luxury

The Marbella Club

The Spanish resort is still full of panache, as Mark Palmer discovered

Soulful Mallorca

Kate Amey reports from the luxurious Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel and Spa

Cypriot ultra spa

How did destination spa Anassa measure up?

Warm up in Iceland

Sky News presenter Kay Burley luxuriates in a steaming lagoon and marvels at the Northern Lights

Kefalonia's hue

Martin Ogden makes his very own Odyssey to the idyllic haven

Who couldn't love Lisbon?

Caroline McGuire gives you the lowdown on this perfect city break

Falling for Formentera

Ibiza's neighbour - but quiet and chic, as Mark Palmer discovered

The heroic island

Miranda Seymour reveals why fans of the magical holiday spot of Malta return every year

La Dolce Vita in Portofino

Sarah Turner discovers Hollywood’s heyday at the Hotel Splendido

Simply baking in ancient Greece!

Bake Off star Candice Brown has a delicious time in Halkidiki

My Mykonos adventure

Denise van Outen's dream of exploring a Greek island comes true

Madeira madness

Taking free-kicks in Madeira with Cristiano Ronaldo

Towering Tuscany

Take me back to my dream destination, says Mark Palmer

Dining in Palma

Sarah Gilbert savours the delights of Palma on a plate

Portugal's pousadas

Magnificent hotels with wall-to-wall history

Seductive Sardinia

Why Sardinia was a dream worth waiting for, says Lisa Brady

Vibrant Valencia

Is this cultural treasure house Spain's finest seaside city? Michael Hodges gives his verdict...

Croatia's Islands

Frederick Tratt explores the unspoilt gems off Croatia's fabulous coastline

Croatia's Tuscany

Unspoilt Istria does a great impression of rural Italy, writes Jane Horrocks

Florence and Milan

Make a long weekend in Italy twice the fun

Twin cities

Connect two fascinating cities by train on a European mini adventure

Not quite what you're looking for?
We can easily customise an offer to suit your exact requirements