April 6, 2009: Admist the Rich and Famous, Sort Of

Cannes, France

Cannes, France

Cannes, France – About 20 km west of Nice is a little town known for its draw of celebrities for its annual film festival. It’s also one of the more opulent towns I’ve ever been to although I have yet to visit Monte Carlo (seeing that tomorrow).

Cannes is similar to Nice with its pleasant beaches, rows of restaurants and shops, and fun and eclectic crowds of buildings among the southern hills. It’s a little ritzier though with its docks stocked full of high-end yachts and sailboats. There’s also a long line of designer shops that run along the beach as well as a slew of grand hotels amongst them. Can’t help but felt out of place there with my well-worn backpack and sneakers.

I arrived by train and just followed people hoping that they were headed to the main part of town. I strolled the beach for a while and enjoyed a chocolate croissant from an outdoor vendor, which was still better than a lot of bakeries in the states! I meandered my way through the docks and stared at the handsome boats that were squished next to each other with nothing but small buoys separating each luxury liner. There’s a hill at one end of the town with a castle at the top and boy did I feel my legs as I climbed those stairs! But the amazing views and sunny day more than made up for my aching muscles.

Even the little hill was a self-sufficient world with its streets lined with attractive eateries, petite shops and elegant bars. You would think that it was a separate territory with tourists wandering throughout its offerings. I slowly made my way down the hill and back to Cannes proper where I decided to take a short boat ride to the nearby island just south of Cannes (Sainte Marguerite). It was only a 15 minute ride but my tired feet appreciated the break. This little island housed Fort Royal, a fort born in the 1600s and more notably, imprisoned the Man in the Iron Mask. The island is mostly undeveloped with a just a few trails, maintaining its untouched vegetation and original landscape. A big distinction from its immensely populated and wealthy mainland neighbor.

I returned to Cannes and perused the old historical pedestrian walkway that was also lined with restaurants and shops. But after six hours of touring on foot my tired body needed some much needed rest. After all, weren’t these few days supposed to be about rest and relaxation?!

Tomorrow I will take the morning to tour Monte Carlo and Monaco and then try to relax on the beach and give both my body and brain a break from the constant movement and stimuli. There’s so much to see and do but much like in snowboarding I need to know when to say when and just chill.

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