In keeping with exploring more of France than Paris, I made plans many moons ago to visit Cannes. S. was obviously required to come along, but we were joined by my old childhood friend, C., for a bank holiday weekend of beaches, sun, French food, wine and, of course, practicing our French.
We left St Pancras in London super early on Saturday morning, ready for the quick train ride and quick stopover in Paris before a longer train to Cannes.
Unfortunately, our London-Paris train was delayed, so we had to catch a later train to Cannes. Although it was a little annoying, all worries can melt away with a little drink- we just stopped at a cafe in Paris for a carafe of rosé.
Then we hopped the next available train to Cannes.
The train from Paris to Cannes is about five hours long, but the scenery out of the window is really, really pretty. None of the photos came out well (we forgot our camera so just shot on iPhones) but take my word for it- its worth the trip! (Plus, in the end, it worked out to be slightly cheaper than a flight and take around the same amount of time if you factor in getting to the airport, checking in, etc. etc.)
We arrived in Cannes around 6pm, which gave us a little time to get situated and get ready for dinner! I’d made reservations at La Mome, which, if you’re in Cannes, is a must try.
We started off with drinks at the bar…
…followed by amazing starters, which included truffle and burrata, two of my all time favorite things…
…and each main we had, which ranged from gnocchi to risotto to tuna, was ah.may.zing.
Although it says online that La Mome is is casual, I would go in your nicer duds. But it is reasonably priced (for Cannes) and delicious. The only thing I’d say? Go knowing that they have a DJ in the corner, who plays very bizarre music ranging from 80s staples to Calvin Harris.
After dinner, we wandered around Boulevard de la Croisette, taking in the nightlife.
We didn’t go in to any of the clubs along the water, preferring to paddle into the calm, warm night water for a little bit before walking home.
The next morning, we all three decided that a beach day was in order.
We went to Bijou Plage, which was a little crowded when we arrived around 11am, but emptied out around lunchtime. S. and I saw like little fishies, but C. is more of a land shark and soaked up the sun.
S. and I had so much fun in the clear, warm water that we decided to rent a paddleboat with a waterslide on it, paddle out to the farthest buoy and slide down into the depths. We may have dove a few times, too.
After all that work, we had to get an ice cream.
After our day at the beach, we walked through the town to get a glimpse of the old town in the Le Suquet neighborhood.
We walked along the boulevard, stopping at the Palais des Festivals for a few photos. Honestly, not so impressive.
S. especially loved the amazing cars parked up and down the streets. This is a place where Alfa Romeos, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Bentleys are a dime a dozen. There are a ton of working vintage cars, too.
Although the beaches and Boulevard de la Croisette are amazing, the streets tucked further into the town is where Cannes really shines.
No matter where you roam, make sure you hike up to Notre Dame d’Esperance, a beautiful stone church with magnificent vistas of the old port and the rest of the city. If you walk there you’ll also see a good portion of the old town, too.
We went during sunset coincidentally, but go anytime. The view on both sides is fab.
We then hiked down from the top of the hill for an early dinner at Chez Vincent et Nicholas. I may have just been spoiled by the food at La Mome- it was just fabulous- and it wasn’t that wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as flavorful as La Mome, nor as fresh. I am always deeply suspicious of food that comes quickly, and our orders were out within mere minutes of ordering. Still, we split a bottle of the house pink, and sat outside in the dwindling light of day chatting and eating.
After dinner we walked around Rue Freres Pradignac, stopping at all the bars for a drink. It gets super busy around 11pm, so if you’re like us and want to avoid crowds, go early!
The next morning we got up early to hit up a boulangerie and pharmacie (needed to get my nice French bathing products) before setting off for Monaco by train.
We had an hour to kill in Nice, so we just walked around the town and stopped off at a cafe to watch the world go by over a tipple.
Monaco was just a 15-minute train ride from Nice, and from the moment we arrived, we were wowed.
Monaco is the 35th country I’ve visited so it was bound to hold a special place in my heart, but it is also just beautiful– everything there is stunning, even the outside of the train station!
You can walk all of Monaco in about an hour and a half- its less than two miles from one side to the other.
We of course gravitated immediately to the casino, which is in the center of Monte Carlo, so very easy to find. You can’t go in during the afternoon, but you can walk around to take in the views of the ocean and, beyond, the Italian coast.
A lot of Monaco is under construction, but it was still beautiful and amazing to see. It was also so crazy to be in a country so small you can see multiple other countries from its shores, and from the middle of its capital city!
We sat out at a local cafe, enjoying drinks and desserts (lemon sorbet on a warm Monegasque day is a dream), then headed home where we enjoyed several bottles of local pink.
The next morning it rained, which was perfect because we had an early train back to London- we left just in time. Cannes is a dream holiday location, and I already told S. we are coming back next year, its not negotiable. Cannes, a bientot!