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The South of France on the Cheap? Yes, You Cannes!

Paula Froelich

The South of France on the Cheap? Yes, You Cannes!

Beach bliss in Cannes (Photo: Thinkstock)

Ah, Cannes. The playground of the rich and famous. Home to the famed film festival and the port of choice for billionaire’s and their yachts. But can we, the great unwashed masses, enjoy the city? Yes, we Cannes! 

Where to Stay: The secret to Cannes is, while hotels on the Croisette will clean your wallet shamelessly (The Carlton charged me $100 for five beers — not kidding) and snub their nose at you for the pleasure, there are bigger better, chicer (and most importantly WAY cheaper) apartments to be had just meters away via Airbnb. Recently, during the Cannes Lions advertising festival, half the crowd skipped the high-priced hotels and headed to the rental site to stay in gorgeous apartment like this two bedroom, two bathroom place, located just 100 meters from the beach scene.

Related: Cheat Sheet Paris

stunning cityscape of cannes

Cannes, a playground of the rich and famous, open to everyone (Photo: Thinkstock)

Where to Eat: In the mornings head to the Marche Forville, aka the “Belly of Cannes,” for some of the best fresh produce you will ever eat. I’m not kidding — it ruined me for NYC produce. Pick up some prosciutto, cheese, baguettes, fruit … and voila! You have a tasty breakfast and prep for a lunch picnic. To carry everything, stop by the shops on the north side of the market and pick up one of the straw baskets with leather handles, which sell for 14 euros ($19), as opposed to $200 in NYC shops. It doubles as a super-chic carry-on bag for the flight home. 

produce primed for a picnic in the marche

Absurdly fresh produce at the Marche Forville, Cannes — perfect for a picnic (Photo: Tim Gage/Flickr)

yummy langoustines

Langoustines at Fred’s (Photo: fredlecallier.com)

In the evening, head to Fred L’écallier (aka “Fred’s) for langoustines, bouillabaisse, octopus, and the catch of the day. I got the red snapper in a salt crust, which I still dream about. 

Another option is La Table du Chef, a tiny, friendly restaurant that has no menu because the daily meal is based on what was found in the Marche Forville that day. A four-course meal will set you back 41 euros ($55), which is one of the best bets in the city. 

Related: Keeping Up With the Hamptons? 13 Secret Places — Where You Won’t Find the Kardashians

rooftop cocktails and views at Radisson Blu

Sunset cocktails at Le 360 Bar. (Photo: Radisson Blu)

Where to Drink: Splurge on drinks at Le 360 bar atop the Radisson Blu hotel at the end of the pier at the old town. The location and the height give you the perfect vantage point to view the city while you sip a cocktail. 

For just some laid-back drinking, take the roads from the beach and walk into the old town for a bevy of outside cafes, which will happily serve you a glass of rose for half the price of the beachside hotels.

Related: Pigs Blood, Avocados, Irish Moss: The Strange Ingredients of Summer’s Tastiest Cocktails

buff boy moves beach chairs in cannes

The beaches of Cannes (Photo: Marc Veraart/Flickr)

walking through the old town of cannes

The winding roads of old town Cannes, perfect for an evening stroll — and drink. (Photo: Cédric Michaux/Flickr)

Where to Stroll: Give your calves a work out and walk up to the fortress overlooking the city, which houses the Musée de la Castre. For a whopping six euros ($8), you can peruse the art collection and enter the 11th-century tower, which offers a commanding view of the sea, beaches, and distant mountains.

cannes at sunrise

View from the Musée de la Castre, Cannes, France (Photo: Ross Pollack/Flickr)

ancient fortress turned art museum

The 11th century stone building of the Musée de la Castre, Cannes, France (Photo: Titem/Flickr)

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