* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Boardwalk of the stars

Scenic Cannes 01How would you like to visit another little corner of the world?  This one is another town in my backyard, some little beachfront area along the Mediterranean coastline.  I participated in a church ladies' retreat there last weekend, we took a little tour during a free afternoon, and I tried to capture a little of the flavor of the area with my trusty little camera.

This time, we are going to take a walk along the Croisette, the name of the boardwalk in the French town twinned with the California city of Beverly Hills.  Welcome to Cannes, home of the famous Red Carpet.

This hilltop view shows you everything all at once that represents the town.  On the far left, you can see how the mountains around here just fall into the Sea.  The big white building is the Palais des Festivals, home of the red carpet of the stars, with the local casino in front of it.  In the marina, you can see a few of the insignificant little yachts moored there.  Then there is the Bay which continues out into rest of the Sea.

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Cannes -- Star of the French Riviera

Our little excursion starts down along the Croisette with the end goal being up on the hill from whence cometh this photo. 

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Roll that film
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The real belles of the ball

Along the way, we came across this appropriate automaton, which are quite common in French tourist areas.

As we passed the Splendid Hotel, we decided that all of us indeed were also splendid!

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A couple of posers
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We're important people, too

As stars in our own right, we headed towards the Palais to see if the red carpet was out (they take it up when not in use).

What a big surprise to see who was currently being featured!  Let's hear it for a Playmobil convention.

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Pre-electronic acoustics
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Clearing out the attic

I thought this 1880 bandstand along the beach was rather fun and pretty.

I don't imagine you would expect to find a flea market all over the open spaces here, but here's proof.

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So pretty for a winter's table
I don't know what styles American bouquets come in these days, but I think I was impressed by this French style when I first came over, so perhaps it's still a bit different.  These were just along the street, selling for an average of $16-21.

Something else found along the way is part of a program started in 2002 of showing the love between the town and cinema with wall paintings.  These are the ones I came across, although there are more scattered all over.

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100 years of cinema
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Under a bridge
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Fanfan la Tulipe 1952

When one considers a town such as Cannes, one imagines fancy hotels and cars, classy villas, and hobnobbing with the rich and famous.  One does not imagine coming across this type of fine dining sprinkled around the fancy hotels.  Do the rich and famous really sneak out and treat themselves?

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They don't mean the Metro
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We gave them a skip
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Under the palms

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Above the Old Town
As we walked along the Croisette, we could see our end destination up on the hill in front of us. 
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Our guide explaining

From the left, you can see the keep of a medieval castle from the 11th century; to the right, a 16th century church and its bell tower.

Heading up the hill, we passed the 11th century Tower of the Mask, where the spirit of the 17th century prisoner of the Man in the Iron Mask fame (actually, black velvet) supposedly roamed. 

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Has his ship come in yet?
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Oblivious on a people mover

A humorous display lurking in the bushes on this oldest section of Cannes went completely unnoticed by these thoroughly modern tourists.

There must be a story here somewhere, but nobody seemed to be letting us in on the secret.

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Tour du Suquet XI
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Once upon a time . . .

Once at the top, we got a close-up view of the remnants of the castle, complete with a tree growing out the side of the keep. 

I thought the colored stones in the ruined round tower were quite pretty.

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Notre-Dame-d'Espérance XVI
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Time in the pines

The bell tower of the church can be seen from quite far away, proudly standing up on the hill, but it was also quite pretty up close with one of its clocks peeking through the pine trees.

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Simple elegance

The parish church the tower goes with isn't visually remarkable, nor is the interior very different from many other French churches. 

The church itself is in the Gothic style, the entrance is Renaissance, and the bell tower is Romanesque.  I guess they couldn't make up their minds what style they wanted to go with back in the 1500's.

What is remarkable is the Nativity scene on display from December-February (we must have just been able to see it).  It was built in 1920, but it has around 200 characters, with a quarter of them dating from the 19th century.

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Heralding over the Manger
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Windmills in Bethlehem?

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Playing his song
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Setting out the crystal

Often one can find a musician or two trying to sell their music by performing for the tourists who visit old castles and other ancient buildings, and I captured, in a rather unconventional manner, this shadowy violinist in the courtyard between the castle ruins and the church and bell tower. 

Also out of the ordinary was being able to peek from the barbican into this apartment window where dinner guests were apparently anticipated.

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A Medieval statue?
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Rooftops of Cannes
A friend took my picture in a corner of the gardens, while I found this rooftop terrace garden rather pretty with the roofs of Cannes as a backdrop.

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Betty Liberty
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I'll have a Big Boy

After all this strenuous sightseeing, the girls of our group wanted an ice cream.  The flower vender told us where the best place was, admonishing us to skip several others we would pass.  I wonder if the local Häagen-Dazs was on that "don't go" list.

I have no idea why they had a number of Betty Boop figurines in all kinds of costumes decorating the shelves; but having grown up with the Home of the Big Boy hamburgers, I was quite amused to find this statue.

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Enjoying a girls' day out together

Dusk was falling as we walked back to our hotel, and I thought you might enjoy the beach sights of this famous town at a winter's twilight.

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Pensive solitude
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Heading home
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Sunset over the mountains

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Calm and quiet

Whatever your impressions are of this jet-set town, whether they be mental images or memories of your own personal visit, I hope you've enjoyed this little guided tour of the authentic reality one can find on an ordinary weekend in just another little coastal Mediterranean commune. 

The tour is over, the day is done, life is peaceful.  The day people have gone, the night people have not yet arrived, but the chairs remain waiting for the next crop of humanity willing to stop and admire the surroundings.


  1. Thanks for sharing your tour - so pretty! I think those look like Lego figures on the red carpet.

  2. As usual, you turned your tour into a delight for everyone who reads your blog. You are such an excellent photographer, Ms. Alpine Queen and your group looks like they had a wonderful time.

  3. Is that supposed to be a giraffe hiding in the shrubbery? That is too funny. I agree with hamgal that the Playmobil things look like Lego people. Lovely little vicarious visit, thanks!

  4. Wow. Just wow. When we were visiting you for your anniversary, Chuck and I visited Cannes briefly, but didn't see near any of this. Obviously, I need to go back there and take you for my tour guide.

  5. So happy to see the behind the scenes of Cannes as Cathy and I missed the walk/tour. We really did miss a lot! Your pictures are wonderful!



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