A bucket load of sunshine, magnificent dining, golden sands and beautiful people, it can only point to one place – the French Rivera. More specially for this trip, Cannes. It was October and I was heading back after my first encounter in July for a friends hen party. I wanted to indulge one more time before the end of the season with a few friends.
A lot of people will automatically expect the Côte d’Azur area to be somewhere only to visit if you have money to burn or you’re happy to sell a kidney in order to visit. Fear not I am a thrifty traveller, so with some good planning you can still hit the Mediterranean hotspot and still party like a A-lister.
Visiting Cannes can be expensive, in fact anywhere along the French Rivera tends to pull on the purse strings – but should this stop you from travelling there? Should you miss out on those stunning ocean views and Cosmopolitan beach vibes? No way. Budget!
Flights // The first thing I always do is book my flights well in advance. I cannot stress how important this is. By booking so far in advance you will potentially snap up early bird deals, and find cheaper rates because the demand won’t be so high. I always have a hunt on airline social pages for the latest deals and offers. For visiting Cannes, I have flown into Nice airport with both British Airways and more recently Monarch.
Having never flown with Monarch before, I must admit the service and whole experience was spot on. British airways tend to host larger aircraft, whereas Monarch is smaller but somewhat more spacious. It was actually a very hassle free experience, which is always an added bonus. Flights were very reasonable with an average of £116 return flying out from Birmingham airport. You can check in online with ease and even if checking a bag in, bag drop is very simple to do.
Transfers // There are many transfer services available from Nice to Cannes, and whilst normally I would be fully advocating a coach style transfer, the last two times I have just gone private. For the experience teamed with effortless, a private transfer is around 70 euros each way, which split between friends isn’t horrendous. The transfer from Nice to Cannes is around 40minutes so a comfortable, carefree journey sets the scene nicely.
Accommodation // If you chose to stay in a hotel in Cannes, that is where you will find your money gobbled. The best thing is to hire an apartment or use Air Bnb. You can make it even cheaper by staying about 10 minutes out of Cannes in a place called La Bocca. This is where I have stayed both times to give myself a chilled setting, then head into Cannes to explore in the day and party at night. There are many frequent buses by a company called Palm Bus, these run every 15minutes and one trip costs €1.50.
Food // I didn’t eat out all the time, as again if you plan to do that you will be looking to pay on average €32 per dish. Obviously you can explore and find the less commercial and more quirky restaurants, but in the hip and happening spots the prices will show. We did dinner at Baoli Cannes on one night then lunch at C Beach on our last day, the rest of the time we ate in the Apartment. It was so easy just doing a food shop on arrival, which I must admit was very reasonable… and French food is the best anyway!
Night life // As mentioned we went to Baoli club for both trips, this was where the extravagant dinner was our holiday treat. We ordered our wine and food then basically danced the night away. It can get very expensive in there if you are buying drinks all night… so be warned. That being said the atmosphere in there is absolutely fantastic, so you might find yourself loving that much more and not needing loads to drink.
Shopping // Want to keep your trip cheap? Well, I hate to say it but don’t shop here. In all honestly don’t bother even looking. The main La Croisette is lathered with designer shops, from the likes of Armani to Celine, to Pucci and Cartier. If you found a definition of lush in the dictionary this area would be listed next to it. Unfortunately if you want shopping and you want thrifty Cannes is t the one.
Activities // There are the generic ‘holiday’ activies such as boat trips and tours, but these will come at price. You need to figure out if you really need to be doing something busy each day. If like me you want to keep active fitness wise, then have a look at map my run for some great running routes.
I would happily return to Cannes. I have seen both peak season and the end of the season, and I loved both for very different reasons. I felt more special the 2nd time round because it was less busy, but I must admit July was epic! You honestly don’t need to be doing a lot here as the beaches are beautiful, you can simply become absorbed in the scenery. Anyways hopefully that has given you some easy pointers on visiting Cannes and the rest of the French Rivera.