Scotland was so unexpectedly cold that during our time there, James and I decided to change our plans to head to a warmer climate. We had originally planned on heading to Hungary and Austria but rescheduled our flights and headed to the Cote d’Azur otherwise known as the French Riviera in southern France.
We managed to find the most amazing apartment at the last minute, right in the heart of town, opposite the marina, beach and casino. A quick hop, skip and fly from Gatwick Airport had us arriving in the late afternoon at Nice Airport.
Our driver was so quintessentially French, with his tanned face, ponytail, beard, blue suit with strong cologne and stale cigarette on this breath.
We zoomed down the back streets of Cannes and arrived at the most amazing waterfront apartment.
Our host Jackie is originally from Germany but now resides in Cannes full time. She was so warm and kind to us. The apartment was absolutely amazing, she even hinted that some A list celebs have stayed there during the Cannes Film Festival. When she mentioned Brad and Angelina, I nearly screamed and ran instantly into the master bedroom, pondering on the thought that they might have slept on that bed that I would be residing in all week! I can dream, can’t I?!
We walked the streets of Cannes, settling on an early dinner at the best place on the strip called Steaks and Shakes which pleased the kids. Thick shakes, skinny fries and hotdogs made with 100% local beef. The kids were in heaven and this became our local place to grab a shake on the way home from the beach.
The next morning, our gorgeous nanny Marlee joined our family’s adventure after flying overnight from New York where she has been residing for the last year. We warmed to her instantly and before she could even get in the door, the older kids begged her for a visit to the beach followed by ice-cream. Marlee obliged and since then, it has been an absolute dream having her accompany us on the trip. More about Marlee soon, I promise!
Our time in Cannes was spectacular. Days were long, the huge french windows were open all day and night, blowing in the most amazing breezes and sounds from the street below. We listened to the scooters zooming past, boats departing the harbour, street performers putting on a show for the tourists and best of all, fans and locals cheering and jeering at the World Cup games which were being screened below us at the popular waterfront cafes.
Blue skies woke us every morning with warm breezes and a lovely dry heat. Every morning, we would walk to the local produce area named Forville Markets. Here we would wander the aisles, perusing fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, cheeses, nuts and flowers. It was without a doubt, the best farmer’s market I have ever been too. The food was so fresh and clean to eat.
The beach at Cannes is sandy but not overly clean. The water is quite murky and the sand was dirty. Our feet and shoes were always filthy after a visit. Not to mention our gorgeous white towels from the apartment too! The kids loved the shallow beach though and we spent hours just watching them play, collecting rocks and building castles. Little Harriet was so confident sitting on the sand, getting covered in the waves. She really seems to enjoy the beach so much!
On our 2nd last day, we caught a mini tourist train around town which affirmed our love for this gorgeous little place even more. Harriet fell asleep in my arms and the children sat with Marlee and listened to the history of Cannes and its famous sights.
The best thing about Cannes would have to be the food. We didn’t eat a bad meal there. Not once. Every morning, James would head down the bakery for some fresh croissants and pain au chocolat plus a few lattes too. For lunch, we would dine at any of the eateries scattered along the narrow streets. At night, we would either cook beautiful fresh produce in our apartment or head out to the little trattoria’s off the Rue Antibes which always included a stop at the ice-cream shop on the way home.
We ate smelly cheeses, the best macarons money can buy, discounted Veuve, Moet and Taittinger, fresh salmon from the friendly fish monger, the thickest creamiest shakes from our favourite place in town, honestly, I had no idea how splendid Cannes would be.
I am so thankful we chose to spend a week there. Would I return for another holiday? Absolutely. Would I rent the same apartment? Absolutely. It wasn’t right opposite the beach but across from the marina instead. Gazing at the cruise ships and yachts, scooters and people watching was so captivating. Our host was amazing, probably one of the friendliest people we have encountered on the trip so far.
The week was slow and relaxing. Long dinners were shared as James and I got to know Marlee. Soccer was watched. Sleep-ins were had. Sand was permanently on the bed sheets. Croissants were buttered. Ice-creams devoured. And a few new freckles were added to the children’s happy faces.
We packed our bags and hopped in the van for the short drive up the coast to Nice, our next stop on the journey!