Cannes, Grasse and Frejus

"With St Tropez, Cannes is probably the best known resort on the French Riviera and with the smaller communes of Frejus and Grasse is found west of Nice. Our journey along the French Riviera continues with only a small hop across the River Pedegal from St Raphael to the older commune of Frejus."


Frejus is far more interesting than St Raphael and was first developed as Forum Julii by the Romans in 49BC going on to become one of the main ports in the Roman Empire. Despite a strong presence of Roman soldiers, it was destroyed and rebuilt many times but the remains of the Roman town can still be seen today. Spend time wandering around the Roman Amphitheatre, marvel at the remains of the town’s aqueduct and amble through the arcades of the Oree Gate. After the Romans, the town was left to struggle under repeated Moslem attacks but after their expulsion from Europe, it developed in a gothic style, one that remains in the old town to this day.


Next along the coast is Cannes, another glitzy rival to St Tropez but home to the ultimate social occasion, the Cannes Film Festival, the most important in the world. In May when the festival is on, the town’s population is swelled enormously with film fans who come to catch a glimpse of their favourite actors and directors or who want to see the latest box office releases presented around the town. Whilst high prices can maybe be justified at this time of year, the town continues to charge astronomical prices for everything from clothes to food throughout the year and if you intend to stay in Cannes, you’ll need a hefty bank balance.

The old town of Cannes is particularly attractive with a very refined atmosphere, almost Victorian in nature, and its twisty lanes and streets reveal new discoveries at every bend, be it charming cafes, little boutiques or the smell of freshly cooked bread from bakeries. Whilst you won’t get near it in May, at other times access to the Palais des Festivals makes it a great place to visit, especially for photographs in the footsteps of the stars. Unless you’re wealthy or mad, don’t think about spending a day on the beach in Cannes. It’ll cost you upwards of €30 for the pleasure and they are not that much to speak of. For better beaches try Cannes’ best kept secret, the Iles de Lerin, two islands in the bay reached by ferry. St Honorat is the cheapest to get to at €11 whilst Ste Marguerite will cost you €13. Once there, you’ll find beautiful uncrowded beaches, some shops, restaurants and bars but also beautiful views across the bay.


Leaving the glamour of Cannes we head next to Grasse and you’ll notice the smell as soon as you arrive. Not an unpleasant one, it’s because Grasse is the centre of the world’s perfume industry with over 65% of France’s perfumes produced there. You’ll find plenty of perfumers who will make up a scent that is unique to you and you can also discover the history of the industry in the many museums there. Once you’ve had enough of the perfume, you’ll also find that Grasse is known for the fabulous views and a walk in the hills will reveal vistas of Cannes and Antibes.

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