Cannes is perhaps best known as a playground for well-heeled celebrities and celebrity-spotters using the Riviera as little more than a glitzy backdrop for film festival photo ops. But dig beneath that undeniably chic surface of boutiques and recently-buffed supercars, and a large part of what made Cannes special — an affinity for restorative summers spent resting and indulging in bouts of people-watching— is still very much alive and well.
Take a long stroll along Rue Saint-Antoine to the cobbled streets of Le Suquet and you’ll find a startlingly attractive old town, filled with pretty little restaurants, a historic church and castle, and breathtaking vistas of the sea and celebrity-studded Boulevard de la Croisette. But if the crowds become too much, escape on the ferry to the nearby Illes de Lérins. Choose Ille Ste-Marguerite to luxuriate on its idyllic beaches and rustic hidden coves, or Ile St. Honorat to visit the monastery and to sample the monks’ prized organic wines that are often featured on France’s state dinner menus.