Voulez-vous pour s'amuser? Oui! Moi! Moi!
Our first port-of-call onboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas Western Mediterranean cruise was Cannes, France. I'm sure most would have heard of Cannes through its internationally renowned and prestigious film festival where the red carpet turns the avenue into a huge stage for the catwalk of celluloid fashionistas.
But other than the glitz and glamour that lights up this city every May, what's more to it since the choice of Cannes as the crowning venue for the global film industry was a political residue of the 1930s rather than it being chosen solely because of its foot in the Mediterranean Sea and balmy weather?
Well, let's find out what's there to see and do at the Cannes coastline of the beautiful French Riveria!
|Tall palm trees surround and line the exotic city of Cannes where the municipal code of arms is a single stalk of leaf from the Phoenix Palm variety. That's the inspiration behind the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) symbol of the Cannes Film Festival.|
A variety of shore excursions are offered onboard Liberty of the Seas and they can be booked either online or on the ship. Pre-booking online is recommended as spaces for certain tours are limited and may be full by the time you get on board. For our stop at Cannes, we signed up for the half-day Scenic French Riveria (item code : CW17) which costs S$87.50 (US$69.00)
|We gathered at The Sphynx on Deck 5 at 8:30am before unboarding the ship to start the land tour. Interesting Egyptian themed decor with reliefs of pharaohs and hieroglyphs.|
|All guests who booked land tours were given stickers with numbers indicating their respective tour group. The groups leave on time so don't report late!|
|The seaside developments invoked a sense of grandeur as we approached Cannes.|
Ville de Fréjus
Upon stepping out of the simple port, coaches were already waiting for us and we just needed to look for the bus that corresponds with our tour number. Our Scenic French Riveria tour started at 9:00am and ended at around 3:00pm (6 hours).
Our first stop for the tour was a visit to Ville de Fréjus, a somewhat medieval town an hour's drive from Cannes.
|Along the way to Fréjus, we passed by some ancient ruins and monuments. Fréjus is touted to be the first naval town in the Mediterranean. Top right pic : The grey section below the yellow block is where the town's tourist info centre is located.|
|The 5th century Cathédrale Saint-Léonce de Fréjus is a gazetted national monument of France.|
|Nave and pews of the baptistry. The Fréjus Cathedral is still in use and during my visit, a solemn funeral service was taking place.|
|A classic French street lamp that is both functional and decorative extends from the brightly coloured walls of residential blocks within the town.|
|The warm hues of the residential facades and their cursive wrought iron accents made getting lost in this labyrinth a beautiful affair.|
|Enjoyed taking a peek into the lives of the townsfolk. My impression of the French is one of snooty arrogance, but the folks here showed me otherwise. They were friendly and welcoming!|
We were given an hour to self-explore Fréjus before driving back to the waterfront district of Cannes. Fréjus actually has a lot more to offer and travellers could use it as a base to venture out to surrounding attractions.
As a part of the Scenic French Riveria tour itinerary, Fréjus provided a nice introduction and feel of old France.
Hint of Cannes
Back from Fréjus, we were dropped off along Promenade de la Croisette (the equivalent of Orchard Road, but by the sea) near the port and given about an hour to browse Cannes on our own. There's a choice of chilling out at a cafe by the marina, shopping or do a quick walkabout to take a touristy shot in front of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès where the star-studded film festival is held.
Well, you know me lah, very kiasu one, always want to see more to make my money's worth so my parents and I decided to checkout the sights. As we've passed by the film festival venue and it didn't raise any eyebrows, we decided to check out a church whose beautiful dome is very prominent in the city skyline.
|Statue of an angel opposite the church we wanted to visit.|
|No idea what's the name of this church. I tried looking for it's name there but everything is in French so I decided to search online. It's strange that this church is so conspicuous but I couldn't find anything on Google about it!|
|The interior of the cathedral is bathed in a purplish-blue aura by sunlight filtering through the stained glass windows dominated by that hue.|
|The church has some pretty vivid statues of Jesus and Madonna with the Saviour as a child.|
Scenic Coastal Drive
In my opinion, this is the highlight of the tour. Cruising along the French Riveria coastline half-way up the hill, we passed by properties of celebrities and the homes of who's who in the entertainment circle. As you can imagine... a hillside villa facing the Mediterranean Sea... you better be made of money.
|Breathtaking views of coastal developments. Cannes is truly a metropolitan city by the beach!|
Self-Exploratory Walking Tour in Cannes
Initally, I thought we can only leave and come back to Liberty on the Seas if we booked a shore tour when in fact, all guests can leave the ship and explore each port-of-call on their own if they want to. We just had to be mindful of the timing that the last connecting boat departs the port back to the ship.
I was so delighted when I realised this and decided to extend my shore time. Told you I'm super kiasu one right? Mum and dad were rather tired so they headed back to the ship and I ventured the nearby area on my own before catching the last boat back at 5:30pm.
|Making the best out of my 2.5 hours in Cannes, I headed down the waterfront littered with countless private yachts without an itnerary in mind. I wandered around and let my eyes take me places.|
|Boulevard de la Croisette (Little Cross Drive)|
|Another interesting 3D wall mural and streets flanked by classical French architecture.|
|A peek at the buildings and lifestyle around downtown and surprised to find a retro barbershop. Bottom right pic : A local wet market that is one of the attractions in the area. But it was done for the day by the time I visited.|
|Time to horse around after a late lunch! A carnival carousel sits near the beach while I'm surprised to see police on horsebacks prowling the streets.|
|I didn't enter the church as it seems like it has been turned into a museum that charges an entrance fee. Notre Dame d'Esperance sits atop Le Suquet Hill and offered a vantage aerial view of the bay and Cannes.|
|Weather during my visit could be said to be 4 seasons in one day. It was gloomy and dull when we first arrived, then hot and sunny, followed by a light shower before the sky got really grey and muted in colours.|
|Whale sighting! LOL... I'm terrible. But I really love the expression of this boy enjoying himself and having a 'whale' of a good time!|