Six facts you should know about Cannes

View of Cannes

Cannes is not only a well-known vacation resort, nestled in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape with a pleasant Mediterranean climate. The city stands for glamour and luxury, for film festivals and stars, for legendary hotels, for mega yachts and magnificent villas. As much as is known about this former little fishermen’s village right at the Côte d’Azur, there might be some facts that you might not yet have heard of.

1 City name

Long before the rich and the famous came to Cannes, the city was settled by Ligurian tribesmen and known as Canua, which may derive from the Latin word “canna”, meaning reed in English. This makes sense, as it is said that the place was once surrounded by quite reedy shores, where today the yachts and sailboats of the high society are moored.

2 It's easy to spend money in Cannes

Cannes is a paradise for shopaholics – at least for the ones with a big wallet. If you want to spend money as you please, La Croisette is the place to be. On the only 2,600 feet long promenade, one luxury goods shop follows the next – only Paris has more designer stores to offer in France.

If shopping doesn’t give you a thrill, try gambling. Cannes has more casinos than anywhere else in France. So, spending money, losing money or, with a bit of luck, winning is more or less easy in the city on the French Riviera.

3 InterContinental Carlton Hotel

InterContinental Carlton Hotel

No other place besides the Palais des Festivals is probably as intertwined with the history and myth of Cannes as this hotel located on the Croisette, which was opened in 1913 by Swiss hotelier Henry Ruhl. The famous InterContinental Carlton Cannes, which has hosted numerous at least equally famous guests, is also a place where quite some legends have been written. It played a central role in Alfred Hitchcock's film To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, who also met her future husband Prince Rainier III of Monaco here for the first time.
That things can sometimes get a bit wilder with all the celebrity guests was proven by Elton John, who had a boisterous party in his suite with the band Duran Duran in 1983 during the video shoot for his hit I'm still standing. The result: a completely damaged hotel suite.
Not only the interior also the exterior is center of quite a few stories. Thus, it is said, for instance, that the striking domes of the Carlton at the two seaward corners were designed to resemble the breasts of Caroline Otéro (“La Belle Otéro”), the most famous courtesan on the Côte d'Azur during the years around World War I.

4 It’s actually British

This quite controversial statement, as the French would see it, refers to the fact that it was actually British statesman and anti-slavery campaigner Lord Henry Brougham and Vaux who discovered the town as a fashionable vacation resort. He encouraged wealthy English and European aristocrats and industrialists to build their winter residences in the sleepy fishermen’s village in the late 19th century which ensured the area’s economic upswing.

5 A bumpy start for the Cannes Film Festival

The famous Cannes Film Festival has its origins in 1939. Its creation can be largely attributed to the French desire to compete with the Venice Film Festival, the only international film festival at that time. It was supposed to be a free film festival, held in a location famous for its sunshine and its picturesque surroundings — Cannes. However, the first edition of the festival had to be canceled due to World War II and only in 1946 the first full-length film festival was able to take place.

6 Cannes is sporty!

Cannes is sporty

In 1997 and 2003, the city was elected “Most Sporting City in France” by the newspaper L'Équipe. This is no wonder, as the city offers a wide range of opportunities to engage in sports activities. In addition to the beautiful nature, which invites you to hike, bike, go for a run or just take a leisurely walk, and the Mediterranean Sea, which is a paradise for swimmers and sailors, you will also find numerous stadiums and multi-sports complexes, tennis courts, basketball, or pelota (a Basque ball game) courts, and not to forget the typical French boulodromes in Cannes.