Cannes France, is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. The population was 70,400 as of the 2007 census. Cannes is the home of numerous gated communities. The city is also famous for its various luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Cannes: the name
In the 10th century the town was known as Canua. The name may derive from “canna”, a reed. Canua was probably the site of a small Ligurian port, and later a Roman outpost on Le Suquet hill, suggested by Roman tombs discovered here. Le Suquet housed an 11th-century tower which overlooked swamps where the city now stands. Most of the ancient activity, especially protection, was on the Lérins islands and the history of Cannes is the history of the islands.
With the 20th century came new luxury hotels such as the Miramar and the Martinez. The city was modernised with a sports centre, street cars, a post office, and schools. There were fewer British and German tourists after the First World War but more Americans. Winter tourism gave way to summer tourism and the summer casino at the Palm Beach was constructed.
The city council had the idea of an international film festival shortly before World War II. The first opened on 20 September 1946, held in the Casino Municipal.
La Croisette is the waterfront avenue with palm trees. La Croisette is known for picturesque beaches and for restaurants, cafés and boutiques. La Suquet, the old town, provides a good view of La Croisette. The fortified tower and Chapel of St Anne house the Musée de la Castre. The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned on the Île Sainte-Marguerite.
Île Sainte-Marguerite (St Marguerite Island)
It took “The Man in the Iron Mask” 11 years to leave this tiny, forested island. The mysterious individual was believed to be of noble blood, but his identity has never been proven. His cell can be visited in the Fort of St Marguerite, now renamed the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea). This museum also houses discoveries from shipwrecks off the island, including Roman (first century BC) and Saracen (10th century AD) ceramics.
The Côte d’Azur has a Mediterranean climate, with sunny, hot, dry summers and mild winters. Winter temperatures are moderated by the Mediterranean; days of frost are rare, and in summer the maximum rarely exceeds 30º. Micro-climates exist in these coastal regions, and there can be great differences in the weather between various locations. Strong winds such as the Mistral, a cold dry wind from the northwest or from the east, are another characteristic, particularly in the winter.
Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes
Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes département are sheltered by the Alps, and are the most protected part of the Mediterranean coast. The winds are usually gentle, from the sea to the land, though sometimes the Mistral blows strongly from the north-west, or, turned by the mountains, from the east. In 1956 a Mistral from the north-west reached 180kmh at Nice airport. Sometimes, in summer, the Sirocco brings high temperatures and reddish desert sand from Africa. (See Winds of Provence.)
Rain is rare but can be torrential, particularly in September when storms and rain are caused by the difference between the colder air inland and the warm Mediterranean water temperature (20°C-24°C). The average annual rainfall in Nice is 767mm, more than in Paris, though it rains an average of just 63 days a year.
Snow is rare, falling once every ten years. 1956 was exceptional, when 20 cm blanketed the coast. In January 1985 the coast between Cannes and Menton received 30 to 40 cm. In the mountains, snow is present from November to May.
Nice has an average of 2694 hours of sunshine, about 61% of the annual possible sunshine. The average maximum daily temperature in Nice in August is 28°C, while the average minimum daily temperature in January is 6°C.
The Côte d’Azur, often known in English as the French Riviera, is the Mediterranean coastline of the south eastern corner of France, extending from Menton near the Italian border in the east to either Hyères or Cassis in the west.
This coastline was one of the first modern resort areas. It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales. In the first half of the 20th century it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans. After World War II it became a popular tourist destination and convention site. Many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region. Officially, the Côte d’Azur is home to 163 nationalities with 83,962 foreign residents, although estimates of the number of non-French nationals living in the area are often much higher.
Its largest city is Nice, which has a population of 347,060 (2006). The city is the center of a communauté urbaine – Nice-Côte d’Azur – bringing together 24 communes and over 500,000 inhabitants.
Nice is home to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, France’s second-busiest airport (after Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport), which is on an area of partially reclaimed coastal land at the western end of the Promenade des Anglais. A second airport at Mandelieu was once the region’s commercial airport, but is now mainly used by private and business aircraft. The A8 autoroute runs through the region, as does the old main road generally known as the Route nationale 7. Trains serve the coastal region and inland to Grasse, with the TGV Sud Est service reaching Nice-Ville station in six hours from Paris.
The French Riviera also contains the seaside resorts of Cannes, Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Cap-d’Ail, Fréjus, Saint-Raphaël, and Saint-Tropez, and surrounds the principality of Monaco, with a total population of over two million. It is also home to a high-tech/science park or technopole at Sophia-Antipolis and a research and technology center at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis – the region has 35,000 students, of whom 25% are working towards a doctorate.
The French Riviera is a major yachting centre, with marinas along its coast. According to the Côte d’Azur Economic Development Agency, each year the Riviera hosts 50% of the world’s superyacht fleet, with 90% of all superyachts visiting the region’s coast at least once in their lifetime.
As a tourist centre it benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, 115 km of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants.
Places on the Côte d’Azur (following the broadest definition), following the coast from south-west to north-east, include:
• La Ciotat
• Hyères and the Îles d’Hyères (Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Île du Levant)
• Le Lavandou
• Inland – Grimaud, with Port-Grimaud on the coast
• Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël
• Inland – Fayence
• Mandelieu and La Napoule
• Inland – Grasse
• Inland – Mougins
• the Îles de Lérins – Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat
• Inland – Vallauris
• Inland – Valbonne
• Inland – Sophia-Antipolis
• Inland – Biot
• Inland – Vence
• Inland – Saint-Paul-de-Vence
• Inland – Saint-Jeannet
• Cap d’Ail
• Monaco (including Monte-Carlo)
The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence houses artifacts from prehistoric to present, in an 18th century mansion. The Musée de la Castre has objects from the Pacific Atolls, Peruvian relics and Mayan pottery. Other venues include the Musée de la Marine, Musée de la Mer, Musée de la Photographie and Musée International de la Parfumerie
Paul Signac, The Port of Saint-Tropez, oil on canvas, 1901.
The climate and vivid colours of the Mediterranean attracted many famous artists during the 19th and 20th centuries. They included:
• Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947); retired to and died at Le Cannet.
• Georges Braque (1882-1963); painted frequently at L’Estaque between 1907 and 1910.
• Roger Broders (1883-1953); Parisian travel poster illustrator.
• Paul Cézanne (1839-1906); a native of Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne painted at L’Estaque between 1878 and 1882.
• Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910); discovered the Côte d’Azur in 1883, and painted at Monaco and Hyères.
• Maurice Denis (1870-1943); painted at St. Tropez and Bandol.
• André Derain (1880-1954); painted at L’Estaque and Martigues.
• Raoul Dufy (1877-1953); whose wife was from Nice, painted in the region, including in Nice, Marseille and Martigues.
• Albert Marquet (1873-1947); painted at Marseille, St. Tropez and L’Estaque.
• Henri Matisse (1869-1954); first visited St. Tropez in 1904. In 1917 he settled in Nice, first at the Hôtel Beau Rivage, then at the Hôtel de la Méditerranée, then at la Villa des Alliés in Cimiez. In 1921 he lived in an apartment in Nice, next to the flower market and overlooking the sea, where he lived until 1938. He then moved to the Hôtel Régina in the hills of Cimiez, above Nice. During World War II he lived in Vence, then returned to Cimiez, where he died and is buried.
• Claude Monet (1840-1927); visited Menton, Bordighera, Juan-les-Pins, Monte Carlo, Nice, Cannes, Beaulieu and Villefranche, and painted a number of seascapes of Cap Martin, near Menton, and at Cap d’Antibes.
• Edvard Munch (1863-1944); visited and painted in Nice and Monte Carlo (where he developed a passion for gambling), and rented a villa at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in 1891.
• Pablo Picasso (1881-1973); spent each summer from 1919 to 1939 on the Côte d’Azur, and moved there permanently in 1946, first at Vallauris, then at Mougins, where he spent his last years.
• Auguste Renoir (1841-1919); visited Beaulieu, Grasse, Saint-Raphaël and Cannes, before finally settling in Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1907, where he bought a farm in the hills and built a new house and workshop on the grounds. He continued to paint there until his death in 1919. His house is now a museum.
• Paul Signac (1863-1935);
visited St. Tropez in 1892, and bought a villa, La Hune, at the foot of citadel in 1897. It was at his villa that his friend, Henri Matisse, painted his famous Luxe, Calme et Volupté in 1904. Signac made numerous paintings along the coast.
The Cannes Mandelieu Space Center
The area around Cannes has developed into a high-tech cluster. The technopolis of Sophia Antipolis lies in the hills beyond Cannes. The Film Festival is a major event for the industry. There is an annual television festival in the last week in September.
Festivals and show events
• The Cannes Film Festival (French: le Festival international du film de Cannes or simply le Festival de Cannes), founded in 1939, is held annually, usually in May.
• Midem, the foremost trade show for the music industry
• Mipim, the worlds largest property-related trade show
• Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival
• Carnival on the Riviera is an annual parade through the streets to mark the 21-day period prior to Shrove Tuesday.
• The International Festival of Games is festival of bridge, belote, backgammon, chess, draughts, tarot and more (February).
• Festival de la Plaisance is an event for boating enthusiasts in the Vieux Port (September).
• The International Actors’ Performance Festival: comedy sketches and performances by fringe artists
• The International Luxury Travel Market brings together under one roof the top international luxury travel providers and suppliers from all around the world.(http://www.iltm.net)
• Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique is a magnificent annual fireworks competition held in the summer at the Bay of Cannes.
• Mipcom and MIPTV, held in October and April respectively, the world’s most important trade markets for the television industry.
• The Pan-African Film Festival, held in early April and featuring films from the African diaspora
The Cannes Film Festival (French: le Festival de Cannes), founded in 1946, is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious film festivals. The private festival is held annually (usually in May) at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, in the resort town of Cannes, in the south of France.
At the end of the 1930s, shocked by the interference of the fascist governments of Italy and Germany n the selection of films for the Mostra del cinema di Venezia, Jean Zay, the French Minister of National Education, decided to create an international cinematographic festival in France, on the proposal of Philippe Erlanger and the support of the British and Americans. Many towns were proposed as candidates, as Vichy, Biarritz or Algiers, although finally Cannes was the chosen one; thus, Le Festival International de Cannes was born.
In June 1939, Louis Lumière agreed to be the president of the first festival, set to be held from 1 to 30 September 1939. The German attack on Poland on 1 September 1939, followed by the declaration of war against Germany by France and the United Kingdom on 3 September, ended the first edition of the festival before it started.
The festival was relaunched after World War II in 1946, in the old Casino of Cannes, financed by the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and the City of Cannes. Although the initial spirit of the French festival was to compete with its Italian counterpart, a secret agreement took place between both nations, so that they will celebrate their international festivals in alternating years. The first Cannes Festival had a considerable success, so when the Franco-Italian agreement was made public it was heavily criticised and considered as a “capitulation of France”.
The next year, in 1947, the festival was held again as the Festival du film de Cannes, dropping the international nature, but only in name, as films from sixteen countries were presented. Moreover, the principle of equality was introduced, so that the jury was to be made up only of one representative per country. Also, this year the festival was held at the made-for-the-occasion Palais des Festivals, although the roof was unfinished and blew off during a storm.
The festival was not held either in 1948 or 1950 on account of budgetary problems, offering no competition to the Venetian festival those years. In 1951, owing to better relations between France and Italy, the Cannes Festival was moved to Spring, while the Mostra remained in Autumn.
In 1955 the Golden Palm was created, replacing the Grand Prix du Festival which had been given until that year. In 1959 the Marché du Film (Film Market) was founded, giving the festival a commercial character and facilitating exchanges between sellers and buyers in the film industry. Today it has become the first international platform for film commerce.
In 1962 the International Critics’ Week was born, created by the French Union of Film Critics as the first parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival. Its goal was to showcase first and second works by directors from all over the world, not succumbing to commercial tendencies. In 1965 an hommage was paid to Jean Cocteau after his death, and he was named Honorary President for life. The next year, Olivia de Havilland was named the first female president of the festival.
The 1968 festival was halted on 19 May 1968. Some directors, such as Carlos Saura and Milos Forman, had withdrawn their films from the competition. On 18 May, filmmaker Louis Malle along with a group of directors took over the large room of the Palais and interrupted the projections in solidarity with students and labour on strike throughout France, and in protest to the eviction of the then President of the Cinémathèque Française. The filmmakers achieved the reinstatement of the President, and they founded the Film Directors’ Society (SRF) that same year. In 1969 the SRF, led by Pierre-Henri Deleau created the Directors’ Fortnight, a new non-competitive section that programs a selection of films from around the world, distinguished by the independent judgment displayed in the choice of films.
The “Palais des Festivals” in which the festival takes place
During the 1970s, important changes occurred in the Festival. In 1972 Robert Favre Le Bret was named the new President, and Maurice Bessy the Managing Director. He immediately introduced an important change in the selection of the participating films. Until that date, the different countries chose which films would represent them in the festival. Bessy created one committee to select French films, and another for foreign films. In 1978 Gilles Jacob assumed the President position, introducing the Caméra d’Or award and the Un Certain Regard section. Other changes were the decrease of length of the festival down to thirteen days, reducing the number of selected films thus; also, until that point the Jury was composed by Film Academics, and Jacob started to introduce celebrities and professionals from the film industry.