The most glamorous city in the world hosts its annual, sizzling fall splash.
Cannes is the star of the French Riviera. It has it all — the Mediterranean beach, glistening turquoise sea, designer shops, beautiful sunsets, great restaurants, art, its history, and a relaxed pace of life. It really is the star among the South of France cities, and while it is immediately thought of for its celebrity-attracting film festival, its yachting festival is the premiere global event for luxury boats and yachts. The Cannes Yachting Festival is the kick-off to the season of boat shows around the world. This year’s show is from Sept. 6 to 11.
There are two primary viewing areas, the Vieux Port de Cannes and Port Pierre Canto. Top boat and yacht designers exhibit up to 600 vessels and unveil their new models.
The Vieux Port is one of the oldest ports on the Cote d’Azur. During the yachting festival, prestigious yachts from all over the world drop anchor here. It is also the site of many of the boat show’s exhibitions and anchorages.
- Palais des Festivals. An exhibition area for the marine industry — shipyards, designers, architects, financiers, and other nautical services. Also the site of the brand new La Terrasse luxury-exhibition space.
- Super Yachts Extension. The anchorage for the show’s largest motor and sailing boats — most over 25 meters, some up to 55 meters — and the Tender Area.
- Quai Saint-Pierre. A presentation area for wide-range 12- to 25-meter sailing and motor boats from traditional to modern.
- Quai Max Laubeuf. This is where the Cannes Boating Festival began, with just 30 new boats. Today, Quai Max Laubeuf presents more than 160 vessels and hosts the powerboat industry and the RIB Village, a display of inflatable and semi-rigid boats.
- Pantiero. The space for smaller, high-end motor boats — including open, sports, fly-bridge, and sport-fishing vessels — and the location of the Equipment Village, which has marine insurance and service companies, fishing equipment, marine optics, and the like.
- Catamarans Area. An exhibition area for forty or so 12- to 35-meter sailing and motor catamarans.
- The Jetée. The site for the world’s largest shipyards, engine manufacturers, nautical service exhibitors, and some of the festival’s partners.
Port Pierre Canto
Port Pierre Canto is devoted to large, second-hand yachts. This is where boaters go to negotiate with boat charter companies and yacht brokers go to buy, sell, or rent “pre-loved” vessels in the 22-meters to 50-meters range.
Second Time Around
Last year’s parade of boats through the heart of the Vieux Port was a grand splash. The Concours d’Élégance comes back again this year. Rules for inclusion in the parade specify a motor or day boat of under 12 meters, a crew of no more than four and an “undeniably elegant” boat design.
New this Year
La Terrasse makes its debut at the 2016 Cannes Yachting Festival. Situated on a Palais rooftop close to the VIP Club and the panoramic restaurant — with a breathtaking view over the entire festival,
Cannes Bay, and the Croisette (and a fair chunk of the boat-filled ocean) — La Terrasse is an exclusive showcase for the luxury industry. Here, luxury showcases planes, cars, jewelry and watches, food, home furnishings, furniture and design, saddlery, art, photography, hotels, couture, perfume, beauty, premium services, and high-technology products.
Other Things to Do
When there’s a break in the action at the boat show, there’s plenty to explore at in Cannes.
Lunch at the Grand Hotel du Cap Eden Roc is never dull. The Eden-Roc pavilion is just above the iconic salt infinity pool. Lunch on the terrace provides spectacular views of the Cote-D’Azur. The grounds of the rose-colored hotel are breathtaking, and in its almost 150 years of existence, it has hosted some of the most famous people in the world. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, Tender Is the Night, the Hotel des Etrangers was based on the Hotel du Cap. Marlene Dietrich, Pablo Picasso, and Gary Cooper, were frequent guests. The Daily Mail once reported that Sharon Stone ordered a harpist in traditional Irish dress.
After lunch, walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette, and try your hand at gambling in the legendary Casino Croisette.
What makes Cannes so wonderful is it really is just a small village. To get a taste of Cannes locals, head three blocks north from the Vieux Port to the market. Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and breads. On Monday, there’s an antiques and flea market, on site, at the market. The streets surrounding Marché Forville are also worth exploring for local butcher shops and delicatessens, bakers, and wine merchants.