After a bit of a restless night we left Camping Les Gigalons and headed for Cannes taking the winding Corniche de L’Esterel, with its spectacular views and small resorts and inlets. As we neared Cannes, we pulled over and peeked over a villa wall to look at the view and admire the various swimming pools belonging to the numerous villas perched on the hillside.
There are two campsites that are close to Cannes so we did a fly pass on the first one, Camping Cigales at Mandelieu La Napoule before checking out the second one, Parc Bellevue. After stocking up with provisions we headed back to Camping Cigales and were told that all the ACSI pitches had gone but we could have a parking place with electricity on the site for the same price or we could have a non ACSI pitch at a cost of €34 per night which included a 20% discount. Tony and I both choked at that and ended up with a hard standing pitch in a car park backing on to a building site with a crane!
In the evening we walked back to the beach and could see Cannes in the distance before heading in the opposite direction towards La Napoule and the Chateau de la Napoule, situated on and overlooking a small beach before continuing to the small beach of La Raguette and passing the pink villa, Villa Marguerite, that dates from the late 19th Century and was the former residence of Princess Daisy Pless, born Daisy Cordwallis-West (1873-1943). It was acquired by Henry and Marie Clews, expatriate American artists, who also restored the neighbouring Chateau de la Napoule. Both are now owned by La Napoule Art Foundation and welcomes, artists, scholars and art lovers. What a history lesson! There is a golf course very close by with a river separating the golf course and noticed a ‘golfing cart and golfer’s ferry’ that crosses the river enabling the golfers to play on both sides. How unusual?
We stopped off for a drink in a bar and headed back to the campsite just before the heavens opened and was able to save the washing that I had hung out to dry earlier! I’ll have to stop doing the washing because every time I hang some out the weather changes and the heavens open and to cap it all, when I re-hung it out in the morning, smoke bellowed over from the building site next door.
We cycled into Cannes, a distance of 4.5 miles each way. There is a partially designated cycling path on the road from Mandelieu La Napoule to Cannes but the road is quiet and we felt very safe cycling along in both directions. It is a very straight cycle ride that runs alongside the beach.
We left our bikes at the Vieux Port and walked all the way to the very end of Cannes as far as we could to Port Pierre Canto and Palm Beach on the east side, a distance of about 1.5 to 2 miles each way.
At the western side of the Vieux Port we past the numerous yachts and super yachts and the Palais des Festivals, host of the Cannes film festival.
Further on you come to Le Croisette, lined with designer shops, luxury hotels such as the Carlton Intercontinental and the lovely sandy beach which most of it is taken up by private beaches and costs a fortune to hire a sunbed or eat in the restaurants, The private beaches look very enticing, oh to be rich!
At the eastern side of Cannes is another port of which I cannot remember the name which is filled with more luxury yachts and the largest one we have seen yet. The yachts really are something else.
We walked back to Vieux Port and on the way stopped at one of the numerous food kiosks that line the beach area from Cannes right along to Mandelieu La Napoule, 38 in total. Tony bought a Pain Bagnet, a truly delicious bread roll filled with lettuce, tomato, tuna, egg, olives, anchovies and olive oil that he had sampled on our first visit to the South of France in 1980 and has been yearning for ever since. 35 years ago he could manage one of them on his own easily but this time I had to help him out with it!
We then explored the old area of Cannes around Le Suquet climbing up to the Castle at the top for splendid views of Cannes and the Esteral mountains. This part of Cannes has kept its old charm and is a pleasure to walk around.
Although Camping Cigales is a small site and you may not be guaranteed an ACSI pitch, they are very willing to accommodate otherwise, the facilities are very clean and modern. There is a swimming pool on site and the location is excellent for the beach, access into Cannes and only a short walk to bars and restaurants on the seafront.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Cannes and really like the area of La Napoule.