Travel Tips

Hotels, Restaurants & Shopping Beyond the Film Festival: Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Cannes, France

Locations in this article:  London, England New York City, NY Paris, France

Cannes Hotel Bar - Hotels, Restaurants & Shopping in Cannes, FranceDear Peter,
Cannes will be hosting yet another Film Festival come May, but right now the city is still out of season; there are bargains to be had and reservations to be got for those who know that out-of-season is the best reason to vacation in this city by the sea.

You have to step over cables, frame your photography efforts around building cranes and watch out for construction debris, but Cannes is sprucing up for another go at glam.

Say cheese!


Most of the palace hotels are working out their “news” for the new season—be it a new chef, a new restaurant, a new wing, or even a whole new hotel.

Black & white photos of movie stars above the beds at Palais StephanieThe hotel formerly known as the Noga Hilton has been replaced by a beauty that makes it hard to envision the former humdrum and very 1980s interior design of pink and coral resin. Now named the Palais Stephanie, the hotel is a tribute to Film Festivals past, with gigantic black-and-white photos on walls, even over beds.

Trying to keep up, Hotel Majestic Cannes Barrière added on an entirely new wing. While The Majestic does have some photos in the bar and on a wall or two, it is a classic hotel in the grand style.

Palais Stephanie, on the other hand, went for the big wow by bringing in Italian crews and providing glimmer mosaic open-faced shower stalls (no door) and hand-stitched cognac leather walls with a Pop Art zebra stripe carpet on the hallways. Kansas was never like this, baby.

Don’t miss Suzy’s take on the nearby city of Monte Carlo, Monaco.


Hotel Renovations Abound in CannesMost of the days seem to be spent eating, since there were so many new chefs or, at least, new cartes to test. The Grand Hotel Cannes, next door to the Palais Stephanie on La Croisette (at #45, hence the name of the restaurant), has recently been awarded one Michelin star.

The restaurant, Le Park 45, is a retro visual feast with a hot young chef who trained with Jacques Chibois, one of the most famous chefs in France. There’s a three-course menu for €30 (about $40), which is the bargain of the day. Aside from enjoying the food, you must, must, must pop into the lobby to see the retro ’60s style.

Palais Stephanie does not have a fancy chef, but they too have a two course meal for €25 and a three-course for €30. I had one dinner at the Palais Stephanie’s La Scena off the carte, which cost about $200 for two.

Get great ideas for amazing adventures in our Luxury Travel section.

We could have had a very similar meal (complete with Grand Marnier soufflé) for half the price if we’d ordered off the menu, but I simply insisted on trying the fresh-made pizza as my starter and then gobbled up as many courses as possible—for scientific purposes, of course.

Food from La Croisette at FelixThere’s more meal-time news right on La Croisette at Felix—which used to be an open-air, noisy, everybody-goes-there, fancy dive for heaps of easygoing food—and is now redone as a semi-North African fine-dining spot with a young chef who hopes to make a name for himself.  He’s worked with both Chibois and Alain Llorca, another other famous local  multi-star name.

Felix is very white linen and hush-hush now, with very high prices and a sommelier who pours a different wine for you to pair with every course. This will be one of the places to be seen during the FIF, for sure.


Even the Palais des Festivals has had a face lift; I guess that’s appropriate enough when you are over 60. More meeting and conference space as been added as well as a tourist center and gift shop. I can’t get behind $60 beach towels with the Palme d’Or logo on them, but it is a way to impress your friends back home I guess.

Aromatisers - Retail in Cannes, FranceRETAIL SCENE

The changes in the hotels have also brought about changes in the retail scene. The Majestic  Hotel gave up its two-star restaurant to turn it into a Gucci boutique. Big-name brands such as Bottega Veneta have found new homes in a quiet stretch of shops between The InterContinental Carlton Cannes and Hotel Martinez.

Surprisingly, despite a total renovation of these few blocks of shopping nirvana, Toto Croisette is still in business. Toto is a jobber selling marked-down everything, from men’s suits to women’s clothing to home style and beach towels (for less than $60). It is the insider’s place to go when in need and not willing to splurge at Ferragamo or such.

Cannes Kisses En Toto,

By Suzy Gershman for Visit Suzy on the Web at, and