At the start of the century, Lord Brougham founder of modern day Cannes established a home in the South of France to escape the English winters. He started a trend among the Noble families and high society in Europe, that by the 20’s and thereafter, the South of France had B!come an international hideaway and playground to the wealthy.
The whole winter was spent in the mild climate of the South of France, where a lifestyle of parties, dinners, balls, afternoon tea at the ‘Carlton’ in Cannes, lunch on the terrace of the Hotel du Cap-Eden–Roc, or the simply privilege of the comfort in their villas overlooking the sea.
Artists, from the turn of the century such as, Monet, Picasso, Francis Picabia and many others, congregated in Saint-Paul de Vence near Cannes, also escaping the harsh winters. They were the first artists to paint in the open air and would exchange their work, for a meal or a roof over their heads, only heading back to Paris once the winter was over. This is how La Colombe d’Or, a very well-known restaurant in this region today, acquired one of the most famous collections of the French Impressionists.
The Marguerite and Aimé Maeght Foundation is a unique example of a private European Foundation. Inaugurated on July 28th 1964 by André Malraux, then Minister of Culture Affaires, this architectural ensemble was entirely conceived and financed by Marguerite and Aimé Maeght to present modern and contemporary art in all its forms. It is an exceptional site, with a unique integration of the building and gardens. A Giacometti courtyard, the Miró labyrinth filled with sculptures and ceramics, mural mosaics by Chagall and Tal-Coat, a pool and stained glass window by Braque, a Bury fountain…
The museum contains one of the most important collections in Europe, with paintings, sculptures; drawings and graphic works of modern art from the 20th century (Bonnard, Braque, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, Leger, Miro….) and contemporary artists (Adami, Del Re, Kelly, Calzolari, Takis….)
In May, Cannes plays a major role during the film festival the Palme d’Or. It is an important destination for international actors and film stars. With such a dynamic film history, it is on the agenda to B! there. During July and August Cannes B!comes overcrowded and quite unbearable, but if you have the stamina and the desire to experience the pleasure of good food, shopping, sightseeing, perhaps a trip to Ile Sainte Marguerite, then the South of France is well worth the buzz.
Over time, La Croisette along the sea, framed by palm trees, flower beds with vibrant colours, restaurants, cafés, beach front hangouts and top boutiques, it remains to B! an attraction for many. Personally, I prefer walking along the sea on the Croisette off season. Imagining, how sophisticated the 20’s must have B!een and to this day the South of France has left us with a history and a fascination that will never die.
I leave Cannes with a bit of sadness, but at the same time, I am full of curiosity and anxious to explore the rest of my trip on the Med.