Three countries hosted us on our way to Cannes: via bus, we started out in Italy, passed through Monaco, and wound up in France. From Monaco on, we remembered driving this twisting, tunnel-dotted mountainous road 19 years ago, on our honeymoon. We were denied entrance to the very posh Monte Carlo Casino because we were wearing t-shirts and shorts, very unaware of its history and prominence. Sure, James Bond wore a tuxedo there, but that was from another time, another age.
In six days, the Cannes Film Festival begins, and the town will become a mini-Hollywood. But during our one day and night here (just passing through), it was “ordinary time,” and hotel rates were low. We were in a nice hotel, rated well, for 127 euros per night. We looked ahead to next week, during the film festival, and the same room is 400 euros per night! Hotels will always charge whatever they reasonably think they can get!
So, we took the bus here from Genoa, as it was direct, but Cannes wasn’t the final destination. We stopped several times to let people off and take on new passengers in shopping malls and other places, but we had expected to be let out at a bus station in Cannes. At one point the bus stopped on a street with no name or signage, oand with no announcement from the driver, and new people had started to board. We just happened to look at the time and noted that it was right about when we should arrive in Cannes. So we asked the woman next to us (who had just boarded), “What city is this?” She answered, “Cannes.” We then asked, “Is this the only stop in Cannes?” “Yes,” she replied. We looked at each other, shocked, and hurriedly packed our iPads and other items we were using, hoping the bus wouldn’t pull away before we could disembark. We encountered people trying to board, annoyed that they had to back out to let us pass. And here’s the kicker to the story: we were standing on the street for all of 30 seconds, trying to get our bearings with the help of Google Maps, when a man asked us for directions, in French, no less. We have been studying French for six months, but we are nowhere near understanding rapid French, even if we knew where we were going – which we didn’t!
This was our first time staying on the Riviera again in 19 years. The city is very much alive, busy, and so darn pretty! It was a sunny, warm day, which made it all that more enjoyable. The Mediterranean Sea was a dense blue color and looked very inviting. Life here is very leisurely and measured. Nobody was hurrying anywhere, as you see in places like New York City. We will return to the Riviera later in the summer, before we leave for London. The photos will give you a glimpse into why the Riviera is so well-known and beloved.