There are few places in the world where you can go from showbiz glitz and opulent luxury to remote rural life within 45 minutes. This is one of them. Glamorous Cannes sets camera flashes popping at its film festival in May, when stars pose in tuxes and full-length gowns on the red carpet of La Croisette – you could fine dine alongside the famous and drink until dawn in the seaside town's designer bars. A 'take two' scenario could find you fleeing the congested city to walk along peaceful trails and wander farmers' flower-filled fields by day and dine decadently by night.
Equally compelling is the region’s art heritage: Matisse, Picasso and Renoir all stopped here for inspiration, and the works they left behind are superb. Then there’s the Massif de l’Estérel, with its rugged, flaming, red-rock beauty and top-rated walks.
As you walk among the couture shops and palaces of La Croisette, the wealth and glamour of it all cannot fail to impress: admiring Ferraris and Porsches cruising by and celebrity spotting on the glitzy sunlounger-striped beaches and liner-sized yachts moored at the port are hot Cannes pastimes.
Whether Cannes’ soul has managed to survive its celebrity-playground status is another question, but, there’s still enough natural beauty to make a trip worthwhile: the harbour, the bay, the clutch of islands off the coast and the old quarter, Le Suquet, all spring into life on a sunny day.