‘The long promenade of La Croisette winds in a curve along the edge of the blue water. Yonder, to the right, Esterel juts out into the sea in the distance, obstructing the view and shutting out the horizon with it’s pretty southern outline of pointed summits, numerous and fantastic. To the left, the isles of Sainte Maguerite and Saint Honorat, almost level withthe water, display their surface, covered with pine trees. And all along the great gulf, all along the tall mountains that encircle Cannes, the white villa residences seem to be sleeping in the sunlight. You can see them from a distance, the white houses, scattered from the top to the bottom of the mountains, dotting the dark greenery with specks like snow. Those near the water have gates opening on the wide promenade which is washed by the quiet waves. The air is soft and balmy, It is one of those warm winter days when there is scarcely a breath of cool air’. The First Snowfall Guy De Maupassant
From the modest small fishing village to the seaside and cultural city known worldwide, Cannes has built a singular story, made of passion and timely meetings as in the most beautiful love stories.
It was not until the nineteenth century that the city really took off, thanks to the visit of a certain Lord Henry Brougham and Vaux, Lord Chancellor of England. In December 1834, he chose Italy to cure his daughter Eleanor Louise, suffering from tuberculosis; However, the border of the County of Nice being closed due to cholera, he turned back to reach Grasse. On the way, he stops in Cannes and decided to stay a few days. Seduced by the village and its landscape, he quickly buy’s a plot of land in Croix-des-Gardes to build a large house to which he gave the name of his daughter, Villa Eleanor Louise; so it attracts the English and European aristocracy who built magnificent secondary homes for the winter.
Like most coastal resorts of the Riviera, the city knows, thanks to this prestige population, an unprecedented development.
Indeed, in recent years the small fishing port has transformed, new neighborhoods were built and Cannes became an "aristocratic city par excellence" in the words of the author Gabriel Charmes.
In 1837, British General John Taylor built the St George Castle. In 1838, construction was launched on the first port with the conception of the pier St. Pierre completed in 1841.
In 1848, Alexandra Feodorovna Skrypitzine, wife of Eugene Tripet, consul of France in Moscow, falls in love with Cannes and engenders the arrival of the Russian aristocracy.
Between 1856 and 1863 the Croisette was built along which new buildings were erected, such as the Grand Hotel, Yacht Club and around fifteen villas.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth hosts new luxury hotels such as the Carlton, the Martinez or the Miramar.
The Great War put a stop to the development of the city, and then came les années folles, with their worldly glories and their Majesties in exile or in a resort, among other, the King of Sweden, The King of Portugal, the Shah of Persia and a multitude of princes Russians.
In the midst of all this splendor, Cannes, winter resort, developed it’s vocation as a summer resort with the popularity for bathing in the sea and tanning. On 5 April 1929, the Mayor inaugurated the Casino Capron summer which will then be called Palm Beach Casino19.
Its internationally renowned status was acquired in the mid-twentieth century by the Cannes Film Festival and quickly becomes a media-saturated city.
This intense tourist activity, ultra-developed sectors of hotels, restaurants and luxury shops offer, between sea and sun, a prestigious showcase of French prestige.
Luxury mansions that have made the tale of Cannes:
The Villa Soligny
Witness to a rich era, the house, executed according to plans by the architect Rimbaud 1868, became a castle in 1872, when Aristide Boucicaut, founder of 'Bon Marche', built two additional wings, and various annexes such the chapel or the winter garden.
At the heart of a landscaped park of over 8000 sqm, the property enjoys an exclusive view of the Mediterranean, the Lerins Islands and the Esterel Massif. Its canopy, its iconic ancient windows, overlooking the coast, welcomed Aristide Boucicaut who played the organ. Later, balls were organized, and sometimes hosted many guests of the house.
The Villa Rothschild
Located in the heart of Croix des Gardes, this villa with Mediterranean gardens was the remarkable witness the architecture of the resort on the French Riviera. This building of neo-classical style was bought in 1947 by the city of Cannes to install the media library and the municipal library.
The Villa Fiorentina
Surrounded by Italian gardens, this resort built in 1880 was converted into condominiums in 1953.
The Villa Eléonore-Louise
First holiday villa in Cannes, built in 1836 by Lord Henry Brougham for his daughter Eleanor Louise in the heart of a park planted with rare tropical specimens.
The Castle of Croix des Gardes
The biggest property in Cannes, if not the largest, the Castle of Croix des Gardes belongs to the club of those mythical homes of the Riviera. Enthroned at the top of the massif of Croix des Gardes, and only minutes from the port of Cannes and the Palais des Festivals, the property overlooks the legendary neighborhood whose glory days began in the nineteenth century.
Among the prestigious sectors of Cannes…
Located on a hill overlooking the bay of Cannes, it is the sector chosen by Eugene Tripet, consul of France in Moscow and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna Skripitzine to build in 1849 their sumptuous Villa Alexandra, first resort on the slopes of la Californie. Soon joined by many Russian aristocrats, and 'La Californie' was called 'Little Russia'.
Boulevard of Cannes which runs along the bay, providing a wide pedestrian promenade sheltered by pines bordering the sandy beach.
Known around the world thanks to the Cannes Film Festival and the Palais des festivals including the famous red stairs down to the start of the promenade, La Croisette is also home to most of the major hotels as well as luxury and designer shops.
La Croix des Gardes
Highlighted by Lord Henry Brougham, British writer and politician, La Croix des Gardes sees the construction of a series of holiday homes by the British aristocracy - it was called "English neighborhood."
Today mingle, at the heart of these neighborhoods houses in the Belle-Epoque architecture, luxurious Provencal Mas and prestigious architect villas.
Enjoying panoramic views of the bay, the Lerins Islands and the Massif de l'Esterel, Cannes has been living it’s love affair with the world for centuries, with elegance and sensual delight.