© Gareth Cattermole
Life doesn’t get much better than sitting at a pavement café in Cannes on the French Riviera, watching the world go by. From celebrities stepping off their superyachts, supercars pulling up under the palm trees, and supermodels tottering along in their super-high heels, this is a town that glitters, and the people-watching is superb.
A stroll along the palm-lined Promenade de la Croisette in the summer time is one of the great people-watching experiences on the planet.
With grand art deco hotels on one side and splendid superyachts on the other, the Croisette boulevard winds itself along the Mediterranean seafront past the iconic Palais des Festivals, past glamorous boutiques, past the foot of the old town with its cluster of sailboat masts in the port, and finally around to the famous beach clubs stretched along the golden sands.
No matter what time you come out, the Croisette is a people-watching extravaganza, but expect the glamour quotient to ramp up on summer nights as the sun sets across the Mediterranean.
Much of French local life takes place at the market, and Cannes is no exception.
Marche Forville is a bustling covered market, housed in a huge Provençal-styled building painted a pinkish ochre colour. Inside you’ll find seemingly endless rows of colourful produce from gleaming piles of black and green olives, huge wheels of French cheeses, profusions of fresh-cut flowers, and shining whole fish.
As you wander through the market, watch the locals chatting, the stallholders calling out their wares, the superyacht chefs loading up their baskets with seafood and just enjoy the happy clamour of Mediterranean market life.
Intercontinental Carlton Cannes Hotel
You may not necessarily be able to afford to stay there, but your budget should stretch to a high tea or brunch at the Intercontinental Carlton Hotel, for a magnificent people-watching experience.
This opulent art deco hotel has seen over a century of royalty and celebrity past through its doors, and it is still considered the most prestigious hotel in Cannes particularly during the Cannes Film Festival.
One of the best places to see the locals in action is one of Cannes’ boules (petanque) clubs. Cannes has two boules squares: one down by the old port (a small fee to play) and one by Port Palm Beach near the casino (free).
The narrow cobblestone laneway that winds up through the old town is lined with restaurants and bars, and if you can nab one of their outside tables then you can settle in for an evening of fantastic people-watching.
Expect to see the young, the old, the famous, the tourists, the rich and the poor: Le Suquet is a living breathing old town, so anything is possible.