Located on the picturesque French Riviera, Cannes has a well-earned reputation as the home of the rich and glamorous. However, just a short flight away is Bordeaux, which offers something totally different altogether.
Its no coincidence that major airlines in Nice, the closest international airport to Cannes itself, offer an early flight to Bordeaux and a late evening return. With a flight time of just over an hour, this service is purpose-built for day trips, and that’s just what many locals choose to do.
Antoine Gravouil, co-owner of luxury spirit brand Sauvelle, tells Culture Trip about how the perception of the port city is changing and what it means for businesses in the area.
“Bordeaux has a rich history of trade and wine making over the last centuries. This amazing heritage can also be difficult to deal with for new businesses. Over the recent years a new generation of entrepreneurs have given a new vibe to the city, which has been called ‘the sleeping beauty’ for many years,” Gravouil says.
From the outside it certainly looks like a rapidly evolving scene. Just as Cannes is synonymous with film, Bordeaux is also known for one thing – wine. The industry makes €14.5 billion (£12.9 billion) a year in the region, but Bordeaux is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century.
Cannes is just as tied to its one big industry of film, and there are times when the glamour and luxury of all its festivals can get a bit overwhelming. There is the Old Town, which is a pleasant walk from the hustle and bustle of the beaches and the Palais de Festivals area, but it’s largely overlooked by visitors. The hotels in the area reflect this, with heritage and links to the film world prevalent everywhere you look.
Along with the Carlton Intercontinental, the Barrière Le Majestic is one of Cannes’ most iconic hotels. It is situated on the seafront on La Croisette and has 349 rooms. Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic is an institution, where people come to stay, gamble at the casino and lounge on the private beach, all with style and panache – this is no cheesy resort. It stages lots of great events, has three restaurants, including the new BFire, and three bars, one of which is poolside.
With stunning views of the Mediterranean and located close to the Old Town, this luxury hotel is perfect for the myriad festivals that take place in Cannes. A short walk from the buzzing hub of the coastal town, this hotel also boasts a superb rooftop terrace, opulent spa and pool facilities and a restaurant fit for any foodie experience.
There is the obvious getaway of Monaco, but it’s hard to call it a complete break from Cannes. If you’re looking for a radical change in scenery, then Bordeaux could be the answer. The drive from the centre of Cannes to Nice airport is about 30 minutes and the area is also well connected by buses and trains, meaning you can get to your flight relatively easily.
The juxtaposition of modern and traditional can be seen in Bordeaux both in the architecture and the drinks industry. The Museum of Wine (known as La Cité du Vin) dominates the skyline in the more modern part of the city, but there are plans for spirit distilleries to open in the area, something of a shake-up given the heritage of Bordeaux. Creatives and start-ups from around the country are also flocking to the city, with trendy areas springing up everywhere.
Cannes is unlikely to change much, whereas Bordeaux is evolving at a rapid rate. Proposed connections via a new Eurostar have been approved, making Bordeaux even more accessible in the near future.