Friday, December 07, 2007

Cannes, France

Prior to 1834, Cannes was a tiny fishing village on the French coast of the Mediterranean. It has a picturesque marina and a small harbor but no facilities for vessels anywhere near the size of a cruise ship. Thus, the ship anchored out in the bay, dropped five or six of its 150 seat lifeboats and tendered passengers to and fro throughout the day.

From its beginnings as a fortification on Le Souquet hill, probably in the 10th century, it seems that the population remained under 1000 and the area where mainstream Cannes lies today was marshland. The big push came in 1834 when the Lord Chancellor of England, Henry Brougham, stopped in on his way to Nice. So enamored was he with the appearance, climate and beaches that he bought a tract of land and subsequently built a holiday home there. The Who's Who of Europe quickly followed and the town developed rapidly to become a chic high-spot of the Riviera with exclusive shopping, dining and lodging. The original (and very small) Old Town, now known as Souquet, melds into the nineteenth century strip development that runs close to the beach and which is variously carved up by 20th century attempts to keep the congestion moving. Several miles of sandy beaches are adjacent and are renowned for their overcrowding in summertime even though the population has only risen to about 67,000. The International Film Festival has been hosted there annually since 1946 in the "Grand Auditorium" which is redolent of a good sized boy scouts hut. For all of its sophistry and elitism, Cannes is off of our list of desirable destinations.
On this day, we helped to consume 90 gallons of ice cream on board th ship.

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