Cannes is a small town with an unusually large number of hotels, but still not enough room to shelter all the festival goers (30,000 directors, distributors, producers and journalists). There is a lack of low-budget rooms. Prices seem to triple during the film festival. One hotel offered me a room for EUR 400 a night, but only if I agreed to stay for 11 nights. My two normally dependable travel agents had no luck finding anything even six months in advance. Either hotels were “not booking yet” or were full. Both travel agencies were happy to book flight tickets – but without a hotel guarantee.
In the end, at Mary W’s suggestion, I looked to the west of Cannes and found the small town of Mandelieu-La Napoule, the Mimosa Center of the World, just 10 kilometers from Cannes – which is like staying in Wedel if the festival were downtown Hamburg – very doable.
On line I found the four-star Cannes Rivage Residence, which could give me a studio apartment with kitchen. The bed was a turned-down sofa, but quite adequate. It cost Euro 145 a night – their top price. Prices are lower in the off season. I had a small private terrace surrounded by blooming honey suckle. My apartment was in the charming old house. Next door is a new building, which has doubled the capacity. There are also one- and two-bedroom apartments with terrace or balcony. Guests are expected to stay longer than one night. Continental breakfast is offered in a breakfast room for EUR 11. The Cannes Rivage Residence is surrounded by green lawns which go down to the Signre River and its small harbor full of sail boats. The beach is half a mile away. Guests usually have a car and parking is adequate. A taxi to Cannes costs EUR 25 and a bus is within 15 minutes’ walking distance. Rafael Martinez greets the guests (in English) during the day, but no one mans the desk from 22:00 to 6:00, so if you lose your key, you are on your own.
The pool was temporarily closed since inspectors deemed it not safe for children, but this will be remedied. Whether there is a remedy for the lack of hot water in the morning, besides getting up even before 7 a.m., remains to be seen. Mandelieu-La Napoule is a lovely town of 20,000 in the winter and 70,000 in the summer. There are small shops, adequate transportation connections, and a typical French flair, e.g., Tour-de-France cyclists and old men wearing skull caps and carrying long French bread are all out in the early morning dew.
For more information see www.leave4less.com or www.cannes.ratestogo.com. For information about Mandelieu-La Napoule see www.ot-mandelieu.fr and click on the English version. In the immediate vicinity are two other hotels: Hostellerie du Golf and Hotel Acadia which also look like good alternatives when Cannes is booked out.