Visiting La Croisette Boulevard, Cannes, France: more than a century of maturing palm trees, light and shade

Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
La Croisette, Cannes, circa 1910
La Croisette, Cannes, circa 1910 | Source
La Croisette, Cannes, France
La Croisette, Cannes, France | Source
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes | Source

Light and shade complementing one another

Many of the trees in this impressive 2 kilometre-long Promenade in Cannes, France, are palm trees, some of which have now become very substantial. One can compare contemporary photographs of veteran palm trees on La Croisette with ones which date from a century ago and it is not difficult to see how the Promenade is now altogether more mature-looking.

Among the well-known hotels on La Croisette are the Carlton (1) and the Martinez. The Palace of the Festivals (French: Palais des Festivals) is also situated close to the Promenade.

The name 'La Croisette' is said to be derived from the Provençal 'Crouseto', meaning 'small cross', in reference to a structure which, in Medieval times, stood near the sea in the vicinity of the current Promenade.

'La Croisette' is also the name of a local promontory overlooking the Mediterranean. (A previous Palace of the Festivals — see above — was also sometimes known as 'palais Croisette'.)

During the development of Cannes in the 19th century, Mayor of Cannes Marius Barbe successfully planned a coastal driveway. During the 2nd Empire, what later became Croisette Boulevard was known as Empress Boulevard (French: Boulevard de l'Impératrice ). In the mid-20th century, Mayor of Cannes Bernard Cornut-Gentille further enlarged and strengthened the Promenade.

Over the years, La Croisette has become established in many people's minds as one of the great thoroughfares in southern France, together with Promenade des Anglais in Nice, and La Canebière in Marseille. With the 19th century development of Mediterranean resorts, the names of certain heavily frequented roads thus became readily identifiable in popular consciousness, without even the need for the cities in which they are located to be mentioned. At the same time, rather than means to an end, to walk along such roads became for some people ends in themselves.

Cannes is located in the Alpes-Maritimes department of south-eastern France.

September 25, 2012

Note

(1) Designed by Charles Dalmas and Marcellin Mayère, the Hôtel Carlton was built between 1909 and 1910 and again between 1912 and 1913. Its conspicuous cupolas have thus been landmarks along La Croisette for a century. The building has 7 storeys and 343 guestrooms.

Also worth seeing

In Cannes itself, other visitor attractions include: Le Suquet, the old quarter, and the Old Port (French: Vieux-Port ); the Neo-Classical City Hall (French: Hôtel de Ville) dates from 1876.

...

How to get there: Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur ), the nearest large airport to Cannes , and where car rental is available. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services to Cannes from Downtown Nice. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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