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Visiting Place Vauban, Cannes, France: No. 12: a regal prospect over Boulevard Carnot since the late 19th century

Updated on May 1, 2013
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
12, Boulevard Carnot, Cannes
12, Boulevard Carnot, Cannes | Source
Caryatids, Place Vauban, 12 boulevard Carnot, Cannes
Caryatids, Place Vauban, 12 boulevard Carnot, Cannes | Source
Beginning of Boulevard Carnot, near the station, Cannes
Beginning of Boulevard Carnot, near the station, Cannes | Source
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes | Source

Anticipating the Belle Epoque

This rather fascinating building at Place Vauban, 12 Boulevard Carnot, Cannes, defies easy classification in terms of its style. Its upper storey Doric pillars bring an element of Classicism to its appearance; taking the place of pillars on a lower storey are caryatids (or supports). Thus, a layered series of rounded balconies give a curiously telescopic appearance to this condominium building. Part of the constraints with which the architect clearly had to work involved the economy of space available: the solution, as always, has been to built upward rather than outward.

Boulevard Carnot anticipated — and recalls — the Belle Epoque (2)(between 1890 and World War One), when an opulent style of building was especially popular in France. Interestingly, number 11, Boulevard Carnot , — a hotel — which is situated on the opposite side of this wide thoroughfare, is almost identical in its design, probably indicative of work by the same architect (1).

No. 12 is within easy walking distance of the railroad station at Cannes. Boulevard Carnot basically runs from the vicinity of the railroad station, linking northward with Le Cannet. The street continues to be a well-appointed commercial and residential district with many professional people having their offices in what is a somewhat prestigious address in the city. If the Downtown area of Cannes attracts visitors seeking sun and fame, Boulevard Carnot 's atmosphere is of a busy but more restrained and serious, tree-lined street where many French people aspire to reside. Having myself walked and travelled many times along the Boulevard Carnot , it certainly seems to possess a gracious spirit of its own, in comparison with the more famous, Downtown area of the city.

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


(1) Very approximately indeed, the Belle Epoque in France corresponded with what the term the Gilded Age signified in the United States. It was a period when stock market investment and growing economies helped to create a climate when building designs became increasingly ornate.

(2) The architect for No.s 11 and 12, Boulevard Carnot, is cited as unknown in the Base Mérimée inventory of heritage buildings of the French Ministry of Culture (French: Ministère français de la Culture ).

Also worth seeing

In Cannes itself, also on Boulevard Carnot is the late 19th century Palace of Justice (French: Palais de Justice ); closer to the Downtown area, its City Hall (French: Hôtel de ville ) is a fine, 19th century building; La Croisette is a much visited coastal boulevard, faced by well-known hotels.

Vallauris (distance: 6.2 kilometres) is noted as a ceramic centre, associated also with artists.


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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