Visiting the Charles de Gaulle Liberty Paths, Cannes, France: sun and shade in profusion
Light and years refracted
The ancient plane (Latin: Platanus; French: platane) trees in the Charles de Gaulle Liberty Paths (French: Allées de la Liberté-Charles-de-Gaulle) have formed a herbaceous backdrop to many a relaxed stroll since the 19th century. These Paths are located in the southern French city of Cannes, in the Alpes-Maritimes department. The plane is a tree with a simple leaf, and with bark which easily peels. It is not unusual for plane trees to be employed in the planting of avenues (1).
A regular flower market is held here.
In the third of the three photos depicting the Paths (below, right), a building may be discerned. This is actually what must be the most upscale MacDonald's Restaurant in existence! (with the possible exception of the one at Fontvieille, in the Principality of Monaco.
The Paths area includes a bandstand - itself now an historic monument - which dates from 1880. Designed by Louis Hourlier, it was formally opened by Mayor Gazagnaire of Cannes.
The Paths are now named for General Charles de Gaulle and for the notion of French liberty that he represents, particularly because of his role as Free French leader in World War Two.
So was the Cannes district liberated by General de Gaulle towards the end of World War Two?
Well, actually, no. It was US forces which landed in the vicinity in 1944, complementing the Normandy Landings. (Indeed, the strict historical fact is that General de Gaulle was banned from playing any role in the Normandy Landings (2); only when Allied control of much of northern France was effected did General Dwight D. Eisenhower permit de Gaulle to preside over the liberation of Paris.)
The Charles de Gaulle Liberty Paths are situated close to rue Félix-Faure and promenade de la Pantiero, Cannes.
September 7, 2013
(1) In the English-speaking world, the genus is particularly known for a hybrid known as the London Plane, widely planted in England's capital, and which has proved to be expecially adaptable to city surroundings.
(2) As allies, General de Gaulle's Free French proved to be so highly independent-minded that President F D Roosevelt and Great Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill found it easier largely to sideline de Gaulle. This, in turn, led to narratives of grievance and exclusion on the part of post-war Gaullists.
Also worth seeing
In Cannes itself are various historic buildings; these include the Germain Building at this Boulevard Carnot's junction with Boulevard d'Alsace, and the late 19th century Palace of Justice (French: Palais de Justice); closer to the Downtown area, its City Hall (French: Hôtel de ville), situated not far from the Charles de Gaulle Liberty Paths, is a fine, 19th century building; La Croisette is a much visited coastal boulevard, faced by well-known hotels.
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; a regular coach service from Nice Airport serves Cannes. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services to Cannes from Downtown Nice. Please note that 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.