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Visiting the Germain Building, Cannes, France: dating from 1882, encapsulating some 19th century history of the city

Updated on June 19, 2013
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Cannes - the Germain Building, n°1, Boulevard Carnot, the former 'hôtel du Louvre'.
Cannes - the Germain Building, n°1, Boulevard Carnot, the former 'hôtel du Louvre'. | Source
Henri Germain, founder of Crédit Lyonnais, bronze medallion, 81mm, by Charles Pillet, 1910
Henri Germain, founder of Crédit Lyonnais, bronze medallion, 81mm, by Charles Pillet, 1910 | Source
French President Sadi Carnot
French President Sadi Carnot | Source
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes | Source

Recalling two prominent, French 'movers and shakers'

This sedate and gracious building in Cannes, France, dates from 1882. It came into being during a period of steady, if uneven, expansion in the city.

The edifice is known as the Germain Building (French: Immeuble Germain), being named for prominent banker Henri Germain (1). This individual was behind some of the expansion of Cannes in the late 19th century, and Architect Durand, retained by the Société foncière lyonnaise , which Monsieur Germain led, is known to have supplied designs for the expanding suburb north of Cannes railroad station.

The German Building's L-shaped frontage extends around the junction of Boulevard Carnot and Boulevard d'Alsace . Other features include mansard roofing complemented by an inset cupola at the corner of the building. The second floor has a series of window arching which is strictly ornamental rather than structural; this floor also has a curved, pillared balcony. Above the second floor, the lines of the windows display a stronger, two dimensional sense. A series of carvings embellishes the corner area of the frontage.

This edifice now known as the Germain building was formerly called the Hôtel du Louvre ; given its location near Cannes's principal railroad station, it was designed to serve the travelling public.

Boulevard Carnot, like many other streets in France, is named for Sadi Carnot (2), French President 1887-1894. Prior to 1894, the street was known as boulevard de Foncière-Lyonnaise.

Thus, in the names of the building itself and its principal street address, remembrance is made of two of France's most prominent 'movers and shakers'.

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

February 4, 2013


(1) Henri Germain (1824-1905) founded and led the Crédit lyonnais bank and co-founded and led the Société foncière lyonnaise, a prominent real estate investment company. He also served as a deputy for Ain in the French National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale).

(2) Sadi Carnot (1837-1894), himself from a distinguished political family, was elected President of the French Republic in 1887. He served as head of state at a time of both economic expansion and elements of domestic and foreign crisis. His assassination in 1894 provoked an outpouring of tribute and the naming of many streets in France in his honour.

Also worth seeing

In Cannes itself, the Boulevard Carnot has several fine buildings, including No. 12, and the Palace of Justice French: (Palais de Justice), at No. 19.

Other noted buildings include the Hôtel Carlton, the Hôtel Martinez, and the Palais Miramar; Rue d'Antibes is renowned for its high quality shopping; Le Suquet, the old quarter, and the Old Port (French: Vieux-Port) are picturesque; the City Hall is a neo-Classical structure dating from 1876; the famous La Croisette avenue has many palm trees.

Antibes (distance: 13 kilometres) is a much visited Mediterranean resort with a 16th century fort.


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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