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Visiting the Palace of Justice, Cannes, France: a late 19th century, eclectic Classical design by Charles Barbet

Updated on October 12, 2012
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Cannes - Palais de Justice, boulevard Carnot
Cannes - Palais de Justice, boulevard Carnot | Source
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes
Map location of Cannes, Alpes Maritimes | Source

Gracious public building in Cannes's Boulevard Carnot

This building in Cannes, on France's Mediterranean coast, was designed by architect Charles Barbet in 1898.

Some history and features

The bulk of the building work was accomplished in 1902, having begun in 1900. In this Palace of Justice (French: Palais de justice ) Architect Barbet employed a style seen as an eclecticism with Classical tendencies.

In 1898, Jean Hibert, mayor of Cannes, a city of the Alpes-Maritimes department of southern France which had undergone considerable urban growth in the 19th century, commissioned a study for the construction of a new headquarters for the administration of justice. This led to Architect Barbet being given instructions for the new building, the need for which had been recognized several years earlier by ministerial decree.

Mayor Hibert died before seeing the fruition of these plans for the Palace of Justice. But a successor in his office, Mayor André Crapon, and other dignitaries, led the building's official inauguration on 24th July, 1902.

The building is situated at 19, boulevard Carnot , the main boulevard leading northwards from the city's railroad station. The frontage of the Palace of Justice is characterized by a large, pillared porch, to which an external staircase leads. The building is comprised of offices situated on one, main floor.

I have walked many times along boulevard Carnot and the Palace of Justice has impressed me as being particularly striking. The line of the buildings on the west side of the boulevard is broken by the fact that a narrow garden area intervened between the frontage of the building and the sidewalk. But together with the gracious frontages of other of the Boulevard's Belle Epoque buildings, the Palace of Justice is redolent of a prosperous era which saw many, fine new buildings appear. Some of these buildings along boulevard Carnot have especially ornate features and testify to painstaking craftsmanship.

Some further reflections

Accounts of the municipal and administrative discussions leading to the building's commissioning make interesting reading. In 1890s Cannes, the use of the building went beyond the municipal yet some local people had the distinct impression that citizens of Cannes would be expected to supply a proportionately greater amount of the necessary funding than was fair. France has for years been a very centralized country and world wars and social upheavals have intervened in the more than a century that has gone by since the 1890s, but, it is fair to ask, in this connection, has very much really changed? The French have a saying: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same) and certainly this saying would in this instance seem very applicable.

Also worth seeing

In Cannes itself prominent hotels include the Carlton, the Martinez, and the Palais Miramar; photogenic Le Suquet and the Old Port are worth exploring; its City Hall is a fine, 19th century building; superior shopping may be obtained in Rue d'Antibes .

Vallauris (distance: approx. 6 kilometres) is a centre for ceramics, and with significant artistic associations.


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, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

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

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