Monday, 16 April 2012

France: Cannes - Antibes

Walking by the sea is so tempting that I cannot resist continuing from Cannes to Antibes on foot - yesterday's was such an enjoyable walk. It will be an easy one, totally on level ground. The natural starting point is where I left off the previous afternoon: la Croisette, next to the Palais des festivals and its red carpet. I visit a favourite hand print, that of the mysterious and original Pink Panther.
Before taking off towards Antibes, I check out the film world hand prints once more, and to my surprise I was right about seeing some stars' hand prints there twice. For example Dennis Hopper and the French singer Johnny Hallyday (who has also featured in some films). Their fresh prints are shiny, silvery ones right in front of the festival palace.
La Croisette is busy with tourists, kiosks selling crêpes and coffee, kids playing under the tall palm trees. If you want another film star-related souvenir, just pose behind a cardboard figure (e.g. Charlie's Angels and Jack Sparrow available) and have your photo taken.
Palme d'Or, or the Golden Palm is the symbol of Cannes Film Festival. You can see it also painted on the asphalt, but not everywhere;  the most appropriate place is of course the zebra crossing that leads from the Croisette boulevard to the luxurious Carlton hotel. Or is it the other way round because the stars often have their photo sessions next to the beach?
The people who enter the fancy palace-like hotel are immaculately dressed and the restaurant on the terrace is busy with guests having lunch. I don't think I'm appropriately dressed to march in...
So I'd better continue along the wonderfully wide la Croisette which is getting less crowded, the further I get from the expensive hotels. The beach is almost deserted, thanks to the less sunny day and the wind that blows from the sea.
At the end of la Croisette there is a playing area for children and right in front of it you get a reminder of children's rights (Les enfants ont des droits) in the form of the colourful work of art. The glass paneled fence that surrounds the artwork summarizes the Declaration of the rights of the children.
The coastline curves to Cap de la Croisette and you get a nice view towards Esterel, Théoule-sur-Mer and Cannes. There is plenty of room to walk because only few people seem to be taking a stroll in this area. Some fishermen with their long fishing rods are trying their luck on the rocky shore after the sandy beaches.
At Port Canto there are boats, boats and more boats, from tiny ones to large and expensive ones. It is an art to keep it simple.
At the very end of Cap de la Croisette, the Palm Beach casino invites in people with extra cash. The red foot sculpture (by an anonymous artist) in front of the casino invites different interpretations. Is it a walker's foot, stepping down, or someone standing on tiptoe, or the foot of a woman with an invisible high heel shoe? I walk behind the casino and have a look at the island of Sainte Marguerite which is surprisingly close to mainland right here.
My journey continues along the seashore. On my right there is usually a beach but sometimes there is only the sea, a couple of meters down. Shall I walk down the steps and rinse my feet in the sea? It is not that warm...
The Mediterranian seems a bit colder today, and a different shade of blue than yesterday, even if the sun appears quite frequently. I wonder if I'll be able to walk right by the sea all the way to Juan les Pins and soon the road steers off the shore, across the railroad tracks. There is a narrow path down below but it may well be a dead end because there are private houses ahead. I'd better follow the road, then.
Adieu Cannes; I'm already stepping to the next town. This is the most boring part of the walk, squeezed between the road and railroad tracks with its metal fence. The private houses on the side of the sea seem accessible only by sea or via locked footbridges across the tracks. Glad I followed the road instead.
A villa by the sea on the French Riviera isn't necessarily a luxurious one, not always... Perhaps the view to the Mediterranian sea does not compensate enough for the difficult access to the house and its noisy location right next to the railroad track .
With the arrival at Golfe Juan, the road luckily turns back to the sea. There are some flowers to look at, but otherwise not too much; I focus on simply walking and breathing the fresh air from the sea.
I don't expect to find anything special at Golfe Juan but there is a surprise waiting: at the seafront promenade, full of restaurants, there is also a sign about Napoléon. Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte arrived at this beach from the Isle of Elba, and took off with his troops from Golfe Juan on 1 March, 1815, towards Grenoble which they reached after a walk of 331 kilometres on 7 March.What a March for them...
More boats, couples and families on a leisurely walk on the boulevard. In a flash I'm at Juan les Pins where it is lunchtime, and the tables on the terraces facing the sea are full. Zivo's little elephant, First Found,  seems like it can hardly keep itself together and it has to be content with watching the buildings and passers-by. I turn left after the shiny Casino and follow the shortest route towards Antibes.
Uphill, downhill. I am already close to Vieil Antibes when I take a random turn to the right, towards the sea. Strolling on the boulevard Maréchal Foch, I spot a sign on the gatepost of a villa: Antibes Randonnées, Antibes Hiking club. The club seems to offer very interesting hikes for its members, leading them up into the mountains. Aren't they lucky! However, I'm still quite happy about today's walk, even if I stayed at the same low altitude all the way from Cannes to Antibes.

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