Upon hearing the name Cannes, visions of luxury, affluence, high profile visitors and exclusivity spring to mind. The creative connection with the famous Cannes Film Festival is perhaps how most people associate with the stunning French coastal city. With an abundance of beautiful and luxurious businesses, hotels and restaurants, one wonders how it all began?
Cannes First Emerged in the 2nd-Century BC
Life started for beautiful Cannes when the settlement of the Oxybians developed in the 2nd-Century BC. The Oxybiis were a group of people who originated from the Mediterranean coast of France. The Romans eventually claimed the area and assembled a garrison. A fort was erected on a hill which still exists today in the centre of the city, called Le Suquet. Surrounding areas recognised the town as the Castrum Canois after the reeds, also known as canna, which grew in the area. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, Cannes became an area of conflict. A spout of Barbarian strikes from the North and assaults from Saracens from the South of Europe took over the township.
The City Became a Resort Through the Help of an Englishman
Henry Brougham had many talents and a humanist head on his shoulders. He was the head of the judiciary, fought for the freedom of slaves and acted as Lord Chancellor. But Brougham was also a lead pioneer in inspiring the British high society to visit the French Riviera. Before his intervention, Cannes remained as a quiet village dedicated to fishing. With his enthusiasm, industrialists and aristocrats from the UK felt obliged to see, firsthand, why Brougham found Cannes to be such a fascinating destination.
Cannes Became a Residence for Winter Homes
Due to Cannes’ stunning weather and the urge to leave Britain over winter, many of those from wealthy society chose Cannes as a base for their winter residence. With a fluctuation of new wealth and buildings, Cannes blossomed as a thriving hub for the elite. The name ‘Côte d’Azur’ emerged from the visitor Stephen Liegeard who fell in love with the area. It is also known that the Empress of Russia transported the whole of her royal court with the aspiration that the beautiful weather would provide exceptional health benefits.
Distinct Hotels Emerged in the 19th-Century
After Lord Brougham’s initial uncover of the charming coastal town, a pier was established in 1838. As a result, an opportunity for yachting developed. A Casino and Esplanade also emerged, and soon the layout of the Cannes we know today began to take shape. Just before the 20th-Century started, a variety of exquisite hotels and villas were founded, such as the Carlton Hotel.
It was Used as a Base for Treatment in WWI
Many of the stunning buildings which emerged during the 19th-century were transformed into medical bases during the brutality of the war. Cannes has a memorial dedicated to the remembrance of those who lost their lives during the two World Wars, the Russian Civil War, the Korean War and the wars of Indochina and Algeria. It can be found on the square opposite the Cannes town hall. Plaques decorate the statue with the names of those who did not survive.
The Largest Regarded Heist in History Happened in Cannes
Overflowing with luxury goods to serve the tastes of the wealthiest tourist throughout the globe, it is not surprising Cannes has a history of heists. The Cannes jewel heist in 2013 is considered as one of the most significant robberies in time. The armed robbery occurred in the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel with stolen gems and jewellery totalling to an estimated $136 million.
It was the Location of Love for Grace Kelly’s Famous Marriage
While filming Alfred Hitchock’s film, To Catch a Thief in the mid-50s, Grace Kelly was first introduced to the then ruler of Monaco, Prince Rainier. With this for all the world to know, the beautiful fashion icon became synonymous with the affluent lifestyle and glamour of the French Riviera.
Hopefully, we have supplied you with some interesting facts about this gorgeous location on the French Riviera. To really get a feel of its luxurious atmosphere, take a look at our luxury holiday villas South of France. If you only have a fleeting visit, read our recommendations in our blog, A Weekend in Cannes.
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