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After a pleasant seven-hour overnight Air France flight, I landed in Paris at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning and spent two days wandering the cobblestone streets of Île Saint-Louis, chewing on fresh baguettes and brie (so cliché, I know) and browsing the extraordinary impressionist collection at Musée d’Orsay. But I wasn’t in France for Paris; I was there for the Riviera. So after the weekend, I boarded Rail Europe’s high-speed TGV train for the five-hour journey to Cannes. As I sat back in my plush first-class seat, I watched with excitement as rolling fields of emerald and citrine dotted with wisps of white cows whizzed past my window. There is just something inherently beautiful about the French countryside, especially when that countryside

Cannes: Photo courtesy of ASSOULINE available at www.assouline.com

Photo courtesy of Majestic Barrière

is bordered by the azure Mediterranean stretching farther than the eye can see.

Cannes Most know Cannes for its annual two-week film festival, which began in 1939 and put the seaside city on the map. But once the starlets and oppressive paparazzi clear, Cannes is as quaint as any other low-key Riviera hideaway. Granted its chichi beach club scene is unlike any other and chairs sell out as quickly as they are available, but the destination as a whole is more than accessible. Originally a humble fishing village, the arrival of British Royal Chancellor Lord Brougham, who came for a winter and spent 34 years, opened the doors to tourism with his invitation to royals and artists like Renoir to join him in this newfound haven. And while the city continues to build its reputation as a chic, cosmopolitan destination and recently unveiled a new train station (Note: to be completed in summer 2014) to accommodate the crowds that descend each season, its real charms are what they’ve always been: the lovely seaside Croisette dotted with luxe shops and high-end century-old palace hotels like Majestic Barrière, my home while in town; the Forville Market, whose vendors arranged their wares in the most eye-appealing of manners, so the aroma of basil mingled with the bright crimson of fresh tomatoes delights the senses; and the hillside castle museum, which treated me to a spectacular panorama of the bay and Lérins Islands after a climb to the very top.

Soak in the coast from the glamorous patio of the Majestic Barrière.

KER & DOW NEY

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QUEST Magazine Issue 3  

Explore France, Italy, China, Maldives and some of the best places to travel this summer in Ker & Downey's Summer issue of QUEST magazine.