My last two posts on Cannes covered food shopping and markets.

For non-food items, Cannes has everything.

Summertime visitors to Cannes do well packing light clothes. White, pastels and khaki go with the climate. Leave the dark items — particularly solid black — at home unless you’re going there any other time of year. (The Côte d’Azur has cold and snow, too.) Whilst the city’s shops have a plethora of clothes, chances are you might not find what you like (or can afford!), so don’t plan on ‘getting something once we’re there’.

Clothes

Rue d’Antibes (pron. ‘dahn-teeb’) is the main shopping street. Even if you only window shop, you’ll enjoy looking at the displays. Clothes and shoes are rather expensive. Many of these brands are cheaper online. Does anyone actually buy these clothes? There is an amusing disconnect between what is on offer and what the Cannois wear!

That said, Burton is at 49 Rue d’Antibes, on the corner of Rue des Serbes. I thought they were closing when I went two years ago, but it seems as it was only for renovation. The selection of men’s clothes is very good — and different to what you see in England; it’s well worth a visit. If I remember rightly, the shop opens at 10:00. It closes at 7:30 p.m.

Further along, walking west from Burton, is a men’s shop with conventional shirts, pyjamas and pants. Durif is probably the last of the ‘original’ Cannes clothes shops. M. Durif does things the traditional way. He waits on you himself, pulling out appropriate items from the display case, and ensures that you leave a satisfied customer. It seems that his daughter might be helping out now. We saw her shutting up shop one evening, but she was speaking to a potential customer in English: ‘I’ll stay open another few minutes. If you don’t find what you want across the street, feel free to come back. I’ll wait.’

Before you walk around too much, get over to Fun Mod’ (8 Rue Meynadier) for espadrillesmen’s and women’s. I cannot emphasise how important it is to buy a few pair of these practical and comfortable shoes as soon as you arrive. They are perfect for walking around on hot pavement. You are highly unlikely to get blisters. They are also kind to your feet, despite the rough hemp interior. They break in easily and massage your soles. If your feet get a bit swollen in the heat, the fabric allows for that. Fun Mod’s espadrilles are €6 a pair — a real steal for the real deal. They also have loads of other summer wear and accessories. The shop is family run and reliable, despite its downmarket appearance.

General shopping

Monoprix Cannes 446068535_c2a0bb1419_zMonoprix (9 Rue du Maréchal Foch) is also good for inexpensive clothes and espadrilles. I bought only espadrilles this year — one can never have enough. In 2009, I purchased several items of clothing. They had an exceptional selection that year with outstanding tailoring and detail I haven’t seen elsewhere.

The shop also has an extensive range of toiletries, cosmetics and health-related products. If you’re not near a supermarket, it’s also the best place to go for batteries and the sundries you forgot to pack! I recommend it as a first port of call.

Many of the sales clerks speak some English. This was not always the case.

The shop is air conditioned and provides a pleasant respite from the heat. They are open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Galeries Lafayette PHOTO-MAGASIN-265x300Galeries Lafayette — Monoprix’s upmarket sister shop — is located nearby at 6 Rue du Maréchal Foch. This is the only department store in Cannes and in many other provincial French cities. They have a very good range of clothes and accessories, although I haven’t bought either there since 2003.

Particularly nicely arranged is their scent area which has all their men’s and women’s colognes and perfumes in one place. You see the women’s as you enter and the men’s are right next to it. It is a relief to not have to walk around for half an hour to find the bottle you want.

The ladies behind the counter speak English and will offer to giftwrap your perfume purchases. Take them up on the offer — they do a beautiful job. I also learned a new technique with tissue paper from one of the women who made soft large accordion pleats to place on top of an item going in a Galeries Lafayette box. It was stunning to watch.

The store is open Monday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A note on perfume

As Galeries Lafayette have certain perfumes which your country might not have, make sure you use the testers before buying an unknown product. Even some of the luxury brands do not last that long — the sillage (‘see-yahje’) isn’t that good. Sillage refers to the scent fully opening up and lingering on your skin. It should last for a few hours. Try before you buy.

The other thing to remember is that some scent needs heat in order for full sillage to take place. If you live in a colder climate, some perfumes might smell differently at home for that reason.

Electronics, books

FNAC (83 Rue d’Antibes) is the place to go for the latest in personal electronics. Their ground floor is full of gadgetry.

The first floor (one level up) has a selection of books and CDs of French pop music (variétés françaises). The selection is nowhere near as good as it was ten years ago.

They also no longer sort their CDs by artist. Everything, except for the latest releases, is lumped together higgledy-piggledy — a real disappointment if you’re looking for something in particular that didn’t come out yesterday.

That said, the book section now includes an area with English language books and novels. This is useful, as there are fewer bookshops in Cannes these days. One or two sold English-language books but they closed several years ago.

By the way, the tills are on the ground floor. Pay for your purchases there.

FNAC is now open on Sundays — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weekday hours are from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Pharmacy

Pharmacie Anglo-Francaise home1Another must is the Pharmacie Anglo-Française (95 Rue d’Antibes, on the corner of Boulevard de la République).

I’ve included their photo as it gives you a good idea of what Rue d’Antibes looks like.

This pharmacy is divided into two parts. One is for women and has a large selection of skin creams and boxed hair colour. The other has all sorts of hard to find pharmacy products. I normally buy dental hygiene products here.

The staff behind the tills give good health and product advice; they also speak English. No question is too trivial and they will do their best to find the products customers are looking for. Consequently, you might have to wait several minutes to pay for your purchases, depending on how busy they are.

The auction house

It was only by chance in 2011 that I discovered Cannes has an auction house. Cannes Enchères is located at 20 Rue Jean Jaurès (Place de la Gare).

I was walking along Rue Jean Jaurès after a trip to Marché Gambetta that day. Incidentally, a number of tourists I’ve met say they are ‘afraid’ to walk along this street. Yes, at that end, it does have sex shops, bargain shops and a number of eateries which my late grandmother would have called ‘ptomaine kitchens’. That said, it is perfectly safe. I walk along there all the time.

Anyway, on the day in question, I passed by an establishment which had its double doors open. Seeing some elegant antique tables, I entered. An auction was going on in sweltering heat. The selection of goods on offer was less than exciting — cheap modern furniture. (Cannes Enchères is authorised to auction personal effects in case of judicial decisions.) The bidders that day were less well-off Cannois, some of whom did not understand how auctions work. I felt sorry for the auctioneer who had to interrupt every so often to ask, ‘Madame, are you bidding or just fanning yourself?’ ‘Oh, sorry. I was just fanning myself.’

Unfortunately, this year they had no auctions while we were there. One had just taken place and another was scheduled for the day we were leaving — featuring antique military items! This is their 2013 schedule, which looks fascinating. It includes art, antique firearms, historic souvenirs, fashion and fine wines. They will ship your purchases.

You can stand quietly in the back and watch. Just don’t do anything with your hands!

Cash machines

If you are running low on cash, Société Générale has a number of branches around town. Their cash machine at 14 Rue d’Antibes is open early to late every day.

Nightlife

If you’re young, it’s normal that you’ll want to go out on the town after dinner.

Cannes Le SparklingThe area with the most bars and nightclubs is the Carré d’Or (Golden Square) which includes a number of smaller streets between La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes including Rue des Frères Pradignac, Rue Gérard Monod, Rue du Commandant André. Le Sparkling (pictured, 6-8 Rue des Frères Pradignac) is probably the best known and offers a reasonably priced three-course dinner for €28. You can enjoy drinks and dancing there later.

Le Suquet, on the other side of town — near Marché Forville — has a few more popular bars and nightspots.

An English site about Cannes provides all the information you need to know about where to go after hours. Simon Seeks and France Guide list a few more.

Be prepared to shell out for a few rounds of drinks if you’re in a nightclub. Ordering one Coca-Cola and expecting to nurse it all night will not work too well with the wait staff.

In closing — and speaking of money — another popular nightclub was Le Palais, which closed last year. This place was so popular that its closure made Nice-Matin. However, if you have a healthy bank balance, you can go to its successor Gotha — run by the same chaps. Reservations are strongly advised. Be prepared to pay anywhere from €25-€50 to get in the door. After that, drinks are €12 each. Gotha is located in the posh district of Palm Beach, near the eponymous casino. The club is in Place Franklin Roosevelt, near the southernmost point of the Pointe Croisette peninsula.  Make transport plans before you go. Gotha is open only during the film festival and the summer months.

Tomorrow: When the suitcase is full — sending things home

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