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On Friday, July 24, 2020, I wrote about England’s mask requirement in shops, which came into effect that day.

From what I have been reading online and hearing from people I know, things could get worse for retail, because it seems as if half the population does not wish to comply. Consequently, they will be going out less often to shop.

Now they might turn to online purchases which help the economy but not the local family-owned shops.

Since I was born decades ago, there has been scope creep in all sorts of regulations on people’s personal conduct: mandatory seat belts, severe restrictions on smoking (including in people’s own homes) and now we have mandatory masks, which some rightly call ‘muzzles’ or ‘nappies’.

Yet, some people do not mind scope creep — moving the goalposts — as this tweet from ex-footballer Matt Le Tissier and the reply show:

I’m with Matt Le Tissier and the ‘No’ voters.

I grew up in a world where seat belts were either a) non-existent (yes, I’m that old) or b) optional.

I still wish they were optional — front and back.

But I digress.

Let’s look at how the scene unfolded on Twitter on Friday, July 24.

I do not think this mask regulation can be rightly called a law. A number of fines that police imposed during lockdown had to be overturned. Masks won’t be any different. The police have said so:

Then there are the arcane rules about visiting a takeaway with tables and chairs.

If you go up to the counter to purchase a takeaway, you must wear a mask.

If you wish to dine in that establishment, you do not need to wear a mask provided you head straight for a table and sit down. You will then be waited upon.

However, you cannot go up to the counter without a mask and tell the salesperson that you want to dine in.

Madness.

I took a look at supermarket sites on Twitter because, last week, rumours circulated in the media that our major chains didn’t care one way or the other.

That really isn’t the case.

Tesco might be losing footfall, but perhaps gaining an online customer or two:

That’s the sort of interpersonal conflict that’s been running for weeks, long before mandatory masks.

It’s completely unnecessary.

This must be the only time a competing supermarket has commented on a Tesco site. This comment is about Scotland, where masks were mandatory before they were in England:

Asda’s announcement illustrated how masks should be worn:

Lidl tweeted a short video about the mask requirement:

Lidl was one of the chains rumoured to not actively enforce the requirement.

A few customers are annoyed with Aldi:

If supermarket staff do not enforce this requirement, the general public will! They’re even worse!

Sainsbury’s is taking a more relaxed approach, which didn’t meet with some customers’ approval:

However, other customers were relieved:

If this is contentious online, how much worse will it be in person?

As for Waitrose and M&S, this Sainsbury shopper is likely to be disappointed (see below):

Waitrose has a thread on masks and exemptions. Well done:

Interestingly, M&S (Marks and Spencer) has no tweet about face coverings.

Perhaps that is the place for the maskless to shop in peace.

Today, Friday, July 24, 2020, face coverings became mandatory in shops in England.

Early in the pandemic, Dr Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that masks were not necessary for the general population and could make people more vulnerable to COVID-19, because they would be adjusting them, thereby touching their faces, potentially spreading the virus. This video first appeared in March, if I remember rightly:

On Thursday, March 12, The Independent reported on what Dr Harries told BBC News (emphases mine):

Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, said the masks could “actually trap the virus” and cause the person wearing it to breathe it in.

“For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea” to wear a face mask in the hope of preventing infection, she added …

Asked about their effectiveness, Dr Harries told BBC News: “What tends to happen is people will have one mask. They won’t wear it all the time, they will take it off when they get home, they will put it down on a surface they haven’t cleaned.

“Or they will be out and they haven’t washed their hands, they will have a cup of coffee somewhere, they half hook it off, they wipe something over it.

“In fact, you can actually trap the virus in the mask and start breathing it in.”

Asked if people are putting themselves more at risk by wearing masks, Dr Harries added: “Because of these behavioural issues, people can adversely put themselves at more risk than less.”

However, she said those who are advised to wear one by healthcare workers should follow their guidance.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of the United Kingdom, gave testimony on COVID-19 last week. When asked about the apparent change on face covering advice, he said that, early on, it made no sense for people to wear masks during lockdown because no one was on the streets. He said that the advice had never changed: masks provided some benefit. Now that lockdown has been lifting, he explained, it makes sense for people to wear them.

Of course, earlier this year, there was also a worldwide mask shortage, so it could also be that officials discouraged the general public from buying them because medical staff needed them badly.

This happened not only in England, but also in other countries.

In the United States, Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams did an about-face on masks early in April. Since then, they have been mandatory in some states:

President Trump said the advice from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was only an advisory, yet the public wondered how such a change could have come about in so little time, only a matter of weeks:

The same change in advice occurred in Germany:

Yet, at that time, Good Morning Britain‘s long-time, trusted Dr Hilary Jones stated that masks were a no-no for the public, citing the same reasons as Dr Jenny Harries did. On April 28, Metro reported:

If there is one thing Hilary has been consistent on, it is that the general public do not need to wear a mask.

He has previously explained how the particles of coronavirus are so small, they can easily pass through the fibres of a mask or scarf, making them completely useless to the average person.

‘For healthy people who are doing their essential journey who are socially distancing, the use of masks is not effective,’ he recently told Piers Morgan.

‘Most masks have gaps in them to which the virus can drive a bus through. When you are inhaling in a mask the virus can come in.’

The GP added: ‘It can do harm if you do wear a mask, you adjust it, it gets itchy and moist – which means you are putting your hand to your face more often.

‘If the mask gets moist it traps the virus.’

A week later, Guido Fawkes reported that PPE items, including masks, were plentiful in Britain and available to medical as well as care home staff:

By the end of May, Good Morning Britain‘s Piers Morgan criticised London mayor Sadiq Khan for not mandating face coverings on the capital’s public transport. The policy at the time left the option open to passengers, putting more emphasis on social distancing.

In England, masks became mandatory on all public transport on June 15.

On June 6, some in the NHS criticised Health Secretary Matt Hancock for giving them only a week to get all hospital staff to wear masks. The Daily Mail reported that NHS England had been apprised of the new rules before Hancock made a public announcement:

The Department of Health and Social Care said NHS England had known Mr Hancock was going to make the announcement, adding that hospitals still had more than a week to prepare.

On Monday, July 20, in France, masks became mandatory in all indoor spaces as well as some outdoor venues. Fines start at €135. The original date was August 1, but that was brought forward.

This is what one French shopping mall looks like since the requirement came into force:

Some people have been wearing them in the street and inside commercial premises.

This is what one observer has noted, proving what Dr Harries said earlier this year:

Dr Rashid Buttar has posted several videos to YouTube on the dangers of healthy people wearing masks. This is a short but instructive clip from one of them:

On April 7, the BMJ featured an article which said that, while masks might make members of the public more comfortable psychologically, face coverings can also help to spread the virus.

Excerpts from statistician Karla Hemmings’s ‘Covid-19: What is the evidence for cloth masks?’ follow:

… the question of whether facemasks work is a question about whether they work in the real world, worn by real people, in real situations …

There is little doubt that masks works in controlled settings – they stop particulates penetrating the air [Leung 2020]. Facemasks also seem to prevent infection spreading when worn by people who are infected [Brainard 2020]. Yet, this doesn’t tell us if they will work in the real world …

Systematic review of facemasks vs no mask [Brainard 2020]

There are three RCTs identified in this review where people wore masks to try to prevent other people becoming infected (primary prevention). The authors of the review interpret the evidence from these three RCTs as a small non-significant effect on influenza like illness. But, this is an incorrect interpretation of the result (RR=0.95, 95% CI: 0.75 to 1.19) as this result is compatible with both benefit and harm. The evidence from these three trials should therefore be interpreted as uninformative (or consistent with either benefit or harm). There are observational studies in this review, but these do not allow us to answer the question of whether the masks provide protection as they will be subject to confounding. The largest of the three RCTs was a pragmatic cluster trial in pilgrims [Alfelali 2020]. This is a well conducted pragmatic cluster randomized trial with low risk of bias, but suffered from low compliance. This found OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.88-2.07 which although non-significant, is more suggestive of harm than benefit.

Conclusion: The largest and most pragmatic trial (which informs on how facemasks will perform in the real world) assessing the benefit of facemasks vs no mask is suggestive of more harm than benefit.

Evidence from trials comparing different sorts of facemasks
(This is not based on a systematic review, so there may be other evidence that I am unaware of) …

Conclusion: The evidence from pragmatic trials (people wearing masks in everyday settings) suggests wearing of facemasks both induces risk compensation behavior and increased virus spreading from poor mask quality.

England’s new rules on face coverings do not mandate actual masks. We can wear what we want, within reason.

I still believe all the advice from March and early April stated above.

Here — and no doubt elsewhere — this has been a political decision taken to get more people shopping and putting money into the economy and businesses.

On Tuesday, July 14, Matt Hancock made a statement in Parliament about mandatory face coverings, which included the following:

Local action is one way in which we can control the spread of the virus while minimising the economic and social costs. Another is to minimise the risk as we return more to normality. In recent weeks we have reopened retail and footfall is rising. We want to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops. Both of those can be done by the use of face coverings. Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher among men and 60% higher among women than in the general population. As we restore shopping, so we must keep our shopkeepers safe.

There is also evidence that face coverings increase confidence in people to shop. The British Retail Consortium has said that, together with other social distancing measures, face coverings can

“make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the High Street.”

The chair of the Federation of Small Businesses has said:

“As mandatory face coverings are introduced, small firms know that they have a part to play in the nation’s recovery both physically and financially, and I’m sure this will welcomed by them.”

We have therefore come to the decision that face coverings should be mandatory in shops and supermarkets. Last month, we made face coverings mandatory on public transport and in NHS settings, and that has been successful in giving people more confidence to go on public transport and to a hospital setting when they need to, providing people with additional protection when they are not able to keep 2 metres from others, particularly people they do not normally come into contact with. Under the new rules, people who do not wear face coverings will face a fine of up to £100 in line with the sanction on public transport and, just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual. Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine. That is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is, of course, a last resort. We fully expect the public to comply with these rules, as they have done throughout the pandemic.

I want to give this message to everyone who has been making vital changes to their daily lives for the greater good. Wearing a face covering does not mean that we can ignore the other measures that have been so important in slowing the spread of this virus— washing our hands and following the rules on social distancing. Just as the British people have acted so selflessly throughout this pandemic, I have no doubt they will rise to this once more. As a nation, we have made huge strides in getting this virus, which has brought grief to so many, under control. We are not out of the woods yet, so let us all do our utmost to keep this virus cornered and enjoy our summer safely. I commend this statement to the House.

I agree that we need to stimulate the economy by shopping. I disagree that face coverings are the answer.

I also wonder about shop staff dying. I see the same smiling faces week after week in my local shops. I never heard anything on the BBC News about shopkeepers dying: it was front line medical staff and bus drivers.

This is purely a political decision. Purely political.

I had looked forward to visiting a garden centre. I now think I’ll shop online for the plant pots I’d planned to buy.

I was delighted to have been in Cannes once again for a satisfying stay.

I didn’t really write much about my holiday there in 2017, because Trump was in his first year as president, and I wanted to document that. Consequently, his trips that summer overtook the rest of my holiday report, especially with regard to restaurants.

This also includes a bit on Nice Airport, which has undergone a few exterior changes at Terminal 1.

Nice Airport

Terminal 1 at Nice Airport has expanded outside the arrivals exit leading towards the city and regional buses.

In 2017, we were still able to wheel our luggage out the door, buy bus tickets for Cannes and hop on the bus which was in Quay 3. It was a very short walk.

Since then, it’s all changed.

Now there is a sprawling esplanade where the buses used to park.

There are three cafés there with plenty of seating and open space, making the walk to the buses somewhat longer.

The Nice Airport bus service to Cannes is now in Bay 4. The round trip price for two people is €66.

Airport bus changes

The airport bus — Cannes Express 210 — used to be part of the regional transport services.

Now it is run by Zou. The schedule is the same — every half hour — but the drop off points have changed in Cannes.

Going to Cannes

On the way in, the bus used to stop at Vauban in Le Cannet, just before entering the centre of Cannes.

Its next and final stop was near the Hôtel de Ville (Mairie) — City Hall — where a taxi rank is right across the street. It was very simple.

The bus now goes directly from Nice Airport to Cannes railway station — gare — in the centre of town. The taxi rank is at the other end, so entails a longer walk.

Paradoxically, the railway station is closer to our hotel, but a real pain to walk with luggage, as the street where the hotel is located is very narrow. There was much more walking room along the Croisette and even Rue d’Antibes with the old City Hall stop. This map illustrates the situation better.

Returning to Nice Airport

The airport bus used to stop on Rue des Serbes along with the local Cannes buses to pick up passengers headed for Nice Airport.

That was most convenient, because a lot of hotels are nearby.

Now one has to go back to the railway station, all the way to the end of the bus bays near Monoprix. It’s quite a walk, and the streets are crowded, especially on Saturdays. Negotiating pedestrians is not easy at the best of times. It’s even worse with luggage.

On the return trip, the bus continues to stop in Le Cannet at Place Bénidorm, which is no doubt a relief for the people there.

A win-win for taxis

The rerouting of the airport bus must have seemed simple for city planners and their consultants.

However, they do not seem to have done the trip themselves with multiple pieces of luggage on a busy afternoon.

Many bus users with several bags will probably hire a taxi to take them a very short distance to the railway station. They will pay a crazy price for those trips, I’m sure, especially when large conferences are going on.

Ferries to the Îles de Lerins

We have never been to the Îles de Lerins — Sainte-Marguerite (old fort) and Saint-Honorat (monastery). It used to be very easy to get the ferry which was located at the ferry terminal — gare maritime — in the centre of the city.

Since our last visit in 2017, those ferries now leave from the Old Port, which is a considerable — 15-minute — walk from the Gare Maritime.

That’s another win-win for local taxi drivers! Maybe they had a say in redoing the ferry stop along with the airport bus stops!

Taxi fares

We have noticed during our biennial stays that taxi fares are unpredictable, even when going a similar distance or along the same route.

Some drivers charge €7 for the same journey whereas others charge €8 and even €10, so it is worthwhile planning to pay more rather than less.

Supermarkets and prices

I checked supermarket prices in the centre of town at Casino (just behind the railway station), Monoprix and Carrefour.

Pastries

The Carrefour at 6 Rue Meynadier has really improved over the years. It was good in 2017 and is even better now. What used to be a sad, down-at-heel supermarket has been redone and has every item you’d expect to find. Carrefour had the best prices overall and excellent quality, especially in the fresh bakery aisle, where we bought two satisfying Trianon slices for under €4. Their two coffee religieuses for €3.50 are not only a bargain but of a very high quality indeed.

Chocolate

Chocolate prices are much more expensive than in the UK this year.

Normally, I buy several tablets of baking chocolate to bring back. Not so this year.

Supermarket own-brand chocolate from the Ivory Coast is a little over £1 in the UK and more than triple that in France.

Coffee

Coffee prices in France are on a par with those in the UK.

My favourite is Suprêmo d’Arabica, available here in Britain for £4.50 (250g).

Although our labels say Rombouts, the coffee is actually produced by one of their subsidiaries, Malongo, which is in Carros, not far from Cannes.

Malongo has a great range of coffees, including espresso.

There are Malongo cafés now in the south of France. I meant to go to the one at Nice Airport before returning to London — it’s right where we used to board the bus to Cannes —  but we didn’t have time.

Jean-Luc Pelé

For a treat, I returned to local chocolatier, pâtissier and boulanger Jean-Luc Pelé’s shop at 36 Rue Meynadier to buy a box of nine assorted dark chocolates for €10. The lady behind the counter asks what you would like, which is a nice touch.

N.B.: Do not put his chocolates in the refrigerator! They should be kept at room temperature.

Pelé trained at the renowned Lenôtre in Paris where he learned how to make macarons. His shop has macarons in all sorts of flavour combinations. He also has a bakery there.

Pelé also has a café at 3 Rue 24 Août, specialising in sandwiches and desserts.

Pelé’s main shop is in Le Cannet at 104 Boulevard Carnot. The airport bus goes right past it. He and his team were contestants in M6’s La Meilleure Boulangerie de France several years ago. I think they were just a bit too fancy to win that week’s regional finals, which was a shame.

Conclusion

I will go into our restaurant experiences this week and next.

Cannes is a marvellous city, full of wonderful experiences.

If you have a bad time in Cannes, then you’re with the wrong people.

Cannes is as lovely as ever.

Some of my readers cannot see the attraction, but it all depends on when one sees this jewel of the Mediterranean.

There is a brief window between the end of the annual film festival in May and the beginning of the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June when one can experience the city in near normality. Of course, smaller conferences and another international festival — namely the music industry’s MIDEM — take place at that time, but these do not normally impinge as much on city life as the others do.

I’ll have more to write in the coming days, so this is a summary of impressions that my better half SpouseMouse and I noted this year.

Weather

The weather was perfect from start to finish. It was too hot for SpouseMouse during the second week, but we had wall-to-wall sunshine and warm temps.

By contrast, in 2015, we had some rollicking thunderstorms, including one around 6:30 a.m., which brought everyone in our hotel down to breakfast by 7:00 a.m.

Italians

We were surprised at the number of Italian visitors, given that most French people go to Italy for an inexpensive weekend break or holiday.

Femininity and masculinity maintained

Speaking of Italians, they and the French are firmly maintaining male and female roles. Women are feminine and men are masculine.

This was noticeably less common with visitors from northern Europe and North America.

New restaurants

There were a number of new restaurants that opened near the Marché Gambetta near the railway station. I will write about these in future posts.

These are convenient for people staying (and living) in that area. It also means that diners can readily avoid the street hawkers and musicians who panhandle at night near the bigger seafood restaurants along Rue Félix Faure in the centre of town.

Food prices

Restaurant menu prices haven’t gone up much, if at all, since our last visit in 2015, which is good news.

However, the prices of French food and vegetables at Marché Forville in Le Suquet have increased markedly. I can appreciate French talk radio listeners who ring up RMC to say that they do without home-grown produce, buy less of it or plump for Spanish fruit and vegetables which are much less expensive.

French produce is definitely cheaper at the supermarket than at the market stall.

Meat, whether at a butcher’s or the supermarket, is incredibly expensive, probably 50% higher than in the UK.

Shopping

Clothing prices are about the same as in 2015.

One can still find terrific bargains in natural fabrics for men and women at Monoprix and in Rue Meynadier, both of which attract Cannes residents as well as tourists.

Fun Mod’ in Rue Meynadier still has durable, traditional espadrilles in all adult sizes and colours for €6 a pair. You can’t get a better bargain.

Service

Service continues to improve in restaurants, both in terms of getting plates to the table and communication. We can speak French reasonably well, but many wait staff spoke in English initially to be helpful.

Cleanliness

Cannes is a smooth running ship in terms of hygiene.

We did not see any litter. (There are fines of €180 if the authorities see someone littering.)

I saw only one small bit of graffiti — in the upmarket Rue d’Antibes.

The dustmen went around at least daily — twice a day on Tuesdays and Fridays — to collect trash and recycling. There was a man who rode a machine that swept and cleansed the sidewalks of Rue d’Antibes every afternoon.

The majority of dog owners — of which there were plenty — were very serious about cleaning up after their pets, so there was very little canine detritus.

Conclusion

We had a lovely time. For once, we were able to stay for two weeks. The hotel was perfect. We had a room with a sea view and a spacious terrace. The hotel beach was great and the sea water soothing.

I am four to five shades darker than when I left Blighty, for which I am grateful.

More to come now and then over the next week or two. I have much to say.

Recently, my better half and I had the privilege and pleasure of spending a fortnight in Cannes.

This is the longest period of time we’ve ever spent there, and two weeks is the optimum length of time to spend in this beautiful city.

Readers who have been following Churchmouse Campanologist over the past six years will recall my earlier posts about Cannes: what happens there in a 24-hour timeframe, general advice for tourists, the churches (United Protestant Church — about which a more positive post to come for 2015 — and Catholic Latin Mass), smoking, grocery shopping, the markets, shops and sights (Le Sparkling nightclub has closed and will be redeveloped into flats and shops), sending postcards and parcels, foie gras, restaurants as well as the International Festival of Creativity — popularly known as Cannes Lions, or ad men and women.

As I’ve written before, Cannes is much more than the elegant Croisette, the street which has the grandest hotels and is the site for the annual film festival. Behind the Croisette and the shopping thoroughfare, Rue d’Antibes, are a number of streets with affordable shops, services and restaurants the locals use.

General updates follow. More specific ones will come in the next few days. Original source material and explanations are in the aforementioned linked posts.

Hotels

A number of four-star hotels have linked up with booking sites allowing tourists to book a variety of rooms at discount rates. We used one of these this year which worked remarkably well from check-in to check-out. We received superb service at breakfast, at the hotel beach, from the cleaning ladies and from the maintenance staff.

Everything was first class for an affordable price!

Please note that this will depend on what conferences are in town. Book early to avoid disappointment.

What to pack before leaving home

One never quite knows what the weather will be like in Cannes.

Whilst, generally speaking, one can be assured of an abundance of sunshine during the summer months, the unexpected can happen.

This June, for the first time, we wore our sweaters occasionally when going out for dinner. The first week we were there, the weather was quite hot — low 80s (Fahrenheit) — but we later had a few cooler days along with some sharp showers.

With that in mind, pack one sweater, rain shoes and a lightweight rain jacket.

Where general health is concerned, the warmth might wreak havoc with prickly heat and the digestive system. Magicool Plus spray and, for older children and adults, a non-drowsy antihistamine before bedtime will get rid of prickly heat within a few days’ time. Imodium LiquiCaps are perfect for the occasional upset tum and start working immediately.

Of course, pack the obvious sunscreens and, if you’re staying or touring away from the town centre, mosquito repellent.

Luxury foodstuffs

Over a decade ago, we used to stock up on French olive oil when we went to Cannes. Nicolas Alziari, based in Nice, was not available in the UK at that time.

If you’ve never tasted French olive oil, I highly recommend it. It has a light, grassy taste instead of a bold olive one.

This year, olive prices have soared because of an infestation affecting many French and northern Italian trees. As a result, artisan manufacturers in these areas have had to resort to buying olives from other European and North African countries to keep prices from going through the roof. The size of the bottles and tins has reduced as a result. It is now not unusual to find small 50cl sizes at a significantly high price.

We did not see truffle products on offer. We used to be able to buy truffle paste in the UK at our local shop, but this has not been available over the past year. Unfortunately, it did not appear to be on sale in Cannes, either.

However, more reasonably priced French terrines and rillettes are on offer. I suggest buying those from Jean Brunet, available at Casino supermarkets. €1.89 will get you a tasty traditional combination of duck and wild boar which will probably serve two or three people.

Traditional cheeses made with raw milk are available at Monoprix (in the separate cheese cabinet) and from the local family owned cheesemonger Céneri, located in Rue Meynadier. Céneri has a few hundred (or so it would seem) cheeses from which to choose in all sizes and types of milk. Although the smell of cheese permeates the shop, one quickly adapts and it is easy to spend 20 minutes deciding on what to buy! The family are very helpful in waiting on customers. Just be sure not to help yourself. Some customers have abused hygiene rules, hence the many signs instructing people to ask for service. A number of local restaurants use Céneri as their local cheese supplier.

Packing food items: Buy a sac isothermique — insulated bag which lies flat — from Monoprix’s food hall. They are stocked near the frozen food section. These bags are large and perfect for cheese and other chilled foods. Be sure to pack food in your check-in bag and not your hand luggage. Even commercially-manufactured terrines can be — and have been — confiscated from carry-ons at Nice Airport.

Cooks shops

Monoprix has a basic cooks shop on the ground floor. I bought an oyster knife there for €5.99, which was made in France. The contoured blade is interesting and not grossly sharp as many others are. I’ll write more about its performance in a future post.

A larger, more specialist shop is located at the end of Rue Teissière (the Ladurée shop is on the corner of this street and the Rue d’Antibes). Walk all the way down to the edge of Marché Gambetta and, on your right, at the corner, you’ll see a pharmacy sign and window displays of pots and pans. In addition to those larger items, you can pick up all sorts of smaller, specialised baking and cooking essentials. I bought disposable piping bags for reasonable prices.

There is also a Tout à €2 (Everything at €2) shop on Rue Jean Jaurès — across from the railway station complex — which has useful cooking and household items on the lower level. I bought a plastic clothes bag there along with ice cube bags and a few other incidentals. Before I knew it, I’d spent €16!

Perfume

Staggering perfume purchases can result in a greater number of samples for the ladies in your life to use during their stay.

Every perfume shop — as well as Galéries Lafayette — will happily gift wrap perfume purchases beautifully, at no extra charge. Take advantage of this service!

Hotel beaches

It is worth knowing the terms for a deck chair or chaise longue, the latter having fallen out of use at private beaches.

Before leaving your room, make sure you have the little card for your room key which states your name and room number. You will need to present it when you are checked in for beach use. If your hotel deal does not include complimentary use of the beach, be prepared to pay €15 per person, which will be added to your final hotel bill.

Once you are checked in at the beach, ask for a matelas (matt-uh-lass — mattress) or transat (trans-att — deckchair). One hotel we stayed at used the former and another hotel the latter. In any event, most beach staff at the better hotels speak reasonably good English, so tourists should not have any problem.

Dress well

Although many tourists travel and wander around Cannes in scruffy shorts and well-worn tee-shirts, it is worth looking presentable at all times.

Wearing attire such as polo shirts and nice tops paired with quality trousers, shorts and skirts will get you better service not only at airports but also in hotels, shops and restaurants.

Similarly, you’ll have a much easier time if your bag is pulled over for inspection by Nice Airport security!

I’ll have plenty more to write about this year’s trip to Cannes in the coming days!

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