Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cannes Train Station - Gare de Cannes

Cannes main train station or Gare de Cannes could not be easier to navigate. 


If you are arriving in Cannes for the first time, when you get off the train just follow the crowd also departing the train into the main lobby of the station.  It’s really that simple.  There aren’t that many platforms and only one tunnel to catch the various trains and plenty of signage to help guide you.  The station itself is not a massive building so you really don't have to worry about getting lost in it and even at night I have found it safe.

Inside the arrival and departure area you will find the main train schedule boards, a newsagents, waiting areas and also easy to use ticketing machines to purchase and validate your train tickets.  Upon exiting the building, to your left is one of Cannes’ tourist offices with a small parking lot in front of you.

The train station is located at 1 rue Jean-Jaurès and it’s easy to find by some of the unique architecture features of the building (see pics).  Currently the train station is undergoing an extensive renovation and upgrade but I have never found it to impede on my visits.
Illustration of the renovated Cannes Train Station
The train station has connections between the Cote d’Azur with all the regions of France and all the major cities in Europe are provided by the SNCF's express and high-speed trains (TGV).  The TGV connects up Paris and Cannes in about 6 hours at least 3 times daily.

Nice is approximately a 35-minute commute away by train, traveling along the sea past some wonderful beaches and towns to get there.  Since Cannes does not have a major airport, many people choose to use the train system to get to Nice where they can make their way to the Nice airport from there.

The train station is located in the heart of Cannes, literally less than a five-minute walk to the beach and getting there can take you to the start of the many fantastic shopping areas in the city.  It's also close to the hotels, restaurants and clubs with everything being within walking distance.  When you depart the station, literally just pick a street in front of you, head South and you’ll be on the Croisette and at the beaches in no time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cannes Emergency Contact Numbers

I have always found Cannes to be a very safe city.  Fortunately I have never had an incident of any kind happen to me there, but it's always better to be safe than sorry so here are a few key numbers and addresses you might want to know about:

For medical emergencies, accident and fire always call tel. 18

Medical – Samu  Tel. 15

Police – Gendarme  Tel. 17

Fire/Medical – Pompier/Sauveur  Tel. 18 or +33 04 93 48 78 00

Riviera Medical Services (English Speaking)  Tel. +33 04 93 26 12 70

Dental Emergencies  Tel. +33 04 93 68 28 00 

Night Pharmacy - 15 avenue de Grasse
Tel. +33 04 93 68 33 33
Night Pharmacy 15 avenue de Grasse

There are a number of police stations but here is one in Vieux Port:

Police Municipale - 2 quai Saint-Pierre
Tel. +33 08 00 11 71 18
Police Municipale 2 quai Saint-Pierre

Here is some information for the main hospital in Cannes:

Cannes General Hospital - 13 avenue des Broussailles

Tel. +33 04 93 69 70 00
Cannes General Hospital 13 avenue des Broussailles
Stay safe!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I love Cannes.  When I was a little boy, I used to watch all the stars on the red carpet during the International Film Festival on television and dreamed of someday going to Cannes to see all the glitz and glam.

I must tell you that no matter how many times I visit the city, even now as an adult, I am still thrilled to be there.  I have literally done things in Cannes that has helped me live out my dreams.

Cannes is of course world famous for their annual International Film Festival, but I've discovered the city and the surrounding area have even more to offer than all that.  It’s not a city that shuts down after an annual two-week party.

Cannes is a welcoming, beautiful and very gay-friendly city that is culturally diverse and steeped in history.

Just when you think you have done and seen it all in the city, sure enough you'll end up meeting yet another amazing person living there who will show you what they also love about Cannes. 
There is so much to see and do in this part of the Cote d'Azur, so if you are ready to do some exploring, I would like to keep you in touch with its growing gay community, and keep giving you reasons to want to come to see Cannes, whether it's your first visit or your fifteenth. 

I’d like to make this my introduction to you on what to explore in Cannes and its immediate vicinity.  As Cannes, like Nice and the rest of the French Riviera, is becoming even more of a worldwide gay travel destination.

From time to time, I will be posting about what gay and gay-friendly establishments there are in Cannes for you to experience.  The community has certainly grown in the past many years, so there are many places for you to check out for yourself.  

For more travel information, keep coming back to Gay French Riviera.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Gay Nude Beach at St. Laurent - Eze

The whole of the Cote d'Azur provides endless gay and gay friendly places to explore, from one end of the region to the other.

One area I am going to mention is quite the local favorite, the popular gay nude beach at St. Laurent-Eze, located just east of Nice, past Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the way to Monaco.

Before you go though, there are a few things to mention.  First, bring along a big bottle of water and whatever else you want to eat or drink, as there are no shops nearby to buy any of these things once you get there.  Second, keep in mind that the beaches are small and discreet.  Third, the beaches boast different terrains, ranging from sandy to pebbly and rocky, and some people even choose to sunbathe right on the big beach rocks.  For this trip I would recommend wearing running shoes to negotiate the terrain, but of course also bring along your towel and/or beach mat.
In general, people will tell you the gay nude beach is in Eze, but to get there you want to make sure you have the location right because if you are traveling by bus or train, you'll end up in the lovely village of Eze instead, and then have quite the hike to get to the beach in St. Laurent-Eze.

Just North of the red marker, at the curve is the starting point.
If you are in Nice and plan to take the bus, take the number 100 Menton bus that can be found going through many areas of Nice.  A good place to spot the bus if you do not know where they pick up people in Nice would be to try the Port area, just across the street from the big Catholic Church.  It only costs 1 Euro for one way and it travels the autoroute, a very scenic route along the sea to Monaco.  It does make regular stops along the way, but be sure to tell the bus driver that you want to get off at St. Laurent-Eze for the beach.

Transit Information
The bus stop is also beside a small, usually filled to capacity, parking area.  Trains do not stop at St. Laurent-Eze: only at Eze, and then Cap d'Ail.  St. Laurent is between those but still it would be quite a walk to get to the beach this way.
Bus stop/Parking lot
If it works out better for you to take the train, just take it to Eze, get off at the station and the bus stop is literally just outside the station, so wave down the 100 Menton bus when it comes your way.  The cost for the train will be about 3 Euros one-way, then another 1 Euro for the bus.

If you are driving, it’s a breeze to get to St. Laurent-Eze.  Just follow the direction the buses take along the autoroute.  Leaving Nice from the Port area, go around Mont Boron and into Villefranche-sur-Mer, which will then bypass Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, into Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which very quickly leads into Eze and the next stop will be St. Laurent-Eze, where you will see the parking area back into the valley.
Once you are in St. Laurent-Eze, cautiously cross the busy autoroute and you will likely see others heading down into the valley towards the sea on the trail.  The trail itself is called “Castelleret – Inferieur”.  It’s obvious where to go as the trail stands out.

The trail has lots of steps and walkways all leading to the same place along the path for a 10-minute walk down towards the sea to the public beach.  You’ll know when you are practically there because you will have to walk through a big tunnel carved into the stone.  This is a very safe and beautiful area, and you won’t get lost on the trail.

Once you hit the public beach, you'll want to turn right and head to the end of the beach where you will see what used to be a gated staircase.  Proceed up the stairs and carefully continue your way in the western direction.  You’re going to be walking on low cliff edges, up and over some rocks, but the scenery is amazing.  Although at this point you can stop wherever you find a spot you might like, the actual gay nude beach itself is about a five minute hike from that point.
Looking back at the public beach from the top of the stairs.

You’ll know you are getting closer when you start to see more hot naked men around and the gorgeous Hotel Cap-Estel not far away.  There’s a rope on-site to help you climb down the man-made steps carefully on to the actual beach itself.

Once you have found a spot, which can get quite busy especially on the weekends, it’s up to you if you want to strip completely down or not.  Personally I had no qualms about it and was soon swimming in the sea.  The area we were at even had a little man-made spring with fresh water and a bucket, so after you get out of the sea, you could just grab a bucket of the fresh water and pour it over yourself to remove the sea salt before you go back to sun tanning or whatever you wanted to do.
I have found the people on the beach were from all over the place and very friendly.  I didn’t notice any attitude at all, and think it’s a fantastic way to spend a glorious afternoon.
As for the cruising thing: yes, it happens.  If you met someone in the beach area that you are interested in, people tend to get back on the path going east towards the main public beach again where men will just walk off the path a bit to other man-made paths and fool around in the bushes.  Honestly, I didn’t see this being something that people get carried away with; I think it’s an in-the-moment type of thing.  It seems people are content simply being surrounded by other beautiful men in an extraordinary place.

For obvious privacy reasons I have no pictures of the nude beach itself, but believe me, you won't be disappointed.