Côte d’Azur-Le Troisième Jour-Day 3

On the third day of our trip my husband and I decided to shower before heading down to our breakfast buffet. This ended up being a mistake. The breakfast buffet ended at 10:30 and we got down to the dining area a little after 10:00. It wasn’t like they didn’t let us in. They allowed us plenty of time to eat but since we were down there towards the end of breakfast time there were some items, like the scrambled eggs, that they had run out of that they didn’t replace. We also had to play another round of dodge the sick children in the hopes that they wouldn’t cough on our food.

After breakfast we headed out for the day. We walked to the central train station of Nice and bought the tickets for our destination that day…Cannes!

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As a film buff I was very excited to see where one of the most important film festivals in the world takes place every year. The train ride to Cannes from Nice was a little less than an hour.

When we got off the train in Cannes we began to work our way towards the water. There were several things we were trying to fit into our day in Cannes and not all of them were in the city. As luck would have it we happened to stumble upon a visitor’s center without even trying. This was perfect because it allowed us to buy our tickets to visit an island called Île Sainte-Marguerite that is located about a fifteen minute boat ride of the coast of Cannes.

We had about an hour and a half before our boat ride so that allowed us time to check out the complex where they have the film festival.

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Initially I was a little underwhelmed. Yes, there are celebrity hand prints.

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But since I live in Los Angeles and I can go to the Chinese theater anytime I want so that it’s not that big a deal for me. But after walking around a little bit and taking some silly pictures;

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We discovered that we could go inside. There was a shopping festival going on in the complex and we could go into one room that was displaying for free. There was no way I was going to miss out on the chance to go into the complex where they have the film festival.

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The dresses were truly beautiful and it was a lot of fun to pretend, if just for a moment, that we were fancy.

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After we came out we were happy to find that gates that had been blocking access to get a better look into where the movie screens are had been taken down. I was very excited to be able to get a good look into where the films are actually shown.

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We my husband and I wanted to buy souvenirs at the visitor’s center but we decided to wait until after we got back from Île Sainte-Marguerite. The visitor’s center was open until way after we would return so there was no need to put ourselves in position where we would have to rush and/or end up missing our boat. Our walk from where the film festival is over to where we would catch our boat took us through the marina area.

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Our boat to Île Sainte-Marguerite was actually pretty full but we managed to get a seat inside. It was a cloudy day that was threatening rain and as nice as it would have been to sit outside and enjoy the view neither one of us wanted to be suck outside and be cold. During the short boat ride I did go outside briefly to take a few pictures.

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Fortuantly, since my husband was saving my seat inside I didn’t have to be stuck outside.

Once we were on Île Sainte-Marguerite we made the decision to focus on the part of the Island known as  Fort Ste Marguerite since we only had about three hours before the last boat headed back to Cannes. As much as we wanted to see the part of the island that is forest we only had so much time and we didn’t want to end up getting suck on the island.

What is notable about Fort Ste Marguerite is that it was once a prison and was very much the Alcatraz of its day.

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We walked around the open area of the fort for a while. There were relatively few people around so it was cool to not have to deal with crowds.

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After exploring a little bit we headed to the part of the Fort where the prison was. The most famous inmate of on Île Sainte-Marguerite was a man who doesn’t have a name but people know his story. That man is…the man in the iron mask. Although I’ve never read the book or seen any of the movie adaptations it was still cool to see the cell in which he was kept.

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We checked out a few other cells. I was amused in one cell when we are able to see the toilet facilities of the prisoner.

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I actually think the cells weren’t that bad but then again I didn’t have to stay in them one moment longer than I wanted to. One of my favorite things about the prison wasn’t any specific cell. It was a star that was painted in one of the hallways. The star has a different effect each time you take a step away from it. It was pretty cool.

Next to the prison is a small museum that houses Ancient Roman ruins. Several decades ago divers discovered the remains of a sunken ship from Ancient Rome off the coast of Île Sainte-Marguerite .

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They then brought up and they are now displayed at the museum.

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Mostly what they found were containers that were used to store things like wine and fish. It was cool to see these remains from two thousand years ago.

After checking out the museum we explored a little bit more. We even came across a friendly island cat.

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Before catching the second to the last boat back to Cannes we took in a few more great views.

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When we got back to Cannes we had planned on heading to the visitor’s center to buy our souvenirs but we got a little side tracked. We saw a castle on top of a hill and we had to check it out.

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We weren’t sure how long it would take us to get to the top of the hill but we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves up at the top in only about ten minutes. As it turns out the castle is next to a museum named Le Musee de la Castre. We weren’t really interested in seeing the museum; we just wanted to see the castle, which we did!

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It was the perfect little side adventure. It allowed us to see something that we didn’t even know that we were interested in seeing while still having plenty of time to go to the visitor’s center to buy our souvenirs.

I loved the selection of t-shirts that the visitor’s center had. Unfortunately, the two t-shirts I wanted the most were not available in my size. Since I couldn’t have either my first or second choice I decided to buy both my third and fourth choice. And why not? Who knows if I’ll ever be back in Cannes again in my life.

After buying our souvenirs we headed back to the train station to buy our return tickets to Nice. However, things did not go as planned. The next train to Nice was listed as delayed. It was so delayed that the one after that was supposed to arrive first. So we bought tickets for the second train thinking that it would get us back to Nice first. Wrong movie…SNCF (the French train company) apparently decided Cannes was the place where they needed to get the trains back on schedule. So despite the fact that our train arrived in Cannes first we sat in it for a long time, in fact we sat in the train until the delayed train arrived and then left. It was annoying but then again that is something that can happen when riding public transportation.

When we got back to Nice we purchased a ten ride ticket on their local buses and the tram sytem so we wouldn’t have to buy a new ticket each time we rode the bus or tram. After taking our first ride on the tram we found ourselves back in the central part of Nice. There was a lot of French food we wanted to try on our trip. One specific dish that both my husband and I wanted to try is a dish that is a specialty to the French Rivera called Bouillabaisse, which is a seafood stew. We found a restaurant that serves it and decided to go for it. Bouillabaisse is not a dish I would have eaten seven years ago. I used to hate seafood but my palate has evolved and I liked the dish. Much like our dinner the night before the dish was a lot more food than we were expecting.

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We did our best to eat as much of it as possible. My husband did quite an impressive job of attacking his half of the lobster than came in our Bouillabaisse and getting every bit of meat out of it. Then we got our bill and we discovered that we had made a mistake. Our understanding of the menu was the Bouillabaisse was 65 Euros, what we discovered was that the fish was in fact 65 Euros per person. Both of our jaws dropped. Yes, we had the money to pay the bill but it was not what we were expecting. But then again France is not a cheap country and you almost have to expect your jaw to hit the floor at least once.

After paying four our very expensive dinner bill we began to make our way back to our hotel. We went by Place Massena to see the creepy yoga statues that were no longer so creepy now that they lit up different colors.

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It had been a great day. We were tired but very much looking forward to our next day when we would visit a village that I had read about months before we bought our plane tickets.

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