Papi and Mamie don’t seem to be too fazed by the sudden influx of visitors each May. They understand how it drives the city’s vitality and economy and are more than happy to direct a tourist here and there. In any case, over the 12 years they have been in Cannes, Papi and Mamie have discovered the other side of Cannes, tucked well away from the crowds. We go for walks away from the famous croisette and bypass the decadent five star hotels and endless streets of high end luxe designer shops. We find an area where all of the sudden I’m surrounded by the retired locals. There’s a sense of serenity and peacefulness out here, time starts to slow down as soon as we remove ourselves from the glitz and glamour of mainstream Cannes.
To my left is a group of retired men playing bridge on a table set up on the beach, their bare feet digging into the sand. The sun is starting to set and the view is breathtaking. To my right are 2 sets of retired couples going about their evening stroll then stopping to chat to other Cannes-dressed men and women taking their little miniature dogs for walks. No one is in a rush, there are a few random tourists dotted here and there in the mix but the general ambience is very local and very calm. It reminds me of Papi’s favourite fishing spot away from the crowds he showed us not too long ago.
Retired life is enviable in Cannes. Healthcare is well serviced in the PACA region in general (Provence, Alpes, Côte d’Azur), boasting a high density of doctors per person compared to the rest of France, according to Papi. A newly refurbished Cannes hospital is situated nearby, serviced by public transport and the larger hospital in Nice is not too far away either. It is just as accessible by public transport with the bus ride from Cannes to Nice taking over 2 hours and only costing 1.50€! The cost of living is higher here due to the higher price of property and the respective price per square metre, and we are only referring to apartments here, we haven’t even mentioned the luxurious gated villas on their estates in “Super Cannes”. Having said that, cost of living in Cannes seems to be the only drawback. Other considerations such as weather, security and access to healthcare have passed the test.
It seems to me that Cannes would be an appropriate place to retire after being in somewhere like Paris, like my partner’s parents. It is large enough and has sufficient demand (thanks to its visitors and tourists) to offer the convenience and accessibility of a big city. However, it is also small enough to retain a sense of character and charm, in order to run at its own pace. There’s bustling activity and events on throughout the year to keep you on your toes, but at the same time, there is also no shortage of lesser known areas both in and around Cannes to retreat to when the crowds get too much.
Is it too early to start shortlisting my retirement favourites at age 32..? 😉
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