Count the pennies, and your blessings.
Yes, we cannes! Stay bang in the centre of town, that is, right round the corner from the mega-buck palace hotels, and still have change from 70 euros for two.
Granted, the change is only one euro, and only in low season, and the hotel is a two-star and short on frippery. But it’s a practical, friendly and bright-eyed spot – and evidence of just how far budget hotels on the Côte-d’Azur have evolved.
When I first took a cheap trip to the region 25 or more years ago, it was a toss up whether the hotel or the owner was the smelliest. The room was damp (even in summer). Sheets, blankets and mattress were stained, and my then-girlfriend found a previous guest’s used underwear stuffed behind the toilet. I wouldn’t have left a rottweiler unattended in there. We moved out and slept on the beach.
Compare and contrast with Le Mistral, tucked into a buzzy little street across from the Palais des Festivals. It’s compact, of course, but also light and cheerily colourful with a disarming contemporary spirit. I think the kids might appreciate it.
There’s a smiling welcome in the lime-green little lobby, and sunlight in the breakfast room. The ten rooms come in two sizes and two basic shades, red or prune (which is a posh way of saying ‘dark purple').
They are, though, rather more agreeable than that makes them sound, with nice cushions and curtains, decent dark-wood furniture and bathrooms modern enough to have those wok-shaped basins. A few even have sea-views, if you look out the window at the right angle.
One drawback: there are four floors and no lift. If you fancy the place but fear the legs might fail, ask for the Alizés room on the first floor. That’s only one set of steps to climb. All this will be less of a problem for families (unless there are pushchairs involved - and, even then, dad can carry the thing) which, otherwise, will find one of the warmer and more affordable welcomes in town. And only a five-minute amble to the beach. It's unlikely that even the most recalcitrant child can have a tantrum in that time.