La Croix des Gardes

Address: Cannes, Cannes, 06400, France

- Free


So lovely, the British colonised it first. (Why waste it on the French?)

Now, here’s a surprise. At the western end of town rises a stubborn little hill – well, over 520 feet, actually – clad in forest and other natural elements. Once in among it, you’d swear you were in the wild, and yet you are (as the crow flies) barely half-a-mile from La Croisette. It’s a stiff walk up – softer elements may drive most of the way – but, once there, you have 240 acres of woodland and paths saved from under the developers’ noses. The walking is stirring (jog, if you must), the views exceptional and the sense of being withdrawn from the hurly-burly below most rewarding. And, at the top, there is indeed a big cross ('croix'') marking the point used by look-outs ('gardes') in the past.

Filthy rich

Get there up the Avenue Jean de Noailles – which itself is off the Avenue du Dr Picaud. En route up or down, keep your eyes open, especially on Avenue du Dr Picaud. This little area is where our noble British forefathers settled when they discovered Cannes in the mid-19th-century. They were the first, establishing the fashion for the royal, the aristocratic and the filthy rich to winter on what would become the Côte-d’Azur.

Scarborough Football Club

And the first of the first was Lord Henry Brougham, ex-Lord Chancellor and a key figure in both education reform and the anti-slavery movement. His Villa Eléonore, beset with Doric columns, is at 24 Avenue du Dr Picaud. It’s now in flats. Nearby, at N°7, is the neo-Gothic Villa Queen Victoria built for Sir Thomas Woolfield and, round the corner, at 6 Avenue Jean de Noailles is the Château Vallombrosa. This was put up for Lord Londesborough, a liberal peer and, not the least of his achievements, founder of Scarborough FC. Walk past these places with pride. We once led the world, in tourism as in so much else. Here’s the evidence.

Value for money

Expert tips

Recommended for

  • Families with teenagers
  • Sporty types
  • Escaping the crowds
  • Great views / scenery
  • Relaxation