I was born and raised in Rhode Island, the Ocean State. I’ve spent many summers by the beach, so why would I choose to study abroad in Cannes? Why not Paris? My answer: Who wouldn’t want to spend six weeks in this magical, gorgeous place? It may not be a busy city like Paris, but Cannes has a lot to offer and will keep you busy, especially during the summer.
First off, you can post some serious wordplay Instagram captions. “Cannes you believe this view,” “We are doing the best we Cannes,” and “Cannes you not?” are just a few! Second, the beaches are amazing. Unlike the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean offers clear water that stays at a relatively warm temperature and there is also very little seaweed. There are many places along the French Rivera to hit the beach, but Cannes is my favorite. Nice has very rocky beaches whereas Cannes has sand. At the Campus International de Cannes, you have class from 9 AM – 12 PM making it very easy to spend lots of afternoon soaking up this view and some Vitamin D.
I have been here for six weeks and it has remained in the high 80s the entire time. It cools off to the low 70s overnight, creating perfect running temperatures for the morning. I highly recommend getting up 6:30 AM at least once during your stay to go running. The views alone are enough motivation.
If you ever get bored of the beach, you can wander through the picturesque old town. You will find there is much more to Cannes than the beaches during summer. I am going into my final week here and I am still amazed at how much the Suquet changes from day to night. During the day, the Suquet is a quiet walkway into the old part of town, but at night if offers a lively array of restaurants. Rue Meynadier comes off of Le Suquet and is filled with small local businesses and some bigger chain stores. Just be careful of pickpockets!
Just after the Rue Meynadier is Rue Antibes, home of the larger stores like Zara, Pimkie, Sephora, etc. The best part of being in Cannes for the summer, especially July, is LES SOLDES (the sales). Starting in July, France has its annual summer sales and the Rue Antibes can you be your best friend and worst nightmare for shopping. The deals are so good you will find yourself wanting everything, just be careful. Remember you still need to get all of your new clothes home (you don’t want to get a fee for overweight luggage or have to buy another suitcase!). I should note that there is small cultural difference: during the summer many stores close early around 7 or 8 PM. I am used to having extended summer hours back home.
The most well-known festival in Cannes, the Film Festival, happens in the spring but there are many smaller festivals during the summer. This summer I stumbled upon two musical festivals, one classical and one jazz. The old town hosts many of these smaller festivals along with nightly art shows. The local artists of Cannes have some serious talent. Cannes also hosts a firework festival. All the shows have a theme and are set to music. You can watch them in the bay on Cannes, on the beach, or on campus (there is a great view from the Terrace and less people but you can’t hear the music).
During the summer, you will find a lot of students are here for a shorter amount of time than during the semester. The dynamic of the campus constantly changes as every week students arrive and leave. The majority of the students stay for two weeks. It is sad to have to say goodbye to your new friends every two weeks but you will make a lot more friends this way.
Like most study abroad programs, you meet other students from many different countries, but the summer program here is special because there is an array of different ages as well. Class becomes very interesting when you have sixteen year olds mixed with a couple of forty year olds who brought their families. But there is beauty in everyone coming together with the common goal of learning French.
Cannes’s location is also great for traveling the south of France. You will learn to take the train like a pro. You can have your Grace Kelly or Selena Gomez moment in Monaco. Or visit the “Castle on the Hill” and have our picture taken with the #ILOVENICE sign (just don’t lean back if you climb up it!). The two islands, Ile Stainte Marguerite and Ile Saint Honorat, are equally gorgeous, yet very different, and only a boat ride away. You can also hop on a boat to Saint Tropez where the Saturday market is amazing. Menton will offer you the best lemon flavored crepes and gelato. You can even take a day trip to Italy! The summer in Cannes will be the best decisions you make! And don’t forget, Karaoke is every Wednesday at Morrison’s!
This content was contributed by Caitlin Blaine, who spent her summer studying abroad with AIFS in Cannes, France.