The schedule at the Tax Free World Association (TFWA), which runs Sept. 18 through the 23rd this year, is often grueling. If some shopping therapy is called for, follow this itinerary to find the crème de la crème of French style. Just be sure to bring your black card.
BOULEVARD DE LA CROISETTE
Cannes’ majestic Boulevard de la Croisette, which sweeps around the harbor and abuts the Palais des Festivals (home to the TFWA show), has long been the stuff of dreams. Silver-screen stars like Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly have spangled its walkway. It’s no wonder that France’s most storied luxury brands have all set up shop there. The legendary street has become a veritable who’s who of high fashion and jewelry names.
Start from the very beginning, and there’s Chanel fashion at number 5, followed by Chanel and Chopard joaillerie at number 9. Gucci is a hop away at number 11, then, six doors down is the Galerie Marchande Gray d’Albion, a high-end shopping center including the likes of Hermès, Boucheron, Ermenegildo Zegna and boutiques such as Le Shop 17, a multibrand store carrying labels such as Carven, Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbara Bui and Mandalay.
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More fashion and accessories are to be had further along the Croisette at Louis Vuitton, Dior, Céline and Emporio Armani, numbers 22, 38, 43 and 52, respectively. Cartier has a store at number 57, while not too far away are Hugo Boss and Escada (at 62), Yves Saint Laurent (at 65) and Roberto Cavalli (at 67).
For high-end labels alongside a wide selection of brands at accessible price points, stroll over to the Rue d’Antibes; it’s a bit further inland and arcs around the Croisette. For a fast-fashion fix, Zara has locations at numbers 9 and 90-94 Rue d’Antibes, and Mango is at number 84. Jacques Loup at number 21 and Loup 47 (at 47, as its name suggests) are multibrand stores peddling women’s, men’s and children’s wear plus accessories from brands like Marc Jacobs, Moncler, Fendi and Marni. The Trabaud shop, at number 48, also carries a swath of labels, such as D&G, Armani Jeans and Seven for all Mankind. Need a soft cotton T-shirt to knock about in? Petit Bateau stocks an extensive range of styles and colors at number 50. For costume jewelry, Reminiscence is at number 51. Sephora is at number 5, while Montblanc is at number 87. Of course beachwear abounds in Cannes. Banana Moon (at 78) has a wide selection, and Vilebrequin, at number 37, specializes in splashy swim trunks for men and boys. For department- store shopping, there’s Galeries Lafayette at 6 Rue du Maréchal Foch, a small street jutting off from Rue d’Antibes.
Celebrate a sealed deal: When drinks are in order, head to the HÔTEL MAJESTIC BARRIÈRE CANNES. The five-star hotel has a fabulous bar area that’s fit for a fete. Open daily, 9 a.m.-1 a.m. (10 Boulevard de la Croisette, Tel.: +33-4-92-98-77-00)
Dance the night away: THE DA DA DA bills itself as a hybrid club bridging cabaret, theater, disco and midnight movies. Open daily, 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (15 Rue des Frères Pradignac. Tel.: +33-4-93-39-62-70.) Also try the BÂOLI BEACH, a dance venue serving lunch and dinner, too. Open daily, 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m. (50 Boulevard de la Croisette, Tel.: +33-4-93-99-49-26.)
Pamper yourself: VENULYS carries fragrance brands such as Clive Christian, Bond No. 9, Czech and Speake and SoOud. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (6 Rue Buttura, Tel.: +33-4-93-68-52-45.) TAIZO’s shelves are chockablock with names like Aesop, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Lorenzo Villoresi and Odile Lecoin. Open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. -7 p.m. (120 Rue d’Antibes, Tel.: +33-4-93-39-57-58.) THERMES MARINS DE CANNES, part of the Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, boasts 46 treatment rooms and an in-depth service list. Open daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (47 Rue Georges Clémenceau. Tel.: +33-4-92-99-50-10.)
Embark on a cultural quest: Follow the harbor away from Boulevard de la Croisette to the Vieux Port and start climbing the hill toward Cannes’ old city. It’s called Le Suquet and boasts sites like the EGLISE PAROISSIALE SAINT JOSEPH and NOTRE DAME D’ESPÉRANCE churches, and the TOUR DU MASQUE, a 12th-century tower. En route, take in some tasty fare at LA PIZZA, open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. -6 p.m. (3 Quai Saint-Pierre, Tel.: +33-4-93-39-22-56.) There’s also GASTON ET GASTOUNETTE, open daily, 12 p.m.-2 p.m. and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (6-7 Quai Saint-Pierre, Tel.: +33-4-93-39-47-92.)
Get fresh fruit, veg and flowers: A week of pounding the pavement at a trade show can make folks hanker for fresh produce. For that and floral pick-me-ups, there’s MARCHÉ FORVILLE. The market is open daily (although on Mondays it’s a flea market), 7 a.m.-1 p.m. (12 Rue Louis Blanc, Tel.: +33-4-93-39-11-20.)
Ariel Gentzbourger, senior vice president of Shiseido Europe, spends most of her days at the TFWA show on her feet. So shoe-wise, semi-high heels are de rigueur. “The most comfortable are Ferragamo pumps, if I’m wearing a dress, or Ferragamo small-heel boots, if I’m in a pants suit,” says Gentzbourger, who favors Hugo Boss (“the materials are really quite cool”) and a Céline bag by day.
At night, Gentzbourger opts for Armani clothes and an Yves Saint Laurent shoulder bag. Given TFWA’s grueling pace, she follows a strict skin care routine revolving around two key products: Shiseido’s Future Solution LX Daytime Protective Cream SPF 15 and Bio-Performance Super Corrective Serum. “The serum makes sure you get fantastic hydration and also a bit of a tensing effect,” says Gentzbourger.
Sun protection is a must in sunny Cannes, and for that she uses Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 30. Tom Ford sunglasses shield her peepers.