For the ultimate chic getaway, the French Riviera is one destination that is hard to beat. Not only does the region contain a wealth of high-quality accommodation, but it also benefits from beautiful weather and has a vibrant cultural scene. One place where the latter certainly applies is Cannes.
Although the coastal city is perhaps most famous for its annual film festival that draws in the stars of the big screen, it is by no means the only artistic aspect worth exploring. Even if your visit doesn't coincide with the Cannes International Film Festival, culture vultures will still discover plenty to fascinate them.
The Musee de la Castre is open all year round, so a visit to the museum can be easily incorporated into your luxury holiday to Cannes, regardless of when you book a villa in France.
Housed in the ruins of a medieval castle, the cultural institution consists of a complex of small rooms and gardens, featuring objects from all over the globe. Among the many items on display are African musical instruments, Mediterranean antiques and pre-Columbian ceramics, while several suites are dedicated to 19th century paintings of the local area.
Once you've taken in the displays, climb the 109 steps of the 12th century tower for the chance to soak up wonderful views of the rest of Cannes. In addition, the museum hosts a number of workshops for children. So, taking a chic family holiday here gives your little ones the opportunity to learn something useful while having fun at the same time. Free guided tours of the museum are held every day and while there is normally a €6 (£4.80) entrance fee for adults, no admission is charged on the first Sunday of each month.
Just off the mainland of Cannes is the island of Sainte Marguerite where you will find the Musee de la Mer, or Museum of the Sea as it translates in English. The attraction displays a range of archaeological excavations, including Roman wall paintings and items retrieved from Saracen shipwrecks, and also has an area dedicated to temporary exhibitions.
The Musee de la Mer is housed in part of the Sainte Marguerite Fort, which once served as a state jail, and you can learn more about its past as a penitentiary as you wander around. One of its most famous inmates was the Man in the Iron Mask, a 17th century prisoner who spent 11 years in captivity on the island and whose identity remains a mystery. Today, you can visit the cell where he once lived and see a number of paintings of the captive that were produced by Jean Le Gac.
Given that it attracts the biggest names in cinema every year, it is somewhat unsurprising that the Cannes International Film Festival is a cultural highlight of the city that should not be missed. Taking place every May, the 2012 event sees the cinematic showcase celebrates its 65th anniversary, with a range of full-length and short films, as well as documentaries and animated features, set to be showcased.
A number of awards are given out over the course of the festival, including the Prix du Jury and Palme d'Or. If you're in Cannes while the cinematic extravaganza is taking place, check out some of the screenings and workshops taking place and you could end up rubbing shoulders with some film stars.