The posh resort town of Cannes, located along the curved coastline of the French Riviera in the Alpes-Maritimes region, is best known for its world-famous film festival and red-carpet ready celebrities. However, it’s the dazzling luxury enclaves in the area that should really be attracting the attention of the paparazzi.
One of the most sought after areas is the district of La Californie. This architecturally rich residential pocket occupies a cinematic setting high on a hill above the town center with panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes and the Esterel.
La Californie is bordered by the area of Prado Republic at Avenues Prado-Provence, Commandant Bret and Paul Guigou to the west; the city of Le Cannet and Voie Julia to the north; the Vallauris River to the east; and by Cannes city center and the Croisette area at Avenue Maréchal Juin to the South.
Laurence Chaleil, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Cote D’Azur, offered a range as to what buyers can expect.
“Approximately €3 million (US$3.5 million) for a family home to more than €50 million (US$58 million) for a state-of-the-art-property such as Château Soligny (a 19th-century castle currently on the market that’s been revamped with eight suites, a home cinema, wine cellar, infinity pool and landscaped grounds with waterfalls and streams). Apartments are listed between €8,500 (US$9,900) for apartments in need of renovation to €25,000 (US$29,300) per square meter,” she said.
Jack Harris, a senior negotiator at Knight Frank noted that prices vary considerably depending on the condition of the property, extent of the grounds and if a villa or apartment has sea views.A four-bedroom, four-bathroom home on the market in La Californie neighborhood of Cannes
Cote D'Azur Sotheby’s International Realty
“The architecture is eclectic; Belle-Epoque mansions, provençal bastides and contemporary villas blend into the landscape between the sea and sky,” Ms. Chaleil said.
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“The neighborhood has been sought after for a number of years,” Mr. Harris said, “so while a contemporary villa would not look out of place, it’s more common to come across bastide-style properties and those with an old-world charm.”
What makes it unique
“The Californie is for Cannes what Beverly Hills is for Los Angeles. This location is surrounded by greenery, it benefits from sea views and is a few minutes from the waterfront, making it one of the most sought-after area of Cannes. La Californie is home to the most prestigious villas, high-end residences and top-of-the-range apartments,” Ms. Chaleil said.
“There are few locations on the French Riviera which combine proximity to a city center, impressive sea views, and relative ease to the Nice international airport. Homes occupy greater plot sizes, and as a result the neighborhood is typically leafier than elsewhere in the vicinity. Another benefit of the region is that it is not a particularly tourist-heavy location, and the crowds tend to stick on the Croisette and the shops of Rue d’Antibes,” Mr. Harris said.
“It’s also important to note that the slope from the hills to the coast is relatively gentle and more easily traversed,” he said.
Cote D'Azur Sotheby’s International Realty
La Californie is purely residential, but offers easy access to the dining and shopping district of La Croisette.
Rub elbows with fashionable locals dining at the Provencal-inspired Table 22, helmed by Alain Ducasse-trained chef Noël Mantel, or visit Aux Bon Enfants, an institution for southern French cuisine.
Pick up pastries and fresh baguettes at Boulangerie Jean-Luc Pelé and make a reservation for the inventive tasting menus at Michelin-starred Le Park 45.
The luxury boutiques dotting the boulevards cover all the influential labels in fashion, including Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and Celine.
Check in for a pampered stay at the nearby InterContinental Carlton Cannes, the Majestic, Le Grand Hotel Cannes or the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez.
There are no private schools in the neighborhood but there are several nearby on Cannes and Mougins, including the Mougins School, an international British school (primary through secondary), International School of Monaco (pre-K to year 12) and International School of Nice (pre-K to year 12).
Who lives there now
“One of the great things about the region is that it is truly international and attracts buyers from around the globe. The predominant crowd are Europeans looking to purchase a holiday residence to be used for several months of the year. Those who live here range from internationally renowned stars to more refined high-net-worth individuals,” Mr. Harris said.
Ms. Chaleil mentioned influential former residents such as Eugene Tripet, the consul to France in Moscow and his wife Alexandra Féodorovna Skripitzine, who built Villa Alexandra in 1849, the first holiday residence on the slopes of La Californie. This set the trend for the sun-soaked area as a southern retreat for both the Russian and English aristocracy.
Mr. and Mrs. Aristide Boucicaut, founders of the Paris department store Le Bon Marché, were the first to inhabit the opulent Château Soligny built in 1868, and Picasso also lived in the district from 1955 to 1961.
Both Ms. Chaleil and Mr. Harris agree that a purchase in this high-demand enclave is always a sound investment. Particularly right now. “We have seen remarkable activity in the last 12 months, which has typically been more property driven than based solely on the location of properties,” Mr. Harris explained.
“Property prices are typically stable with a few price reductions, but it is still generally recognized as being a buyer’s market, so vendors are occasionally required to rein in their expectations on market values in order to secure a buyer,” he said. “That said, Californie tends to remain at the top of the wish list and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future.”
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