So last week I embarked on something I had long sworn to myself I would never do again … the family holiday. It’s not that I don’t love my family, I do, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found the idea of spending a week with my family in a cramped holiday apartment utterly unappealing. The last holiday I went on with the family was five years ago (when I was 18) to the middle of nowhere, Tuscany. While the scenery was undeniable beautiful, I found myself trapped in a converted farmhouse/holiday village which was a 15 minute drive from the nearest village – a sleepy hamlet that only came alive on market day. It wasn’t exactly the beach and jet-skis I had been hoping for. Since then I have become quite adept at travelling on my own so when my father asked me about the possibility of a family holiday I was slightly apprehensive, won over only by the fact my accommodation was being paid for me. Putting my doubts aside, I hopped off to Cannes on the French Rivera with my family in tow.
After arriving in Nice airport we took the bus to Cannes, why we took the bus I don’t know since the only way to truly arrive in Cannes is by helicopter or Lamborghini. Cannes in not your average beach town, sure you have ice cream for sale on every corner but don’t expect to see children running around with buckets and spades, unless they are made by Valentino. The same applies to cars, I didn’t see one typical family car about to explode and deposit extra towels and beach toys on the street, the family vehicle of choice was an s-class Mercedes and for those without children only a Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini or McLaren would do.
The main activity in Cannes, if you didn’t have the money to hit up the casinos, was people watching along the Croisette ( the fancy name they give to their seafront). For us, the common tourist, this meant watching old rich men in their expensive shirts with their young girlfriends in 4 inch heels parading up and down before heading onto one of the private beaches for a seaside dinner. At first this fills you with a level of insecurity, self-doubt and inadequacy comparative to a toddlers first day on the big kid playground but after a while you learn to enjoy mocking those who pay €600 for a pair of shoes that they can’t even walk in and if we got bored we could always resort to a game of gay or European and wife or mistress.
The one thing I found extremely disappointing given Cannes place as a cinematic centre was the lack of cinema related activities. There was the path where famous festival attendees had put there hand prints and a small exhibition on the life of actress Romy Schneider but no museum or tour detailing the history of the Cannes film festival.
Apart from the beach and looking longingly at rich people the one family activity we engaged in was a trip to the principality of Monaco. We didn’t stay to long in the state given that it was 35 degrees and the range of activities were limited to gambling or yachting but one thing we got to do which was very special to me was walk along the tunnel that forms part of the Monaco grand prix track. Having watched F1 at lot with my family it was great to be able to do that with them, maybe one day I’ll be able to go back and drive the whole track (assuming I ever learn how to drive).
All in all, despite being a little out of place, the trip was a success. We didn’t kill each other and any bit of sunshine was a welcome break from the dull and dreariness of an Irish summer. Unfortunately with my final year of university looming it will probably be my final trip abroad for a while, but once I have my degree in hand I hope I will be able to give my passport a serious work-out.