THE CROISETTE REINVENTS ITS LEGEND

The City of Cannes has embarked on a major refurbishment and redevelopment programme for this legendary boulevard, a leading attraction and key employment generator, reflecting its role as a prestigious, event-based and public venue.
 
Architectural competition: The winning project

The winning project of the major international architecture competition organised by the municipality was unveiled in September 2022. Cannes City Council has put together a team of top architects. The celebrated Atelier d’Urbanité Roland Castro and international architectural firm Snøhetta – who were behind major achievements such as Times Square in New York, the Thessaloniki seafront in Greece and the Oslo National Opera in Norway – have been commissioned to carry out this extraordinary, historic project.

Following the restoration of the underground water network (including drinking water, waste water and rain water) and the creation of a thalasso-thermal network that uses renewable marine energy to supply certain buildings, including hotels, this prestigious renovation plan for La Croisette’s public areas will begin in early 2024.

La Croisette, ever more prestigious and elegant

The redevelopment programme for La Croisette, Cannes’ world-renowned promenade, has been developed in collaboration with Atelier d’Urbanité Roland Castro and Snøhetta, in association with WSP, Observatoire International, JML Water Feature Design, Manifesto, Transitec and Cronos Conseil.

This project aims to restore prestige and elegance to the seafront to support the City’s key objectives and continue the development work already undertaken.

Following a perfectly-formed curve, La Croisette is one of a kind. The mid-way point along the bay, approximately 1.5 km from the shore, offers magnificent views of the promenade, La Golfe de la Napoule and the Estérel Mountains. La Croisette has a magical and romantic atmosphere. Overlooking the Mediterranean, the city takes on an array of colours that change as the sun sets on the horizon, inviting you to step out and enjoy a stroll along this unique walkway.

Enhancing la Croisette…
Safeguarding its identity, enhancing its design, its level of security, lighting, and natural landscaping, providing more space for pedestrians, and making it more accessible to enjoy on a daily basis as well as for events… These are the key objectives of this project initiated by the Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, to reinvent and continue the legend of one of the world’s most prestigious locations.

A legendary boulevard

From the Palais des festivals et des congrès to Le Cap de la Croisette, this 2.5 km long boulevard, which is globally renowned thanks to the International Film Festival, plays host to a number of international events every year. While the current facilities date back to the 1960s, La Croisette originates from the end of the 19th century when Lord Brougham, amazed by the bay’s beauty, decided to settle there.

Over time, La Croisette has changed dramatically, from a picturesque coastal road to the lively boulevard it is today. Despite being somewhat outdated, the current La Croisette development, overlooking the beach restaurants, has enabled the promenade to be widened. While it is lined with luxury hotels, shops and other attractions on the city side, the coastal side offers areas to enjoy a stroll and soak up the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean.

La Croisette’s red carpet

Art Deco design and the city’s luxury hotels have been sources of inspiration in redeveloping the prestigious boulevard, to transform it into a greener, more elegant, and safer environment, with greater comfort and new facilities while showcasing its rich history.

The promenade is dressed in a striking palette of red, echoing the historic Le Suquet district and the intense colour of the Estérel Mountains. The new surface, which runs from the Palais des Festivals to Palm Beach, is part of the seafront’s renewal programme, contributing to La Croisette’s legendary elegance and enhancing its identity. A series of events mark this new paved surface: The Spotlights, Art Deco-inspired paving motifs, indicate the key points of interest to visitors, such as the hotels, access points to the beaches, and the Palais des Festivals. These create small squares in hues of red granite, embellished with golden details, which set the scene for La Croisette’s lavish character.

A line of bespoke outdoor seating, specially designed for La Croisette, completes the development project. Combining comfort and safety for visitors, benches with flowing contours emerge from the ground, resonating with the Estérel Mountains in the distance. As a tribute to the city’s history, shady areas with Art Deco accents punctuate the seafront. Water features and vegetation also contribute to a fresh feel and sense of well-being. As night falls, lighting creates a new ambiance that enhances the spaces, seating and works of art almost as if part of an art gallery. Each element has been carefully designed as an urban facility, to enhance the quality, comfort, and protective nature of the spaces.

Rethinking mobility

Special priority has been given to creating peaceful routes, shared spaces, and safe walkways. The La Croisette project also involves rethinking how traffic flows are managed. This has meant dividing it into traffic lanes reserved for more active modes of transport, and ensuring that pedestrians and cyclists are never in close proximity to vehicles. A footbridge will link Le Square du 8 mai 1945 and Les Jardins Albert 1er to make it easier for pedestrians to get around. As part of a sustainable approach, the new promenade gives priority to soft mobility and encourages people to move towards zero-carbon solutions for travelling around the city. The development plan will also cater for the boulevard’s event-oriented aspect, by adapting to the occasional influx of visitors due to Cannes’ lively event programme.

An ode to the Mediterranean

In this amazing setting, the project could not pass up the opportunity to pay tribute to the landscape and the natural beauty of the Pays de Lérins, while also taking an earnest and holistic environmental approach.

The gardens have been redesigned to generously open up onto both the city and the sea. They are part of the promenade’s flowing design, creating cool, restful spots for relaxing. Le Théâtre de la Mer (Le Square du 8 mai 1945) and its terraces plunging into the Mediterranean Sea turn towards the bay and face the city. This area has become a popular place for festive events.

To compliment the coastline, water features along the promenade and in the gardens, with mirrors, waterfalls, games and even clouds, all embellish the area and create a refreshing ambience. These features operate using a smart sustainable water management system.

In addition, the project includes large landscaped areas, with tree coverings overhanging vast lawns and flowerbeds, with a colourful array of plants and species that are indigenous to the Mediterranean climate. This abundance of lush vegetation will contribute to La Croisette’s thermal comfort by providing natural shade and creating permeable soils that will absorb rainfall.

A vibrant area to enjoy all year round

These green spaces create peaceful areas to enjoy in the city, to suit everyone’s needs and activities, whether enjoying them individually or as a group, in a protected and welcoming environment. The project aims to breathe new life into the boulevard to create a vibrant yet gentle and inspiring place, filled with life and social gatherings.

As a result, La Croisette is being cleared to make the pedestrian walkways more user-friendly and easier to follow. The pavement on the north side has been slightly widened. The pedestrian crossings in front of the hotels and major buildings have been significantly enlarged and raised to make them easier to see. In addition, access points between the city, the beaches, and the seafront have been improved and made safer.

By creating a walkway that everyone can enjoy, we increase the ways it can be used, thereby encouraging social interaction. The project will provide facilities that will re-energise La Croisette from Le Square Reynaldo Hahn to Le Cap. Le Miroir des Lauréats, an expanse of water at the foot of the Palais des Festivals, reflects the moods and silhouettes of this very special place. The gardens have been redesigned with fluid forms to create an enjoyable and continuous pathway from the Palais to La Promenade de La Croisette.

A new pavilion will host a restaurant area and activities for youngsters. The Carrousel has been conserved and the Le Nuage de Jeux children’s play area in Le Square du 8 mai 1945 is being refurbished. And finally, the stage of the Théâtre de la Mer is open to all kinds of artistic performances.

La Croisette has been enhanced with generous and elegant facilities, which leave a lasting impression on visitors.

La Croisette over time…
A legendary boulevard established in the mid-19th century, La Croisette is an unrivalled showcase of French savoir-faire and luxury. While a location for international events, it is more importantly, a place to enjoy strolling, cherished by the people of Cannes and adored by visitors. However, it has not undergone any structural development since 1960 and has gradually deteriorated. This is why the City of Cannes, with support from Cannes Lérins Agglomeration, has launched this extensive renovation programme.

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