Cannes may be renowned for attracting film stars to the French Riviera, but it also plays host a number of top-quality golf courses. Mark Alexander finds out what Europe’s film capital has to offer both off and on the course

You know you are on a flight to Cannes when you overhear the other passengers debating the relative merits of the latest blockbuster or knowledgably discussing the careers of Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie. Without doubt, Cannes is a film town and even during a midweek flight from London in March, there is only one topic of conversation.

Apart from the motion picture references and the obligatory name-dropping, another tell-tale sign that Cannes awaits is the number of passengers wearing sunglasses and the plethora of designer labels that make this flight as much to do with fashion as it is about travel. We are, after all, heading for the Côte d’Azur, otherwise known as the French Riviera – a stretch of coastline that has been synonymous with chic elegance and lofty living since the 1950s. The original playground for the rich and famous, Cannes and its surrounding villages have welcomed glamorous film stars, wealthy tycoons and fashion icons, with the town reaping the rewards.

We fly into Nice airport, which is less than an hour from the chic boulevards and beach-front hotels of Cannes. Here, amid the Hollywood murals, cherry red supercars and opulent jewellery shops, the city has embraced its starlight status ever since the first film festival took place in 1946.

The breath-taking super yachts anchored in the marina and the manicured beaches with near-by cafes and restaurants make this a wonderful place to people watch. But Cannes offers much more than just the opportunity to overindulge in celebrity spotting.

The steep hills and tranquil villages that surround Cannes are home to 12 18-hole golf courses all within a 60-minute drive of the beach. Indeed, since many are found on the outskirts of the city, the idea of playing a morning round followed by an afternoon soaking up the Mediterranean sun is a very real possibility. More importantly, the courses are as diverse as they are beautiful ensuring the range of golfing challenges will keep you engrossed throughout your stay.

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