Cannes’ Elegant Boulevard – Saidi Carnot

Boulevard Saidi Carnot Cannes – A short History.

Cannes was connected to Paris by the railway line which was completed in 1883 and a rich cosmopolitan clientele began to arrive and settle in the region, following in the footsteps of our most famous early proponent of the joys of the “Midi” as the region was then known, Lord Brougham.

It was believed that many people and great fortunes would come and spend their winters here, enjoying the pleasant climate and interesting environment. How right they were.

 The architect Durand was commissioned to create an avenue leading in a straight line inland from the Cannes station, 26m wide and 2,6km long. The boulevard was completed in 1883. Major banks of the day were behind this project and what was originally known as the Boulevard de la Fonciere-Lyonnaise was subsequently renamed Boulevard Saidi Carnot in homage to the President of that name who was assassinated in Lyon on 24th June 1894.

Some of the earliest and grandest buildings were constructed close to the railway station, the first of these being a hotel at the very start of the Boulevard, opposite the station, completed in 1882. A few metres further at no. 11 and no. 12, facing each other across the Boulevard at Place Vauban, marvellous “caryatids” (stone carvings of draped female figures) are used as pillars to support balconies on the two majestic curved buildings at the entrance to the Boulevard; and those great stone ladies still guard the entrance to the Boulevard today, drawing the eyes and admiration of everyone entering the street. image006image007

 At no.15 a grand “U” shaped building was constructed in 1895, to amplify the effect of grandeur already hinted at by no. 11 and no. 12,  and at no. 17 the architect Charles Baron created another marvellous edifice, followed at no. 19 by the “Palais de Justice” completed in 1900 by the architect Charles Barbet and still in daily use.

That was the just start of it all, and occurred within the first 250 m of the station. The rest of the Boulevard was soon to follow however, and today it is truly grand as only great French Boulevards can be.

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