Relaxation prevails on the Riviera

Getting away from Cannes fest madness

While Cannes itself is certainly one of the premier resort towns of the world, after two weeks of nonstop screenings, deals and parties, a harried film exec might want to unwind in a different locale. France is famous for spa towns such as Evian and Vichy, but those who prefer to stay close to the Riviera can find several interesting options.

Just a short 20-minute drive from Cannes is the Hotel Thalazur Antibes in charming Antibes. Located in the heart of the historic town, the modern facility offers rooms with balconies overlooking the Mediterranean.

The French are famous for their “thallasotherapy” (sea water) sessions including pressurized jet showers (witness Louis Malle’s classic “Murmur of the Heart”) and Thalazur also offers full-body seaweed wraps, salt glow rubs, Swiss showers and thermal baths. A full gym is on the premises, as well as indoor and outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi and tennis court. Massage choices include underwater, shiatsu, sports and Swedish varieties.

Though close to Cannes, Antibes has an entirely different atmosphere, with attractions including the bustling weekly food market and the renowned Picasso museum. Windsurfing and sailing are also popular on the nearby beaches.

Rates at the Thalazur are in the reasonable range, at about $200 per night, which includes some meals and treatments. Full and half board is available with a choice of gourmet or spa gourmet meal plans.

Phone: 33-04-92-91-82-00, fax: 33-04-93-65-94-14,

Thermes Marins of Monte Carlo/Hotel de Paris

Tagged by Conde Nast Traveler as the most luxurious sea water spa in the world, this Monte Carlo center is a freestanding spa sandwiched between the opulent, old world Hotel Hermitage and Hotel de Paris. The huge indoor salt water pool is the centerpiece of the Thermes Marines, which is done in mosaics, pink marble and tropical woods.

Treatments encompass the usual thalassotherapy regimen, including seaweed applications, underwater showers, facials and steam rooms. The center’s Hirondelle restaurant serves France’s renowned Cuisine Minceur spa food.

A one day pass to the spa is $120, which includes four sea water treatments, and a double at the Hotel de Paris runs between $415 and $490 per night. After a day of massages and swimming, dinner at the three-star Louis XV restaurant in the Hotel de Paris should be a well-earned indulgence. After dinner, gamble at the legendary casino or drive back to Cannes along the scenic Grand Corniche.

Sofitel Thalassa Porticcio

For an entirely different experience than the glitzy Cote d’Azur, the rugged French island of Corsica features a local specialty of stewed boar, several hot springs and the modern Sofitel Porticcio Thalassa spa hotel.

Located near the village where Napoleon was born and near one of Corsica’s main airports, the hotel is surrounded by pine, mimosa, palm and eucalyptus trees. Swimmers can choose from a sea water swimming pool and a private beach, and spa treatments. Adventurous spa visitors can also choose from windsurfing and deep sea diving.

Les Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo

Phone: (377) 9216-4040; fax: (377) 9216-3859

Hotel de Paris

Phone: (377) 9216-3030; fax: (377) 9216-3849

Sofitel Thalassa Porticcio

Phone: (33-04) 9529-4040, fax: (33-04) 9525-0063,

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