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3 reasons you should move to Cannes, Mr. Clooney!

3 reasons you should move to Cannes, Mr. Clooney!

Dear Mr. Clooney,

It’s no secret that you will soon experience one of these few defining moments in a man’s life: to become a first-time dad. Like for the fictional characters in ‘One fine day’ and ‘The Descendants’, work won’t be your life anymore; it will become only a part of your life.

More often than not, ultra-high-net-worth celebrities who own multiple properties make the decision to buy a house in a given place not because they NEED to do so but because you CHOOSE to do so.

So, I have racked my brain and come up with a few reasons why you should move to Cannes, France. As a result, here are the reasons and what your life would look like on the Riviera:

Reason #1 – A unique, private and safe family house in a US/UK-friendly city

The new President of the United States would say: “It’s gonna be a great, great house. It’s gonna be absolutely fantastic. It’s gonna be the most beautiful house in the world. It’s true”.

Cannes owes its “Belle Époque” buildings to English aristocrat Lord Brougham. Since his first visit back in 1834, many prestigious personalities have followed in his footsteps: Prosper Mérimée, Oscar Wilde, Baron Haussmann, the Rothschilds and the King of Prussia.

The Riviera has more non-resident foreign buyers than Paris (cf. Notaires de France, 2016). British nationals have the strongest tendency to fall in love with Cannes. Half-British women included!

As you have just turned 55, I would advise against the most select part of La Croisette (NB: between Le Martinez hotel and Le Majestic-Barrière hotel): at this stage of your life, you might find the famous boulevard a little too noisy and the penthouses sometimes too windy.

What an expanding famous family needs is a peace of heaven. You will want an uphill property in La Californie, east of the city center. To find your dream house there, visit as many houses as possible, using the concentric circle scanning technique around the most famous avenue. If you don’t have time for multiple visits, just hire an independent (PS: preferably friendly) buyer’s agent.

In this prestigious area, it’s hard to find houses under 30,000 euros per square meter (i.e., USD 3,065 / GBP 2,360 / LBP 4,632,747 per square foot). In 2016, less than 15 properties over 20 M€ in Cannes changed hands. Currently, about 30 houses over 20 M€ are offered on and off-market in Cannes.

Notwithstanding La Californie, you may also want to schedule a few more viewings in another top-residential area, east of the center: La Croix des Gardes.

Both La Californie and La Croix des Gardes areas offer spectacular panoramic sea view, security and the privacy world-famous lawyers seek after.

As paradoxical as it sounds, you’ll want open space and privacy.

You will need:

  • 8+ bedrooms (for baby sitter, caretaker, visiting family and friends…)
  • Master bedroom with en suite bathroom, incl. dual walking closet, dual sinks, dual toilets
  • Spacious kitchen and an open living room
  • Screen room to watch the new football season and cheer on the Cincinnati Bengals
  • Wine room to store some bottles of Pink Floyd rosé
  • Bar to sip a Grey Goose vodka or a Casamigos tequila
  • Outdoor space for entertaining Rande, Matt, Brad and Barack and for letting Einstein stretch his legs (PS: No pigs allowed!)

I think that the small group of people you love and trust will stand in line to come to a party in this house (♫ Come On-A My House ♫). This ‘house of friends’ will definitely enhance your lifestyle. And who knows, you may even want to turn it into a home someday. 

Reason #2 – The Riviera Lifestyle

Although your life is about to become child-centric, you will beg for some “me-time” once in a while. Trust me, you will!

Amal (♫ OhYou Beautiful Doll ♫) will want her wardrobe to look good. She’ll be inclined to raid the boutiques on the waterfront promenade for the latest the Bottega Veneta and Dolce & Gabbana designs.

You will enjoy hitting a few golf balls at the most famous golf courses of the region: Royal Mougins golf club (15-min drive) and Terre Blanche golf club (40-min drive).

You might also want to take your better half for a Harley Davidson ride through the picturesque villages of Provence and visit some breath-taking sights such as the Gorges du Verdon, the Pont du Gard or the Baux de Provence.

Unlike ‘Monuments Men’ George Stout who recovered art at the end of World War II, you will instead discover art. The region has hosted many great artists including Chagall, Matisse, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso and Renoir.

In the evening, La Palme d’Or restaurant consistently delights the palate of epicurean clients, be it actors, filmmakers, activists or philanthropists. If you are looking for the finest romantic experience, opt for La Guérite restaurant on the Lérins islands.

Later in the evening, there is no better places to relax and have a last drink than the bar Galerie du Fouquet’s Cannes or the bar L’Amiral. If you and your guests are in a partying mood, Le Bâoli is the trendiest place to be after midnight.

 Reason #3 – Appealing social calendar

Cannes also provides an appealing social calendar with high profile events such as the Film Festival and the AmFAR Gala.

A 5-min bicycle ride from your (next) house, the Film Festival will sound like ‘work’ to you. Fellow Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin will show you around the office (i.e., the Palais des Festivals). This year at the cafeteria, you’ll run into famous US colleagues such as Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman, Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone.  I also encourage you to chat by the coffee machine with two less-known-but-as talented French colleagues, Agnes Jaoui and Sandrine Kiberlain.

Furthermore (and in Trump’s style):

  • You’ve got the Kentucky Derby; we’ve got the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
  • You’ve got the Indianapolis 500 race; we’ve got the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • You’ve got the New York Fashion Week; we’ve got the Paris Fashion Week.
  • You’ve got the US Open; we’ve got Rolland Garros.
  • You’ve got Art Basel; we’ve got the Foire internationale d’art contemporain
  • You’ve got the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show; we’ve got the Monaco Yacht Show.

Bonus reason – Practicalities

  • We speak French. So do many Lebanese people.
  • 20-min. drive from the international airport of Nice Côte d’Azur where your better half can catch daily flights and commute to The Hague, London or Geneva.
  • Around 300 days of sun a year (vs. barely 200 in Como Lake and 62 in London).
  • 15-min drive from the Mougins School that teaches the English national curriculum to international children.

What else?

With the “Save Darfur” movement and your memorable speech on Capitol Hill in 2012, you have succeeded in denouncing war criminal Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein and putting Sudan on the map. The city of Cannes would undoubtedly pride itself in playing host to the human rights lawyer who (may) represent the victims of the Sudanese genocide at the International Criminal Court.

Dostoyevsky once said: “To live without Hope is to cease to live.” Closer to me, my father used to say: “Follow the caiman and you’ll drink clean water”. If you ever decide to settle in the south of France, I hope you will contact me and follow the “French caiman”.

As it’s late here, I am about to get some shut-eye. Though, I won’t go to sleep without having a last thought for the emotional roller-coaster ahead of you: fatherhood.

So, ‘good night, and good luck’!

Olivier Bourrain

PS: Some people may ask you why I have addressed this post to you. Well… I think you already know this answer: (♫ It had to be you ♫)!


Photo credit:

  • George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin – Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage
  • Villa Rothschild – 1 avenue Jean de Noailles, 06400 Cannes
  • Properties for sale: Michaël Zingraf, Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker
  • Terre Blanche golf club – 3100 Route de Bagnols en Foret, 83440 Tourrettes
  • La Palme d’Or – 73 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes

Olivier Bourrain

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