Cannes! The name itself is an invitation to dream. The sunny French Côte d’Azur, the beaches, and the International Film Festival. The Cannes-Mandelieu airport is located 5 kilometers west of the city and less than 500 meters away from the Mediterranean sea.
The airport has two runways. Because of sea breeze, 17 is active most of the time. If you come in early in the morning, you could get 35. The shorter runway, 05 / 23, parallel to the shore is used only under strong crosswind conditions on 17 / 35. It’s also much shorter.
There is a LOC / DME approach to runway 35 and you can often see VIP jets flying the circling to runway 17, which is one procedure with prescribed ground track. There are a lot of areas populated by rich, and influential persons and these must be avoided at any price. Because of the high terrain immediately to the north, the missed approach point is 2.5 miles on final, which means that no IFR approach is possible if the visibility falls below 5 kilometers. When sea haze come in, this can occurs witin minutes, so be sure to have an alternate destination which is not on the coast.
The approach service is done by Nice Approach. Whether you fly VFR or IFR, remember that Nice is the second most busiest airport in France, and Cannes lies below their airspace. You don’t want to bust in this airspace… If you had a look at the IFR departures, you saw the very long leg over seat at low altitude. If you fly north, expect radar vectors well before the published distance.
I flew four times there by Cannes Aviation, and I warmly recommend their services. They operate a fleet of DA40 and DA42. Even if I could never get my site qualification for La Môle with them, but as good as they are, they can’t influence weather.
There are three ways to get from the airport to Cannes city: taxi, bus, or a good walk. You can get a taxi directly in front of the Terminal. The bus stop is a few hunder meters from the airport and tickets can be bought directly from the driver. For details, visit www.busazur.com, unfortunately in French only. Going to Cannes walking along the sea front is a one hour walk. The first part is not really nice as you have to walk along the airport fence until reaching the beach, but then you’ll walk along the beach all the way, until the International Film Festival Palace.
If you stay a bit longer, don’t miss an excursion on the Island St-Marguerite. You can take a shuttle boat from Cannes harbor. The crossing is 20 minutes long and then you can stroll along the Island and enjoy sea food in one of the Island’s restaurants.