Height of fashion in Cannes: Inside Irish designer Liz Quinn's €850k French escape
31 rue louis perrissol Cannes, France €895,000
Fashion designer Liz Quin is selling her apartment in the old town of Cannes, known as Le Suquet, a residential area with proper markets and small restaurants that is a world away from the glitz and glamour of the Croisette.
"It's more boho chic up here," says selling agent Janet Carroll.
The 73sqm, three double-bedroom apartment occupies the fourth floor of an old building located just 100m from the beach and has magnificent views out over the Bay of Cannes from its large terrace. The designer says that one of her favourite things to do is sit there and watch the competitive displays of the annual international fireworks competition - synchronised to music - while sipping a glass of champagne.
Liz purchased the apartment 10 years ago when it was "operational, but hideous - a warren of small rooms". She took her time over the restoration, spending periods of time working on it each year, and bringing her passion for colour and craftsmanship to the interiors.
Much of the furniture and fittings were sourced on frequent trips to Marrakesh and Istanbul. The result is a home of understated, low-key luxury, with French oak floorboards, top-notch en suite bathrooms in black slate, and a large open-plan kitchen/living/dining area with concertina doors that open out onto the terrace. The apartment comes with its own garage and a separate storage area.
As anyone who has ever had reason to visit Cannes during the film festival will know, the prices of apartment rentals in the town reach eye-watering levels during the month of May.
Aside from the A-list stars, directors and big-shot producers who pitch up to promote the mega-budget movies screening in competition in the Palais des Festivals, the town is filled with other film types who aren't quite at the "penthouse suite in the Martinez" or "hide away at the Hotel du Cap and wait for the world to come to me" stage of their careers.
These are the people who shell out big rents for apartments within easy reach of the Croisette, and they are one of the reasons why property in the town is always a desirable investment.
And it's not just at festival time that rentals in the town are in demand - because at other times during the year the Palais plays host to other, less glamorous but no less lucrative, industries. Cannes makes its living as a trade show town for most of the year, and in the summer it is taken over by the very rich who come on their holidays - from Russia and the Middle East in the main - anchoring their superyachts in the bay and coming into town by launch to populate the terraces of the grand hotels.
"It is," says Liz Quin, "a living, breathing catwalk. There's nothing that I like better than to sit outside one of the cafés and watch the world go by."
Quin should know, of course, being no slouch when it comes to the fashion industry. She's had a successful career in the business since the late 1970s, when she and her business partner, Caroline Donnelly, opened their boutique, Ritzy, up near the top of Harcourt Street.
The pair went on to run the Quin & Donnelly label, and in recent years Quin has carved out a solo niche designing tailored clothes for working women "who want to look smart in a professional capacity".
These days she is branching out into other areas and satisfying a broad range of creative interests, such as food-styling for her friend Lynda Booth's cookbooks and getting more involved in interiors and gardening projects.
When Liz bought her apartment in Cannes 10 years ago, she was looking for somewhere that her children, who were then teenagers, would enjoy coming on holiday and spending time as a family.
"Back then, they would spend all their time at the beach, playing volleyball and swimming in the sea," she remembers, "and as they got older and bolder they gravitated more towards the nightclubs."
Nearby, Nice is one of the most accessible European destinations from Ireland, serviced by frequent flights with both Ryanair and Aer Lingus. The coach from the airport into Cannes takes just half an hour.
Now that both her children are living abroad, the apartment is getting less use and Liz is itching to take on another project, although she has yet to decide where that will be.
She says, however, that she will return to Cannes often, even when the apartment is sold.
"I have a great love of the place," she says. "There's something special about it".
Agent: Janet Carroll (01) 288 2020
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