Canua Island makes plans for a grand debut this spring

canua island

Canua Island, a floating party destination designed to anchor off the coast of the French Riviera and host up to 350 guests a day at its restaurant, bar and onboard pool, finally looks set to launch in May.  

The desired location for Marc Audineau and Tony Philp, who came up with the Canua Island concept more than four years ago, had always been the Bay of Cannes, but local officials were less than keen on the idea. 

In March of last year, the longtime mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, sent a letter to the then-French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, asking her to intervene in any way possible to stop the project in its tracks and prevent it from dropping anchor near the City of Film. 

Environmental concerns, worries about visual and noise pollution, fears over safety issues due to the bay’s busy pre-existing shipping lanes and unease with the lack of regulations for this type of development were all cited by the city’s councillors as factors to consider. The City Council ultimately came together to vote unanimously against Canua Island.  

See more: Canua Island: Cannes Council unanimously rejects floating party island

Canua Island’s management were forced to postpone a summer 2023 launch and instead prepared to have their case heard at the Administrative Court of Nice in August.  

The ruling went in Audineau and Philp’s favour, with an order coming down that the State must issue the required navigation permit. But this did not happen. 

In November, a second ruling affirmed that the decision of the State to withhold this permit was illegal. According to the Nice Matin, State officials had refused to issue the authoristations on grounds “absolutely unrelated to the safety of the vessel and for reasons linked to illegitimate instructions from the Secretary of State responsible for the Sea”.  

According to Le Figaro, Audineau claims that he and his partners are nothing more than the victims of a “political vendetta”. 

Canua prepares to cast off 

With the court rulings in hand, Audineau is reportedly preparing for an imminent launch. 

“We will operate from May,” he said in comments published by the Nice Matin. “We are in the process of recruiting.” 

A crew of around 100 will be needed to ensure the level of safety and service promised by the Canua Island team and its backers.  

Although no precise date in May has been confirmed, nor a specific location, Canua Island is currently docked in a shipyard in La Seyne sur Mer, where it is undergoing a series of maintenance works to ensure it is ready for a summer of sailing. 

The idea is that, in the future, Canua Island will welcome guests via tender for seven months of the year. The floating island will offer 1,750m2 of floor space, shared across a restaurant, rooftop bar and poolside deck.  

Its designers claim the vessel has a carbon footprint three times smaller than a Vendée Globe yacht, conserves 100% of its wastewater and recycle all waste materials produced on board, is equipped with a desalinator to limit its reliance on water supplies on land, and will maintains the upmost respect for the Mediterranean’s flora and fauna by anchoring in suitable places away from important seagrass fields.  


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Photo source: Canua Island