The Cannes/La Napoule airfield
The time-keepers' pavilion and the signalling mast. (1)
The airfield was situated in the commune of Mandelieu-la-Napoule,
around eight kilometres west of central Cannes. It covered more than
fifty hectares of the plains bordering the river La Siagne. The
position was favourable, since it was sheltered from winds by the
Estérel mountains. The field was close to an existing golf course and
polo field and was served by trains and trams. During the meeting even
a special bus line was arranged.
The marshy parts had been drained by means of several kilometres of
drain pipes, the trees cut down and the low points filled with
thousands of cubic meters of earth transported in from the
neighbourhood. The little stream La Théoulière, which crossed the
field, was covered by boards over its entire length. The work, which
was financed by a 40,000 francs grant from the City Council, was
carried out, within budget limits, under the leadership of Léon
Spinabelli. The restaurant was operated by M. Navello of the
"London-House" restaurant in Nice. Those who wanted a simpler
meal could buy a picknick lunch from the "buffet populaire",
which was ran by MM. Robin and Gaziello from the "Eldorado"
and Pierrugues and Giraudy from the "Pavillon des
The French Wright licensees Ariel used the field for their flying
schools already from April 1909.
For the races, an oval course with a width of 100 metres had been
marked up. Its length was given as 2,327 metres, but when checking on
maps it is obvious that this must be the outer periphery. The inner
periphery was around 1.75 kilometres.
Today there is no trace left of the airfield. A large part of it is
actually under water, covered by the huge Cannes Marina complex, which
has a capacity of more than 1,700 boats.
The plan of the airfield from one of the meeting programs. North is
at around two o'clock.
A superb shot of Molon flying over the southern end of the line of
hangars with the Massif de l'Estérel in the background. From the
left to the right it's the hangars of Sands, Edmond, Frey,
Crochon, Rigal and Gaubert. (2)
The line of hangars seen from the south. Although still without race
number, Edmond's Farman can be recognized by the monoplane rudder
and long-span elevator. (3)
Van Riemsdijk in his Curtiss above the three grandstands. The
building to the left is the buffet. (4)
A close-up of the grandstands. The finish line and one of its marker
pylons can be seen at the right. (3)
Too see more details, open the maps in Google Maps by clicking the
"full screen" symbol at the top right of the menu bar!