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A Guide to the Ultimate French Mediterranean Weekend getaway by A Professional Jewel Thief

STROLL! Leave the workweek behind when you join the glitterati on the seaside Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes. Study the comings and goings of bejeweled rich visitors who never heed the advice not to flaunt their shiny baubles. The bright sun spotlights the best-cut jewels but the heat can make your wig and prosthetic nose uncomfortable. Still, maintain your disguise, especially in this era of internet-connected law enforcement agencies. When we travel, we can be anyone we want to be!

STAY! Follow your marks to the five-star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. This luxury property has hosted the likes of Pablo Picasso, Madonna, and some of Interpol’s most-wanted. Among the luxuries of this exclusive 22-acre paradise, you will especially appreciate the rare wines and private terraces, as drunken guests forget to lock their in-room safes and then leave their veranda doors wide open all night to hear the sound of lapping waves. After casing the joint, drift off to sleep to the sound of an oscillating fan, as you are staying in the cramped staff quarters of your inside man and accomplice, a bitter private butler named Jean.

SIP! Sleep in on Saturday morning, if you can snooze through Jean’s noisy passive-aggressive preparations for work. Sure, he did you a solid by helping you break out of that Swiss prison but an 80/20 split on this job is more than fair, especially when you are taking all the risk. Amble to the seaside Champagne Lounge for a glass of bubbly and then check out the adjacent rocky cove where Jean has moored your escape boat. Your prosthetic nose prevents you from smelling the fresh sea air but as you recline in a private cabana you can practically smell your own success. Salut!

SWIM! Nothing matches the beauty of a full moon over the azure Mediterranean. Unfortunately, the bright beams get you noticed by hotel security as you escape across the rooftop tiles with your shimmering quarry. How did this happen? Jean promised to distract them with a high stakes game of petanque, one of the many leisure activities available to cap guests. As you dive into the sea to swim for your boat, you look over your shoulder and realize Jean is among your pursuers. Traitor! Travelling with friends, you really get to know each other!

STEER! Elude capture when you secretly double back to shore and hop in the backup car that you always have available in case of betrayal. Take advantage of France’s excellent road network and meander into the charming hill towns. It’s like you are Cary Grant or Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief but you are alone and wearing a soaking wet black turtleneck and trousers. Sometimes an unexpected change of plans is what travelling is all about!

SHOP! As dawn breaks, pull into the famous open-air market on the Cours Saleya, just a block from the sea in Nice’s Old Town. Delight in the scent of lavender, which will throw off any bloodhounds, as you assemble a new disguise from tourist t-shirts and swim trunks. Part of the fun of any holiday is shopping for souvenirs!

SAVOUR! Don’t miss a long lunch at Michelin two-starred Le Chantecler, a journey back to the golden age of French fine dining. Most tourists don’t know that the chef can be paid directly in diamonds and will allow you to eat in secret in the kitchen. Bon appétit!

SURRENDER! To the end of the weekend, that is. The casinos of Monaco beckon but you can’t trade hot diamonds for poker chips so head for that out-of-the-way meadow where painters like Cezanne once set up their easels but now unlicensed hot air balloon pilots wait to whisk you back to your villa in Croatia. As you sail over the glorious sunflower fields, you can plot your revenge on Jean. He has no idea what you learned in prison. One of the best parts of any holiday is planning what to do when you return! Au revoir!

Kate Hahn’s indispensable tour of privilege and modern luxury illustrated by Ariel Roman’s step-to-it guide

Kate Hahn is a freelance journalist and writes for The New Yorker, McSweeney's, Los Angeles Times and TV Guide. Ariel Roman is an artist and illustrator and one third of the design studio, HellaCrisis.