A crowd of well-wishers and French politicians feted the recent expansion of the Jewish School of Cannes in a ceremony earlier this week.

The celebration outside of the renovated former printing house, which since September has housed the school's 30 students in Grades 1 through 5, drew attention to the region's only Jewish school outside of Nice, which officials cited as an example of private education gone well.

Rabbi Mendel Matusof, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Cannes, which operates the school, asserted that the new space, which was designed by renowned architect Bernard Espla, "is the nicest school in Cannes, completely modern and brand new. This is going to encourage many Jewish residents to send their children to a Jewish school."

Currently housed in one third of the building, the school – which together with its preschool was founded in 2000 at the Chabad House across the street – includes five classrooms, all equipped with computers. Future plans call for the addition of a computer lab and science lab, as well as for moving the preschool, which remains at the Chabad House, into the new building. Matusof said that he hoped to eventually add a high school, as well.

The airy design, which lets in an abundance of natural light, is conducive to learning, said Matusof. "Children feel very comfortable immediately when they come in."

The playground even features a giant chess-board floor, "because the students like to play chess," he added.

Students at the school, run by Tsherna Matusof, who together with her husband, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Matusof, directs the Chabad House, won a city-wide chess championship.

Cathy Fedida, whose three children – Alexander, 7, Benjamin, 5, and Anastasia, 3 – are students in the school and preschool, agreed. She also praised the light colors that bathe the walls.

"This new school looks like a doll house," she said. The adults "want to be children again, just to be able to be back in school."

Funding for the renovation and purchase of the building came primarily from the Dagul family of London in memory of Jenny Dagul, as well as from donors elsewhere in England and in Russia, Germany and the United States.

The inauguration ceremony included Mayor Bernard Brochand and Rabbi Yossef Yitschok Pinson, the director of Chabad Lubavitch of Nice who helped establish the school. In his remarks, the mayor remarked that the Chabad House "changed the city."