Cannes France A Top French Riviera Destination
Cannes is a splashy resort city on the French Riviera, and when most of us think of it we think Hollywood celebrities and film festival glam.
But. While the Cannes Film Festival is a 12-day star-studded extravaganza in May, there are loads of fun things to do in Cannes year round.
Every time I visit Cannes I find more to explore. And, as the South of France is one of my main beats as a travel writer, Im here quite a lot, staying in everything from a convent to glam 5-star hotels.
Ive also taken plenty of day trips from Nice to Cannes, and yes, you can see Cannes in a day. As this walkable city is right on the train line, its also a good base for exploring other French Riviera destinations.
That said, lets have a look at the top Cannes tourist attractions to see.
The Other Side Of The Promenade De La Croisette
There are two sides to La Croisette, however. Literally. Cross the street to the Mediterranean side and the boulevard is transformed into a lively beachside promenade complete with palm trees, beaches, food stands, playgrounds and bright blue chairs pull one up, sit back and watch the scene.
Youll even find the cheery sight of a carousel, so its a great place to hang out in Cannes with family.
Palais Des Festivals Et Des Congrs
The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès is the venue for the Cannes Film Festival. Designed by the architects Bennett and Druet, the building was completed in 1982 and is used for events, conferences, music concerts, and festivals throughout the year.
The Palais des Festivals is an impressive complex of buildings, including numerous auditoriums with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. A modernization project was completed in 2015, which included enhancements to the famous entrance staircase and the seating of the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumiere. The foyer was also renovated it is now brighter and more spacious.
Address: 1 Boulevard de la Croisette, Cannes
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Purchase Some Local Fruit And Flowers From Marche Forville
Without exploring the local markets and spots of Cannes, thisone-day itinerary would certainly be incomplete. When youre in Cannes you must visit Marche Forville, an absolutely lovely market with loads of beautiful flowers and fruit.
During morning hours, Marche Forville is full of vendors, visitors, and even street photographers.
Address: 6 Rue du Marché Forville, 06400 Cannes, FranceCost: FreeOpening and Closing Hours: 07:30 am to 01 pm
Cannes Things To Do Off The Beaten Track: Visit Le Cannet
If youre spending just one day in Cannes, you probably wont be able to fit this in, but if youre looking for things to do near Cannes the average tourist wont see, consider a trip to Le Cannet.
This artsy town is basically a suburb of Cannes. It was home to the renowned artist Pierre Bonnard, who was a leading light when art was moving from Impressionism to Modernism.
Things to see in Le Cannet include the Bonnard Museum on the Boulevard Carnot. As well, there are a number Bonnard-inspired walks you can do in the lush landscape behind. Grab a brochure detailing the various walks at the Cannes Tourism Office and head for the hills.
How to get to Le Cannet: Its a 30-minute walk from Boulevard de la Croisette straight up the Boulevard Carnot or take Bus Number 1.
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Visit The Palais Des Festivals Et Des Congrs
Palais Des Festivals et Des Congres is one of the iconic landmarks of this city that you really should visit at least once. The reason is simple this fabulous auditorium is the place where the annual Cannes film festival takes place. You can also book a guided tour that tells you about the significance and historical background of this place.
Address: Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, 1 Bd de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, FranceCost: $4.40 per personOpening and Closing Hours: Open 24 hours
Where To Stay In Cannes
Being a world-famous tourist destination, Cannes offers the best accommodation facilities to all its guests. You will find luxurious stays to budget-friendly options, from villas to hostels, you choose easily whatever fits your budget. Here are some of the best places to stay in Cannes.
Five Seas Hotel
1 rue Notre Dame, Cannes City-Centre, 06400 Cannes
If youre looking for a luxury stay in Cannes, you wont find a better place than the Five Seas Hotel. Not only is its location fantastic, just a few steps from the beaches and very close to Palais des Festivals, but you will also be able to enjoy its rooftop bar and pool, as well as incredibly luxurious rooms. An amazing view, spa, and other five-star amenities are also included, of course.
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Charter A Yacht Book A Cooking Class Or Take A Street Art Tour There Are So Many Unique Things To Do In Cannes
Once a tiny, quaint fishing village, today Cannes is one of the most glamourous destinations on the Côte dAzur. This compact town is packed with designer boutiques, fancy restaurants, and beautiful seafront hotels and beaches, providing everything you need for the perfect summer getaway. Its time to don your shades and rub shoulders with the rich and famous in Frances glitzy Riviera playground!
Think of Cannes and you inevitably think of the movies. In May each year global movie stars flock to the city to celebrate one of the most important film festivals in the world. However, theres more to this city than meets the eye, and if youre looking for unusual and unique things to do in Cannes, you wont be disappointed. From street art tours to cooking classes, there are plenty of awesome Cannes activities that will help you see a different side to the city.
Ready to start planning your next adventure but not sure what to do in Cannes? Im here to help! These are some of my favourite unique things to do in Cannes.
Are You Planning A Holiday To Cannes Last Minute
Below are some of the best Cannes tours, hotels, and more!
Dont leave for Cannes without travel insurance!
- SafetyWing, our trusted travel insurance policy for long and short trips , covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and since April 2021, unplanned quarantine is covered, too.
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Admire The View From La Croix Des Gardes
Located on a hill overlooking the city behind the Suquet neighborhood, La Croix des Gardes is a Sensitive Natural Space nicknamed the green lung of Cannes. Indeed, the large forest park of the Croix des Gardes constitutes a unique reserve for the fauna and flora of Provence and a great place for short hikes or to enjoy the view.
The Markets Full Of Flavors And Colors
For an authentic gastronomic journey, you cannot visitCannes without visiting one of the markets. If you walk through the city, it will be difficult to distinguish locals from tourists.
But here you will definitely have the opportunity to do that.
The most famous market is Marché Forville. However, there are others just as charming.
Prices are higher than those youre used to when buying vegetables in general. Youll see some examples in the photos below.
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Promenade De La Croisette
La Croisette is the main boulevard, 3 km long and runs parallel to the beach. This promenade has two walking directions, separated by an area full of exotic vegetation.
Walking along the promenade is a fantastic opportunity to see all the luxury shops and hotels, the chic cafés and restaurants and the people in Cannes. From young lovers, who come here in their holidays, businessmen and street animators to international celebrities and locals.
Les Nuits Musicales Du Suquet In July
Les Nuits Musicales du Suquet is an annual classical music festival that runs for one week in July. Taking advantage of the balmy Côte d’Azur weather, the open-air event is held outside in the courtyard of the Eglise Notre-Dame d’Espérance.
This world-class festival stages large symphonic concerts, as well as solo performances by violinists, pianists, and vocalists. The festival presents a varied program of classical music, with performances ranging from Chopin piano concertos to Mozart orchestra pieces.
Address: Parvis de L’Eglise Notre-Dame d’Espérance & 1 Place de la Castre , Le Suquet, Cannes
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Popular Types Of Attractions In Cannes
Stand Up Paddle Board To The Lrins Islands
Take to the water and get a glimpse of Cannes from a different point of view atop a SUP board, which can be rented from Cannes Stand-up Paddle during the summer months.
With flat water and minimal wind, the Bay of Cannes is ideal for a paddle-powered adventure.
Traffic conditions permitting , we recommend setting off towards Île Sainte-Marguerite, the biggest of the Lérins Islands lying just off the coast of Cannes.
As you paddle near the coastline, keep an eye out for the impressive Fort Royal perched on the edge the fortress is steeped in history, most famously for holding the Man in the Iron Mask captive back in the 17th Century.
Psst: if you fancy visiting Île Sainte-Marguerite more extensively and without the paddle board grab a cheap as chips ferry ticket online in advance and explore the place fully!
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A post shared by Grégory Orsini on Apr 21, 2019 at 10:03am PDT
Île Saint-Honorat is the second largest of the Lérins Islands, known best for its ancient monastery. The monastery, named the Abbey of Lérins, is home to a community of monks whose history on the island dates back to the fifth century.
But its not all history. Theres also booze, people!!
The monks have been cultivating their own vineyards for more than 150 years now, and visitors can sample their wines and spirits while there.
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Climb To Eglise Notre
Cannes has plenty of Gothic-style churches, but Eglise Notre-Dame de lEspérance is one of the noted churches in the world. This 15th-century church is situated on the top of the old town of Le Suquet. Among travelers, Eglise Notre-Dame de lEspérance is quite popular as it offers breathtaking views of the old town of Le Suquet.
Explore The Nearby Islands
Another way to experience Cannes is to visit one of the beautiful islands nearby. Only fifteen minutes by boat, these islands are just as fascinating as Cannes itself.
Visit the scenic Sainte-Marguerite, known for its pristine beaches, the Maritime Museum, and the eucalyptus forest.
Theres also the St. Honorat Island, which used to be occupied by monks.
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Stroll Along La Croisette
La Croisette is Cannes answer to Nices Promenade des Anglais a wide pedestrianised walkway lined by sandy beaches on one side, and glitzy, glamourous boutiques on the other. Stretching for over three kilometres along the dazzling blue Mediterranean coast, and lined with palm trees, La Croisette is the place to see and be seen in Cannes.
At the western end of the road youll find the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, home of the Cannes film festival, so dont miss the opportunity to take a red carpet photo on the iconic steps! An after-dinner stroll and a spot of people-watching on La Croisette is one of the most popular things to do in Cannes at night.
Go For A Hike In La Croix
Just over a kilometre from the bustling heart of Cannes lies a vast estate, comprising over 200 acres of forest. Known as the lungs of Cannes, this beautiful natural reserve is a lovely place for a walk, with aromatic eucalyptus and cypress trees, several kilometres of trails, and some of the best views out over the coastline and the city.
At the centre of the park is the famous chateau, once used as a filming location by Alfred Hitchcock in To Catch a Thief, starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. This is a lovely place to escape to for a breath of fresh air.
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Travel Tips And Resources
Travel Insurance: I never leave home without travel insurance. My personal opinion is if you can afford to travel, you can afford to buy a travel insurance. All things can happen while on the road and you can never be too sure. And it’s something that you’ll be glad to have when you need it. For my preferred travel insurance, I use Safety Wing.
What To Wear: If you want some ideas on what to pack for France, check out this packing list guide for France.
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Hi, Im Christine a full-time traveler and career woman. Although Im from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries and lived in 4 continents in the last 10 years, including France. A self-proclaimed Francophile, I love everything France.
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Take A Food Tour Along La Croisette
When in France, do as the French do and learn about the history of some of their most iconic dishes! There are a number of different food tours offered in Cannes that will take you along La Boulevard de la Croisette, the citys most famous street. On these tours, youll learn about the origins of dishes like ratatouille and bouillabaisse, and get to taste some of the best food that Cannes has to offer.
Youll also get to visit some of the citys most popular restaurants and food shops, and learn about the history of some of Cannes most famous chefs. These tours typically last around 3 hours, but youll leave feeling like a real expert on French cuisine!
On this 3-hour food tour of Cannes, youll stroll down the Boulevard de la Croisette and explore the citys vibrant food scene and learn about the history of some of its most iconic dishes. Youll visit a variety of different restaurants and food shops, and get to taste some of the best food that Cannes has to offer. This is a great way to experience the culture of Cannes and learn about the citys culinary traditions!
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French Riviera Discovery Flight
Theres no better way to see Cannes than from up above!
This family-friendly activity will allow you and your kids to embark on a private plane tour.
Your unforgettable flight will take you around the Lérins islands and Esterel massif.
As you fly above the French Riviera, your expert pilot will discuss the scenic sites below.
All flights are operated by the flight sharing platform, Wingly.
Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.
A Lazy Day On The Beach
If youre trying to decide what to do in Cannes, why not just hang out on the beach? Cannes has some of the best beaches on the French Riviera, and theyre definitely the place to see and be seen, making them one of the top things to do in Cannes.
Cannes has both private and public beaches. The private ones are closer to the main street and can be expensive, while the public ones are more natural and have fewer amenities. Check out Carlton Beach for waiter service while you enjoy the sun, Long Beach for events, or Plage de la Bocca for a glimpse of everyday life in Cannes.
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Have A Drink At One Of The Big 3 Luxury Hotels
Considering all the stars that hit up Cannes for the festival, youd expect nothing less than extravagant 5-star hotels, and this lively French Riviera city delivers. If youre looking for Cannes things to do jet-set style, dip your toes into the opulent surroundings of a luxury hotel on the Boulevard de la Croisette.
Here are the top three:
InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel
The famed InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel is undergoing a facelift , but you can still catch a glimpse of its iconic domes from the street and visit their beach club for some seaside refreshment.
Oh, my gosh, I had a hilarious evening out at the Carlton Hotel during the film festival once.
Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic
Maybe a champagne cocktail at the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic? The plush Fouquets Gallery Bar Cannes is hard to beat. Sit at the bar if youre in the mood to chat it worked for me.
Opened in 1929, the Art Deco Hôtel Martinez rounds off this trio of top Cannes hotels. Now part of the Hyatt brand, its got a 2-star Michelin restaurant, La Palme dOr, which is one of the best restaurants in Cannes.
Stroll Along The Boulevard De La Croisette
For a chill day in Cannes, take a leisurely stroll along La Croisette. This world-famous promenade is located right on the water and is lined with palm trees, luxury hotels, and high-end shops.
During your walk, youll get to people watch, window shop, and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery. Make sure to stop at one of the many cafes or restaurants along the Boulevard de La Croisette for a refreshment and to take in the stunning views of the water! One of my personal favorites is the restaurant La Voile Rouge, which has an outdoor terrace overlooking the water.
La Croisette is generally pretty calm and slower-paced, so its the perfect place to relax and unwind during your trip to Cannes.
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