Cannes is one of the most famous cities on the French Riviera, the place where the world’s rich and famous come to play and generally lord it over the rest of us. The Festival de Cannes (aka the Cannes Film Festival) is its marquee event, but this is a city that exudes luxury all year round.
Partake in some retail therapy at the high-class shops all along La Croisette, try some frogs’ legs at a fancy restaurant or see where the stars stay and take in the art-deco grandeur of Hotel Martinez. Whatever you decide to do, Cannes is not the place to leave your credit card at home. Although, you may wish you had done so when you get the bill.
Cannes Top 10
10. La Croisette This palm tree-lined avenue – or catwalk really – is known for gorgeous beaches, cafés and shops most of us can only dream of frequenting.
5. Palais des Festivals Home to the Cannes Film Festival. Get your picture taken on the steps leading up to the entrance and pretend!
9. Le Suquet Let cobbled streets and old architecture transport you to a less celebrity-obsessed time.
4. Marché Forville Experience fresh French food at its finest at the Covered Market.
8. Notre-Dame d’Esperance Right at the top of Suquet Hill, but the views are spectacular and the 19th century paintings inside aren’t too shabby, either!
3. Tour du Masque This 12th century tower is said to be haunted by a mysterious ‘Man in the Iron Mask’.
7. Molinard Home to famous perfume bottles and some of the world’s finest fragrances.
2. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence See how the locals lived from prehistoric times to now.
6. Plages du Midi Most Cannes beaches are private, but Plages du Midi isn’t. Say no more.
1. Vieux Port Smack bang in the centre of town and a great place to drool over some seriously swanky yachts.
- Russian Orthodox Church – This intricate historic church is easily recognizable by the blue “onions” capping its spires.
- Castre Tower – Overlooking Old Town, this castle was built by monks in the 11th century to protect the port area.
- Ile Saint-Honorat – The second largest of the Lerins Islands is home to Cistercian monks who have been inhabitants since 410.
- Notre-Dame de L’Esperance – This Gothic church was completed in 1648 and has an exceptional collection of 19th-century artwork and statues.
- Il Sainte- Marguerite – The largest of the Lerins Islands is home to Fort Royal, where the “Man in the Iron Mask” was imprisoned.
Cannes Art & Culture
- Cannes Film Festival – Held in mid-May, this international film festival draws the famous and beautiful.
- La Malmaison – Part of the original Grand Hotel complex, the beautiful gardens display modern art exhibitions.
- Cimetière du Grand Jas – This landscaped cemetery overlooking the bay is the final resting of the famous and not-so-known.
- International Fireworks Festival – Held in late July, fireworks become art in this amazing feat of pyrotechnics.
- Espace Miramar – This cultural centre contains a concert hall and large room with rotating visual exhibits.
- Le Suquet – Souvenir shops and eateries are not the only destinations along this historic quarter’s famed winding roads.
- Marche Forville – A well-known covered market held in the mornings and early afternoons offers fresh foods that can be sampled and purchased.
- Rue d’Antibes – Gucci, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Hermes and other luxury brands can be had in stores along this road.
- Rue Meynadier – This street is often a refreshing bargain alternative to the higher-priced luxury avenues.
- Galerie Gray d'Albion – A fabulous shopping centre filled with boutiques and cafes.
Cannes Gay & Lesbian
- Parad’x – A store to get discreet necessities, such as intimate toys, gadgets and undergarments.
- Disco 7 – Everyone is welcome at this cabaret, where there’s always a party going on (from midnight to 7 am).
- Sauna Le 9 – A clean and discreet multi-age sauna.
- Plage de la Batterie – Sunbathe at this gay nude beach.
- Le Night – A popular dance club in the centre of town is open Wednesday through Sunday nights, with regular themed events.
- Cannes Beach – The public beaches in Cannes are perfect for relaxing and people watching.
- La Croisette – This waterfront boulevard about 2km long along the coast of the Mediterranean is lined with shops, bistros and hotels.
- Grand Villas – A glimpse into historical Cannes, these architectural landmarks are great for sightseeing from the outside.
- Square Verdun Roserale – Enjoy the flower-lined paths of this city park at the east end of the Plage de la Croisette.
- Aquatica – Slip down a water slide and practice pirate lingo at the massive amusement complex with a cool pool but sometimes gaudy decor.
- Dive and experience the underwater caverns and cliffs in the Golfe Juan.
- Play tennis at one of more than 130 courts in Cannes.
- Watch yachts crowd the Old Port during the Regates Royales every September.
- See professionals golf at tournaments held at the Royal Mougins Golf Club.
- Watch horses and riders on display at the Stade des Hespérides.
The Cannes Shopping Festival takes place in April and includes fashion shows, gala dinners and, yes, shopping.
May’s Festival de Cannes sees the stars gather to watch a load of other stars’ films and drum up some publicity for their own.
The Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique in July and August sees teams from around the world combine fireworks displays with music. It’s a magical setting for some pyro magic.
The Pantiero Festival takes place in August on the roof of the Palais des Festivals. Features the best new music and after-parties that go on until sunrise.
The Cannes Dance Festival comes around every two years in November and December. Moving stuff (ho ho)!
When To Go
Cannes’ Mediterranean climate is one reason for its popularity, enjoying good weather year-round.
May to September sees 12 hours of lovely warm sun – which the beach lovers literally soak up.
A constant sea breeze ensures the temperatures remain pleasant even in the height of summer.
A particularly convoluted one-way system makes driving a nightmare even if you have spent a year’s wages hiring a convertible Mercedes for the afternoon. Walk instead and get your body in shape without resorting to the plastic surgery you’ll see everywhere you go!
An efficient bus system will get you from A to B, but we can’t imagine you’ll see too many celebrities taking this option.
Rent a motorcycle from Columbus International and explore Cannes and its environs in sexy style!
When one event labels you as a city, the challenge to redefine and broaden your appeal can be quite the uphill battle. Thankfully for Cannes, there is much to see and do outside of the world famous Film Festival.
Prime location on the Côte d'Azur will do that. Opulence and up-market luxury have become distinctive traits of the Riviera jewel, one of the choice destinations of the jet set since the Belle époque. It may take a lot of Euros to live well in Cannes but for the most part, a few days here is adequate to see it all.
If you like the beach, Cannes is a good place to be. The busy summer season marks the arrival of tourists en masse. While some beachfront property is under the domain of luxury hotels, there is enough sand to go around. For a prime spot however, you may need to take a long walk in order to escape the oppressive crowds.
La Croisette is the main drag in Cannes. With beach and Mediterranean scenery galore, the thoroughfare is full of cafés, restaurants, hotels and shops.
The old quarter of La Suquet provides Cannes with some authenticity and charm. The Musée de la Castre has some of the best artifacts from the Mediterranean world while the 12th century Chapel of Ste-Anne has a wonderful collection of musical instruments.
The Lérins Islands, just off the Riviera coast near Cannes, have some superb attractions in a monastery that dates back to the year 410 and the fortress where the mythical Man in the Iron Mask was held in 1687.
Quartier des Anglais, or the English Quarter, has some of the best architecture in the Côte d'Azur. Grand estates from the 19th century line the streets and echo the immense wealth of Cannes.
The Cannes Film Festival has been the most important film festival in the world since 1939. The highlight of the city calendar takes place in May. Despite a recent commercial aspiration and explicit Hollywood vibe, the festival is as influential as ever.
The Palais des Festivals in Cannes plays host to a wide variety of events throughout the year. Every January the venue comes alive with the Cannes Shopping Festival, a fashion-themed event that combines runway shows, workshops by top designers and awards.
Printemps des Musées is a cultural festival that offers free entry to museums in and around Cannes.
A spectacular Fireworks Festival in July draws as many as 200,000 spectators.
With a Mediterranean climate, Cannes enjoys prototypical beach resort weather.
- Winter (December to February) 4-13°C
- Spring (March to May) 7-20°C
- Summer (June to September) 13-27°C
- Fall (October to November) 8-20°C
Cannes On Wikipedia
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