Famed for its Film Festival, its glitz and glamour and its world-class marina, Cannes is an A-list destination oozing French chic and Mediterranean style. With beautiful beaches and bustling boutiques, this picturesque former fishing village on the Cote d’Azur is a vibrant destination for celebrities and tourists alike. Despite its pricey reputation, some of this city’s best offerings are free, including its glistening waters, cobbled laneways and astonishing natural beauty.
To see this French resort town in all its glory, visit during May for its namesake film festival when the town and its people are buzzing with energy. The renowned Cannes Film Festival attracts film buffs, journalists and celebrities who swoop into town for premiers and red carpets aplenty. Take a wander along Promenade de la Croisette during the festival and indulge in the age-old sport of people watching and celebrity spotting.
Prefer something quieter? Head to one of the public beaches that run parallel to the promenade and enjoy a beach picnic and swim in the French Riviera waters. If culture is calling you, check out the historic neighbourhood of Le Suquet for quaint cafés and cobbled laneways aplenty. The oldest district in Cannes, this area offers an air of authentic provincial France and a glimpse into what Cannes was like before the glitz and glamour.
Eat and Drink
With a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, your only worry in Cannes is having too many options to choose from. When it comes to restaurants, even the more affordable spots can pack a pricey punch, so if you’re budget conscious intersperse dining out with casual meals of freshly baked baguettes and local cheeses.
Restaurants along Promenade de la Croisette will likely be the biggest, busiest and least budget-friendly, so head further back from the beachfront and keep your eyes peeled for cosy provincial-style restaurants that serve up French classics – the local bouillabaisse is a must-try.
After dinner, head to the cobbled streets of Le Suquet if you’re in the mood for an intimate drink, or to Carre d’Or for some livelier nightlife. If you’re feeling flash with the cash and a little bit lucky, the beachfront area is dotted with casinos.
Where to Stay
While the glamorous reputation of Cannes is certainly accurate and reflected in the amount of luxury hotels on offer, there are also some good quality mid-range places to stay. The ‘inner ring’ of accommodation close to the Palais des Festivals offers some great options, from holiday apartments and reasonably priced hotels to the epitome of luxury living at the city’s opulent 5-star resorts. Prices drop if you head out a bit further to Cannes La Bocca or Juan-les-Pins, but you’ll need to be organised in catching shuttle buses to the centre of town as taxis will set you back a fair few Euro.
There are two main options for shopping in Cannes: the La Bocca district and Promenade de la Croisette. La Bocca has greater diversity and boasts an authentic market-style atmosphere, while Promenade de la Croisette hosts big-name French brands including Chanel, Dior and Yves-Saint-Laurent, as well as luxury leather labels such as Gucci, Fendi and Ferragamo.
For a quintessential Cannes experience head to the ultra-trendy Rue Hoche. The height of French chic, this street is awash with restaurants, cafés and fashion boutiques. Held over Easter, the annual Cannes Shopping Festival at the Palais des Festivals offers fashion parades, exhibits and the chance to buy everything from high street fashion to haute couture.
Cannes Like a Local
Escape the major tourist haunts and head to Le Suquet for a quiet amble through the picture-perfect streets. The locals favour walking and cycling to driving, as it’s often quicker, so hire a bike and start peddling your way around Cannes. Be sure to stop by the markets to pick up a baguette and some cheese for your basket, of course.