Cannes, France Travel Guide

In this travel guide, you will learn why the city of Cannes in France is one of French Riviera‘s most popular towns. Everyone knows its links to the wealthy and the well-known.

It is full of luxurious hotels and restaurants, and the annual Cannes Film Festival is an unmissable event. But there’s more to Cannes than the red carpets and celebrities that attract many to this cosmopolitan place on France.

There is an authentic air that visitors enjoy as they cherish the charm of this Mediterranean city. Cannes mixes tradition and modernity to mesmerize many, from sheiks to nouveau-riche, to come and see its beauty.

This travel guide will show you the timeless glamour of Cannes, France:

Where “Cannes” We Find It

It is a city located in the Alpes-Maritimes region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Cannes is in the South-east part of France on the Mediterranean Sea it’s about a 45-minute drive west of Nice.

The name Cannes most probably came from the ancient word “canna” or canes of reeds once abundant in its shore.

A Mediterranean Climate

cannes travel guide

Enjoy eleven hours of sunshine every day during summer. Enjoy the mild (light jacket) weather in winter. The temperature reaches a high point of 30° C (86° F) on its long summer days from June to September. In winter, the temperature drops down to 10° C (50° F).

Rainfall in Cannes are relatively low in both seasons, and mostly occurs in October and November. You can enjoy warm spring and autumn days and nights.

Classical albeit Cosmopolitan

cannes old port, cannes (travel guide)

The trademark of this chic city is its glamorous festivities and events. The city has an insatiable obsession with evening gowns and red carpets because of the famous Cannes International Film Festival.

It is remarkably a “global village.” Its long-preserved culture rooted in tradition pairs well the delightful scenery of the Mediterranean.

The villas such as the Quartier des Anglais and Villa Domergue are some of the oldest residential areas in Cannes. Reflecting on the wealth and standing of their owners, they also testify to the inspirations from medieval castles and Roman villas.

The old town, “Le Suquet” was a Roman outpost in ancient times. Some remains are still evident along this section of the coast. If you want to escape the tourists, you should head here for a serene saunter through the scenic streets.

You can notice that locals favor walking or cycling rather than driving. To experience Cannes like a local, you can hire a bike and start peddling around.

Want to know more about the locals and how their world goes by? The markets are a sure spot, with local produce available every day. The Vieux (Old) Port is a place where local fishermen have sold their catch for centuries. The classical ambiance still makes Cannes a remarkable travel destination in France.

Landmarks Travel Guide for Cannes, France

Promenade de la Croisette

promenade de la croisette, cannes (travel guide)

This 2 kilometers stretch of golden sand, also known as the Promenade de la Croisette , is lined with palms and follows the whole curve of its picturesque beach. It’s the glamorous spot to see and be seen. The beach has cafés with striped beach chairs and broad sun umbrellas. Behind is the main promenade with various boutiques and designer shops. Elegant hotels line the other side of the street.

Vieux Port, Cannes’ Old Town Harbor

Take a walk through the Old Port of Cannes , where you can see moored yachts. You can hire them privately to tour the surrounding islands and other towns nearby. Colorful houses surround the port, and there are bars and restaurants serving fresh seafood. Follow rue St-Antoine until reaching the hills of The Old Town, the oldest neighborhood of the city, which gives a wonderful view of the bay.

le suquet, cannes (travel guide)

Le Suquet

“Le Suquet” is the “Old Town”, with climbing, winding cobbled lanes. It also provides a good view of La Croisette. It is the oldest neighborhood of the city, most famous for its rue St-Antoine and cobblestone lane with bars, restaurants, stores, and shops. It’s a maze of winding streets and steep stairways.

The Old Town overlooks the Vieux Port with tight roads that go up to the Tour de Mt-Chevalier and the Notre Dame de l’Espérence (built in 1684). It has wood panels and a large 19th-century painting collection. You can see through the town, the port, and the bay from the old rampart wall in front of the church. This is a very Instagrammable spot.

The Nearby Islands

If you’re in Cannes for more than a couple of days, take a ferry and visit the two nearby islands:

Île Sainte-Marguerite

ile st-marguerite, cannes (travel guide)
ile st-marguerite

This island is part of the Lerins Islands. The larger of the two islands, it serves as a fortress-prison for the infamous Man in the Iron Mask, whose identity remains a debate among historians. It now has a museum, Musée de la Mer, which houses discoveries from shipwrecks around the sea of the islands.

ile st-honorat, cannes (travel guide)
ile st-honorat

Île Saint-Honorat

It is the smaller of the two islands of Lerins. One of the most prominent of the structures here is the ancient abbey. Monks that are sworn to secrecy on their recipe for making Chartreuse-like liqueur called Lerina have lived here for centuries. These monks owned Cannes at the peak of their power.

Here is our complete guide to the islands.

Cannes’ White-Sand Beaches

This travel guide for Cannes will not be complete without the list of glimmering beaches around the coast of Cannes.

Unlike the pebbled beaches of other neighboring places, Cannes boasts white sandy beaches. Many beaches along the Riviera are private. But in Cannes, there are free beach sections. At the public beaches, you will still have the choice to rent a chair and umbrellas, but you’ll pay much less compared to private beaches. There is also an open area where you can lounge on the sand for free.

West of the old port is where you can find some of the best least-crowded beaches. Activities like canoe rides, snorkeling, stand-up paddle-boats, diving, and boat trips are available. The best beaches are:

la croisette beach, cannes (travel guide)
Plage de la croisette, Cannes

Plage de la Croisette is a long public stretch of sand running alongside the famous La Croisette.

On the west part is a public beach, Plage du Midi , with chairs and umbrellas, great mountain views, with other amenities and dining. It is near the Old Town where most people enjoy the friendly vibe of the area.

Another public beach along the bay of Golfe Juan is Plage de la Bocca . It offers swimming, sunbathing, volleyball, with nearby eateries. Its location is west around the bay from La Croisette.

bocca beach, cannes (travel guide)
Plage de la Bocca

Feeling hedonistic? Plage des Pierre Hautes is a public beach on Île Sainte-Marguerite where nudity is permitted.

Where to get starstruck

Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival celebrates mainstream and indie cinema. It happens every May, with celebrities, entertainments’ and media’s biggest names, and journalists walking their way up or down the red carpet.

palais des festivals film fest, cannes (travel guide)
Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès is the main home to the annual Cannes Film Festival. This striking building also hosts exhibitions and other events throughout the year.

Go down the famous La Croisette during the festival and you will definitely spot celebrities. Its home is the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, where the red carpet glamour happens in front of its Lumière Theatre.

Cannes Yachting Festival

The Yachting Festival gives everyone a chance to admire luxurious yachts and other super-crafts and boats on sale. Happens in two locations the Old Port and Port Pierre Canto, the festival attracts tourists on which half coming from overseas.

yachting festival, cannes (travel guide)

Don’t miss the people watching, celebrity spotting, and sight-seeing in La Croisette, Le Suquet, Le Marie (the Town Hall), and the Vieux (Old) Port.

feel the glamour

Mural paintings depicting years of cinema, Cannes
Mural paintings depicting years of cinema

Path of the Stars: Cannes has the handprints of famous movie stars on this sidewalk, similar to Hollywood. Find it right outside the Palais des Festivals.

Cannes Film Murals: Throughout Cannes, tourists can see 15 movie-themed painted walls portraying movies. One is close to the bus station that depicts the cinema’s 100 years.

Where to shop and eat

Chic Shopping in Cannes

The chicest and most opulent shops and boutiques are also here, making shopping (and window shopping) a favorite activity. Go to Rue d’Antibes or Rue Hoche and enjoy watching the super-rich buy their favorite branded trinkets. La Croisette also hosts some of the prominent French brands like Chanel, Dior, and Yves-Saint-Laurent.

The Market

Marché Forville , Cannes Market, is open from around 8 am to 12:30 pm this market is open daily. It is where to buy delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, seafood, flowers, olive oil, and more. This French open-air market is definitely the place to go shopping for your food while staying in Cannes, France.

Marché Forville, Cannes
Marché Forville, Cannes

Restaurant Row

Rue Meynadier in Le Suquet (the old area) is lined with restaurants. Many of these very local-style restaurants serve dishes based on fresh Mediterranean seafood like oysters, shrimp, lobsters, or crabs. There is a lot to choose from. Local bakeries have a large variety of buns and pastries. Cannes is also a haven for cheese and wine lovers.

More Places To See

Church of Our Lady of Good Voyage: Built on the site of an old church during the 17th century near the dunes, it is where the Cannes sailors came to ask the Virgin’s protection for a “good trip”.

Musée de la Castre: On the top of Le Suquet is this art and history museum. It has exhibits from archeological digs in the Mediterranean basin to ethnological finds and primitive art on all five continents.

La Malmaison: It is an art museum in the Croisette and holds three significant exhibits every year. In addition to internationally recognized artists of the 20th- and 21st-century, it frequently honors well-known artists such as Matisse, Ozenfant, and Picasso, who have been inspired by the beauty of French Riviera.

Of course, there are many more things to see and do in this chic Southern France city of Cannes. Other things to consider and places worth visiting are the numerous museums, casinos, parks, and gardens that always provide enjoyable and exciting activities. You will never have a dull day in this wondrous, timeless place of Cannes.