Cannes

Travel guide - Cannes

One of the French Riviera’s most popular destinations, Cannes is a crossroad between nature and the culture of the Midi region. The peaceful elegance of Cannes can be felt from the benches of the Croisette boardwalk to the narrow streets of the Suquet neighbourhood. Watch the sun’s rays reflecting off the waves from one of this festive city’s 48 beaches.

Cannes: markets and sequins

The essence of Cannes is embodied in La Croisette. The legendary walkway is as famous as the city itself. As you stroll along, you will discover the French Hollywood Boulevard where so many film stars have walked, from Pedro Almodovar to Brigitte Bardot. With the sun gently caressing your cheek, you may have a hard time believing that until the middle of the 19th century this area was nothing more than a marsh. The boardwalk takes you past important pieces of film history, such as the Palais des festivals et des congrès. Each year, many of cinema’s biggest stars climb the stairs to this building, holding their breath as they await the results of the film festival’s prestigious awards ceremony. The romance between Cannes and the film industry dates back to 1946. It is a beautiful adventure blending art and elegance, which you can prolong by stopping at the Carlton to contemplate the magnificent Belle Epoque facade of this temple to luxury - and why not treat yourself to a drink while you’re here?

The origins of Cannes’ elegant lifestyle

Behind the ostentatious Belle Epoque style of its grand hotels, you will find Cannes’ old town and the origins of its elegance: le Suquet. Make your way through the luminous, narrow streets of this neighbourhood nicknamed Mont-Chevalier until you reach the fortified citadel. This area is home to many monuments, such as the square tower, a former portcullis tower whose stairs you can climb to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes. To delve deeper into the city’s history, visit the Fort Royal of Sainte-Marguerite Island on the seaside. This important piece of Cannes’ history originated in the 17th century, when the first fortifications and a State prison were built. The man in the iron mask was held captive in this fort, which was later improved by Vauban.

Cannes: land and sea

Like the rest of the French Riviera and the city’s own palm tree-lined Croisette boardwalk, Cannes offers a splendid natural environment that you can enjoy all without leaving the sight of the city. Whether on the beach or atop the hills inland from the city, the deep blue sea stretches out before you as far as the eye can see. While you’re visiting, don’t miss the Parc de la Croix-des-Gardes, above the city centre. Walk along the dirt paths of this scrub-covered hill to reach a remarkable vantage point overlooking the city. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the terrestrial beauty of Cannes, it’s time to discover its nautical side. When the weather is nice, you can dive into the navy blue waters on the other side of the Bay of Cannes, in Théoule-sur-Mer. The inlets of La Pointe de l’Aiguille are particularly worth visiting.

You can taste the sunshine in the food

In such a charming environment, it hardly comes as a surprise that Cannes is also home to magical places designed to let you fully enjoy local specialities in a sumptuous setting. But you have to know where to look. Saint-Honorat Island and its Lérins Abbey, found behind the île de Sainte-Marguerite, is a perfect place to sample the wine made by local Cistercian monks. It is a gourmet experience that you will appreciate both for the flavours and for the symbolism: this is the setting for the legend that would eventually lead to Cannes adopting the palm tree as its emblem. Back in the city, another picturesque gourmet experience awaits you: fresh fish at the market. Head to the Pointe Croisette neighbourhood, where you can taste freshly-caught fish roasted over a wood fire. It is an authentic experience that gives you a true feel for the south of France.
For decades, Cannes has been synonymous with images of glamour, prestige and a certain idea of French frivolity. This reputation is confirmed from the top of the citadel to the wide open boardwalk of the Croisette, from the tucked away beaches to the islands of Lérins.

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