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Visiting Cannes – A City Guide
Best known for the international film festival which takes place every May, Cannes is a lively, glamorous destination attracting visitors throughout the year. The city is proud of La Croisette, a ritzy beachfront boulevard home to top-end shops and landmark hotels. Cannes also boasts a rich history and cultural heritage worth exploring.
Cannes: city layout
Cannes life centres on Vieux Port, home to fishing boats and billionaires’ yachts. Ringed by bars, restaurants and the Palais des Festivals, the port is home to the Cannes Film Festival. You can visit the tourist information office here before strolling along La Croisette, lined with chic boutiques, palm trees and beaches. The Rue d’Antibes offers designer and mainstream shopping.
A short walk to the west is Le Suquet, a hilly district originally home to fishermen’s cottages. Nearby are the popular public beaches and leafy La-Croix-Des-Gardes district. Medieval Le Cannet is a few minutes by bus or taxi to the north.
Top attractions in Cannes
Outside the famed Palais des Festivals you’ll see the famous Allée des Stars – Cannes’ ‘walk of fame’, where icons like Sophia Loren and Sylvester Stallone have left handprints. You can buy an ice cream and soak up the glamour of La Croisette, or relax on one of the private beaches. Art lovers can browse the contemporary collection at Malmaison art gallery.
For a taste of history, explore the narrow streets of Le Suquet and the 19th-century paintings at the Musée de la Castre. The Notre-Dame de l’Espérance church offers panoramic views over the coastline.
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Hotels in Cannes
Cannes has a range of accommodation to suit every budget and style, whether you are looking for high-end glamour in an iconic hotel on La Croisette or want to kick back and relax in the quieter La Croix-des-Gardes district.
Visitors looking for a luxury break close to the elegant designer boutiques, high-end restaurants and private beaches will want to book into one of Cannes’ world famous hotels on the La Croisette boulevard.
The tranquil La Croix-des-Gardes district is located on the other side of Le Suquet. This quiet, residential area sits beside the relaxed public beaches off the Boulevard du Midi. La Croix-des-Gardes is also the greenest part of the city. You can stroll along winding paths through the neighbourhood’s leafy natural park, only a few minutes from the bustle of the beach.
Eating Out in Cannes
Cannes boasts a wealth of dining options to suit all budgets. You can opt for seafood and Mediterranean classics in friendly bistros or indulge in the full five-star dining experience. Alternatively, enjoy fresh food straight from producers at Cannes’ busy markets.
Diners are well catered for in the many restaurants on La Croisette, around the Vieux Port and along the Boulevard du Midi. With their ocean views, these are great destinations for lunch on a terrace or watching the sun set over a glass of wine. For more exclusive eateries, head to the Carré d’Or, or ‘golden square’, in the streets between La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes.
For traditional fare, explore the steep streets of Le Suquet, which are dotted with intimate restaurants that often betray the Italian influence on Cannes. A short walk from the Vieux Port is the Marché Forville, where you can buy baguettes, goat’s cheese and olives from local producers for a beachfront picnic.
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Shopping in Cannes
Cannes has a unique blend of high-end shopping and vibrant local markets – perfect for window shopping, people watching and browsing for stylish clothes and gifts to take home.
The first stop for the shopaholic is La Croisette boulevard, which boasts an impressive selection of upmarket stores. The nearby Rue d’Antibes and Rue Hoche feature both exclusive boutiques and high-street brands. The Galeries Lafayette department store is on Rue du Maréchal Foch.
To get a feel for the region, the Cannes markets are a great starting point. Les Allées de la Liberté hosts a daily flower market and an antique market on Saturdays. Marché Forville market has a wide selection of stalls selling fresh food. Marché Gambetta and Marché de la Bocca sell everything from clothes to local crafts.
Best gifts to buy in Cannes
Culture & Nightlife in Cannes
The Cannes cultural highlight is the international film festival in May, when the global movie industry descends on La Croisette. Art, music and a vibrant nightlife around the Vieux Port also make Cannes an exciting year-round destination.
Art lovers can head to the Malmaison contemporary gallery on La Croisette. The Musée de la Castre in Le Suquet hosts an interesting collection of ethnographic art. When not hosting the film festival, the Palais des Festivals stages art exhibitions and large-scale theatre productions.
After dark, La Croisette and the nearby Carré d’Or, or ‘golden square’, become a stylish night-time playground, with a chic crowd gliding between restaurants, clubs and the city’s three casinos. Le Baoli is Cannes’ most exclusive nightclub. Bars around the Vieux Port and Boulevard du Midi offer lively, and more affordable, nights out.
Cannes cinema culture
Visiting Cannes with a Family
The whole family can unwind on Cannes’ extensive beaches, with safe, supervised swimming. Its green parks and the winding streets of Le Suquet are great for open-air exploring, while boat trips from the port offer sightseeing, fishing and ocean dips.
There are two major beaches in Cannes, along La Croisette and the Boulevard du Midi. Much of the beachfront alongside La Croisette is taken up by private clubs, where you can enjoy a long lunch or dinner with sea views. The relaxed public beaches along the Boulevard du Midi are a great spot for beachfront games.
For a fun day out, catch a boat from the Vieux Port to the Lérins Islands. The 15-minute trip offers panoramic views of the Cannes coastline. Here, you can visit the 15th-century monastery on Île Saint-Honorat, and the Musée de la Mer on Île St Marguerite.
Best family attractions in Cannes