Cannes, Provence: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Cannes in Alpes-Maritimes

Visit Cannes (Provence, France)

PHOTO GALLERY MAP & PLACES TO VISIT

Cannes is an attractive coastal town and resort in the heart of the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean coast of south-east France.

Since the end of the 19th century, and perhaps even more so than any other Cote d'Azur town, Cannes is associated with the rich and famous. This is in part due to the prestigious annual Cannes Film Festival and its celebrities photographed here in the sunshine with a palm tree backdrop.

This image of the resort is not far wrong - Cannes does attract the jet-set and the rich and famous, and the city reflects it. In reality there is perhaps slightly less to see and do - beach and expensive bars and restaurants aside - in Cannes than in some of the other Riviera resorts, but the chance to walk in the footsteps of your movie heroes helps to compensate...

Explore Cannes

I should first say that despite the bad press given to Cannes in several French guide books we thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend a visit! Start your visit in the main harbour area in the centre of Cannes.

port and harbour in Cannes

Situated along the sea edge the harbour glitters with the reflections of the sun from the many yachts harboured here. Walk a bit further along this coastal section and you are on the famous Boulevard de la Croisette.

The Boulevard de la Croisette, along the coast in the centre of Cannes and as far as the southern tip of the Cap de la Croisette, is the central promenade in the town and 3 kilometres long between the town and the beach. You will also find the Cannes Tourist Office towards the western end of the boulevard.

The Palais des Festivals, location of the Cannes Film Festival, is on one edge of the boulevard and you too can have your photo taken on the famous steps of the Palais. Unfortunately they hadn’t rolled out the red carpet for us!

On the floor nearby you can see the tiles with the hand prints of famous stars such as Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis and hundreds of others. Called the Chemin des Etoiles ('path of the stars') these can be seen near the Palais des Festivals and along the Esplanade Pompidou as well as in the gardens here.

Continue down the Boulevard de la Croisette and there is a long sandy beach, though much is taken up by private beaches belonging to the expensive hotels on the other side of the road. All along the boulevard there are lots of designer shops interspersed amongst the hotels.

Just behind the Boulevard de la Croisette is the Rue d’Antibes which also has an amazing concentration of designer shops. It is a wide and pleasant street and a lovely place for a bit of window shopping, or real shopping if you are richer than us. There are also a lot more affordable shops here as well.

palm trees around Cannes portBack beyond the old port and harbour walk steeply upwards and on to the hill known as Le Suquet, the oldest part of Cannes. This is a very picturesque part of the town with narow streets and steep staircases between the ancient houses.

On the summit of the hill are the remains of a priory and the Chapel Saint Ann which is now home to the Musée de la Castre. The views from here over Cannes, and the harbour and beaches are fantastic.

Behind the rear of the old port the Allées de la Liberté is an attractive open space where the Cannes flower market is held. Keep drifting west from here through the old town to the main market, the Marche Forville, and narrow streets lined with boutiques full of things you probably can't afford.

After exploring the centre of Cannes we suggest you visit the gardens of the Champfleuri Park on Roi Albert Avenue de la Favorite. These extensive and beautifully maintained gardens contain a very wide range of garden styles and water features and were inspired by various gardens around the world.

Attractions

From Cannes you can take a 15 minute ferry ride to the lovely Isles de Lerins. One of these, the Island of Sainte Marguerite, once held a prison where the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was locked up.

Note: the 'man in the iron mask' was an unidentified prisoner detained for 30 years at the end of the 17th century. Forced to always wear a mask his true identity was never known, although he was said to be the illegitimate son or brother of King Louis XIV. He was immortalised in the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Also to visit near Cannes

There are various other Riviera resorts along the coast here, of which our favourite is Antibes to the north-east of Cannes and the chance to explore the Cap d'Antibes at the same time.

We also recommend you head north to explore the countryside. The pretty village of Mougins and the traditional Provençal town at Valbonne are both very enjoyable to visit.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Alpes-Maritimes guide and the Provence guide.

See also:

Map of Cannes and places to visit

Advertisements

Visit near Cannes with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Alpes-Maritimes

Tourist classifications

Cannes is classified as a village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*

Address: Cannes, Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence, 06400, France || GPS: latitude 43.5513, longitude 7.01275

Plan your visit to Cannes, Provence

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Abbaye de Lerins (Cannes): religious monument
  • Parc du château de la Napoule: remarkable garden (6km)
  • Jardin botanique de la villa Thuret: remarkable garden (10km)
  • Marineland d'Antibes: aquarium (12km)
  • Grasse: secteur sauvegarde (14km)
  • Jardin de la Villa Fort de France: remarkable garden (15km)
  • Gourdon: most beautiful village (19km)
  • Grottes de Saint-Cezaire: site of natural beauty (20km)
  • Parc Phœnix: zoo or wildlife park (21km)
  • Parc zoologique de Fréjus: zoo or wildlife park (24km)

Market days in Cannes, France

A seasonal market is held in Cannes on Monday.

Regular market(s) are held in Cannes each every day except Monday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Cannes (Francais)