Cannes – the city of stars, glamour and luxury tourism. Along with the likes of Saint-Tropez, Nice and Monaco, Cannes is a favourite jet set for those looking for a holiday à la mode. Yachts, luxury cars, haute couture shops and private white-sand beaches contribute to the savoir-faire that is so characteristic of the elegant resorts of the South of France.
But there’s so much more behind the yachts and celebrity spotting. Cannes has that je ne sais quoi of a Mediterranean fishing village past that can still be felt in the historic streets. I thought I’d include a list of my favourite places in Cannes that don’t necessarily have to do with the luxurious and often out-of-budget character of the area. Let’s get ready and explore this charming French city, shall we?
1. La Croisette and its glorious beaches
Cannes is relatively close to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, just a 40-minute train ride from Gare de Nice Saint-Augustin to Gare de Cannes. With unmistakably fresh air and warm Mediterranean climate, there is a reason Cannes is loved by so many.
The glamour and wealth of the city is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. You can feel it from the glorious white-sand beaches and palace hotels, to the casinos and haute-couture boutiques dotted along Boulevard de La Croisette. Palm trees run along this 3km long curved promenade, once walked down by iconic stars from the 1960s such as Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly. Still a major attraction up to this day, it’s now home to luxury shops such as Dior, Chanel, Yves-Saint-Laurent or Cartier.
Beaches in Cannes
Beaches are divided in sections with public and private areas. The latter are, unfortunately, exclusive to guests of the luxury hotels along La Croisette. Unlike the public beaches (Plage du Midi), which are free and only offer minimal services (bins, occasional lifeguard), private beaches such as Carlton Beach (part of the Carlton Hotel) offer a variety of paid services. These include lockers, sun loungers, waiters, lifeguards and showers.
Don’t miss the opportunity to grab a cocktail and enjoy the view overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Sam and I treated ourselves to some lovely drinks at Le 72 Croisette. This outdoor terrace is fondly known as The Gutter Bar by attendees of the Cannes Lions festival. The place often becomes so crowded during the event that tables go all the way to the street (or the gutter)! Hotels often have their own bars here too. Watch out for Le Bar L’Amiral at Hotel Martinez (next door to Le 72 Croisette) and Carlton Bar at the Carlton Hotel.
Le 72 Croisette | 72 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France
2. Le Suquet, Cannes’ old quarter
The medieval district of Le Suquet sits on the top of a hill overlooking La Croisette. With winding, narrow cobbled streets, it offers a completely different perspective of Cannes and the glamour of the marina below. In fact, the oldest buildings in the quarter are a reminiscent of Cannes’ history. Check out the Chateau et Musée de la Castre, a 12th Century castle of the Lérins monks. It was turned into an art gallery in 1952 and now holds collections of ancient artefacts and ceramics from the previous occupants of the region.
Keep your eyes peeled for the gothic Église Notre-Dame d’Espérance (Church of Our Lady of Hope) at the very top of the hill. This 17th Century church features a renaissance style porch and a square shaped romanesque bell tower with 109 steps. It has some of the most incredible panoramic views of the city and bay of Cannes.
The Église Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Voyage (Cannes’ central Church from the 19th century) at the bottom of the hill also has a gothic inspirited architecture. The land was where an old chapel from the 16th Century used to be.
3. Socca at Marché Forville
It’s safe to say Sam and I love a good market (just look at our guides to Oxford, Madeira, and Porto!). Naturally, we couldn’t resist adding this early 20th century marché in the heart of Cannes to our list. One of the most important markets in the area is Marché Forville. It has everything from fresh fish and produce (cheese, cured meat) to seasonal fruit, veggies, antiques and local delicacies.
It opens every morning from 7.30am to 1pm except Mondays. It’s also the supplier of choice to many of the restaurants in the region and often includes stalls with homemade dishes. Check out the Socca’nnes stall for a delicious Socca. This pancake-esque delicacy is made from chickpea flour and is cooked in an pizza-type oven. Soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside, it’s usually eaten with hands. Yum!
Marché Forville | 5-, 11 Rue du Marché Forville, 06400 Cannes, France
4. Glacier Vilfeu
My all-time favourite ice cream places in Cannes has to be Glacier Vilfeu. You can find it between Marché Forville and Palais des Festivals, just opposite Église Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage. It has this quirky American diner feel to it, which reminds mr of Grease. I was expecting John Travolta to jump behind the counter and ask for my ice cream flavour of choice! The best part is they have so many flavours and desserts that you’ll find it hard to resist ordering all of them. Ice creams, sundaes, shakes, sorbets, lollypops…the list is never ending.
More delicious ice cream can be found at Amorino, a short walk from Palais des Festivals.
Glacier Vilfeu | 14 Rue Bivouac Napoléon, 06400 Cannes, France
5. Palais des Festivals et des Congrès
The Palais des Festivals is perhaps the most famous building in Cannes. Despite its rather small size, Cannes gains worldwide visibility through major global events each year. Some include the world’s largest cinema festival (Cannes Film Festival) and the world’s biggest advertising and creative communications event (Cannes Lions).
The red carpet has been an iconic attraction of this building since December 1982. On this occasion, no red carpet was needed for us to walk up the stairs and feel the glamour of Cannes.
Palais des Festivals et des Congrès | 1 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France
What’s your favourite part of the French Riviera? Have you been to Cannes before? If you really loved our post please leave us a comment and show us some love on social media using the buttons below
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I always thought the Cote d’Azur was way out of my price range but you’ve proved me wrong there! Looks beautiful.
Megan // https://pixieskiesblog.wordpress.com
Thank you Megan 🙂 x
I haven’t been to Cannes for years but reading your blog makes me want to go back! Great photos too as always with your blogs Such a colourful place.
Thank you for the lovely comment, Jane 🙂 x
Definitely putting this on my travel bucket list! Great post! Your photos are amazing!
Thank you so much! x
I badly want to visit Cannes so much. Hopefully I can go there soon. Such a beautiful written post, I love how you describe each places here. Looking forward to see more of your travel posts. 💖
Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Nicka! Let me know when you go to Cannes 🙂 x
Gorgeous pictures!! 😍 Cannes may have just climbed a bit higher on my ever-growing list of places to go. Great post!!
Awe glad to see you liked it! x
Im heading to Cannes next year so this will come in handy! – Bookmarked 🙂 x
Amazing! Hope you like Cannes 🙂 x
The market and the ice cream parlour will be my main target when visiting Cannes. Thank you so much for sharing and the photo’s are beautiful.
Awe thank you lovely 🙂 x
Ahh so many amazing top tips and spots! I love a good fresh fruit market too!
Thanks Claudia 🙂 x
These are great recommendations! Will have to check these places out sometime. The pics are lovely!
Thank you so much 🙂 x
Great suggestions! I haven’t been to Cannes yet but it is definitely on my list!
Thank you! x
Cannes is such a beautiful place and I would love to return one day but it always seems so out of reach budget-wise! It’s nice to see a list of things that are a little more affordable!
Thank you, Milenka 🙂 x
Wow, what a gorgeous place! I would so love to visit one day.
Please do so! x
Great list and lovely post!
Thanks Savannah 🙂
Wow, I really need to visit that market. There is nothing better than loads of fresh fruit, it’s my idea of heaven.xx
I agree, markets are amazing 🙂 x
Great post! Cannes looks stunning and is another place in France that’s definitely a must-visit. Its worthy of sending a friend or family postcards of
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures
Thanks Johnny! x
Seems like a great place to add to the travel list. Thanks for sharing!
Cannes looks absolutely gorgeous! So great you had a lovely time, you’ve made me really want to go now!
Thank you so much, Lon 🙂 x
I’ve only been to Cannes once but didn’t get to properly explore but I’d love to go back one day, especially after reading your post!
Serena / http://www.ramblingsofanotherunigraduate.com
Thanks Serena x
Great blog, I also love visiting the markets and having local food where I travel! Thanks for sharing such a good mix of food, fun and history!
Thanks Rheannon x
Oh wow this looks like an amazing place to visit! Thanks for letting me travel vicariously through your pictures! What flavour was that ever so bright icecream you had?
This is awesome thank you! I think it must have been mango, I am more of a fan of fresh fruity ice creams! x
Such a great detailed post! It’s definitely going on my travel bucket list.
Wow thank you so much Emma! x
Wonderful suggestions, I would love to visit Cannes and the rest
of French Riviera. So many things to explore..
You absolutely should, and now you have all the recommendations! x
Great post! I especially liked imagining a young John Travolta popping out of corners to ask questions about ice cream :). Cannes looks absolutely amazing and very charming. Thank you for sharing!
Hahaha thank you Savannah!
I’ve always have wanted to visit Cannes but have put off because it’s too expensive, the same with Monaco. I’m glad to know there are cheap and affordable options. As it looks super beautiful! How much did you pay for accommodation?
I’ve been to Cannes twice in the last two years and trust me, it can be affordable if you want it to be! I would recommend airbnb-ing, it gives you a more homely perspective of the place and there are really nice gems out there! I also have an affordable guide for Monaco – check it out! https://blushrougette.com/travel/european-destinations/things-to-do-in-monaco-on-a-budget/
This post is so interesting because it’s not a side we see of Cannes very often. Le Suquet looks super beautiful and the market would have me in there for days! The ice cream also looks delicious 😍
Thanks so much Ellie! Cannes is so much more than the Cannes Film Festival and definitely a place to add to your bucket list! x
This was such a cute post. And, omg, why does it look like a diner?! I would definitely go to Cannes for a trip after reading this.
That’s awesome, thank you! I hope you get to visit soon and experience the best of Cannes in person! x
How pretty! I really need to revisit Cannes and Cote d Azur, it is such a beautiful and charming place. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Thanks Janja! x
Cannes will definitely be on my list as I’ve always wanted to attend the film festival and so love the tips that you have provided. I have only been to Nice and Monaco along the Riviera before!
Thank you so much for your comment! I would definitely recommend Cannes as it’s a lovely place to explore in the French Riviera. I’ve also been to Nice and Monaco, and Cannes is very close to them, so definitely one to look out if you’re around! I hope that you’ve found my spot useful and has inspired you to explore more of the beautiful south of France x
Looks like such a beautiful place, I hope I get to visit one day. A great post! xx
Thank you so much Megan! Cannes is definitely a place to add to your bucket list. I’ve been twice myself and I always find something new to do there! x
Years ago as a student I went to Port Grimaud on the Riveria. We could see Nice in the distance but knew it was out of our league. Part of me still thinks it is, along with Cannes, but obviously not! Thanks for the lovely suggestions!
It might not seem that way, but you can certainly explore Cannes on a budget! Definitely worth stopping by and exploring x
Cannes looks so gorgeous! As soon as I saw your first picture of the giant gazebo area, I was like wow 😍 I love the pictures, made me want to go on a beach vacation.
Grislean | gemlesschosen.com
Thanks Grislean! I love a black vacation too! Cannes should definitely be on your list x
I stayed in a resort near Cannes years ago but I don’t think I actually went into the city – I’d love to visit Cannes at some point and tick off some of the places you’ve mentioned!
You absolutely should! I’ve been to Cannes twice so far and I keep on rediscovering it x
Cannes has been on my bucketlist for so long! It looks like an absolute dream! Thanks for sharing this wonderful guide. x
It’s beautiful out there – I’d definitely recommend Cannes for a quick weekend escape! x