Cannes travel guide

Cities and towns

About Cannes

Cannes in Provence Côte d'Azur is a stylish city, famous for the Cannes Film Festival, that sits on France's sunny south coast.

Known world-wide as a city of class and elegance, Cannes has been a popular tourist spot since British and Russian royalty made it their winter destination of choice in the 19th century. Following WW1, Cannes became a summer destination too and the prestigious Cannes Film Festival was devised although it did not take place until after WW2. With pleasure boats moored in the marina all year round, Cannes is always the place for glitz and glamour. Walk along the pavement of the stars and match your handprints to those of the rich and famous. Or, see the stars for real at the Cannes Film Festival in May. You may not know about Cannes' more ancient history, of the Liguerians who settled here in protohistoric times, the neolithic early iron Age settlers that followed and the Roman naval base that was built on the Lérins islands just off the coast. With the rise of Christianity in the 5th century, an abbey was built on the Ile St Honoratus, named after the abbey's founder, where St Patrick is said to have studied before he returned as a missionary to Ireland. 25 Cistercian monks still reside on the island today but you can visit the old monastery and buy some of the wines grown in the island's vineyards. Its sister island next door, Ile Ste Marguerite, has its own claim to fame as the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned in the Fort Royal for over 10 years. You can still visit his tiny cell though the rest of the fort itself is now the Musée de la Mer, a museum of the sea containing underwater finds from Roman and Saracen shipwrecks.

Cannes' museums are great if you want to spend some time away from the modern razzle-dazzle, especially the Musée de la Castre in the ruins of the medieval castle. Inside you'll discover art from Oceana, the Himalayas and the Americas including pre-Columbian ceramics, a collection of musical instruments from all over the world and 3 rooms dedicated to Provencal and local paintings from the 19th century. Don't forget to take the 109 steps up to the top of the 12th century tower for a fantastic view of the city and islands. If you're feeling lucky, why not visit one of Cannes' prestigious Barrière casinos of La Croisette or Les Princes or the modern Palm Beach casino right out on the headland? Admire the 19th century grand villas inspired by various styles from medieval castles to Roman villas. Wander the warren of streets that is Le Suquet, Cannes' old town, which was historically the home of the local fisherman and has many great restaurants. And enjoy ad tour of the city or of the Palais de Festivals et des Congrès where the Cannes Film Festival is held. There is also ad walk around the city which you can follow if you'd rather go it alone. Port Canto, was the first private marina in France and is home to some very fine boats and yachts and you can hire boats here with or without a sailing permit. The city also has much to offer those looking for activity whilst on holiday with sports such as golf, tennis, or pétanque, a form of bowls, as well as spas and thalassotherapy to relax and rejuvenate. Whilst the film festival is Cannes most well-known event, there is also an International Yachting Festival and the Royal Regatta in September for those who love sailing.

A shopping mecca, La Crosiette is a 3km stretch of designer shops including names such as Armani, Cartier, Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and many more. The streets of Rue Hoche and Rue des Etats are full of hairdressers and home decor shops whilst on the Rue d'Antibes you'll find some great high street shopping. If you're looking for great food and drink, try the specialist food and wine shops on Rue Meynadier selling Provencal specialities such as cheeses and olives, or visit La Bocca which has a village character and a wonderful Provencal market. Cannes' main market, the Forville Market is an excellent farmers' market and flower market that also has an antiques section from Saturday to Monday. The many different restaurants in Cannes will always have something to suit your mood whether you are looking for gourmet Michelin-star dining or lunch in a brasserie, local delicacies or world foods, especially polynesian flavours. In the evening, enjoy a drink on the the terraces before listening to some live music or DJ's into the night.

Why visit Cannes?

  • The Cannes Film Festival
  • The Lérins Islands
  • Shopping
  • Food and Drink 

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Provence Côte d'Azur
  • Department: Alpes-Maritimes
  • Population: 73,000
  • Coordinates: 43.555515,7.015946

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

Famous for hosting the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival, the Palais des Festivals sits on the east side of the Old Port in Cannes. The festival is held annually in May but if you can't make it then, you can still take a...

Running parallel to the Cannes shoreline, La Croisette is a popular promenade lined with famous international designer brands including Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Valentino and Cartier.

Just a 15 minute boat trip from Cannes, the Île Ste-Marguerite is an island that is just off the coast and is home to the Fort Royal, where the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask is said to have been held.

With collections showcasing works by Raffaelli, Monet and Renoir, as well as sculptures by Rude and Rodin, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice is well worth a visit.

Places to visit nearby

Nice in Provence Côte d'Azur is one of France's most populous cities and is a glorious seaside resort on the Bay of Angels.

St Tropez in Provence Côte d'Azur is a sophisticated resort that is popular with the European and American jet set.

Marseille in Provence Côte d'Azur is the second largest, and the oldest, city in France and is situated on the sunny south coast.