Cannes – a beautiful coastal city located in the southern France. The world famous Cannes city is home to the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival Festival de Cannes) that held every year. Cannes is also known as a prosperous coastal city, a paradise of luxury hotels and restaurants as well as the venue for many major cultural festivals. Traveling to Cannes, visitors will have an interesting journey to discover the vibrant pace of life, attractive landmarks and many other unique cultural features. So, is Cannes worth visiting, what to do in Cannes and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Cannes for the first-time? Let’s check out our Cannes travel blog with the fullest travel guide to Cannes (Cannes travel guide, Cannes city guide, Cannes France travel guide, Cannes guide, Cannes visitor guide) from how to get to Cannes, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit, what to eat and top things to do in Cannes to find out the answer!
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This legendary resort town has all the charm and glamor of the Côte d’Azur: Private beaches, harbor filled with luxury yachts, boulevards brimming with style, elegant hotels and trendy restaurants. The world famous Cannes is known as a home of the most famous film festival. It was truly a European city, where Britain and Italy established and began to develop into leisure resorts with yachts and harbours. Today, it is home to the one of world’s most prestigious film festivals, which is held every year, and many world stars are coming for their vacations.
Cannes travel blog: Overview of Cannes
It is not easy to get a grand and bustling Cannes city as it is now, but Cannes had to go through a long period of change to get where it is today. Thousands of years ago, Cannes was just a small fishing village, under the rule of the Greeks and then the Romans, many times attacked by Muslims and pirates before returning to France. It’s a small, secluded place that no one knows about. In 1834, the English aristocrat – Lord Brougham (once prime minister of England) visited here and he was captivated by the cool climate, azure sea water with clear blue sky and beautiful scenery here. He built a house so that in the winter, he went there to rest and avoid the cold of the foggy country.
Currently, Cannes has more than 70,000 settlers. The city of Cannes is famous in the world for its Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions. This is a city of luxury and splendor. Cannes is famous for the most beautiful hotels in France. This city also has beautiful beaches, monumental architecture and many special festivals.
After that, many British nobles, imitating Lord Brougham, came here in turn to build houses and reside in the winter. Over time, from a fishing village, Cannes developed into the beautiful city as we seen today. Cannes is not only a tourist city, but also a cultural and artistic center, where many international festivals take place, the most important of which are the Music Festival in January and the Film Festival in May every year. Cannes attracts a lot of artists, painters and writers who come here to live and create. International conferences continuously take place here. This city is bustling all year round, day and night.
Cannes France travel guide: When to come?
Cannes is a tourist city. Therefore, this place is always crowded and bustling. A good time to come here is in spring, early summer or early autumn. At this time the weather is still warm and the city is less crowded. It will be easy for you to visit and explore the city.
In general, you can visit Cannes at any time of the year. However, the best time to visit Cannes is in the summer. In the summer the weather is not too hot, the climate is always cool, it rarely rains, so it is quite convenient for visitors to hang out, sightseeing, bathing or take part in outdoor activities.
In addition, you can consider to come here during major festivals and events as follow.
Cannes Film Festival
Especially if you come to Cannes in May every year, they will have the opportunity to attend the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival, where many world-famous movie stars gather. However, if going around this time, the price of services in the city will increase by 30% compared to other times. Therefore, you should consider the right time to have a favorable trip.
Cannes Film Festival is one of the best international film festivals on the globe, attracting the attention of the public worldwide. At this time, the city seems to be dressed in a sparkling and beautiful beauty of world famous movie stars.
Fireworks festival in the summer
In the famous tourist cities of France, Cannes is like a charming paradise when summer comes, the journey is more sparkling thanks to the summer fireworks festival. In July and August, Cannes Bay is lit up with spectacular fireworks displays from all over the world. The fireworks festival dates back to 1967. The winning fireworks team will be honored with a Vestal award at the end. In particular, tourists can vote for their favorite and most impressive team.
Le Suquet Musical Festival
Nuits Musicales du Suquet is an annual classical music festival that takes place for a week in July. Taking advantage of the mild Côte d’Azur weather, the event often held outside in the courtyard of Notre Dame d’Espérance. This world-class festival hosts large symphony concerts and smaller solo performances by violinists, pianists and singers. The repertoire is varied and shows classical music from Mozart to Chopin.
Cannes travel guide: How to get to Cannes?
You can fly to the city of Cannes via the Nice Cote d’Azur airport. This is a fairly large international airport and on average each year this airport welcomes about 10 million passengers to France.
From Nice to Cannes
Cannes is also a good place to make a day trip from Nice. If you want to spend a night in a luxury hotel or shop in the upscale boutiques of Boulevard Croisette, but otherwise, it is also possible to visit this beautiful city for a day with an overnight. Here are some options for getting there:
Intercity train or known as TER. Take about 10 stops from Nice Ville to Cannes train station.
Price: about €7
Time: about 30 minutes
Take bus number 200 from Cannes via Antibes. This bus runs every 20 minutes, we do not recommend taking the bus because it takes a lot of time but it is a good way to save money.
Time: about 1 hour 30min
Cannes city guide: Getting around Cannes
Popular means of transport include bus, subway, bicycle or walking is also a good suggestion.
- Bus: Buses are convenient if you are traveling short distances. The downside is that moving is quite slow which takes a long time.
- Metro: Cheap, fast travel speed. Only about 1.70 euros/ticket, 10 tickets cost 12 euros. Suitable for moving to places in a certain area.
In addition, Cannes also has a ferry and a modern high-speed train system. As a seaport city, traveling by ferry in Cannes is very easy. A tour of Cannes by ferry takes only about 1 to 2 hours.
The high-speed train system here is the TGV train specializing in transporting passengers moving from Cannes to the main cities of France and moving within the city. You should book tickets online in advance to get a cheaper price than buying directly.
Tips: You should not rent a self-driving car here because parking fees in Cannes are always in the top of the most expensive cities in the world.
Cannes travel blog: Where to go, what to do in Cannes & top things to do in Cannes
La Croisette Boulevard and Palace of Festivals and Congresses of Cannes
The boulevard runs along the coast with a length of 9km. The largest and most beautiful street is called La Croisette, on which there is a building named after the Palace of Festivals and Congresses of Cannes (Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes), where the annual International Film Festival takes place. My first thing to do when I came to Cannes was to take a photo in front of this building as a souvenir. In the past, it was the casino of the city, heavy architectural style, looking nothing special. When they built a new casino in the south of the city, this building was converted into the Palace of Festivals and Congresses of Cannes. It’s not just dedicated to cinema, but it’s also home to all sorts of festivals and conferences.
The Croisette is now a popular avenue lined with prestigious shops and luxury hotels that have made up Cannes’ history, including the Carlton, Martinez and Majestic. This most famous street has all the luxury brands of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Celine and Valencia.
Leaving the Palace of Congress, we walked along La Croisette boulevard to the south. Unlike the beach in Nice with only pebbles (galet), in Cannes is a very beautiful golden sand beach. Rows of palm trees run along the boulevard, behind are luxury hotels.
Behind the modern look of Cannes city, there is also an old town located around the Suquet hill. The scenery here is very quiet, tranquil, in contrast to the noisy and busy life of Cannes on the coast. This is an old village that still retains the ancient architecture with a 22 meter high watchtower. On Suquet Hill, standing next to the old city wall, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Cannes below. The streets here are winding, narrow, uphill and downhill like many other villages along the blue coast. On the balconies of houses with rustic wooden windows, there are colorful flowers, most of which are mimosa, the flower chosen as the symbol of Cannes.
The district Le Suquet represents the original fishing village. The hill of “Suquet” is where the city of Cannes began to be built. In a picturesque hillside setting, the area offers exceptional views and a bygone era charm. Le Suquet has retained the atmosphere of the last century. In the city of Nice, in the castle area, you can see a different face from the luxurious entertainment city of Cannes.
Occasionally, a beautiful small yard with an old iron fence and a faucet next to the wall appears, looks really dreamy. Leaving Cannes, if you continue your journey to the west, you will pass through three beautiful villages (also three towns) of Saint-Raphael, Sainte-Maxime and Saint-Tropez. The most famous is Saint-Tropez, the jet-society classes often gather here to relax and resting, the rich in the world also race to buy houses here.
Half a century ago, in 1956, French director Roger Vadim chose the settings here for his film And God Created Woman (Et Dieu créa la femme), featuring the young girl Brigitte Bardot (B.B for short) to the position of a famous movie star around the world. Saint-Tropez is also the setting of most comedies starring comedian Louis de Funès (1914-1983).
Address: 67 bis avenue de Vallauris, All. du Parc Fiorentina, 06400 Cannes, France
Hours: 2–5PM/Saturday, Sunday: Closed
Built in 1894 by Count Vitali, Chapelle Bellini was once part of a Florentine villa and set in a beautiful park. Under the design of the Count, the chapel has an Italian Baroque design with an impressive clock tower and exquisite wooden stairs inside. The chapel was purchased by the artist Emmanuel Bellini in 1953 and later used as his church. The Bellini Chapel is now a museum dedicated to the artist’s works represented in his own gallery space.
In Cannes, visitors can book for a cruise out to sea and visit the island of Sainte-Marguerite. This island is 3km long and 90m wide. In addition to the beautiful scenery, the island of Sainte-Marguerite attracts visitors because it has a fortress that once imprisoned a mysterious prisoner named the Iron Mask (Le Masque de Fer) for 11 years.
This fortress was built in the early seventeenth century by order of Cardinal Richelieu, under King Louis XIII. This is a small fortress, built in Vauban architecture, located on the tip of the island overlooking the sea. The lower floor of the fortress is a prison, divided into cells to keep prisoners isolated. The Iron Mask was imprisoned here for 11 years (from 1687 to 1698), then was transferred to the Bastille in Paris and died in 1703. Visitors are led to see the cachot where the Iron Mask was imprisoned. There is also a chain used to bind him. The story of the Iron Mask has been the subject of many historical novels, films and television series. You can Google it to learn more about the mysterious character.
Notre-Dame de l’Espérance
Address: 1 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes, France
Perch atop Le Suquet, resplendent with picturesque views of the city, Notre-Dame de l’Espérance is the most striking church in Cannes. Upon entering the church, visitors are struck by the interior and the height of the Gothic dome. The church is also a mix of architectural styles, including a Renaissance. There is also a cemetery that dates back to the 16th century.
During World War II, the church was temporarily used as a hospital. Today, the church is still sacred worship place. In July, the square in front of the cathedral is illuminated and becomes an outdoor venue for the Nuits Musicales du Suquet, a classical music festival with a week of performances under the stars.
Port town of Grimaud
Grimaud is a beautiful lakeside town located between Cannes and Saint Tropez. This town is likened to the “Venise of Provence”. In 2001, UNESCO also recognized this town as an architectural heritage of the 20th century. Coming here, visitors will be able to visit many ancient architectural works, long-standing historical sites and soaking themselves in water of beautiful beaches. The most beautiful beach here is Pampelonne. This beach is always full of people. From Russian billionaires, famous movie stars come to this beach every year.
Address: place mariejol, 06600 Antibes, France
Hours: 10AM–1PM, 2–6PM/Monday: Closed
The Picasso Museum in Antibes street with a beautiful location on the coast. They invited Picasso to stay for six months in 1946 and when he left he left 23 paintings and 44 drawings to the town. It’s an opportunity to see some amazing artwork of a genius painter.
Castre Museum (Cannes travel blog)
Address: 6 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes, France
On a hill overlooking Cannes Bay, the Musée de la Castre occupies a medieval monastery, now classified as a historic site. Visitors can climb to the top of the building to capture a 360-degree panorama of Cannes and its surroundings. The museum’s courtyard is also an ideal place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. The museum collects and displays a collection of antiquities from this region along with primitive pre-Columbian art.
The Musée de la Castre is situated on an ideal hilltop location. From here, Cannes tourists can overlook the most beautiful beaches in France. This historic site was originally the medieval castle of the monks of Lérins.
La Malmaison Contemporary Art Museum
Address: 47 Bd de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France
The La Malmaison Museum housed in the Grand Hôtel’s games and tea rooms, built in 1863. These rooms were used for art exhibitions organized by Aimé Maeght in 1945 and converted into a museum by the city of Cannes in 1983. This small museum displays contemporary art. The museum hosts two major exhibitions annually dedicated to famous artists who found inspiration in the Côte d’Azur, including Picasso, Matisse and Ozenfant. Other internationally renowned artists featured in the museum’s collections are Paul Cézanne, Miró and Masson.
Referring to Cannes is indispensable for fine sand beaches, warm Mediterranean sunshine. Of which, visitors can go to Lérin and Estérel beaches, stretching about 7 km in Cannes. Note, some beaches are privately owned, the rest visitors are free to experience.
Macé or Zamenhof, located near Boulevard de la Croisette, will charge a fee for loungers and parasols. The attraction of Cannes is also lies in quiet beaches such as La Bocca, Mouré Rouge beach… Or Les Rochers is an ideal place for diving and many other attractive sea sports.
Parallel to La Croisette Avenue, inland is Antibes Avenue. This is the commercial center of Cannes with many high-end restaurants and shops. There are many Chinese restaurants here, after walking around the streets, we just pulled here without fear of being burned out our wallets because the price is cheaper than eating at Western restaurants.
Antibes Street is a shopping paradise where you can find relatively affordable brands or famous cosmetic brands in France. Today, all major international brands names are found in Rue d’Antibes. You can also admire its architectural, with buildings from the 19th century.
Vieux Port de Cannes
Address: Jetée Albert Edouard, 06400 Cannes, France
Vieux Harbor is symbolic of Cannes’ Mediterranean landscape. This attraction is located in the famous old town Le Suquet. This place is also known as Port Cannes I, not far from the Marine railway station built in 1957.
The old port opens under Suquet. There are several luxury yachts here. In the morning, the colorful Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market) is held here. Vieux is the peaceful anchorage of many luxury yachts in Cannes. This is the starting point of the Royal Regatta cruise. The northern view of Vieux is as perfect as the Allées de la Liberté.
Going to Cannes, you can also leisurely take a cruise to see the sea as well as the whole city from afar, or board a boat to explore the offshore islands. Cannes is fame for its many beautiful and historic islands. The very well-known one is the Lérins Islands, consisting of two separate islands, in the center of which is a narrow strait. On the island, there are many mysterious ancient churches and monasteries.
Plage Le Goeland
As a unique seaside resort town, Cannes also has high-end private beaches that require an entrance fee of €12 to €18. There are a few cafes and restaurants on the private beach, where you can lying on sun loungers under parasols and sipping drinks and eating cool ice-cream.
Cannes travel blog: What to eat?
Cannes cuisine is not as subtle and sophisticated as Paris cuisine, but brings many distinctive features of the Mediterranean region. This place is famous for dishes such as ratatouille, pissaladière, herbs, olive oil, and special spices.
Some famous restaurants in Cannes are: La Palme d’Or, Paloma, Villa Archangel, Le Park 45.
Below are some special dishes you should try when coming to Cannes.
Socca, a type of pancake that originated in Nice and the Italian coast. This type of cake cooks very quickly, its price is cheap.
This is a classic French fish soup from the Provençe region on the Mediterranean coast. Traditional bouillabaisse is made with a variety of fish and seafood, such as rascasse, red mullet, spiny lobster and crab.
Pan Bagnat is a sandwich. It is a specialty of this city. The sandwich consists of raw vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, anchovies or tuna, and olive oil, salt and pepper.
This is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Foie gras is sold in a whole, or made into mousse, parfait or pâté. It is also seen as an accompaniment to other dishes, such as steak. Foie gras belongs to the cultural and culinary heritage of the French people.
Cannes travel guide: Where to stay?
La Californie (Agoda, Booking): This beautiful space of Cannes is the epitome of French Riviera charm. Wonderful resort villas surrounded by the cool air of palm trees. An afternoon walk with your loved one under the romantic sunset of Cannes. Maybe visitors are even more surprised when Picasso, the famous Spanish painter and sculptor once live here. It is also understandable that the poetic space of La Californie has inspired great art to so many great artists.
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel de Provence (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Barriere Le Majestic Cannes (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Martinez (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Le Cavendish (Agoda, Booking)
- La Bastide De L’Oliveraie (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Splendid Cannes (Agoda, Booking)
- Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel Cannes (Agoda, Booking)
- Okko Hotel Cannes Centre (Agoda, Booking)
Cannes city guide: Some notes before you go
- Cannes uses the Euro. You should bring cash, including small coins to easily buy bus tickets and pay for food and drinks. You should limit the use of credit cards because the fees are very high.
- You should be wary of pickpockets or snatching while sightseeing. When going out, do not bring too much cash or valuables.
- Cannes city is quite small, visitors can completely walk to enjoy the beautiful scenery here.
- It is not recommended to rent a self-drive car in Cannes because the parking area and parking fees in this city are very high.
If you come to Cannes in winter, you need to prepare warm clothes because the winter here is very cold.
- The cost to attend the Cannes Film Festival is very expensive, so you can choose to participate in free festivals but with Cannes style and colors to have interesting experiences.
Traveling to Cannes has never been so easy. If you want to have a vacation in Europe, this will be the great city for tourists. The picturesque natural scenery, breathtaking coastline and small streets nestled around the hillsides are sure to offer an unforgettable experience.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Cannes you can refer to
- Cannes Walking Tour
- Private Walking Tour in Cannes
- Cannes, Antibes and Saint Paul de Vence Village Half Day Tour from Nice
- Monte Carlo By Night: A Romantic Evening Tour from Nice, Cannes, or Monaco
- The Historical Nice City Half Day Tour from Nice, Cannes, or Monaco
- Cannes, Antibes & St-Paul de Vence Half Day Tour from Nice
- The Best of the French Riviera Day Tour From Nice or Cannes
- French Riviera Bays and Billionaire’s Splendors 4-Hour Tour from Nice
- French Riviera Full Day Tour from Nice
- From Cannes: Round-Trip Ferry to Ste. Marguerite Island
- From Nice: French Riviera in One Day
- Cannes: Round-Trip Boat Transfer to Saint Tropez
- From Nice or Cannes: Monaco, Monte Carlo & Eze Half-Day Trip
- From Cannes: Discover the Calanques of the Esterel
- Cannes: Half-Day Catamaran Cruise with Lunch
- Cannes: 4-Hour Boat and Snorkeling Tour
- Cannes: 1 or 2-Hour Segway Tour
Read more France guide here.