Cannes is a world famous seaside resort on the Cote d'Azur, where the jet set likes to enjoy a luxurious life, and to watch and be seen. So around the cocktail hour you can encounter many familiar faces on the Boulevard de la Croisette. If you want to see the stars of the white screen in person, then it is best to go around the 2nd week of May, when the annual film festival is held, none of the stars of the moment will be missing. But Cannes is also to enjoy the beach, the beautiful weather, the nice terraces and the many restaurants with a wide variety of both cuisine and price, even if it is only for a day trip if you are in the neighbourhood.
Discover a selection of the most beautiful places and attractions in Cannes
Cannes is located in the department of the Alpes-Maritime, and is one of the most famous cities in the Cote d'Azur. At the site of present-day Cannes there already existed a settlement in the 2nd century BC, but the first mention dates back from the 10th century, from a place called Canua. The monks of the Lérins islands, situated opposite Cannes, also went to the mainland to protect themselves from Saracen attacks, and settled in the old Roman part of the Suquet. They remained there until the beginning of the 16th century. In the 19th century, Cannes was discovered by the English and Russian aristocrats, with the idea that the warm climate would have a positive effect on health, which led to the construction of luxury hotels. In the second half of the 20th century, Cannes became a popular resort for visitors from all over the world.
The number of permanent residents of Cannes was 74,042 in 2018
Cannes has a Mediterranean climate, with the following average temperatures per month: January 10 February 10 March 12 April 14 May 17 June 21 July 25 August 25 September 22 October 18 November 14 December 11
Like Saint Tropez, Cannes is one of those glittering places that everyone knows. Not only is it home to the annual film festival, but it has luxury hotels and good restaurants and is the playground of the rich and famous, so it is fun to go celeb spotting along the Promenade de la Croisette... The first community was established in this spot on the French Riviera in the second century BC and was called Aegitna – an Ancient Greek name. In those days it was a tiny fishing village with a supply run to the Lérin islands. The area was lived in by the Romans who established an outpost on Le Siquet Hill and a number of Roman tombs have been excavated there. By the 10th century the area had been given the new name of Canua from the word canna meaning reeds. There were numerous Saracen raids on the area which was totally devastated. Because of the insecurity this caused, the monks living on St Honorat in the nearby Lérins islands fled to the mainland to settle. Peace was restored eventually and in 1035 the castle was built, and the city was given its modern name of Cannes. A watch tower was built on Le Siquet Hill which overlooked the swamps where the city stands today. The tower was used by the monks to protect Cannes and also their sand. The history of the island and the city have always been closely entwined. The monks controlled Cannes until 1530 when they were able to return to St.Honorat. In the late 19th century, Henry Brougham, 1st Baron of Brougham and Vaux visited the area and found the climate so pleasing that in 1835 he built a villa called Eleonore-Louise at Croix des Gardes where he could stay during the winter months and enjoy the mild weather.
His idea soon caught on and many other members of the English aristocracy built winter residences in Cannes – particularly in the same area as the Baron of Brougham, which came to be known as the 'Quartier des Anglais'. At this time too, the railways serving the city were developed and street cars introduced. During the early 20th century, a number of luxury hotels were built as Cannes was popular with English and German holidaymakers but after the First World War, they no longer came in great numbers and were replaced by American visitors. Just before World War II, the municipal council had the idea of creating an annual international film festival that Cannes would host. The first festival was held in September 1946 at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and has taken place every year in June since then. Cannes also hosts (amongst others!) The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – the global event for advertisers and designers, MIDEM, the trade show of the music industry, MIPIM the largest property related trade show and the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), all of which draw large numbers of participants and visitors. There are plenty of landmarks to visit during your stay in Cannes and these include – La Haute Ville – Meaning city on high. Much of the city is situated on the hillside that rises behind the Old Port so a climb up Mount Chevalier is usually needed to the top of Siquet Hill. At the top is the watch tower that was run by the monks of Lérins and today is a museum. There are 109 steps to the top of the tower, but the effort is well worth it because there is a fantastic panoramic view over the city and the sparkling Mediterranean to the Lérins islands. fishing boats and small pleasure craft moored there
There is a labyrinth of streets to explore on the way back down and these are filled with an eclectic collection of bars, restaurants and shops. Back down at sea level, Le Vieux Port (the Old Port) is situated along the Quai St. Pierre and has a plethora of fishing boats and small pleasure craft moored there. At the Pier Albert Edouard the snazziest and largest yachts imaginable can be found.Another place to visit whilst in Cannes is the Palais des Festivals where the International Film Festival is held. The Palais is huge in size, white in colour and very modern. There are four casinos on site and THE red carpet can be seen and admired! While you are there, seek out the Chemin des Etoiles which is situated down the side of the main building. Many movie stars have left their hand prints in the pavement there for fun! The Boulevard de la Croisette has to be the second most famous boulevard in the world, the first one being the Boulevard des Champs-Elysées. It is three kilometres in length and follows the gentle curve of the bay and is fringed by sandy beaches and a string of palace-like hotels with manicured lawns and lofty palm trees. At the far end there is Port Pierre Canto, Palm Beach and the gorgeous sea water health spa. There are beautiful churches to visit including the 18th century Notre Dame du Bon Voyage and Notre Dame de l'Experance as well as lovely chapels like Bellini, Saint Ann and Notre Dame de la Paix. The city has a number of museums including Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence which is situated in a beautiful 18th century mansion with artefacts from prehistoric times to the modern day. Other museums include ones specialising in photography and perfume.
A popular excursion is to take one of the many boat trips to the Lérin islands from the Old Port. The crossing takes just 20 minutes and is well worth doing. Île St Marguérite is the larger of the two islands and has air that is scented with eucalyptus and pine. It has a well-preserved royal prison cell which is where the 'man with the iron mask' was held for ten years from 1687. Little is known about this famous prisoner except that he was a French nobleman – and some believe related to the monarch. There are also two good restaurants on the island and numerous little coves for enjoying quiet moments, a swim and even a picnic. The second and smaller island is the Île St Honorat and if you plan to visit this beautiful island, you must be modestly dressed (covered shoulders and knees) as the Cistercian monks have lived in the monastery situated at its tip for 1500 years. It is regarded as the most important Christian monastery in the world by many, as it has been visited by various Popes and thousands of pilgrims. Shopping in Cannes is varied and diverse. The shopping area is quite compact in size. There are plenty of luxe shops with designer names like Chanel, Dior and Gucci with large price tickets in Boulevard de la Croisette but running behind the promenade and parallel to it is the Rue d'Antibes which has some great shops with smaller price labels. As well as clothes shops, there are several chocolatiers and Chez Bruno is a sweetshop selling the most delicious crystallised marrons (chestnuts). La Bocca is the area with several good department stores and a shopping mall. Perfumes and cosmetics are all good buys. If you are looking for chic French outfits without a large price tag, Façonnable is a brand to watch for.
The annual Cannes Shopping Festival showcases new designers and fabulous fashions and accessories. For everyday shopping, Rue Meynadier is full of shops and has a market-like atmosphere for those looking for provisions and needless to say, there are always plenty of customers there doing their shopping. Ceneri at No 22 is definitely worth a visit as it sells some of the finest cheeses in Cannes. Fonville market is a large covered market situated between the Town Hall and the railway. The market is held Monday - Saturday (starting at 07.00- 13.00) and is the perfect place to browse and buy a whole range of excellent Provençal products including freshly picked seasonal fruit and vegetables, charcuterie, cheeses and local wine – which is perfect if you are staying in a holiday villa. Close by, on the Allée de la Liberté, there is every morning except for the Monday morning a vibrant lower market that really does look 'as pretty as a picture'. There is tremendous diversity in the style – and menu prices- of the city's restaurants. At one end there are the Michelin starred restaurants and luxury hotels. The Martinez is said to be the top hotel in Cannes. Its stunning restaurant La Palme d'Or which is situated on a large terrace on the first floor has magnificent panoramic views of the bay and offers the best in refined dining. At the other end of the spectrum are the numerous small restaurants and bistros situated in the labyrinth of back streets that offer genuine home-cooked Provençal dishes that are reasonably priced.
The spectrum of night life in Cannes is similar too with top nightclubs such as the one in the Martinez and others along Boulevard de la Croisette that are very pricey and there are many others in the back streets that are probably just as much fun – although you are less likely to be dancing next to an A Lister! Throughout the year, there is always something happening in Cannes. Events include the Festival International des Jeux in February which throws the spotlight on Bridge, Backgammon, Chess and Checkers - amongst others - and the Carnival of the Riviera which is held in the 21 days prior to Shrove Tuesday. The popular yachting festival is held in September each year. A holiday in Cannes is very special as it is such a well-known location. It is fun to relax on the beach, 'people watch' in one of the cafés on the Boulevard de la Croisette or taste a warm baguette straight from the boulangerie. It is special moments like these that create very special holiday memories that last a lifetime....
73, Boulevard de la Croisette, Cannes
45 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes
+33 (0)4 93 38 15 45
9 & 11, rue Saint-Antoine 06400 Cannes