Lying on the crescent of the Gulf of Napoule, Cannes backs against a line of sheltering wooded hills. Its palm-planted Promenade de la Croisette follows the curve of the sand beach and is fringed with luxury hotels. The harbour is a port of call for yachts and transatlantic liners.
The southern French city of Cannes is of course most famous for its star-studded international film festival. Shining movie stars and camera flashes put Cannes in the world's focus for less than two weeks in May. The festival started already 1946, and has been an important event for Cannes since it began.
But the city shines well even when it is not a film festival, especially Cannes offers nice shopping opportunities. The city has plenty of small trendy boutiques and there is also a shopping festival in January.
Cannes is a city that the rich and famous have been coming to for over 150 years, it simply sparkles with glamour, whilst the grandeur of the coastal promenade and the belle epoque buildings reflect it's aristocratic history.
Behind the glitz however, there is a softer side to Cannes - the district of Le Suquet is the heart of the old town which is my personal favorite, it’s filled with little lanes, ancient buildings and the old harbour.
The old town of Cannes, Le Suquet dates back to the 10th century when it was a little fishing village serving the castle of Cannes. Charming little streets lead on to picturesque squares and at the top of the hill lies the ruined 12th century castle (now host to the Museum of La Castre - containing ethnographic artefacts from Oceania & Asia). The view from the top affords La Criosette, the beach and the sparkling sea. Plenty of restaurants line the main streets of San Antoine & Rue du Suquet, a perfect place to escape the heat of the beach and enjoy a long leisurely lunch.
Named for the canes of its once-reedy shore, it was probably settled by Ligurian tribesmen and occupied successively by Phocaeans, Celts (or Gauls), and Romans. In the 4th century it came under the protection of the monks of Lérins, whose abbots were lords of Cannes and who in the 10th century built fortifications under Pointe du Chevalier to guard against Muslim sea raiders.
Napoleon, on the first night of his return from Elba, encamped his small army in the dunes outside the village. The international resort reputation of Cannes originated with Lord Brougham, who, prevented by quarantine measures from entering Nice in 1834, stopped at the fishing village of Cannes; he later built a villa and returned every winter for 34 years.
If you want to get away from the center and the beaches, you can visit the island of Ile Ste - Marguerite. Here is a whole lot of peace and you can eat good food in rustic restaurants or take an exciting walk around the island. On the island there is also an attraction in the form of Fort Royal which served as a prison in the 1600s and 1700s.
There are many fine restaurants in Cannes, but prices are often quite high. In the city there are also plenty of cafes where you can drink a cafe, tea or capuchino and eat a light meal.
There are not so many other cultural attractions in this city except the Musee de la Castre, because in Cannes you spend more love sunbathing, festive and flankering. Close to the city there are nice beaches.
Tourism is the city’s main source of revenue; of this about a fifth is winter tourism.
Cannes has several beaches to choose from, from non-smoking public beaches to glamorous private beach clubs with deckchairs, DJ's and flowing champagne. There are watersports galore, as well as beach volleyball courts that are busy long into the summer evenings.
It’s easy to get here from Nice airport.
You can go by train. Take a taxi to Nice Saint Augustin train station not far from the airport. It takes about 5 mins there. The train goes very often and is really cheap.
The easiest way is to take a taxi but it can be expensive so another suggestion is to take the Express bus to Cannes. The bus takes about 45min and runs every 30 minutes.
Apart from the quintessential activity of people-watching, there are plenty of nautical adventures to be had in Cannes, and there are 10 golf courses in the area. If all of that sounds too much like hard work, book yourself into one of the many spas for a day of luxury & pampering.
I like Cannes a lot, and I can’t wait to go back! xoxo