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Best Things to Do in Cannes, France


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Visit Cannes, French Riviera

Known for its luxurious accommodations, shopping, and world-famous film festival, Cannes is one of the most popular places to visit on the French Riviera and a dream destination for many travelers. With its stunning beaches, warm weather, and convenient location close to Nice, this is where the stars go for a holiday in Southern France.

Cannes is the kind of destination you visit when you want to relax and enjoy some luxury. The city is a must-stop on any French Riviera road trip, and its charm and beauty will make you eager to visit more than once!

If you’re ready to party, relax, eat, and shop like the stars, then here’s a list of the best things to do in Cannes, France. 

Are you planning a holiday to Cannes last minute?

Below are some of the best Cannes tours, hotels, and more!

Top Experiences and Tours in Cannes

Top Cannes Accommodation and Lodging

Hotel Croisette Beach Cannes Mc Gallery (top suggestion), Hotel Martinez (luxury), Hotel Verlaine (mid-range), Hotel Brimer Cannes (budget), Residence Carlton Riviera (apartment).

Don’t leave for Cannes without travel insurance!

  • SafetyWing, our trusted travel insurance policy for long and short trips (starting with a minimum of 5 days), covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and since April 2021, unplanned quarantine is covered, too. 

What to Do in Cannes

The list of things to see in Cannes is long! Here are our favorite Cannes attractions and things to do for your next holiday to Cannes.

1. Explore Le Suquet

Most of Cannes is sleek and modern, but Le Suquet is another story. Le Suquet is Cannes’ oldest neighborhood and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cannes. Looming above the city, you can wander through the streets enjoying the pastel-colored buildings that have stood since the 18th and 19th centuries.

Originally a Roman settlement, Le Suquet is today a maze of narrow, ascending streets, underground bars, and family restaurants, so take the time to wander and explore this lovely neighborhood. Here, you will also find a medieval castle, one of Cannes’ tourist attractions, and home to the Musée de la Castre.

2. Take a Stroll along La Croisette

La Croisette Walkway is one of the most popular streets in the city and all of France. It runs along Cannes’ seafront, and a stroll along this iconic street is one of the best things to do in Cannes.

This walkway not only has all the charm and beauty of the beach close by, but it’s also filled with the best shops, restaurants, and casinos in the entire city. You could spend hours exploring the designer boutiques along this walkway, which would make for a delightful afternoon.

3. Visit the Old Port

The Old Port is an area that perfectly mixes the old and the new, making it one of the top Cannes attractions. It’s located at the foot of the Le Suquet neighborhood and overlooked by the charm of a medieval castle, which makes it a curious sight compared to the luxury yachts that crowd the port.

This is where the rich come to moor up and enjoy the charms of Cannes as it offers beautiful sunrise and sunset views. There are also a number of chic bars and restaurants along the Quai Saint-Pierre, so choose one and settle in to enjoy the atmosphere.

In September, the Old Port hosts the Cannes Yachting Festival, one of the largest boat shows in Europe and one of the best things to do in Cannes for boat lovers.

4. A Lazy Day on the Beach

If you’re trying to decide what to do in Cannes, why not just hang out on the beach? Cannes has some of the best beaches on the French Riviera, and they’re definitely the place to see and be seen, making them one of the top things to do in Cannes.

Cannes has both private and public beaches. The private ones are closer to the main street and can be expensive, while the public ones are more natural and have fewer amenities. Check out Carlton Beach for waiter service while you enjoy the sun, Long Beach for events, or Plage de la Bocca for a glimpse of everyday life in Cannes.

5. Admire the View from La Croix des Gardes

Located on a hill overlooking the city behind the Suquet neighborhood, La Croix des Gardes is a Sensitive Natural Space nicknamed the ‘green lung’ of Cannes. Indeed, the large forest park of the Croix des Gardes constitutes a unique reserve for the fauna and flora of Provence and a great place for short hikes or to enjoy the view.

6. Visit Villa Rothschild

Located in the La Croix-des-Gardes neighborhood, Villa Rothschild is a historic mansion built in 1881 for Betty Rothschild, the widow of James Mayer de Rothschild. This stately old building, designed in neo-classic style, is surrounded by stunning English-style gardens filled with exotic species like palm trees and blue cedars.

When you’re looking for things to see in Cannes, make sure you take a walking tour through the villa to enjoy the amazing architecture and the sheer luxury that went into every stone of its construction. Both the mansion and the surrounding gardens are listed as historical monuments.

7. Take a Catamaran Tour

Some of the best things to do in Cannes aren’t actually in the city itself. Cannes is located right on the coast of the Mediterranean, and it can also be explored from the sea. That’s why there are numerous catamaran tours on offer.

You can choose a full-day tour or a half-day tour. Top up your tan as you relax onboard, and enjoy some time to swim and snorkel in the gorgeous waters of the Mediterranean. You can also sail to the Calanques of the Esterel Natural Park or to Saint-Tropez from Cannes. Who could resist that?

Most popular catamaran tours from Cannes:

8. Taste Local Food at Marché Forville

When you visit Cannes, don’t miss the opportunity to taste the local food. The Marché Forville is one of the best places to visit in Cannes to taste Provencal specialties, including the famous socca. The socca is a Cannes staple which consists of a thin pancake made from chickpea flour, water, salt, and olive oil cooked over a wood fire and seasoned with pepper. The socca is eaten hot, right out of the oven.

This covered market has a great atmosphere and is a real invitation to a gourmet trip to Provence with seasonal products, local fishing, and flowers. You can also explore the many shops and terraces that surround it. The Marché Forville is held in the heart of Cannes and is open every morning, except Monday.

9. Cannes’ Palais des Festivals & Walk of Stars

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès (the full name) is a cultural and congress center famous for hosting the world-famous Cannes Film Festival every May. Even if you visit Cannes outside of the festival dates, you can have your photo taken on the red-carpeted steps, which have become a hallmark of the festival. You can also attend one of the many cultural performances that take place there, whether it is concerts, plays, ballets or comedy shows.

Cannes’s Walk of Stars (Chemin des Étoiles) is a copy of the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a unique local twist. Instead of having stars with signatures, the Walk of Stars in Cannes has palm prints and signatures.

There are over 150 handprints in the Cannes Walk of Stars, and they’re located in front of the Palais des Festivals on Esplanade Pompidou and the surrounding parks. In this famous walk, some of the handprints you’ll see belong to Meryl Streep, Julie Andrews, and Sylvester Stallone.

10. Day Trip to the Lérins Islands

The Lérins Islands are a group of four islands located just 20 minutes across the bay from Cannes. The islands have been inhabited since Roman times, but only two larger islands are popular tourist spots today.

If you are wondering what to see in Cannes out of the beaten path, one of the Lérins Islands is always a good option. Île Sainte-Marguerite is the first of the larger islands. It’s easy to access by ferry and has amazing beaches and a quiet vibe that makes it a good choice if you want some peace away from Cannes. It’s also the location of the Fort of St. Marguerite, where the famous Man in the Iron Mask was once held prisoner Click here to book your ferry tickets to Sainte-Marguerite Island

The second island, Île Saint-Honorat, is also accessible from Cannes by boat, run by the monks who live on the island. Here, the 11th-century monastery and the church on the island are worth visiting.

And there you have it, the best things to do in Cannes France, and our top recommendations on tours, hotels, and more for the perfect holiday to Cannes.

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