Top Three Ways to Spend the Day in Cannes

Panoramic view of Cannes

© Shutterstock

Panoramic view of Cannes

Panoramic view of Cannes

© Shutterstock

Famed for its star-studded international film festival, glamorous yachts, historic villas and its beautiful Boulevard de la Croisette, Cannes is a sparkling jewel along the French Riviera, or as the French call it, Côte d'Azur. A nickname coined in the late 1800s by writer Stéphen Liégeard, referring to its stunning blue or azur coastline.

Once a modest fishing village, Cannes has become a playground for the rich and famous. Designer shops along the Rue d’Antibes, the red-carpetted steps outside the Palais des Festivals and the old-world elegance of the beachfront hotels are just the tip of its luxury reputation.

Yet Cannes is accessible to a range of budgets and interests. It has that magical Mediterranean charm, and a breezy bohemian lifestyle for those who know where to look.

cannes port

Cannes has become the playground for the rich and famous. 

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Grab a picnic from Marché Forville and take a day trip to Iles des Lérins

This covered market is one of the biggest and best of the region to purchase bountiful fresh produce and local delicacies. Get a selection of artisanal cheese, saucisson, olives, tapenade, fresh baguettes, tomatoes, and even a few freshly fried courgette flowers (beignets de fleurs de courgette). Bundle it up in your French market basket, pick up a chilled bottle of local Rosé from Cavavin Cannes (the wine shop opposite the market) 12 Rue Louis Blanc and then head towards the Port de Cannes, quai Laubeuf 06400 to catch the hourly ferry to one of the nearby islands, Iles des Lérins

The Iles de Lérins is a small archipelago just off the coast of Cannes. There are two main islands, Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite and two micro-islands Tradelière and St-Féréol.

Ile Sainte Marguerite is the larger and nearer island, only 15 minutes by ferry, and is covered by a fragrant forest of Allepo pine and eucalyptus, with wide paths criss-crossing from coast to coast. From the port area, where the ferry lands, it's a short walk to the Fort Royal where you can see the now-bare little cell where the Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated.

Ile Saint Honorat is another 15 minutes by ferry from Sainte-Marguerite. The Abbey of Lérins, Cistercian monastery, is on this island.  It was originally founded around 410 by St. Honoratus of Arles and flourished in the 5th century, when it was a centre of intellectual activity.  Today the Cistercian monks also cultivate their island vineyards and produce their own wines which can be bought on the island.

Marché Forville, 6 Rue du Marché Forville

Open year-round, Tuesdays – Sundays, 7:30am to 1pm (opens Mondays as an antiques market)

Ile Sainte Marguerite

Ile Sainte Marguerite

© Shutterstock

Hike to the top of Le Suquet for stunning views, then stroll down the winding roads towards Vieux Port for dinner

Le Suquet is the old quarter of Cannes and the original fishermans' residence area of the city. The houses are tiny, painted in warm terracotta and golden hues, with gorgeous succulents and geraniums spilling out over the balconies. The narrow cobbled streets were laid out at least 400 years ago, and today scores of tourists enjoy climbing them, up toward the clock tower and church, Notre-Dame d'Esperance, to find stunning views of the Bay of Cannes.

Le Suquet 

Church of Our Lady of Esperance, one of the major landmarks in Le Suquet 

© Shutterstock

Meandering back down is equally fun, the old quarter is bustling with cute cafés, bars and tiny boutiques selling locally made clothing, Provençal tablecloths and a myriad of gastronomic delights from olive oil and honey to canned fish, cheese, chocolate and wine.

If you get all the way down to the Vieux Port without being tempted into another restaurant along the way then reward yourself with a delicious pizza in one of the most famous pizzarias along the riviera, Pizza Cresci – known for its unique crescent-shaped pizza.

La Pizza Cresci, 3 Quai Saint-Pierre

Pizza Cresci

Pizza Cresci is known for its unique crescent-shaped pizza. 

© Shutterstock

Breakfast at Bar le Madrigal, take a sea dip at the Plage du Midi followed by a film at Les Arcades cinema.

A perfect spot to soak up the morning sun with views of the glistening sea. Join the locals for breakfast at the Bar le Madrigal ­– the café bar is casual and friendly with excellent coffee, fresh juice and croissants. It operates as a tabac, selling daily newspapers and magazines.

Plage du Midi is just over the road, and away from the more packed Croisette beach in the town centre. Here you’ll find a lovely and relaxed sandy beach with magnificent mountain views where you can take a dip in the warm Mediterranean.

Whether or not your visit coincides with the Film Festival, which runs from 17-28 May in 2022, going to the cinema is a must-do in Cannes. The Arcades cinema is centrally located close to the Hotel de Marie and the leafy esplanade called La Pantiero where locals play boules and drink pastis.

The cinema has just three screens, however it shows a mix of arthouse and big-budget Hollywood movies, all in their original language (look out for the VO signs, which mean ‘version originale’– these films will have subtitles rather than be dubbed in French.)

Bar le Madrigal, 24 boulevard Jean Hibert

Les Arcades Cinema, 77 Rue Félix Faure

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