17 Best Things to do in Cannes, France (with Map)

Cannes is undoubtedly one of France’s most alluring travel destinations.

A picturesque gem nestled on the enchanting French Riviera, the city is renowned for its glamor and charm. With its sun-kissed beaches, opulent boutiques, and world-famous film festival, this coastal city embodies sophistication, elegance and luxury.

Cannes is best known for its iconic Cannes Film Festival, an annual event that transforms the city into a global hub for the film industry. Movie stars, directors, and cinephiles flock to its shores to witness the unveiling of cinematic masterpieces and partake in the electric atmosphere that envelops the city during this time.

Beyond the glitz of the festival, there are several other fun things to do in Cannes, which boast a rich history and captivating architecture. This is evident from the medieval Le Suquet quarter with its charming streets to the modern elegance of La Croisette Boulevard. The resort town also has a laid-back nature (outside of the festival) and a subtropical Mediterranean climate, which makes it a terrific destination to visit all year round.

Where to Stay in Cannes

When it comes to finding accommodation, Cannes has several charming neighborhoods you can choose to stay in. But for a quintessential experience, consider the iconic La Croisette boulevard.

This bustling promenade is lined with luxury boutiques and exquisite restaurants and offers easy access to the city’s pristine beaches. Another excellent option is the Le Suquet quarter, known for its medieval charm, cobblestone streets and tremendous city views.

Two notable accommodations in Cannes are the Hotel Splendid and Hotel Molière. Hotel Splendid, near La Croisette, combines old-world elegance with modern comforts. Its rooftop pool and bar provide stunning vistas of the Mediterranean, while the refined interior exudes luxury.

On the other hand, Hotel Molière, nestled in the heart of Le Suquet, offers a more intimate experience. Its Provençal-style architecture and cozy rooms provide a charming place to base yourself. This hotel is also an excellent place for those wanting to self-cater, as it is near the Marché Forville.

How to get there

Cannes Train Station

Cannes is accessible from many parts of Europe and beyond.

If arriving internationally, the nearest major airport is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, around 27 kilometers away. You can take a direct train from the airport to Cannes, which is around a 30 minute journey. Additionally, for those intending to drive, the A8 highway connects Cannes to other regions in the country.

The city is also well-connected by France’s efficient train system, making it easy to reach from major cities like Paris and Marseille. The main train station, Gare de Cannes is located on Place de la Gare in the heart of the city center. It is approximately a 10-minute walk to some of the best known tourist attractions in Cannes such as the Palais des Festivals and La Croisette.

Map of Things to do in Cannes, France

17. Vieux Port

Vieux Port

The Vieux Port (Old Port) is a captivating reflection of the city’s maritime heritage and charm. Steeped in history, this port has been a vital hub since ancient times, evolving from a small fishing village to a renowned Mediterranean tourist destination.

Filled with colorful fishing boats, yachts, and sailboats, it is an idyllic fusion of tradition and modernity. Historic buildings line the waterfront, where local fishermen haul their daily catch – like many have done for centuries, providing an authentic glimpse into Cannes’ maritime legacy.

Visitors can stroll along the promenade, capturing breathtaking views of the sea and the iconic Cannes skyline. You also have your choice of plenty of delicious traditional seafood dishes that are available at the bustling cafes dotted around the perimeter.

16. Musée Des Explorations Du Monde

Musée Des Explorations Du Monde

Located on Rue de la Castre, The Musée des Explorations du Monde is a captivating museum that celebrates the spirit of adventure and exploration.

Founded in 1974, the museum showcases a diverse collection of rare artifacts, documents and interactive displays spanning various cultures, continents and historical periods.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the tales of explorers who ventured into uncharted territories, bringing their courage and curiosity to life. The collection includes maps, navigational instruments, ethnographic objects and multimedia installations, paying homage to the intrepid explorers and their remarkable voyages.

The museum aims to foster an appreciation for the world’s diverse societies and histories. So it is an engaging place to visit for those wanting to learn about other cultures and their way of life.

15. Walk of Fame

Walk of Fame

Like Hollywood, Cannes has its own ‘Walk of Fame’ or Chemin des Etoiles as it is known locally. Providing a prestigious tribute to international film icons who have graced the Cannes Film Festival with their presence, the homage lines the promenade along the Palais des Festivals.

Instead of stars, the Cannes Walk of Fame immortalizes the handprints of renowned actors, directors and industry figures on the pavement. Each imprinted plaque showcases the individual’s contribution to the world of cinema and their enduring connection to the Cannes Film Festival.

If you love films, strolling along the Walk of Fame allows you to connect with the legacies of your favorite actors and actresses. They include Penélope Cruz, Leonardo Dicaprio, Cameron Diaz, Sylvester Stallone, Angelina Jolie and Quentin Tarantino, who are all featured.

14. Casino Barrière Le Croisette

Casino Barrière Le Croisette

The Casino Barrière Le Croisette is the kind of elegant and sophisticated venue you could imagine James Bond going to.

Located on the famous Boulevard de la Croisette, the casino is a centerpiece of the city’s evening scene, seamlessly blending luxury with entertainment and gaming.

The casino’s modern interior exudes sophistication, complemented by stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Inside, it boasts diverse gaming options, including slot machines, poker tables, roulette and blackjack to satisfy all types of flutter preferences.

Beyond gaming, the establishment offers fine dining experiences at its restaurants, as well as live entertainment and shows. Overall, if you want a taste of the high life, the glamorous setting and bustling ambiance of the Casino Barrière Le Croisette will provide you with a healthy slice.

13. La Croix-des-Gardes

La Croix-des-Gardes

La Croix-des-Gardes is an enchanting natural sanctuary that offers a serene contrast from the bustling city. This scenic hilltop area is steeped in history and boasts breathtaking vistas. It was once a refuge for monks and later a vantage point for military observation but has now transformed into an attractive public recreational space.

The area’s most prominent feature is the Croix des Gardes, a cross erected in 1860 to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria. The cross symbolizes historical significance and offers panoramic views of Cannes, the Mediterranean Sea, and the surrounding landscapes.

The park is popular with hikers and joggers who use its well-maintained trails for exercise. Its diverse flora and fauna, including stunning umbrella pines and Aleppo pines, provide a beautiful backdrop for picnics and photography.

12. Notre-Dame d’Espérance

Notre-Dame d’Espérance

Notre-Dame d’Esperance is a magnificent church that dates back to the 17th century.

A beautiful blend of three different architectural styles – Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque – the church sits majestically atop a hill, providing stunning views of the Le Suquet district.

Also known as Our Lady of Hope, it is renowned for its striking façade adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. Its bell tower, crowned with a wrought-iron campanile, is a significant landmark on the Cannes skyline.

As you step inside, the church’s exquisite stained glass windows and delicate frescoes will captivate your senses, creating a serene ambiance that invites contemplation and reflection.

In addition to regular services, the church holds a notable annual, week-long festival called the Musical Nights of Le Suquet in July.

11. Iles de Lerins

Iles de Lerins

The Iles de Lerins near Cannes are a pair of stunning inhabited islands renowned for their natural beauty and historical intrigue.

Inhabited since ancient times, they comprise Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite, offering distinct experiences.

Saint-Honorat is home to a monastery where Cistercian monks have resided since the 5th century. Its lush vineyards produce renowned wines, which visitors can explore along with the rest of the monastery’s peaceful surroundings.

Sainte-Marguerite is the larger island of the two and hosts the iconic Fort Royal, which famously housed the enigmatic ‘Man in the Iron Mask.’ Fragrant pine forests, coves and pristine beaches define the island, accentuating its natural beauty.

There are several sail and boat tours available. Alternatively ferries depart every hour from Cannes to the islands.

10. Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès is a modernist building established in 1949. It is best known as the iconic venue that hosts the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious red-carpet events.

However, it also holds the NRJ Music Awards, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, international conferences, trade shows, and other cultural events. In the past, it has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest twice as well.

The Palais is located on the Boulevard de la Croisette, providing stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. It features state-of-the-art facilities, including theaters, exhibition spaces and conference rooms, which you can see on guided tours or by attending a show or event.

A landmark structure, the Palais encapsulates Cannes’ cultural heritage while being a dynamic hub for creativity, entertainment, and international collaboration.

9. Rue Meynadier

Rue Meynadier

Rue Meynadier is a lively thoroughfare dating back to Roman times that has evolved into a vibrant hub for shopping and local culture. It features various shops, boutiques, cafés, and eateries, selling everything from traditional Provençal products to modern fashion and cutting-edge gastronomy.

The street itself provides a captivating blend of old-world charm and contemporary allure. Wandering through it allows you to experience the vibe of everyday life in Cannes, away from the glamour of the film festival and high-end boutiques.

The street’s picturesque architecture, cobblestone paths, and charming ambiance make it a favorite among locals and tourists. Come here for a more authentic and down-to-earth perspective of the city’s character, which you won’t get in other parts of Cannes.

8. Les Murs Peints

Les Murs Peints

If you love art, you’ll want to check out Les Murs Peints in Cannes. The project features a series of large-scale murals created by renowned international artists, bringing art to the public space while creatively enhancing the urban landscape.

These murals depict diverse themes, from historical events to whimsical scenes, and often reflect the cultural richness of Cannes and its surroundings.

One of the most notable is the depiction of 100 years of cinema stars. Located near City Hall, next to the bus station, it features cinematic greats like Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Wandering through the streets to discover these murals is an engaging and enriching experience. Each artwork adds a touch of color and narrative to the city’s fabric, turning everyday walks into immersive art tours.

7. Go to the Beach

Cannes beach

Going to the beach is a quintessential experience while in Cannes.

The city’s beach culture has deep roots, dating back to the 19th century when Cannes began attracting aristocrats and celebrities seeking relaxation by the Mediterranean Sea.

The most famous beach, Plage de la Croisette, offers a stunning backdrop of the Palais des Festivals and luxurious hotels. Elsewhere, the Plage du Midi provides a quieter escape with golden sands and a more serene vibe.

Many Cannes beaches offer beach clubs where you can rent sunbeds, umbrellas and enjoy beachside dining. They can be expensive. However, they expose you to the essence of the French Riviera’s coastal lifestyle.

If you intend to visit the beach, remember the city has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, so wear a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.

6. Rue d’Antibes

Rue d'Antibes

Shopping is a big part of the Cannes experience, and one of the best places to do this is at Rue d’Antibes. With a history dating back to the 19th century, the street is now a premier shopping destination renowned for its high-end boutiques, fashion houses and exquisite finds.

Starting from the Palais des Festivals, the Rue d’Antibes extends to the Place Gambetta. The street offers diverse shopping experiences, from internationally recognized brands to local artisanal shops. Some of the most prestigious places to visit include Mes Demoiselles, sud express and the Tara Jarmon Cannes Boutique.

Beyond shopping, the street features several cafes, bistros and restaurants serving local specialities like Pissaladière, Daube provençale, Fougasse and Pistou soup. Plan to spend at least a complete day at Rue d’Antibes to immerse yourself in its experience fully.

5. Le Suquet

Le Suquet

Le Suquet is a historic district that showcases the city’s medieval origins. Perched on a hill overlooking the city, this charming quarter dates back to the 11th century, serving as the original settlement of Cannes.

The district exudes Provençal charm, accommodating quaint houses with colorful shutters and flowering plants. Its cobblestone streets eventually lead to the picturesque Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Espérance, a church with stunning views from its bell tower.

The Marché Forville is a highlight of any visit to the area, offering a vibrant local market where fresh produce, artisanal products and local delicacies are readily available. Additionally, you will find several delightful cafes and eateries championing local delicacies. At the same time, Le Suquet is home to some fascinating art galleries, museums and boutiques showcasing an impressive cultural side.

4. Île Sainte-Marguerite

Île Sainte-Marguerite

As previously mentioned, Ile Sainte-Marguerite is the larger of the two inhabited islands in the Iles de Lerins.

The island brims with historical intrigue, as it is most famous for hosting the enigmatic Fort Royal, where the mysterious ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was held captive. Today, visitors can explore the fort’s remains, which give insights into its storied past.

In addition to its historical allure, Île Sainte-Marguerite offers a tranquil escape from the mainland’s glitz and glamor. The island’s natural beauty, featuring pine forests, coves, and crystalline waters, provides an idyllic setting for leisurely walks and picnics.

Photographers and nature lovers can revel in the island’s diverse flora and fauna while beachgoers enjoy its pristine, uncrowded shores.

3. Marché Forville

Marché Forville

Established over a century ago, the Marché Forville is a vibrant market that embodies the city’s culinary and cultural richness.

Located near the historic district of Le Suquet, the market is a cherished local institution, offering an array of fresh produce, gourmet delights and artisanal crafts.

From colorful fruits and vegetables to aromatic cheeses, spices and flowers, Marché Forville tantalizes the senses with its fantastic offerings.

The market’s atmosphere is a delightful fusion of Provençal charm and cosmopolitan vibrancy, creating a space where locals and visitors harmoniously intermingle.

The market is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic taste of local produce. It is the perfect place to pick up some items for a picnic or a self-catered dinner at prices that should be manageable for most budgets.

2. Festival de Cannes

Festival de Cannes

The Festival de Cannes is one of the most prestigious and iconic film festivals worldwide. The annual festival, founded in 1946, has evolved into a global cinematic extravaganza, showcasing groundbreaking films and celebrating artistic excellence.

The festival’s main event is at the Palais des Festivals, featuring red carpet premieres, press conferences and awards ceremonies. The coveted Palme d’Or is the festival’s highest honor, awarded to the best film in the competition.

Beyond film screenings, the Festival de Cannes brings together international filmmakers, industry professionals and celebrities, fostering networking and collaboration. It also includes parallel sections

like Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, providing platforms for diverse cinematic voices.

While this event is exclusive, if you are in Cannes during the time it is on, you have plenty of opportunity to spot a celebrity or two.

1. Boulevard de la Croisette

Boulevard de la Croisette

The Boulevard de la Croisette is one of the most famous roads in France.

Stretching along the Mediterranean shoreline, it has a storied history dating back to the 19th century when Cannes transformed into an aristocratic retreat.

Epitomizing luxury, glamour and coastal beauty, the road is lined with high-end boutiques, grand hotels, and palm-lined promenades. All of which contribute to its elegance and sophistication. Its wide walkways and pristine beaches offer breathtaking views of the sea and the Iles de Lerins islands.

The boulevard is synonymous with the Cannes Film Festival, as the Palais des Festivals is nestled along its length. It is the type of place you can traverse several times a day and always see something you had never previously noticed.

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