Everything You Need to Know
Planning a trip to Cannes, France? We’ve put together everything you need to know about the South of France in this Cannes Travel Guide. Cannes is a city located on the French Riviera, in the southeastern region of France. It is known for its luxurious lifestyle, beautiful beaches, annual film festival, and Leonardo DiCaprio on yachts with models.
Cannes is also home to several museums, galleries, and cultural events, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene and a variety of restaurants and shops. Surrounded by idyllic hills and majestic mountains, Cannes is an oasis of natural beauty. It is the ideal place to take a moment to breathe in the fresh sea breeze as you stroll along the promenade, feeling the soft sand beneath your toes. And if you crave more exploration, the neighboring destinations of Nice, Antibes, and Monaco beckon, each offering their own unique charm and allure. We’ve put together a list of our top highlights for Cannes below!! Check our our Nice Travel Guide for additional close-by recommendations.
The official language is French, but nearly most people speak English as a second language. However, it is helpful to know some French phrases.
When To Visit
The best time to visit Cannes is April and September for less crowds and warm to mild weather, or May-August for peak season.
As in most European countries, the currency of the France is the Euro (symbolized as EUR or €).
Getting To Cannes
There are several ways to reach Cannes, including by car, boat, train or plane. Two airports serve the area: Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) and Cannes-Mandelieu (CEQ), both of which you can reach to and from town by shuttle, taxi or car. Cannes is also part of France’s train network, and you can reach the city on TGV from Paris or on Trenitalia from Milan, Rome and Venice, Italy.
What To Expect
The best way to get around Cannes is on foot and by bus. Cannes boasts a robust public transportation network. A shuttle connects City Hall with the train station and La Croisette. For quicker, but more expensive service, you can hire a taxi, or if you prefer to drive yourself, rent a car from major companies like Sixt, Hertz and Avis France. But keep in mind, you won’t be able to drive a car through historic areas where getting around by foot is best. You can also use boats to reach the Lérins Islands or areas like Monaco or Saint-Tropez. Some choose to get around town by bike or Vespa, and there are numerous options to rent bikes while visiting.
When to Visit
No trip to Cannes would be complete without spending time in the area known as La Croisette. This area is a promenade linking the beach and the city and is known for its scenic beauty and plentiful people-watching. Here you’ll find many hotels, casinos, stores of familiar brands and even gardens. This is the place to see and be seen during the city’s popular annual film festival in May.
You’ll find the heart of Cannes beating in the area of Le Suquet, which is the town’s oldest neighborhood. This is the where attractions like the Musee de la Castre and the Forville Market can be found. Plus, it offers excellent views not only of the city, but of the port and the Lérin Islands.
Head to the City Centre to find the upscale Rue d’Antibes, which hosts plentiful restaurants and shops, as well as the train station and Rue Hoche, considered by some to be the city’s most beautiful pedestrian street. It’s just a few minutes from the city’s convention center, the Palais des Festivals, so it can be a hot spot for accommodations.
In Le Cannet, nature meets art in a wonderful way. The area is filled with many varieties of trees, including eucalyptus, olive and pine, and features museums, art galleries, chapels and churches.
Some travelers find these four islands, just a 15-minute ferry ride from Cannes, more interesting than the city itself. The two most popular are Île Saint-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat, which are also the largest. You can visit Île Saint-Marguerite for the beach; you can also tour the Royal Fort or the Sea Museum, which holds artifacts from the ocean.
Where to Stay in Cannes
Cannes Things To Do
Explore Old Port
Above the harbor and the movie palace, you will find the cozy medieval district of Cannes. Between the narrow streets and beautiful old buildings lies several boutiques, excellent restaurants, and cozy cafés. When you’re in Cannes old town, you have to stop by the famous Clock Tower, Tour du Suquet, which is a hallmark of Cannes along with Palace de la Castre.
Iles de Lérins
Iles de Lérins is an island group of four that lies about 15 minutes by boat from La Croisette in central Cannes. These pristine islands are all natural and offer a beautiful environment with an unusual history. The two largest islands are Sainte-Marguerite and Saint Honorat.
Here you’ll find the center of most of the activity in Cannes, this splendid Boulevard de la Croisette, also known as La Croisette. This palm-lined boulevard is full of crowds in the summer, but this is where you’ll find all the beach clubs and excellent views of the sea here.
This famous road runs parallel to La Croisette, a few blocks away in the city’s heart. This is the place you want to go if you love to shop. While it’s full of shops, it’s also well known for many historic buildings from the 19th century!
Marché Forville is Cannes’ big indoor market, located close to the famous La Croisette boardwalk. You can find all types of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and more here. This is one of the top Cannes places to visit as both a tourist and a local, so don’t miss out!
Festival de Cannes
The world’s most famous and largest film festival takes place in Cannes every year in the month of May. If you’re in town during this festival, you can count on to see a lot of familiar faces since many of the world’s most famous persons attend this event!
Lounge at Beach Clubs
One of the best things to do in Cannes is to spend the day at the beach club. There’s nothing better than relaxing in the sun, enjoying the bar, and grabbing a bite to eat. Some of the favorites in Cannes are Hyde Beach Cannes, Palais Stéphanie Beach, and Carlton Beach Club.
Best Cannes Restaurants
Da Laura is a fantastic Italian restaurant located in the heart of Cannes that boasts a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy your authentic meal. This charming restaurant has years of great reviews on websites such as Yelp and Tripadvisor.
Foodies flock to this buzzing spot up in the old town of Le Suquet for inspired gastronomic food based on local ingredients. They also have a great aperitif hour with small plates. Reserve in advance.
Glitzy beachside bistro on the unspoilt island of Sainte Marguerite. Enjoy a sunny menu with Greek influences which is big on fresh fish and seafood, as well as the private beach.
Mauro Colagreco brought a taste of his hillside, Michelin-starred spot in Menton over to the coast of Cannes at Plage Barrière Le Majestic. At BFire by Mauro Colagreco, a seasonally rotating menu pays homage to the chef’s Argentinian roots through plates like sea bream ceviche and wood-fired fish du jour.
This sweet tea cafe is the perfect place for brunch or lunch in Cannes. From french toast to savory omeletts, sandwhiches and salads, you can find all your brunch favorites. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, both of which have such a charming atmosphere.
Best Cannes Bars
Perhaps the most well-known nightspot in Cannes, Bâoli is a lavish bar, restaurant and club rolled into one. If you’re lucky enough to gain entry, prepare to spend an eye-watering amount while rubbing shoulders with models, actors and millionaires in the Asian-themed space, backing out onto a garden of palm trees
If your days of stumbling out of nightclubs are well and truly behind you, head to the Martinez Bar at Hôtel Martinez; it’s one of the finest piano bars in Cannes. Here, sip on award-winning cocktails in a setting adorned with ornate art deco decor and pictures of celebrities who have visited.
Join the trendy crowd of 20- and 30-something locals with cocktails at La Môme’s buzzy Art Deco-style bar, tucked a few blocks back from the Croisette.
Lively rooftop bar in the Five Seas Hotel. The place for mixology cocktails and street food with friends. A bit less exclusive than other hotel bars, with happy hours and nightly DJ sets in the summer.
If you’re planning to visit the French Riviera, Cannes is a must-do. The great thing about this city is that you only need to spend one to two days here to enjoy the full breadth of it. Of course, if you are looking to take in the French culture and lounge by the beach, Cannes is a beautiful place to post up for a few weeks – especially during the busy and lively summer months. We recommend visiting Cannes and then traveling to another coastal city, like Saint Tropez or Nice, both of which are accessible by train from Cannes. If you are planning on traveling to Nice, be sure to check out our Nice Travel Guide for all our recommendations. Hope you enjoyed learning more about Cannes and get to experience all the beauty it has to offer.