Things To Do In Cannes
Cannes is an exuberant city in France that holds the distinction of celebrating the most festive occasions, regattas, and a well-attended film festival that gathers the most celebrated stars of the entertainment industry. Walking along the La Croisette is simply wonderful. It is the principal avenue and maritime edge of Cannes that is dotted with fashionable and sophisticated designer shops.
Cannes, as well as being famous for the film festival is also famous for this gorgeous waterfront furnished with splendid palms, hotels and luxury shops with the most prestigious brands. It looks resplendent in the evening more so while enjoying an order of crudités in one of the many restaurants.
When To Go:
The right time to visit the city of Cannes is during the season of fall (September-November). It is also best to tour the city during spring, after May's International Film Festival and when the summer holiday travelers lessen. Temperatures won't generally begin to go down in November until the start of the winter season. A time when most hotels lower their rates. Spring is an alternate shoulder season, yet you'll see inn costs gradually climb until they achieve an extreme high temperature amid the mid-year peak season.
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These are the prominent attractions and top things to do in the city of Cannes…
Promenade de La Croisette
The Promenade de la Croisette is the main avenue and prestigious part of Cannes and perhaps the most famous of all France. It traces the ancient road that ran along the sea called in the past as the "Chemin de la petite croix". It is a pleasant walk of about a couple of miles facing its way to the sea while the other part is surrounded by luxury hotels and boutiques of major fashion houses and jewelers of high standards and built for the elite group.
The street gets very bust all throughout the year, but more particularly in the summer season in May when the Palais des Festival is held and the famous Cannes Film Festival, the whole entertainment and business opens to all international film makers and artists. The place gets really crowded and there really is a frenzy of people despite gray and rainy day because of the festive and special atmosphere. Although the place is famous for its fashion boutiques, you will notice with pleasure that the kiosks have prices that are acceptable and also useful for tourists who have a limited travel budget. The Croisette is an inevitable stage in France and it makes Cannes as a city that can be savored glimpse after glimpse, palace after palace and with every step you feel captured by so much splendor and sophistication.
Palais des Festivals et des Congres of Cannes
The Palais des Festivals et des Congres of Cannes owes its fame to the energetic atmosphere of the festival and its famous red carpet. Go up the red carpet and the stairs and take pictures. The palace overlooks the stunning beach of Cannes. The building is imposing and dominates the square on which it overlooks. Everything reminds the festival which is held annually although for the rest of the year there are other events or activities held on this prestigious place. Climb up the stairs and recall the world of cinema and protagonists who walked on this famous spot. It is hard to resist the allure of being photographed on the staircase.
It's definitely one of the most photographed buildings in Cannes, not so much for its architecture (his nickname is "The Bunker"), but for what it represents for movie fans and not with its staircase that is covered with the "famous" carpet. A walk in front of the Palazzo is advisable; it is here where you can see inserted in the paving tiles casts of hands of countless actors and famous celebrities. The building was built in 1982 and in addition to the Film Festival also hosts numerous events for the city of Cannes all throughout the year.
Iles de Lerins
The Iles de Lerins are located off the coast of Cannes, French Riviera and the two main islands of the city; Santa Margherita and the island of Sant'Onorato. This isle has a legendary medieval fortress, abbey, and the cell of the Iron Mask which are sites that you must not fail to visit along with a view of the blue sea that allows everyone to snorkel on its seabed. It can be reached only 20 minutes by ferry. It is a must to visit these islands: the Ile de Sainte Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat which is the largest and in which there is a monastery still inhabited by Benedictine monks. It is truly impressive and you must attend a church service in which the monks sing Gregorian chants and songs. It is also imperative to stop and do a beautiful walking tour, set up a picnic and enjoy freedom in this island that is full of interesting corners.
In the Island of Santa Margherita you can also visit a fortress prison where the Iron Mask was detained. Both islands are connected to each other by a convenient ferry service that is in turn connected with the beach in Cannes. Located just 15 minutes away from the port of Cannes, you will reach this beautiful island of 1.5 km for 400 meters, very green and quiet, where for centuries the Benedictine Monks cultivate vineyards and produces expensive bottles of French wine that cannot be found elsewhere in the world.
Ile Sainte-Marguerite (Island Sta. Margarita)
The Ile Sainte-Marguerite or Island Santa Margherita is located in front of Cannes accessible by a 15-minute boat ride from the old port of the city. The island is not very large, but it is very pleasant to visit and suitable for everyone, both for kids and adults. It has the ability to turn quietly in length and breadth through the lush vegetation on the island and along wide and narrow paths depending on what trail you want to choose. If the day is sunny and the weather permits, you can also lie on the beaches on the island and swim in the clear waters that surround its beauty.
You can also find Sulla, an ancient fort dating back to ancient times, where you can also visit a museum (with Roman ruins) and see some prison cells (since the island for years was also used as a prison) including the cell where they have held captive for 11 years the infamous character of the Iron Mask. A visit to this island is highly recommended, it is very close to Cannes where the atmosphere of the past, tranquility, and contact with nature successfully mix.
Le Suquet Hill
After the Croisette, Le Suquet Hill is certainly another part of the city that is not to be missed. It climbs up a narrow street full of restaurants and cafes to get to a plateau where you will find the castle and the church of the Suquet. This street has a beautiful view of the city. The lively district is the heart of Cannes, full of restaurants and neighborhoods that are very appealing. It is definitely worth spending half an hour to leave the dazzling sights of the usual evening stroll on the Croisette and to climb in the picturesque streets of Le Suquet Hill, above the old port of Cannes, and then enjoy a strange peace away from the noise of the waterfront. During the walk, you will meet many cafes and bistros that will offer pleasant suggestions for fine dining with a unique view of the whole town and the beautiful Bay de la Napoule; it is simply very hard to miss.
The original town of Cannes is located on a spur that rises from the sea in about 40 meters. There are lots of interesting attractions to see in this place. Certainly, the panorama from the Castle Square (now museum) of La Castre and the walls in front of the old church called the Eglise of Notre Damede l'Esperance completes the atmosphere that the evening animates with the narrow uphill road on which gravitate numerous picturesque (and expensive) restaurants. Towards the end of the hill do not miss a visit to the Museo de La Castre which has a wide collection of antiquities related to the territory.
Eglise Notre Dame d'Esperance
The uphill walk to get to the Eglise Notre Dame d'Esperance is a bit challenging, but the panorama from the front wall amply repays the effort. From this height you will see Cannes at the bottom of its feet with the harbor in the foreground and a little further, the Croisette with renowned hotels and the nearby beach.
The church look simple outside, but it is very nice and well decorated inside; the place is conducive to meditation and will make you understand how lucky you are to be up here. It has an excellent renovated structure, located in a strategic point from where you can take great pictures, with views overlooking the entire city. The windy and cool atmosphere is one of the best rewards after the almost 2 kilometer walk. The ancient church is always open and has free admission.
Musee de la Castre
The Musee de la Castre is an interesting museum and a spectacular panorama. It is located in the tower of a medieval fortress seen from the waterfront. It is a small but interesting museum and presented here are the art of the East, Oceania, pre-Columbian America, Alaska, the rich heritage of antiques, an interesting collection of musical instruments from various cultures of the world (drums, flute, singing shells, etc.), canvas landscape painting, the art works of the "small masters" of Provence (the art works and images show the construction and beginning of Cannes),lots of interesting masks (Tibetan and Indian), household items from Canada and ancient Polynesian weapons. For great vistas of the city, you can go to the tower and the ladder portion of the museum. At the ladder, you will find a viewing platform with an amazing panoramic view of the sea, islands, Southern Alps, and the stunning beauty of Cannes City.
During the XI century, the Lerins monks built a castle called the Château de la Castre on Le Suquet hill along the shore of the Bay of Cannes and built a fortress wall to protect the Cannes fishermen from the raids of the Saracens. In the Castle you will find the Ethnographic Museum - Musée de la Castre. It has an admission fee and opens from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm. Aside from showing the archaeological and ethnographic artifacts gathered from all over the world the art gallery paintings adorn the halls of this old museum with the works of the Cannes masters like; E. Buttura, I. Contini, and E. Lecomte-Vernet. Part of the paintings here was donated to the museum by Alphonse de Rothschild. A visit is a must if you’re in Cannes.
The Rue d'Antibes is one of the most famous streets of the city with great shopping finds in particular. Thanks to its fortunate position that is parallel to the Croisette and close to the hotels and the most prestigious boutiques. One great tip; live it fully enjoy the walk, the beautiful (and not so good) windows that show small "works of art", florists that "light up" the way with their colorful flower arrangements, a street filled with mundane tourism and the kind that floods this way all year round.
If you want (and can), go into a bar, a chocolate shop and treat yourself to a warm cup of coffee and a view of one of Cannes busiest streets but rich with engaging and inviting culture. The shopping street in the French Riviera runs almost parallel to the Croisette and has a lot of trendy shops and clothes, shoes, signature shops, etc. It is pleasant to walk along and look at the stall windows and then return again on the streets of Croisette!
The Midi Plage is a small beach that runs over the old port of Cannes under the road towards La Bocca and Mandelieu that is beautiful but too narrow and eaten by the sea. There are some open spaces here if you want to sit and watch the sea. It is always very crowded in the morning by tourists and locals also by some fishermen and their boats. You have to go early to secure a valid space and to just simply enjoy the ambience and the place. Every 200 meters, there is a kiosk where you can find drinks, sandwiches and hot dishes.
The Midi is located just after the harbor not far from the beaches of the Croisette and the busy shopping streets. Another particularly nice feature is the parking amenities on the adjacent street where you can get instant access to the beach by walking down the famous"3 steps". Showers are fortunately present. Every now and then there are also gazebos that are made available to all for the evening where guests can have aperitifs or grill some sea food with friends or simply contemplate the sea.
Musee de la Mer
The Musee de la Mer is located in the fort of Île Sainte-Marguerite. The framework of the museum and the permanent collection is very educational and well done for the children. In the museum, you can find the dungeon where they have imprisoned the mysterious Iron Mask. The temporary exhibitions are also interesting. Upstairs there is a terrace accessible to the public where you can have a beautiful view of Cannes.
Despite the fact that the exhibition spaces are limited compared to other museums of the French Riviera, once you are on the Lerins Islands you must not miss a tour of this attractive building in its abruptness, where you can visit, in addition to temporary exhibitions, the small exhibition on the findings of the submarines (merchant ships of the Roman era), including a bowl of nuts that is about 2000 years old and still well preserved after a shipwreck.
Route des Cretes La Palud
The Route des Cretes La Palud is located between the southern French Castellane and Lac St.Croix. It is 22km long and the deepest canyon in Europe. It is the European equivalent of America's Grand Canyon. While many people pass through the Route Napoleon past Castellane by traveling to the Riviera coast, here, they drive past one of the most impressive natural attractions just to see the majestic views of this route. At Point Sublime you will have the best view of the gorge and certainly the mountain village of Rougon. Via the Route des Cretes, there is a loop that starts and ends in the same village of La Palud where you can have very nice views of the canyon culminating in the 700m high cliff of the Escale and a must for European alpinists. You can cross the Sentier Martell between Point Sublime and the refuge of La Maline within the 6 hours walk. The Gorges du Verdon views are wonderful but be careful because the road to get there is so narrow.
A visit to Cannes is not complete without going to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrese. The Palace is the best part of Cannes; it is near the sea and the best restaurants. The entrance to the Palais des Festivals just to visit is limited, but you can book for shows and events in advance and have the opportunity to witness an authentic Cannes Film Festival red carpet spectacle filled with international film stars. This is just one of Cannes best features along with a visit to the old museums, casinos, palaces, canyons, isles, and conquering its treacherous mountain trails. A visit to this interesting city in France is a must at least once in your lifetime.
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