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Cannes Tourism And Travel Guide
12.5° C / 54.5° F
May to September
2 to 3 Days
Nice Cote d'Azur Airport (24 kms)
Gare de Cannes
The small city of Cannes is situated in southeast France and is a part of the Provence-Alpes-Maritimes department in the French Riviera. The history of this ancient city dates back to the 2nd-century BC when it was nothing more than a little fishing village between the Lerins Islands. By 10-century, the town had been named Canua and had become a significant port with a Roman outpost. Since then, Cannes has come a long way and has become one of the most luxurious tourist cities in the European continent. The International Cannes Film Festival is its single biggest annual event, while other events and festivals taking place through the rest of the year bring a variety of crowds to the city regularly and contribute largely to the tourism industry in Cannes.
More than often not, Cannes has been associated with being the vacation destination for the rich and famous. While there is substantial truth in that assumption, there is much more to enjoy in this glamorous city that doesn’t have a price tag attached to it. Here is a comprehensive travel guide for all that you need to know about Cannes.
How to Reach
Reaching Cannes via flights can be accomplished through a number of methods. The city’s own airport known as the Cannes Mandelieu Airport mainly services private jets and does not have commercial flight operations. The next nearest airport is the Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport 24 km away that operates several major airlines and is the most preferred route to get to Cannes. Buses, taxis and airport shuttles are available from the airport to Cannes. Alternatively, travellers may also fly to Marseille-Provence International Airport and use the option of buses, trains or taxis to reach from Marseille to Cannes.
Cannes is serviced by international trains like the TEE (Trans-Europe Express), the Trains Bleus and the TGV at the Gare de Cannes. The TGV is the inter-city network that makes getting to Cannes from cities like Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille etc. speedy and convenient; the SNCF network connects Cannes to the rest of France. Travellers coming in from Italian cities like Milan, Venice, Rome etc. can do so via the Trenitalia train service. The Russian Railways can be used to get to Nice from Moscow, with stopovers at Minsk, Warsaw, Vienna etc.
A road trip on the French Riviera is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The European network of motorways allows travellers to reach Cannes via road from a number of regions around the Cote d’Azur and the rest of the country. Take the A8 if travelling from Paris, Nice and Monaco; the latter two are also connected via N98. Travellers are free to choose between an option of buses, taxis or rented cars to reach Cannes from their origin. Bus number 210 (Cannes Xpress) is a popular way to get to Cannes from Nice.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
Summers in Cannes brings the majority of tourists to the region, with its sunny climate and average daytime temperatures ranging between 25⁰C-30⁰C. Also being the driest time of the year, beach-goers flock to the city to enjoy its vast sandy shores and sparkling warm waters. Locals have their summer holidays during these months and can be seen frequenting all the tourist spots as well. Expect to find higher hotel and rental rates during the summers.
Autumn (September – November):
September in Cannes is warm and dry enough to plan a trip, with temperatures ranging in the early double-digit figures. As October and November arrive, the weather begins to cool down and rains become more frequent as well, gradually increasing as winters approach. Since tourist season has worn off by the time autumn arrives, hotel and rental rates drop as well.
Winter (December – February):
The winters in Cannes are milder compared to the interior regions of France and like other typical Mediterranean regions, temperatures experienced during these months usually range just below the 10⁰C mark. Keep in mind that since it is off-season, most hotels and restaurants also remain closed during the winters.
Spring (March – May):
Early springtime is characterized by cooler weather that grows gradually warmer as the summer season approaches. If you are looking to visit Cannes to spend some time on the beaches while avoiding the peak-season crowds, late April and May are a good time to do so. The famous Cannes Film Festival also takes place during May, drawing the majority of crowds to Cannes in this month.
Things to Do
Spend Some Time on La Croisette:
Similar to Nice’s popular Promenade des Anglais, La Croisette is Cannes’ seafront palm-lined boulevard that is surrounded by beaches on one side and stylish boutiques and luxury hotels on the other side. The cafes on La Croisette are a great place to spend an evening while enjoying drinks or dinner with friends. An idle afternoon spent strolling on the walkway or people-watching on one of the benches by the sidewalk is a luxurious pastime best enjoyed in a city like Cannes.
Experience Cannes Film Festival:
Held in May each year, Cannes Film Festival is the most significant annual event in the city and witnesses’ large crowds of some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry collecting in one region to celebrate cinematic achievements. The main venue for the award ceremony is Palais des Festivals on the boulevard of La Croisette, but movie screenings are organised in multiple areas of the city. Travellers planning a trip to Cannes in this month will often find the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities who can be seen strolling and shopping all over Cannes.
Explore the Beaches:
The beaches of Cannes are one of its primary attractions. While the public beaches like Plages du Midi, Mace Beach and Les Rochers Beach are free and open to all, a lot of the seafront hotels in Cannes provide access to their private beaches that usually have restaurants and private butler services as part of their packages. The still waters of the Mediterranean are a great place to enjoy a Bath in the ocean, while the golden sandy shores can be enjoyed by people of all ages for picnics and sunbathing.
Where to Shop
La Croisette isn’t just known for its seafront property and being a popular tourist hang-out spot; it is also a flagship location for all your shopping needs in Cannes and consists of several upmarket stores and big-name brands. Rue d’Antibes is situated just behind and parallel to the La Croisette and is a more diversified street with a variety of boutiques that sell everything from clothing to perfumes, home decor and souvenirs. The La Bocca area is known for its department stores and large shopping centres where visitors can fulfil most of their purchasing needs under one roof.
Rue Meynadier is one of the best-known shopping locales in Cannes for its relatively more affordable range of goods. Bargaining is a norm here and tourists and locals alike shop here on a regular basis for regional goods like wines, cheeses, herbs and some of the finest varieties of olives.
Where to Eat
Since Cannes is all about its sunny beaches and the world-famous film festival, it’s no surprise that the city is constantly flocked by celebrities and posh tourists that only results in restaurants racking up their rates on a regular basis. Nonetheless, the dining scene in Cannes is richly versatile with French and European cuisines dominating the food culture here. Aux Bons Enfants, La Potiniere and Le Bistrot Gourmand are quintessentially French eateries where you can experience hearty, authentic delicacies that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Le Palme d’Or and Sea Sens are two of the best Michelin-star restaurants in Cannes and surely worth the extra dough for the delectably memorable experience you will encounter here. Head to L’Affable for Mediterranean cuisine with an Asian twist, La Casa di Nonna for authentic home-style Italian and l’Armenian for true Middle-Eastern delicacies.