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Tourist Places To Visit In Cannes
The coastal city of Cannes is located in the south-eastern region of France and is a part of the Alpes-Maritime department in the French Riviera. While it's currently best known to be the home of the renowned Cannes Film Festival, the city also enjoys a rich cultural heritage that dates back to the 2nd-century BC.
More importantly, Cannes’ administration has made substantial efforts towards preserving this heritage that the city shares with its numerous other French sister-cities in the form of museums, exhibits and events that are part of Cannes’ annual calendar. Luxury hotels are also a part of Cannes’ identity and can be found all over the city, frequented by the rich and famous that make up a large chunk of the tourist crowd in Cannes. Read on to know more about what else is in store for you through this comprehensive list of the top places to visit in Cannes.
One of the most iconic promenades in France, the boulevard of La Croisette is where you’ll find most of the city’s tourists and posh crowds hanging out on a good weather day. This mile-long seafront street is lined with lovely golden beaches, couture shops and some of the most prominent hotels in Cannes like the historic InterContinental Carlton. Extending from the Palais des Festivals (venue of the Cannes Film Festival) to the La Roserie Park, La Croisette will especially appeal to the daydreamers; enjoying a drink or meal in one of the cafes on the boulevard as you watch chic residents go about their day, admiring the architectural masterpieces that surround you, is a luxurious pastime that is best enjoyed only in a city like Cannes.
When it comes to historical monuments and neighbourhoods, Cannes is one of the last places you would think of when planning a trip. Le Suquet is the closest you can get to find an old-world charm nestled in the heart of the city. An ancient Roman settlement situated on the slopes of Mont Chevalier, Le Suquet is believed to have been the original site of Cannes and is currently the oldest area in the city. The entire neighbourhood is a delightful place to enjoy a stroll in, with old staircases and cobblestone streets, ancient courtyards and pastel-coloured buildings that will transport you to the 18th and 19th-century Cannes.
The hillside setting also offers exceptional views of the city’s old port, La Croisette and the Palais des Festivals. Some ancient monuments like the Tour du Mont Chevalier and the Church of Notré-Dame D’Esperance are the most prominent highlights of Le Suquet. Rue Meynadier and Rue d’Antibes are bustling pedestrian streets here that feature some of the best boutiques for shopping.
Le Vieux Port
Cannes’ old port is a fascinating mix of old-school charm and contemporary Mediterranean scenic beauty. Situated below the Le Suquet quarter, the old harbour is a great place to simply relax around in one of the portside cafes and watch the numerous yachts arrive into town. Sunset and sunrise moments appear particularly magical across the building situated near the harbour. The Vieux Port is also the venue of the annual Cannes Yachting Festival that has been taking place in September since 1977 each year.
Musée de la Castre
The hill that is home to the neighbourhood of Le Suquet is also the location of several historical monuments, one of them being an 11th-century medieval castle that once served as the residence of the monks of Lerins. The same castle also holds the Castre Museum and offers some amazing views of the city and beyond.
After touring the museum, visitors can choose to climb another flight of about 100 stairs to reach the top of the square tower and be mesmerized by even more impressive views of the adjoining Cannes Bay. The museum holds a fascinating art collection that was willed to the establishment by a local resident; the collection includes Mediterranean antiquities, ancient artworks and paintings apart from exotic art objects from the Himalayan and Oceania region. An extensive collection of musical instruments is also on display here.
Located on the hilltop of Le Suquet, Notre-Dame D’Esperance is Cannes’ most important church and offers some of the most picturesque views of the city from its location, very much like its neighbour, the Castre Museum. While the church itself dates back to the 15th-century, several of its elements were added later and feature a blend of different architectural styles. For example, the Gothic component of the church can be seen in the impressive heights of the vaulting and the 16th-century sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary, while the Renaissance-era contribution is the 19th-century organ that has recently renovated. The church is still actively used as a place of worship and also features as the outdoor venue for the annual event known as the Musical Nights of Le Suquet that is held in July each year.
The largest of four islands off the coast of Cannes, Sainte-Marguerite features some of the loveliest beaches in the region, along with dense green forests and old buildings that will interest anyone looking for some solitude away from the streets of the much louder and livelier Cannes. Located just a 15-minute ferry ride away from the old port of Cannes, the island of Sainte-Marguerite also has historically significant buildings like the 17th-century Fort Royal, which originally housed prisoners but is currently a maritime museum with goods retrieved from local shipwrecks.
The Island of Saint-Honorat
The Island of Saint-Honorat is the second-largest island around Cannes and a neighbour to Íle Sainte-Marguerite. It is best known for the ancient monastery here that was founded in the year 410 by Saint-Honoratus. A monastic community formed around him that went on to own a substantial portion of Cannes. The monks who remain here in the abbey today make their living by making and selling homemade honey and wine and operate under a vow of silence. A walking tour across the island will take you through various abandoned chapels, an old fort and a local port. There are also rooms here available for accommodation for those willing to stay over a night or two on the island.
Palais des Festivals
It’s hard to be in Cannes and not immediately recognize the true home of the Cannes Film Festival; the venue we’ve seen as a backdrop to countless celebrities when the festival is in full swing in the month of May each year. Walk the red carpet on the stairs that lead to the Grand Auditorium and have a celebrity moment for yourself by asking a friend or loved one to capture the moment for you. Ever since its construction in 1982, the 25000 sq. m. of space in the building has been in regular use for several events, exhibitions, conferences and festivals that take place in Cannes all year round. A guided tour of the Palais des Festivals is available when there isn’t any event going on in the building, where visitors can explore the Grand Auditorium from the inside and learn more about one of cinema’s most glamorous events.