Cannes shines most brightly in May, when the famous Cannes Film Festival is going on and when the images of stars walking down the red carpet in Palais des Festivals appear worldwide. For many people, this city on the French Riviera is synonymous with this glamorous event. But Cannes is much more than the festival. There are long, beautiful, sand beaches in La Croisette, luxury yachts, and gastronomic specialties of the Azure coast.
Cannes is always shown as a glittering spectacle of fashion and celebrity, but if you look past the paparazzi and Hollywood stars, you’ll find a city that has much to offer year-round. It is impossible to resist the silent island of Lerins and the steep streets of Le Suquet. Luxury hotels in Cannes, stores, and incredibly expensive restaurants are scattered everywhere along La Croisette. Cannes has much more to offer visitors than just movies.
For a lot of people, Cannes is just one street, La Croisette, that spreads by the coast, divided with flowers and palms. The street became famous in the nineteenth century, when British aristocrats decided to spend their winters in Cannes. Russian aristocrats soon followed suit. Today, the coast of Cannes is chock full of hotels, houses, and luxury shops. Many of the bigger hotels, some dating back to the nineteenth century, have private beaches. Shopping on La Croisette is not something that everyone can afford, but it is a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon window-shopping and dreaming about a life of luxury and glamour.
Eglise Notre Dame d’Esperance
Even though most tourists do not come to Cannes to visit churches, there are a few religious buildings worth visiting, including Eglise Notre Dame d’Esperance. This seventeenth-century beauty is situated on the hill of Le Suquet, in the old part of Cannes. It was built in classic gothic style and is full of history, with wood-paneling dating back to the fourteenth and fifteenth century, a collection of nineteenth-century paintings, and wooden statues that are hundreds of years old. Visitors may enter the church and buy a candle to light for a loved one. And when you’re done inside, walk outside the church to find another awesome reason to visit: the view. The church is set on a hill, offering a spectacular view of the entire city and the bay. Try to visit on a sunny day to make the experience even more fabulous.
Mediatheque de Noailles
This villa was built in the late nineteenth century as a home for the Rothschild family. It has been turned into a beautiful library surrounded by a sprawling park filled with flowers, fountains, and benches ideal for children and adults, too. It is a working library, so visitors can borrow and read books, and there is a spacious, inviting reading room. If you are in Le Suquet, you should definitely take a walk to this amazing building. Just make sure you arrive before 6:00 p.m., which is when the library closes. During the Film Festival, the library offers free daily concerts.
Centre d’art La Malmaison
This museum, one of the newest in the city, opened its doors to the public in 1993. Originally, it was part of the Grand Hotel, which was built and rebuilt several times. The museum is the only remaining original part of the first Grand Hotel. Today, it is an independent museum of modern art offering exhibitions year-round. You can find works by Picasso, Matisse, and other artists from their era, as well as the work of more contemporary artists. The museum is open from 10:00 a.am to 7:30 p.m. and the general admission fee is 3 euros, but special exhibitions may cost a bit more. Spring and summer are the best seasons to visit, when the weather is nice and the exhibitions are held in the gardens of the museum.
Where to Stay
When it comes to accommodations in Cannes, there are many, many affordable hotels near the center of Cannes. For example, Sun Riviera, a four-star hotel near Rue D’Antibes, offers a room for two people starting at $68, a very low price considering the location and the rating of the hotel. Other affordable, centrally located options are Hotel Cannes Gallia and Park & Suites Elegance Le Cannet Hotel, with prices starting at $54 per night.
Alternatively, those who prefer cozy suits to large hotels can rent out one of 43 well-equipped apartments at Residence Excelsuites. Such accommodation is perfect for long vacations, since it combines the comfort of a four-star hotel with home-like features such as a kitchen and spacious rooms.
While choosing accommodation in Cannes, it is very important to take into consideration the proximity of beaches, as well as the historical center, since many cheap hotels are located in the northern part of the city, which is connected to the majority of tourist attractions by trams.
If you are interested in taking a tour to discover the city, the best option is the little white train, better known as the Petit Train Touristique de Cannes. This little train runs every day from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. year-round, with the exception of November, when it does not run. You can choose between the History tour and the La Croisette tour. Both tours depart every hour and last about 45 minutes. The History tour is cheaper, but the combination of both tours costs about 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children 10 and under.
Do you like what Cannes has to offer or maybe you have some tips from your personal experience to add? Please, share this post with others who want to travel and feel free to leave your tips in the comments below!
Illia and Nastia are travel bloggers and adventurers. They have been to 39 countries and do not wish to stop. You can learn more about their never-ending travels at Crazzzytravel.com and Hipmunk.