Cannes moment to shine arrives in May as the venue for the Cannes Film Festival, entertaining the rich and famous. During the festival, fans can see actors, celebrities, and directors up close and in person on the famous steps of the Palais des Festivals at the end of La Croisette. Although its nightlife, casinos and high end restaurants give Cannes a feel of exclusivity, Cannes does have alternatives to suit all types of budgets. Tourists can check out the beauty and architecture of Le Suquet, with its cobbled streets and breathtaking views, or sit at street side tables and enjoy the favoured hobby of people watching up and down the lovely marina.
Most visitors bound for Cannes will arrive first at Nice's Côte d'Azur International Airport Terminals 1 & 2. A free shuttle operates to link Terminals One and Two and all other transit runs out of T1. From here there are a number of travel alternatives: coach, express coach, train, bus, and taxi. Be aware that during peak season (August) transportation should be booked in advance, as it will sell out. If traveling by public transit, two weeks before or after August, also be aware of the possibility of labor strikes. Strikes are common, anticipated, and highly publicized. Simply check (google) the French newspapers before purchasing your tickets. Marseille Provence Airport is also only 2 hours away by bus and train.
Coaches (Express) The commonly recommended and easiest transit is the Coaches or Express Coach. Coaches to Cannes Centre via the A8 motorway at a cost of around €17, runs every 30 minutes, 45 minute trip duration, no view.
Shared Airport to Hotel Shuttle Cannexpress.com run a "shared" door-2-door transfer service via the A8, between Nice Airport and your accommodation in Cannes. Departures are every 60 minutes and cost €24 per seat. http://www.cannexpress.com Reservations must be made in advance.
The cheapest way in (€1), although not recommended, is the TAM 200, 210, 220, ,etc.; via local roads which often experience traffic delays. This goes from Nice Airport (Terminal 1) to 2 stops in Cannes center. The journey is frustratingly long – it takes about 2 hours and stops every few hundred yards and has no special luggage facility. However the cost at only €1 is so low it attracts many travellers even though it may involve standing the whole journey. More info here
Taxi services are the most convenient, but at an astronomical price of €80 minimum; or more, if they take the scenic route.
The best cheaper alternative and frequently used by locals is the train (SNCF), between Nice's St. Augustine station and Cannes. Trains run every 30 minutes, 30 minutes trip duration, and cost €11-15 (round-trip). Not the mention the views are amazing, in comparison to the Coaches, as the train runs adjacent the beach. (Summer 2011) The tricky bit is between the train station and airport (terminal 1), which is a half mile away. From the airport (terminal 1) take the local bus #23, from bus bay 6, for 2 stops, for €1.4 (cash on bus, change for small bills only). The bus stop name is clearly marked as "Gare SNCF Saint-Augustine". Local bus info at: Nice local bus#23 map at: Then walk (100m) between the bus stop and train station, which is kitty corner the intersection; under the train rail overpass and to the right, up "Av. Edouard Grinda". The train station is on right. In reverse, from Cannes to airport, is the same. To repeat in reverse: Left out the station, down to intersection, left under overpass and across intersection. There is only one bus stop for #23, direction to the right, southwest, running parallel the train tracks. Train tickets can be purchased in advance by English speakers at or by French speakers at . Although the train runs early and late, in the day for local commuters, the ticketing station is only open normal business hours, so purchase tickets online in advance. Although on-board ticketing police are rare, the fine is stiff (minimum €100-300).
As with Antibes, Monaco and other towns on the French Riviera, access by road at popular times can be slow and frustrating. The coast roads are generally packed, and there are few ways to descend from inland. Locals do have some tricks, like the one described below, but they are complex and do not always work. Using the train to get in is probably better. You can park in Mougins or Mouans Sartoux and take the train to Cannes.
The obvious way to Cannes from the A8 Cannes/Grasse exit is often extremely slow; you end up descending the Boulevard Carnot, which has an endless stream of traffic lights. The simplest way to avoid this congestion is to bear right immediately after you have left the A8 at the first traffic light. Then, once you are off the main road, get into the right hand lane and stay there as the road turns into a normal two-way road.
After a sharp bend there is a traffic light. Continue straight on at the light. At the next major intersection (about 1 km further), turn left following signs to Cannes.
You are now on the N85; you should stay on it, and not follow misleading signs to other bits of Cannes until you are at the bottom (a T junction with a French Telecom building on your left). Probably the easiest thing to do at this point is to turn left at this T junction and almost immediately left again. Then go into the first parking garage you can (Parking Fontville).
Another way down to the coast (this works for both Cannes and Juan les Pins/Antibes) is to go to Vallauris and descend to the coast on the D135 and then turn right (for Cannes) or left (for Antibes) when you get to the N7.
Walking can quite often be the fastest mode of transport in Cannes. It also gives you the chance to stumble upon hidden sights that you may miss otherwise.
Getting around Cannes is not a problem at all. The city is well equipped with an efficient bus system (the only public transportation available in town) that provides service not only in the city but also to neighboring La Bocca, Le Cannet and Mandelieu-La Napoule. The bus companies include STU de Cannes Bus Azur, Bus Azur, CTM Cannes La Bocca and Beltrame. They all have scheduled services with a frequency of a bus every 15 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on the bus or at the bus stations and cost €1.50 per ride or you can purchase a Carte 10 which gives you 10 reduced-rate tickets at the bus office. But be careful which fare you buy as buses in Cannes can be very expensive.
Taxis can be hailed on the street or you can order them by phone calling Taxis de Cannes at +33 4 929 9272. Fares are pre-established with an opening charge of €2.35 and subsequent charges of about €3.00 per mile.
Cannes has all the usual hire car rental establishments (Hertz, Avis, Budget) where you can rent a car if you wish. Parking is generally not an issue. Although you will have to pay, it is recommended that you use one of the off street parking garages as this is far better than searching fruitlessly for a parking lot on the street. Moreover Cannes has a truly horrible one-way system and it is much easier to walk. The Fontville parking gives good access to the port and old town.
If you are more interested in the Croisette and/or dislike walking, then there are other parking garages that are available, like the one by the station: one of the best is the one underneath the Palais des Festivales, and the one under the Grey d'Albion hotel in Rue des Serbes.
- Old town— The usual narrow winding streets filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. The view from the castle ruins at the top is excellent.
- Covered Market (Marché Forville)— For a spectacular eating and viewing food experience, no other market in Cannes beats this for scale and variety. The market itself is at the west end of rue Meynardiers, one of the Cote's best gourmand streets.
- Palais des Festivals— Down La Croisette is the famous Palais des Festivals, where stars of the screen gather and watch films screened during the festival. Irresistible not to pose for a photograph on the 22 steps leading up to the entrance.
- Port— Admire the yachts of the rich and possibly famous - though true mega-yachts will be found at the International Yacht Club down the coast in Antibes.
- La Croisette— Cannes catwalk beside the sea, it is the center of the city's tourist activity and known for its luxury hotels and boutique shops.
- Beaches— The beaches are mostly private and cost up to €30 for a day's use (including sunbed and shade). The public beaches are crowded, and are found at the far east and west of town. If you want a quieter beach, a better option is to go to the Îles de Lérins, see below. At night the beaches can be tranquil, but watch out for spectacular fireworks displays (see posters/ask at tourist info) in the bay, get to the beach early to get a good spot!
- Îles de Lérins— Two islands in the bay that are definitely worth visiting. The smaller is St Honorat, which has a monastery and ruined castle. The monks sell monastery-made food/drink products like wine which make unique souvenirs. The larger island is Ste Marguerite which also has a castle, shops, bars, and restaurants. Find a quiet cove, some shade from palm trees, and a cheap snorkel before you swim around the rocky coves. A return ticket to Ste Marguerite is €11 with ferries departing every hour roughly from 7 in the morning until about 5:30 at night - ask for a timetable. The ticket to St Honorat costs €13, and visiting the fortified monastery costs €3/pax. The timetable and information is also available in a brochure kept in most hotel lobbies.
- Festival de Cannes: 11-22 May 2016 . The most famous film festival in the world takes place in mid-May every year. The world's biggest celebrities are on hand to walk the red carpet, and thousands of films are screened in the festival and the Marché du Film, the world's biggest film market.
- Trans Cotes d'Azur, Quai Laubeuf (Port de Cannes). Offers day cruises and excursions to Monaco, St Tropez, Iles de Porquerolles and other destinations. Main season only, mid-June to mid-September. Rates are subject to VAT, port charges, fuel, environmental protection. up to €50.
- Notre-Dame d'Esperance, Place de la Castre. Provençal Gothic church with wood paneling dating back to the 14th and 15th century. Also worth a look is the collection of 19th century paintings, which includes a fresco by George Roux that portrays the baptism of Christ. The church is situated on top of Suquet hill in old Cannes, the church offers visitors a fabulous view of the town and its bay.
- Croix des gardes. Natural parc area, trails and vistas
- Tour du Masque, 9, rue du Mont Chevalier, Cannes 06401. A popular attraction for history and literary buffs, the Tour du Masque is said to be haunted by the ghost of the mythical,mysterious figure known as the "Man in the Iron Mask."
- Molinard, 60, boulevard Victor-Hugo, Grasse 06130, ☎ +33 4 9336-0162. Follow your nose down this flower-strewn villa to learn how perfume is made and manufactured. It's an olfactory and visual feast, as well as smelling some of the world's finest perfumes. Famous perfume bottles are also on display.
- Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence, 2 rue Mirabeau, ☎ +33 4 9705 5800. The museum retraces everyday life in Provence from prehistoric times to the present day. The Provençal way of life is illustrated through furniture, pottery, paintings, traditional costumes and santons (Christmas crib figures). There's also an authentic formal garden for you to enjoy.
- French Riviera, CMC Cannes Riviera Gastronomie Maritime, Gare Maritime, jet Albert-Edouard, Cannes 06400, ☎ +33 4 9368-9898. Enjoy the view of Cannes from this luxury ship. You can choose to do either a lunch tour or an evening dinner tour. For a one flat fee you receive lunch or dinner and a tour whilst enjoying live music. The tours run daily from 12:30PM-3PM, 8:30PM-11:30p.
- Columbus International, 29 boulevard de la Ferrage, ☎ +33 4 8315-8264, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guided motorcycle tours and rentals. Tour Cannes and the surrounding region with an English-speaking motorcycle guide or rent a motorbike to explore the South of France at your own pace.
Cannes is renowned for its luxury boutiques and designer fashion.
The shops in Cannes are concentrated between La Croisette and rue d'Antibes - a distance easily covered on foot. Here you'll find all the luxury boutiques you could possibly desire as well as other shops selling products at a more affordable price range. The old town has any number of shops selling souvenirs as well.
Stroll, or stop by, the wide array of international designer shops that line La Croisette, which include Chanel, Dior, and Gucci. Check out the l`enfant terrible of French fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier in the Gray d'Albion arcade at number 17.
For those with a sweet tooth, get your fix on Rue d'Antibes, which has the best chocolatiers and delicatessens, including Chez Bruno, 51 rue d'Antibes (crystallised fruit and marrons glacés), and Maiffret, 31 rue d'Antibes (chocolates made on the premises).
If you are getting desperate to read something in English then the Cannes English Bookshop (11 rue Bivouac Napoléon, just by the Palais des Festivals tel: +33 4 9399-4008 can help.
A great street to grab yourself a bargain is on the Rue Meynadier, with a vibrant market atmosphere. Taste some sharp cheese at Ceneri, on 22 rue Meynadier, while quality wines are found at La Cave Forville, at 3 Forville Market.
A souvenir from the monastery on Ste Honorat is a good way to distinguish yourself from the other tourists toting bags of the same souvenirs.
Standard shopping hours are Monday to Saturday 10AM-12PM and 2:30PM–7:30PM. In high season, many shops do not close for lunch. Sales tax varies between 5.5% (food) to 19.6% (luxury goods).
Although it tends to get pretty pricey to eat out in Cannes, it is possible to get a delicious meal incorporating the mouth-watering, fresh regional produce sourced from the markets.
The most popular restaurants to eat at are all along the riverfront, although they are they are not particularly value for money. While the food is ok, it's overpriced, however the people watching and posing-potential is an important compensation.
The best areas for dining are the rue Meynadier, in the beautiful old district of Le Suquet, where you can dine outdoors with a stunning view of the town below, and in the back streets of the Rue de Antibes, you can find some reasonable dining options.
Vegetarians have a bit of a rough time in France generally, in that most menus classify things as fish, meat and nothing else, and the French pride themselves in eating some fairly esoteric parts of animals not found in supermarkets back home - "testicules de mouton" for example. Traditional French cuisine is expensive at best, you could consider eating in some of the more Italian places.
The most romantic setting for dining in Cannes is away from the conference/ expense account circuit of central Cannes, in the historic quarter of Le Cannet, a northern suburb of Cannes some two kilometers away. Accessible by taxi or local buses, Vieux Le Cannet looks down over Cannes, and at its best vantage point is the large tree lined open square of Place Bellvue, tables alfresco, bounded by four or five quality restaurants patronized mainly by French "in the know". The Place Bellvue is on the main street rue St Sauver, home to artists ateliers and picture-postcard old French scenes. Well worth the extra effort.
- 24 Suquet Restaurant, 24 rue du Suquet, ☎ +33 4 9338 7522. Located in the old town of Cannes, this chic and cosy restaurant serves fine Provincial cuisine in an atmosphere that is as welcoming as it is becoming.
- Le Caveau 30, 45 rue Félix Faure, ☎ +33 4 9339 0633. Fresh seafood and produce worth coming back for, at this upscale restaurant that tends to get quite crowded in the summer months. Impressive wine list to go with the varied menu options and the staff are always attentive and professional.
- Palm Square, 1 allées de la Liberté, ☎ +33 4 9306 7827. Chic and ultra trendy, the Palm Square is the place to eat tasty food surrounded by a group of friends, in a gorgeous setting. Cuisine is mostly modern French, although the chef does mix it up with splashes of Indian or Thai flavorings.
- La Palme d'Or, Hôtel Martinez, 73 boulevard de la Croisette. Great location overlooking the bay of Cannes. Food is of an extremely high standard, the stylish and contemporary decor impresses, and the service is impeccable. Two Michelin stars have been awarded to this restaurant.
- Le Restaurant Arménien, 82 boulevard de la Croisette, ☎ +33 4 9394 0058. For genuine Armenian food served in a charming and atmospheric setting. Popular restaurant that also offers Mediterranean inspired alternatives.
- Authentic, 92, Ave Francis Tonner, Cannes La Bocca (traveling west from Cannes, pass the market in La Bocca & it's on your right, one block further.), ☎ +33 4 9348 3406. No view (location isn't great), but this resto itself is simple but lovely. Even better, the food. For a really wonderful meal at 30% or less of prices in Cannes itself, check out this great little secret. The meal always begins with a little complimentary tasting. Very popular at noon, so make a reservation during August for lunch or dinner. The chef is from Alsace, but uses local fare superbly, too. menus start under €20 for dinner.
- sombraro x-press, 25 rue suquet, ☎ +33 505 988-7412. open all day+ night. wholesome Mexican food at a great price. menu includes light choices for watchful eaters cheap.
- Villa La Contemporaine de Cannes. Modern Cannes luxury villa rental located in the exclusive area of La Californie above Cannes.
- Citadines Croisette Cannes, 1, rue le Poussin, ☎ +33 4 97 06 92 00, fax: +33 4 93 38 84 09, e-mail: email@example.com. This 3-star establishment with an indoor garden and a solarium offers 58 flats in 2 wings of 3 and 5 floors, ranging from studios to one-bedroom apartments. From April to September, residents can have access to a private beach. All studios and apartments are fully air-conditioned and have a bathroom with separate toilet and a fully-equipped separate kitchen area. Some studios are equipped for people with reduced mobility.
- Hôtel Alnea, 20 rue Jean de Riouffe, ☎ +33 4 9368 7777. Comfortable hotel that has basic features, with satellite TV, telephone with internet connection and WiFi. Near the Palais des Festivals.
- Hôtel America Cannes, 13 rue Saint Honoré, ☎ +33 4 9306 7575. 28 rooms, including 4 junior suites, just behind the Majestic Hotel, at 200 ft from the Congress Centre. Very clean and comfortable. All rooms have flat-screen TV, high speed wireless internet connection. Laundry, wake-up call services, concierge services. No restaurant, only buffet breakfast or in-room breakfast.
- Palais Stephanie. Unique business & leisure property with 234 rooms including 47 suites, 16 meeting rooms and a 820-seat auditorium (formerly Noga Hilton).
- Claremont Hotel, 13 Rue Du Août. This quaint and charming hotel offers comfortable rooms for single or sharing occupancy. It provides breakfast, laundry and wakeup-call services, and transfers to and from the airport, and other towns along the Riviera.
- 3.14 hotel, 5 rue François Einessy, ☎ +3304 9299 7200. Unique hotel with rooms designed from five continents, with each floor representing a continent, such as vibrant Asia or cultural Europe. All rooms have flat-screen TV, DVD player, broadband internet connection and WiFi access and the hotel even has its own private beach on La Croisette.
- Le Mistral, 13 rue des Belges. Modern boutique hotel with art works on display in each of the rooms. The rooms are soundproofed and air conditioned and feature free WiFi access, cable TV and direct phones.
- Suitehotel Cannes Centre, 46 bis boulevard. Carnot. 10 minutes from the railway station, all rooms have separate bathrooms and toilets, a small kitchenette, large working spaces and flat screen TVs.</sleep>
- The InterContinental Carlton, 58 boulevard de la Croisette, ☎ +33 4 9306 4006. With its own private beach, the InterContinental offers guests comfort and convenience with two restaurants, two bars and a health club on site.
- Hotel Martinez, 73 boulevard de la Croisette, ☎ +33 4 9298 7300. The place where A-list celebrities like visiting presidents or royalty stay, the Hotel Martinez is one of the Riviera's grand dames, with its own private beach and pool, a spa and fitness center, grand apartments, suites and pretty rooms. It also plays host to the Michelin awarded restaurant, La Palme d'Or (see "Eat").
- Résidence Pierre & Vacances Cannes Beach (Cannes-La-Bocca shopping quarter). In the spirit of Cannes, the 7- to 8-floor residence is shaped like a “P” and spread out around a large patio with exotic vegetation. The apartments are equipped with terraces or balconies. It has a fitness room and a restaurant. If you get tired of your private beach (unlikely) then the public sand beach is a 50-m walk away.
- Croisette Beach Hotel, 13 rue du Canada, ☎ +33 4 92 18 88 00. Located in the Golden Square of Cannes, on a quiet street between the bustle of the Croisette and the luxury stores on the Rue d'Antibes. €110 - 210.
- Hotel Cybelle, 14 rue du 24 Août (50 meters from the main railway-station), ☎ +33 493 38 31 33. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. All the rooms are different with old-style charm. €40-86.
If you fancy a change of scenery from Cannes or just want to make the most of its location then you can make a day trip to other beautiful and famous cities. A few to note are:
- Aix-en-Provence is 1 hour and 30 minutes west by car.
- Monaco is 45 minutes northeast by car.
- Nice is 30 minutes northeast by car.
- Saint-Tropez is 1 hour and 15 minutes southwest by car.