Whether you’re a cinephile or not, when anyone hears Cannes, they instantly think of the world-famous film festival. However, while that may be an excellent time to visit the region – who wouldn’t want to rub shoulders with some of Hollywood’s elite? – there are so many things to do in Cannes throughout the year. We’ve rounded up our top picks if you’re planning an escape to beautiful Côte d’Azur, and if you’re on the search for somewhere to stay throughout the festival, check out our luxury villas in the South of France.
Visit La Croisette
If you’re hoping to bump into some big spenders, La Croisette is the street for you. One of the most iconic stretches in France, it measures a mile long and is lined with luxury boutiques shaded by towering palm trees. Many of the top hotels are also found here, linking the city with the seafront, plus an array of casinos for those looking to get lucky.
Cannes Yachting Festival
Thought the film festival was the only big calendar event here? Think again. Every September, the Cannes Yachting Festival takes over the harbour, with the world’s richest showcasing their biggest boating purchases. You’ll find many for sale too, but if you’re happy observing the ultimate dream from afar, you can easily spend an afternoon admiring the finest yachts at Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto.
Looking to chart your way around the wider region? Check out our South of France travel guide.
Visit the Marché Forville
Located just off the La Croisette boardwalk, Marché Forville is bursting with local produce to explore. Cannes residents and tourists alike flood here and haggle to get the best price for their goods. We’d recommend sampling the golden peaches and sun-dried tomatoes that are grown nearby, while a morning visit will reward you with the freshest goods for breakfast. Looking to add some romance to your life? You can’t go wrong with picking up a vibrant bouquet of flowers – just like in the movies!
Soak up the film history
Everyone knows the iconic handprints stamped in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, but did you know that Cannes has its own version on the Allée des Etoiles du Cinéma? You’ll also find the faces of beloved movie characters depicted on murals all across town, spanning everyone from Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe to Mickey Mouse and R2-D2. Get those cameras ready!
Wander Le Suquet
Located above the bay on a pretty hillside, the Old Town district of Le Suquet sits where Cannes’ original fishing village once did. Bursting with old-world charm around every cobbled corner and up each narrow staircase, it’s the sort of place you’d plan to spend just a couple hours but end up being there the whole day. It’s fully pedestrianised, making aimlessly wandering a pleasant affair, but we’d suggest prioritising the Eglise du Suquet church as well as the Tour du Mont watchtower – exceptional views await you at the top!
Île Sainte Marguerite
Once upon a time, Cannes was home to less Hollywood darlings and more scary criminals! Take a short ferry trip to Île Sainte Marguerite and tour its former prison, which once housed the Man in the Iron Mask for more than 10 years. You’ll also find the Musée de la Mer and its fascinating collection of artefacts, all sourced from nearby shipwrecks. Continue to the island’s south side to explore the botanic garden, various beaches and beautiful coves. This really is a full day out!
Not just home to yachts, the historic Vieux Port is also a beautiful place to spend an evening dining and drinking by the water. You’ll find family-run brasseries serving traditional Provençal dishes and the best wines, while scoop shops are also on hand for simply grabbing a cone and soaking up the atmosphere. Should you choose to dine in style however, many venues will host nightly musical performances, ending your time in Cannes on a high note.
If you’re someone who loves trying new foods when on holiday, check out our blog on the top restaurants in the South of France.
Hit the beach
No trip to Cannes is complete without spending some time lounging on its famous fine sandy beaches. There’s 7km of beach coastline to choose from throughout your stay, though it’s important to note that some of them are privately owned. You can pay a small fee to lay out there, or relax on one of the public beaches instead free of charge – our favourites include Plage de la Bocca and Plage du Casino. Whichever option you pick, you’ll enjoy stunning views and crystal-clear waters.
While that may be our top things to do in Cannes, we’ve really just scratched the service with all that this region has to offer. Ready to discover it all? We’ve got luxury villas in the South of France for you to rent, with our concierge team on hand to answer any of your questions and assist with booking.