World’s most renowned for its film festival, Cannes is also a beach resort destination. It was originally a small fishing village in the 1830s, which evolved to a fashionable city ; because the British aristocrats choose to make it their favorite vacations place (Queen Victoria era).
The bay with its blue sea water belongs to « la côte d’Azur » – the blue mediterranean coast. Contrary to Nice, Cannes is a smaller city, with a smaller stroll : a curving Croisette (little cross) promenade and a sandy beach. The most noticeable are its international class collection of palace hotels along the beach, the fashionable boutiques, and the discret casinos.
One comes to Cannes to enjoy the beaches, the high class services, but mostly to be seen.
Thanks to the international airport, the high speed train and its good location close to Italy, Cannes is definitively the ideal destination.
What to see and to do in Cannes ?
What makes this city much more special is its lively Mediterranean flair.
- Forville Market
- Old Cannes (also called Suquet)
- Strolling along the beach till Palm Beach hotel
- Palais des Festivals & Walk of Fame
- Go up to the top of the town at Croix des Gardes area
- Admire the sunset at the rootop of Radisson Blu Hotel
- Visit the islands of Lerins
- Finally, take the train for a one day visit in Monaco and Italy at the border town of Vintimille
Marché Forville , the most famous weekly market in Cannes. Located in a hall, you can find all sorts of delicacies from all over Provence :tasty and colorful fruits and vegetables , fish, meat, olives, cheese and fresh flowers …I personally bought lavander honey there, which comes from the farm.
The old Cannes : Le Suquet
Not far from there, the old town of Cannes is a street-like labyrinth, very touristic with souvenir shops. As you get lost walking around, you can find quieter alleys and authentic Cannes, up to the hill by the stairs. You can visit a little church Notre Dame d’Esperance, the 16th – century church. From there, you can enjoy a magnificent view over the bay of Cannes. Next to it, the Museum is worth visiting as you climb the tower of the museum to have a magnificient view above at 360 degrees.
Palais des Festivals & Walk of Fame
Cannes would not be Cannes without the Annual Film Festival which takes place in May. The red carpet in front of the Palais des Festivals can be seen all year round and therefore also a very popular photo spot.
Beaches in Cannes
Along the famous beach esplade are the city’s most expensive hotels and upmarket boutiques. So, the boulevard de la croisette, which faces the sea is approximately a 3 km stretch of beach houses, beach cafés, restaurants and some beach clubs.
« See and be seen » is the motto – so, you will often come across luxury cars and fashion models in the streets and at the beach clubs.
Our Hotel experience
Due to Covid19 crisis, we had interesting fares from most of high end hotels at front beach. In normal time, they are outrageously expensive. They took barrier gestures very seriously as they provided free masks and alcoholic anti-bacteria solution everywhere. A security personel made sure that all customers respect the rules. Despite the special circomstances, we enjoyed our vacations very much as there were very few tourists and the service was awsome and particularly benevolent.
For the 1st part of our stay, we picked the Carlton palace, the most renowned one due to its historical past (built in 1911). It is an authentic French palace. Its iconic architecture is very instagramable from the outside, but from the inside it is still classical as if time was at a standstill. We can perfectly well imagine Hollywood movies stars who used to stay there. The rooms are a bit small but all the amenities are there. The most noticeable fact is the service and the employees are top of the class ! – We can easily recognise the French style manners : specially during breakfast and dinners. I had the opportunity to go to the Carlton private beach club for lunch and to have a dip. All I can say is I was treated as a queen during my stay !
I’d like to stress here that regarding hospitality, French students go though at least 3 years of studies and very strict trainings. Working in palaces is considered as a career vocation.
On the second part of our vacations, we stayed at Martinez hotel which belongs to the Hyatt group. The employees are very professional in the corporate way, the rooms are big and comfortable in the « american style ». The good points are the breakfast is a buffet and it last longer. There is also a restaurant for diner with a live band every evenings. I also enjoyed the private beach at the Martinez beach club – There are much more customers in the hotel and the service is good but I don’t feel as special as at the Carlton.
What to buy in Cannes ?
As souvenir goodies, I bought lemon soaps from Menton – famous for its lemon festival (a small city close to Cannes). I also bought beauty products from Fragonard, for its natural products from Provence, a jar of Lavander honey at the market, and a bunch of dry lavanders that smells good for the house.