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August 1, 2017updated Dec 20, 2023

Things to do in Cannes

By Lauren Jade Hill

This indisputably glamorous town on the French Riviera becomes the center of international attention each year for its annual film festival when celebrities gather at the Palais des Festivals des Congrès, making their appearance on the red carpet. Here the Boulevard de Croisette hugs the curve of the coast with sandy shores on one side and boutiques and luxury hotels on the other and the historic quarter leading inland. We take a looks at the best things to do in Cannes to make the most of a stay here.

First get to know Cannes by taking a walk through along the tree-lined promenade La Croisette, which runs between the town’s sandy shores and coastal road, and continue on to Le Suquet historic area. While restaurants and bars sit along the lively promenade, Le Suquet is best known for its winding cobbled streets where local dining spots can be found and historic sites such as Chateau de a Castre and Notre Dame de l’Esperance.

To see 19th-century landscape art from the French Riviera, along with a selection of musical instruments and ethnographical items, stop by Musée de la Castre, which is located within a medieval tower. Musée de la Mer, meanwhile, focuses on underwater archaeological finds, which are atmospherically exhibited in a historic fort. From here you can then head over to La Malmaison, an art gallery that’s housed in a former hotel hosting exhibitions of 20th and 21st-century artworks.

Cannes has a great wealth of excellent restaurants and gastronomic hotels, but it’s also rewarding to pay a trip to the local food market, Marche Forville, where stalls are laden with local produce such as the seafood and cheese, along with flowers and wine. And for a side-trip it’s an easy boat ride over to the two small off-shore islands, Ile Sainte-Marguerite and Ile Saint-Honorat where an impressive monastery is one of the sites to visit.

Where to Stay

InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel

Established in 1913, the InterContinental Carlton Cannes is one of the most prestigious hotels here, and is ideally located on Boulevard de la Croisette. Aside from its heritage, the elegant hotel is perhaps best known for its terrace and private white sand beach, but the culinary offering is also enough to draw people in as the restaurant provides French fine dining in a grand setting.

Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez

Internationally renowned, this hotel on the Croisette beachfront is one of the most coveted in Cannes. Within the historic façade, interiors combine Art Deco with contemporary design having been created by Pierre-Yves Rochon, with a private beach, terrace, outdoor pool and luxurious spa. The hotel is home to the two Michelin starred restaurant La Palm d’Or among other eating and drinking venues.

Five Seas Hotel

A short distance from La Croisette, this five star hotel sits within the town’s historic quarter, with a series of sprawling suites that are both classic and contemporary in style. The hotel comprises a rooftop restaurant, pool terrace and spa, and affords guests access to the Plage du Festival private beach.

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