- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Cannes, France
Cannes might be synonymous with A-list glamour but scratch the surface and you’ll discover a city rich in culture as well as one of the loveliest marinas in France.
A true Riviera town, life in Cannes revolves around the harbour which still boasts fishing boats as well as the super-yachts of the super-rich.
Celebrity is the other fuel that fires Cannes, with big names descending each summer for the town’s iconic film festival. Many will sun themselves on one of its beautiful beaches or aboard the seemingly endless yachts. As a result, the night scene tends towards the glitzy, while the boutiques off the main marina are eye-wateringly expensive.
Cannes has plenty to recommend it offshore too, not least the islands of Ile St Marguerite and Ile St Honorat. The former is most famous for being the spot where the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated and although his identity has never been revealed, his cell at the in the Fort of St Marguerite remains.
Tourist Attractions in Cannes
Boulevard de la Croisette
One of the most fashionable streets on the French Riviera, this elegant palm-lined boulevard is the center of tourist activity in Cannes. The Boulevard de la Croisette is lined by elegant Belle Epoque hotels, such as the historic InterContinental Carlton Cannes-a wonderful example of grand French Art Nouveau architecture designed by Charles Dalmas. Visitors will also be awestruck by the beautiful villas and upscale boutiques. The boulevard extends from the new Palais des Festivals along the rade de Cannes with its splendid sandy beach. A beachfront promenade offers splendid people-watching as well as magnificent views of the gulf and the Lérins Islands in the distance of the Mediterranean Sea. The Boulevard de la Croisette ends at a yacht harbor, where the pirate ship Neptune is docked. This impressive ship was built as the backdrop for an adventure film. At the eastern section of the boulevard is the lovely Parc de la Roseraie and the idyllic Port Pierre Canto with its rows of luxury yachts docked at the harbor.
Le Suquet (Old Town)
Perched on the slopes of Mont Chevalier above the bay, the Le Suquet district represents the original fishing village. In a picturesque hillside setting, this area offers exceptional views as well as Old World charm. Le Suquet has retained some of the ambience of centuries ago. Tourists are delighted by the traffic-free quarter with its narrow old staircases, pleasant courtyards, and interesting historic remnants, such as the city's ancient walls. At the heart of Le Suquet, the old church, Eglise du Suquet, and the 11th-century Tour du Mont Chevalier watchtower dominate the skyline. From the top of the watchtower, there is a wonderful panoramic outlook onto the beach and the bay all the way out to the Lérins Islands. Another joy of visiting Le Suquet is wandering the quaint old streets. One of the old town's main shopping streets is the Rue Meynadier. This bustling pedestrian street is renowned for its specialty gourmet boutiques.
Festival de Cannes (Film Festival) in May
One of the most glamorous events on the French Riviera, the Film Festival brings to Cannes the glitter of celebrity. This red-carpet event is definitely one of the biggest moments of the year in Cannes and one of the city's top tourist attractions. The festival draws movie stars and filmmakers from all over the world as well as crowds of fans and journalists. Originally this film festival was established to rival the Venice Film Festival. The Festival de Cannes has earned an international reputation for discovering, supporting, and promoting excellent films.
Palais des Festivals et des Congrès
The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès is the venue of the Riviera's most glamorous red-carpet affair, the Cannes Film Festival. Designed by the architects Bennett and Druet, the building was completed in 1982 and is used for events, conferences and festivals year round. In addition to the film festival, the building also hosts the G20 Summit, the international music trade show MIDEM, and the MIPTV (International Television Programme Market) events. The Palais des Festivals has 25,000 square meters of space for exhibitions as well as numerous rooms and auditoriums equipped with sophisticated sound and lighting systems. The impressive complex of buildings features state-of-the-art technical apparatus, including sound studios, simultaneous translation arrangements, audio-visual equipment, and large projectors. There is also a restaurant on site. Since 2009, the building has been continually modernized.
Notre-Dame de l'Espérance
The most important church in Cannes, the Notre-Dame de l'Espérance was built in the 16th century and has a notable 17th-century Madonna on the high altar. There is also a wooden statue of Saint Anne that dates back to the 1500s. When entering the church, visitors are struck by the peaceful interior and the inspiring heights of its Gothic vaulting. The church also features a mix of architectural styles including a Renaissance porch, plus an organ that was installed in 1857 and has been recently renovated. There is also an old cemetery that dates back to the 16th century. During the Second World War, the church was temporarily used as a hospital. Today, the church is still a place of religious worship and is also the venue for the Suquet musical festival in July, a popular summertime event.
Musée de la Castre
On a hill overlooking the Bay of Cannes, the Musée de la Castre occupies a former medieval monastery that is now classified as a historic monument. Surrounded by a Mediterranean garden, the site boasts exceptional views of the coastline and sea. The Castre Museum has an excellent collection of Mediterranean antiquities, pre-Columbian primitive art, and 19th-century Provencal landscape paintings. Several small rooms feature exotic art objects from Oceania and the Himalayas. There is also an extensive collection of musical instruments from around the world. Visitors can climb to the top of the building's 12th-century tower to take in the breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Cannes and its surroundings. The museum's interior courtyard also provides a pleasant place to relax and enjoy the natural setting.