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The glamourous home of the world-famous film festival, Cannes is the glittering jewel in the Côte d'Azur’s crown. Originally a sleepy fishing village, the English Aristocracy stumbled upon this holiday hotspot in the 1830s and the rest, as they say, is history. Although Le Festival de Cannes runs for just ten days, the town’s characteristic sparkle lasts all year round. Flanked by beautiful beaches and with one of Europe’s loveliest promenades, this is an idyllic sun-kissed haven for anyone seeking relaxation. Eager to find out more? Take a look at our Cannes travel guide below.
Brimming with beautiful beaches, world-class shopping spots and historic sites, there’s plenty to do and see in the charming town of Cannes.
Stroll along the world-famous Promenade de la Croisette, marvelling at the abundance of boutiques selling high-end fashion and soaking in the stunning French Riviera views. At the end of the promenade, you’ll find the Marché Forville, a bustling market selling everything from succulent olives and organic produce to fresh flowers and local wines.
Follow in the footsteps of the stars and take yourself on a tour of the town’s extraordinary collection of cinema-themed murals. Saunter past the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and James Dean, emblazoned on the sides of buildings, symbolising the town’s deep and long-lasting connection with the world of film.
History lovers must be sure to pay the Musée de la Castre a visit. Perched atop a hill, the museum is housed in an 11th-century castle which was once inhabited by the monks of Lérins. Nowadays, the building is home to an impressive collection of musical instruments, Mediterranean antiques and artwork from all over the world. If you’re feeling energetic, then ascend the steps of the castle’s ancient stone tower and be rewarded by spectacular panoramic views of the local surrounds.
This annual film festival needs very little introduction. Rolling out the red carpets for all the biggest names from Hollywood and the rest of the world, it’s a showcase of the most anticipated film titles and documentaries of the year ahead. While the majority of the festival is off-limits to those without an invite, there’s a good chance you’ll see plenty of its attendants in the town through its duration.
Get a feel for how the town once was in the old town of Le Suquet in Rue Saint-Antoine. With many steep flights of steps, you’ll find little in the way of traffic here. Explore the ramparts and the church, before taking in the stunning sights from Quai St Pierre and Vieux Port - the starting point for many of the Royal Regattas throughout the year. The church - the Eglise Notre Dame d'Espérance - is the oldest in the town, dating all the way back to 1521.
During the month of September, the town is abuzz with excitement as the annual Cannes Yachting Festival kicks off. Stroll along the harbour and you’ll get to see - and even have the option to buy - an array of luxury yachts and boats. More than half of the attendees travel overseas to display their luxury watercrafts along the historic Vieux Port.
Just a mile from the shores of Cannes, the island of Île Saint-Honorat is the largest of the Lérins Islands and has been a home to a community of monks since the fifth century. Visitors can take a short boat journey over to the island, where they can take a walk around the peaceful grounds of Lérins Abbey before sampling the rich wines of Saint-Honorat - produced by monks using ancient methods.
On your way to Île Saint-Honorat you’ll pass by an even larger island - Sainte-Marguerite. Renowned for its tranquil beaches, it’s a lovely place to unwind and leave the bustle of the town behind for a few hours. If you feel like exploring, you can take a walk around the island’s historic battlements and the local Musée de la Mer.
Framed by miles of breathtaking French Riviera coastline, Cannes has no shortage of beautiful beaches. The majority of beaches nearby La Croisette are privately owned and cost a fee to use. That being said, they also come with an array of facilities and amenities which, when combined with their central location, makes them a convenient and easy option.
Carlton Beach is one of the most famous stretches of sand in the vicinity, being the place where Grace Kelly filmed To Catch a Thief in 1954. Its golden sands are perfect for a day of bathing and snoozing under the afternoon sun.
A little further along the coastline you’ll find plenty of great public beaches, ideal for family picnics and beach sports. Located at the tip of the Cannes headland, the soft sands and quiet atmosphere of Palm Beach make it a popular spot with families. It’s also the only beach in Cannes where kitesurfing is permitted, which makes for great shoreside watching.
Meanwhile, Long Beach, Carlton Beach’s no less glamorous neighbour, is the perfect spot for an afternoon spent sipping on cocktails and people watching. Backed by a popular restaurant, you can simply stroll over and enjoy a delicious meal after whiling the day away on the gentle shores of this beautiful beach.
If you’re feeling adventurous, then why not hire a private boat and visit one of the secluded Lérins Islands which lie just off the coast of Cannes? The largest of the four, Île Sainte-Marguerite is home to countless hidden coves and secret beaches, perfect for a day of exploring. Here, you’ll also find the small fortress which once hosted the unidentified prisoner behind the legend of The Man in the Iron Mask - yet another of the area's links to the world of film and cinema.
The largest stretch of public beach, Plage du Midi offers 700m of glorious white sand. Lined with big rocks that help to keep its shores calm, it’s a lovely place to take a dip before returning to the warm sands for a picnic. Stay until the early evening, and you’ll be rewarded with the most magnificent views across the coast - the vibrant, fiery hues of sunset are a real treat for the eyes.
Gourmands will be delighted by the local cuisine, which is bursting with freshness and flavour. From fresh seafood dishes to mouthwatering steaks, you’ll find an exceptional array of fine dining restaurants nestled within the pretty streets of Cannes.
One of the best spots in town has to be Table 22 par Noël Mantel. Crafted using fish straight from The Med and artisanal produce from the local markets, the dishes at this husband and wife run restaurant showcase seasonal Provençal flavours. There’s also the option of the wine tasting menu, giving you the chance to sample six of the restaurant’s best wines - accompanied by a perfectly-paired selection of tapas dishes.
The private beaches of Cannes are no doubt the best way to soak up the sunshine. While the incredible beachfront location is more than enough reason to visit Miramar Plage, the laidback atmosphere and excellent food and drinks are what will keep you there all day. Characterised by elegant white umbrellas, calm natural hues and a carpet of silky sand underfoot, Miramar Plage is barefoot chic at its finest.
Another great seaside spot is Vegaluna, a private beach restaurant located in one of the area’s loveliest bays. Here you’ll find elegant decor, friendly service and a dedicated children’s play area on the beach - ideal for any little ones in the group. Our concierge team is available to arrange access and ensure you receive the ultimate beachside experience.
Enjoy a Michelin-starred experience at Restaurant La Palme d'Or, with its contemporary dining room and fabulous array of menus curated by head chef, Christian Sinicropi. When the sun is shining, the restaurant’s doors unfold to create an open-air space with picturesque views across the bay. Each menu is described as a ‘mouvement’ and features a selection of salty and sweet dishes - featuring everything from farm pigeon to fresh lobster.
If you’ve been craving a juicy steak, Lucky You Cannes has just what you need. Offering a variety of carefully selected and perfectly aged meats from quality meat producers in the Iberian Peninsula and Britain, you can choose your favourite cut from tomahawk, rib-eye, sirloin, and filet. Each steak is seared at temperatures of up to 1,200°C, and can be tailored to your preference.
For those looking to celebrate, Cannes has plenty of options. From notorious nightclubs, thronged with the rich and famous, to peaceful piano bars, ideal for those wanting to keep things low key, the town abounds in a wealth of bars, venues and clubs.
Unless you’ve just won an award at the festival, you may want to forgo the crush of the main dancefloor at Le Bâoli, Cannes’s most popular (and exclusive) nightclub, instead opting for the mellow atmosphere of Cloud Nine, the rooftop bar upstairs. Here you spend a relaxing evening sipping on expertly crafted cocktails and enjoying the panoramic views over the Bay of Cannes.
The chic La Belle Epoque offers a dimly lit and intimate space to enjoy a few evening cocktails. Offering a big selection of drinks loaded with fresh fruits and fragrant spirits, the staff are renowned for being incredibly welcoming and knowledgeable - if you’re not sure which drink to choose, they’ll be more than happy to help you decide.
CBeach is a trendy and exclusive beach club, just a short walk from the Cannes Film Festival venue. The restaurant itself is excellent, but if you just feel like grabbing a few cocktails then it’s the perfect pit-stop. Lounge on its private daybeds and deckchairs as you watch the shores roll in - total bliss.
Whether you’re after relaxation, adventure or pure foodie indulgence, here at onefinestay we know exactly what it takes to make your getaway special. With our incredible range of exclusive concierge services, you’ll have a host of sumptuous experiences at your very fingertips. Relax with your very own in-home spa experience, feast in the comfort of your home with your own personal chef or explore the oceans in style in a gleaming private yacht with the help of dedicated Cannes travel guide.
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