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Day Trips

Best things to do in Cannes and the Lerins Islands

mega-yacht-cannes-town

Discover Cannes and its surroundings

Beautiful sandy beaches, many designer boutiques, a picturesque old quarter and the famous Cannes Film Festival which sees the world’s most famous film stars visit the town, make a visit of Cannes a must whilst on the French Riviera. And whilst in Cannes, be sure to take a short boat trip out to see one of the two Lerins islands and enjoy the unspoilt nature and many walking trails.

cannes-croisette-sky-view

Cannes one of the most emblematic cities of the French Riviera

Visiting Cannes

Cannes often boils down to its famous international film festival, yachts, social nights and sequins. Its bling bling side created by the famous Cannes festival makes us forget that there is a more peaceful and picturesque Cannes.

So behind the glitter and the red carpet, what does this ancient fishing village reserve us?  Visit Cannes allows you to explore the authenticity of an old center that has preserved its Provencal life, its picturesque markets, a splendid turquoise bay and much more.

Cannes has many things to do and see: art exhibitions, breathtaking landscapes to blaze in the sun, beautiful beaches, gourmet breaks, Cannes history museums, etc. Here are some unmissable for those who really wonder what to do in Cannes.

canne golden hour old town

Cannes is also an ancient fishing village

Cannes, what to see, what to do?

Take a walk in the old town: The Suquet district and the Castre museum

In the old town of Cannes, take a walk along the narrow streets of Suquet and enjoy the tranquility that reign there. The picturesque streets are less busy. You really feel in a small Provencal village like the village of Eze with its cobbled floors, fountains and colorful houses lined with bougainvillea.

If you climb to the top of the square tower of the castle, you will have a 360 ° panorama of the sea and the city. Don’t forget to visit the Church of Our Lady of Hope, a Gothic building of the 17th century and the Castre museum (primitive arts) which is the former castle of the monks of Lerins, those who founded Cannes in the twelfth century.

woman walking on a place in front of le suquet cannes

The Suquet is a hill in Cannes that gave its name to the oldest part of the city.

 

Forville market

Located at the foot of Suquet and close to the old port, the Forville market has a reputation as a quality market, fresh produce and offer a wide variety of products. This covered market is one of the most popular places in le Suquet.

It is the place where fishermen and farmers meet every morning. Smell the perfumes of fresh fruits and vegetables, glean the specialties of small local producers and savor the freshness of the fish just caught.

Don’t forget to try the Provencal specialty:  “la Socca”, a slab made from chickpea flour. Just wait for it to come out of the oven, add a little pepper and eat it with you hand.

fruit, veggies, cheese, herbs cover market cannes

The Forville market is a large covered market open every morning except on Monday

 

Le Palais des Festivals

A must-see for moviegoers coming to visit Cannes, the Palais des Festivals is the venue for the film festival in May. The best known movie buff climbed the steps and the famous red carpet. Do the same and take yourself for an international star! 

Le chemin des étoiles: Around the palace, you can see on the ground the casts of the 140 handprints of the greatest movie stars such as Pedro Almodovar, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino, Sergio Leone, and many others .

palais des festival cannes

The Palais des Festivals is THE symbol of Cannes. Picture by Michael David Mura

 

Morning walk on the Croisette to Palm beach

La Croisette is a large boulevard with a large pedestrian area located at the edge of the beach. A walk under the palm trees of the Croisette is also a very pleasant must-have. It is one of the largest concentrations of luxury brands in France with nearly 3 km of shops, casinos and hotels.

Do not wait until there is a crowd to enjoy the Croisette! Go early in the morning to take a walk or jog in the first light of the day. The sea is calm, some seniors sit on blue chairs, play chess or even go for a swim.

The famous Croisette is lined with tall palm trees but also the most legendary palaces. It is a good opportunity to discover the city through the different architectural eras of these historic buildings. There is the Carlton Hotel which dates from the Belle Epoque (1911) and a little further the Martinez Hotel Art Deco style built in 1927.

cannes croisette palmier beach

The avenue stretches along the seafront

 

Relax in the Lerins Islands

The Lerins Islands are made up of two islands: Saint-Honorat Island and Sainte-Marguerite Island. They each have their own atmosphere and you will have to take different boats to get to both islands.

Sainte Marguerite Island

Just 15 minutes from Cannes by boat, enjoy a chill afternoon on an island!

Sainte-Marguerite island is the largest of the two islands and it is also the one that welcomes the most tourists but it is still very quiet throughout the year. It keeps a wild side and has many small beaches and a space to observe birds in their natural habitat.

On Sainte Marguerite Island you can also visit the old military fort where the man with the iron mask was locked up. Cross the island on foot, enjoy the silence, the tranquility of the place, and on the other side of Sainte Marguerite you will find beautiful little coves where you can swim after enjoying a good picnic at the beach under the shadow of the pines.

You can easily spend the day on the island taking a boat in the morning and an other one to return in the evening.

turquoise water, beach, island

A few minutes by boat from Cannes

 

Saint Honorat Island

Saint-Honorat Island is a little different for the simple reason that it belongs to a community of monks. We advise you to walk around the island and passing by the Abbey of Lérins and the fortified Monastery to admire the view. If you have a little time, you can even participate in a tasting of organic wine made by the monks. Don’t forget to go to the top of the old donjon. There, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the 40 hectares of the island and its vineyards and the Esterel.

Old monastery, Ile Saint Honorat

Travel Tip

Take the direct train from Nice to Cannes.

Local guide tips
  • Head to the covered market of Cannes for a coffee and pain au chocolate at the Boulangerie de Marche
  •  Go to the Musée de la Castre in the Suquet or old quarter of Cannes and climb to the top of the tower for amazing views of Cannes.
  •  Visit the Isle St Margarite where the man in the iron mask was imprisoned or the Isle St Honorat to see the vine yards of the monks who live in the Lerins monastery. http://www.cannes-ilesdelerins.com/en/ The jouney takes just 15 minutes from the port of Cannes and boats leave every 30 minutes. http://www.trans-cote-azur.com/
  • See the Palais Des Festivals where the Cannes film festival takes place and stroll on la Croisettes, the sea front of Cannes.
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