Are you looking for the best things to do in Cannes in winter? This guide has you covered – keep reading to find out more!
Cannes is usually a summer destination for most travelers, but don’t discount the city in winter! There is plenty of things to do to keep everyone occupied!
This guide will discover what to do during winter in Cannes – from top historical sites to some worthwhile day trips.
Click to find out more – and let us know what we missed in the guide!
Winter Temperatures in Cannes
Cannes has pretty mild temperatures in the winter months, but it is definitely not the same as the photos you view in summer! Be sure to dress warmly for the chilly evenings (layering is perfect!).
Here are the average winter temperatures in Cannes:
- Cannes in November: highs of 16 C (61 F), lows of 8 C (46 F)
- Cannes in December: highs of 14 C (56 F), lows of 5 C (40 F)
- Cannes in January: highs of 13 C (55 F), lows of 4 C (39 F)
- Cannes in February: highs of 13 C (56 F), lows of 4 C (40 F)
- Cannes in March: highs of 15 C (59 F), lows of 6 C (43 F)
Cannes typically does not see snowfall during the winter months (but anything can happen!).
Best Things to Do in Cannes in Winter
1. Sample the Delights of French Cuisine at Marche Forville
The heart of the French Riviera welcomes you not only with its fantastic vistas but also with incredible food and cuisine.
One place encapsulating French gastronomy’s essence is the Marché Forville, a local market with fresh produce, delectable specialties, and vibrant local culture.
Coming to life every morning, the 3000 square meters of the market are lined with local vendors selling fresh, locally sourced fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, fast food, and more.
To grab fresh produce, arrive early in the morning, especially when you cross the stalls with flowers on the west end of the market.
The stalls with local cheese are no less impressive. You will have a chance to taste the creamy goodness of artisanal cheeses, including freshly made goat and sheep cheese, Roquefort, and Camembert.
The Marché Forville is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. On Mondays, the territory hosts the local flea market.
2. Take a Day Trip to Explore Grasse (World’s Perfume Capital)
While there are tons of things to see and do in Cannes, it is worth taking a break from it and visiting Grasse, better known as the “Perfume Capital of the World.”
The French town beckons with its alluring scents and enchanting landscapes. But Grasse didn’t always smell so good.
Back in the 16th century, it was the center of leather production, with streets flushed with dead animal bodies.
The process of creating special fat from flowers to kill the smell of leather slowly became mass production, displacing leather production.
A visit to Grasse means exploring the 1782 Fragonard Perfumery. Here you will have a glimpse into the world of perfumery and try your hand at creating your perfect aroma.
Dizzy with aromas, explore the Old Town with the town hall, the cathedral with the paintings of Rubens, and the Place du 24 Aout.
Back to perfumery, visit the Grasse Museum of Perfumery, which showcases the history and process of perfume making.
If you have time, you can visit the Musée Provençal du Costume et du Bijou with its displays of 18th-century regional costumes and the Domaine de Manon flower plantations.
3. Explore Le Suquet (Cannes’s Old Town District)
The heart of every city is the Old Town, just like Le Suquet is the heart of Cannes, an enchanting neighborhood with a delightful blend of narrow cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The district of fishermen is now transformed into the glam center of the film festival, but it still keeps its unique flair.
The crowning jewel of Le Suquet is its medieval castle, also known as the Castre Museum, standing proudly at the summit of the hill and offering breathtaking panoramic views of Cannes.
A visit to Le Suquet would be incomplete without stopping by the Notre-Dame d’Espérance Church and its graceful bell tower.
Les Murs Peints (the Painted Walls of Cannes) is another must-see attraction and a tribute to the Cannes Film Festival, held since 1949.
Most of the old town is pedestrian, and no cars are allowed. It means you will totally dive into its mood.
While exploring the neighborhood, you will discover the street of Meynadier, lined with food shops and restaurants. Finish your tour in one of the tiny restaurants with tables on the streets.
4. Stroll the Famous La Croisette Promenade
To see the blend of beauty, charm, and sophistication, head to the promenade, stretching for 2 kilometers and hosting the biggest names in cinematography during the Cannes Film Festival, bordered with luxury casinos, mansions, and gardens.
You will also see the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, which hosts the annual film festival. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, it was a sand and dirt road used by locals and their donkeys.
As you step onto La Croisette, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of the azure sea on one side and a line of hotels and chic boutiques on the other.
La Croisette is an excellent place for window shopping, or you can test your credit card on a shopping therapy in designer boutiques.
After sunset, La Croisette lights up with all the lights, inviting you to have a romantic dinner in one of the many restaurants. For example, it can be La Môme Plage, overlooking the waterfront.
5. See the Palais des Festivals
Cannes is a renowned spot of glitz and glamour on the French Riviera, but most of all, it is known for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
At the heart of this cinematic extravaganza stands the iconic Palais des Festivals, a symbol of elegance and the film festival.
The building is located at the junction of the beautiful Promenade de la Croisette and has been the epicenter of international film celebrations since 1946.
The contemporary architecture with glass windows immediately captures attention and becomes a spot for professional and non-professional photographers.
The detail not to be missed is the famous 24 steps covered on the red carpet for celebrities. You, too, can become a celebrity by stepping on the red carpet.
Besides being the central stage during the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious events in the film industry, the Palais frequently hosts concerts, performances, exhibitions, and other annual festivals.
The chances are there will be an event during your visit, too.
6. Take a Day Trip to Sunny Nice
From one perfect place to another, take a day trip to Nice to compare where life is more glamorous, restaurants are more prestigious, and boutiques are more luxurious.
To make the most of your day in Nice, start early on the iconic Promenade des Anglais, a seafront boulevard that stretches along the coastline.
Next, make your way to Castle Hill (Colline du Château) for panoramic views of Nice and its surroundings. You can either take a gentle hike up the hill or opt for a convenient elevator ride.
Back in the town, check out the local market at Cours Selaya, with local produce and flowers. On Mondays, the market is transformed into an arts and crafts market, perfect for shopping for souvenirs, even during the winter months.
One unique place not to miss is the Nice Cemetery. Yes, a cemetery is not the place you may wish to visit, but this one is the most beautiful in France, with 19th-century tombs.
Spend time exploring the Old Town (Vieux Nice), its central square, the Nice Cathedral, many colorful buildings, and labyrinths of cobblestone streets.
Finally, add some flavor to your Nice tour with traditional Niçois food with French ingredients and a Mediterranean taste. The best restaurants are found in the Old Town (for example, Le Frog restaurant).
7. Wander Through Town to See the Painted Murals
Cannes is an absolute wonder regardless of the time of the year, and if you are here, there is one special place not to miss.
Les Murs Peints, or the Painted Walls, are iconic murals decorating the walls of buildings with gigantic images of cinema stars. These stunning murals adorn the city’s fifteen facades, creating an open-air art gallery.
Among the popular murals are Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Charlie Chaplin, Alain Delon, and scenes from iconic movies.
You will find the scenes from Pulp Fiction in Pont Alexandre III, the young girls of Rochefort on rue Migno, the most recognizable cinema kisses on Boulevard de la République, and more.
While you may say those are just walls, you will surely be thrilled to go on an adventure and discover all the painted walls across the city.
A few-hour self-guided tour is a great way to explore Cannes and see all the murals.
8. Visit a Monastery on the Quiet Ile Saint Honorat
While Cannes is mostly associated with luxury and the glamour of celebrities, there is one place that stands out in this glitz with its completely different aura.
This place is Saint-Honorat Island, just a short boat ride away from bustling Cannes.
It is a tranquil escape to the Monastery on Ile Saint Honorat, the monastery of the Cistercian Congregation of the Immaculate Conception, also known for producing its wines for 150 years.
The island’s community is composed of monks who lead a communal life by working, praying, and studying.
A visit to the island is about the picturesque landscape, with vineyards, lush greenery, azure waters, tranquility in stone pathways, and the monastery itself. It is a fortified monastery with seven chapels, several cloisters, and the Abbey of Lérins.
Wine production is the primary source of income for the community. In fact, they manage to produce over 30.000 bottles of red and white wines from 8 hectares and six grape varieties.
Besides wines, they produce 9000 bottles of different liquors, olive oil, and lavender oil. On the first Friday of each month, the island invites guests on a wine day with a tour and wine tasting.
Address: Île Saint-Honorat, 06400 Cannes
9. Tour the Fort that Held the Man in the Iron Mask on Ile Sainte Marguerite
The largest of the islands off the coast of Cannes lies the Ile Sainte Marguerite, one of the Lerins Islands renowned for its natural beauty and historical intrigue, holding the secrets of the enigmatic “Man in the Iron Mask.”
At the heart of Ile Sainte-Marguerite stands the formidable Fort Royal, a historic fortress with a mysterious prisoner known as the Man in the Iron Mask.
According to one of the theories, he was a twin brother of Louis XIV (there is a movie based on Alexander Duma’s “The Man in the Iron Mask,” played by Leonardo DiCaprio).
Still, this masked prisoner’s true identity remains a puzzle to this day, but you will have a chance to explore the cells where he was confined and the ramparts and learn the conspiracy theories about its prisoners.
The fort also hosts the Museum of the Sea, which showcases artifacts from Roman and Saracen shipwrecks.
Beyond the historical intrigue, Ile Sainte-Marguerite boasts natural beauty. Take your time to stroll along the pine forests and aromatic eucalyptus trees before leaving the island.
10. Take Advantage of January Sales in France
Winter Cannes has many great things to enjoy, like the mild weather, fewer crowds, lower prices, and, of course, the biggest sales.
For five days in January, Sales and the City in Cannes boutiques offer the ultimate retail therapy experience with incredible events and discounts.
To kickstart the biggest sales, the center of Cannes, rue d’Antibes, hosts a parade of acrobats, jugglers, and models marching on the red carpet during the fashion show.
But, of course, the main attraction is the discount on goods. Visit La Croisette with lines of boutiques for enticing promotions, product presentations, and a glass of champagne offered in shops.
Of course, even with discounts, the prices in luxe boutiques may be sky-high, but window shopping has not been canceled.
Besides La Croisette, make sure to visit Rue d’Antibes, Rue Hoche, Rue Meynadier, and Forville Market for an absolutely different experience.
11. Learn History at Le Castre Museum (in a Castle!)
Nestled on Suquet Hill, Le Castre Museum is housed within the walls of an ancient castle that served as a monastery.
It will take you on an immersive journey, revealing the rich heritage of the region.
Inside, the castle showcases a priceless collection of 19th-century art, paintings, and antiques from the Middle East and Mediterranean.
Part of the complex, the 11th-century Saint Anne Chapel, preserves a collection of world musical instruments from Oceania, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.
This exotic ethnographic collection highlights Cannes’ multicultural influences. Intriguing masks, religious relics, and ceremonial objects offer a glimpse into diverse cultures that have left their mark on the city.
One of the most iconic features of the Le Castre Museum is the medieval tower.
Climb the tower’s summit to get a perspective of Cannes and the surrounding beauty before going to the final destination, the Mediterranean gardens with lines of pine trees.
Address: 6 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes
12. Admire the Magnificent Vieux Port
The Vieux Port, or Old Port, is one of the most significant parts of Cannes and its history. This place is beyond the glamour of Cannes; it has relaxed vibes with the essence of traditional Mediterranean fishing villages.
As you arrive at Vieux Port, the first thing that will undoubtedly capture your attention is the impressive parade of sailboats, including luxurious yachts and traditional fishing boats.
Standing at the crossroads of the main attractions, the port is a starting point for La Croisette, shuttles to the Lérins islands, the Forville market, the Suquet hill with the Castre Museum, and the Cannes Ferris Wheel.
After exploring the territory, it is worth choosing one of the many restaurants for dinner. The Quai Saint-Piere, with a terrace overlooking the boats, can be a perfect end-of-day place.
13. Visit the Oldest Church in Cannes (Eglise Notre Dame de L’Esperance)
Above Le Suquet Hill, you will spot a beautiful Gothic-style church. It is the 15th-century Church of Our Lady of Hope.
As the oldest church in the city, Eglise Notre Dame de L’Esperance holds centuries of history within its walls, making it a must-visit destination in Cannes.
The church stands out with its mixture of styles. The Provençal Gothic facade hides a Renaissance-style porch and Romanesque bell tower.
Inside, you will see the 16th-century wood statue of Our Lady of Hope, the statue of the Virgin, and six chapels. One of them preserves the relics of Saint Honorat, who lived here in the 5th century.
The ornate bell tower called the Clock Tower, which was once attached to castle walls, now stands tall with clocks on four sides.
As one of the most important historic sites, Eglise Notre Dame de L’Esperance is also one of the main tourist attractions, offering panoramic city views.
Address: 1 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes
14. Enjoy the Winter Sunshine with a Stroll on the Beach
When one thinks of Cannes, sunny summer days and beaches usually come to mind. However, Cannes offers an enchanting experience even during the winter months.
With its mild climate, taking a stroll along the 7 kilometers of public and private beaches during the winter is an experience like no other.
Start exploring beaches from the Croisette promenade, which borders a stretch of coastline. Most of it is privately owned by hotels, but there are also Macé and Zamenhof public beaches.
Two other popular public beaches to visit are Pointe Croisette and Gazagnaire towards Palm Beach.
For a romantic escape, there is a stretch of beach between Boccacabana and Boulevard du Midi. Though the beach is slightly off the busy center, it may still get crowded.
Finally, if you want to access one of the private beaches owned by hotels, you can book a table in one of their in-house beach restaurants and enjoy your meal on the beach.
15. Enjoy Gorgeous Views Hiking Croix des Gardes
If you’re seeking an unforgettable outdoor adventure in beautiful nature, Croix des Gardes is an absolute must-visit destination in Cannes.
This picturesque natural park, located just a short distance from the glitz and glamour of Cannes, is an excellent hiking destination on the French Riviera.
The Croix des Gardes is a pristine natural park that spans over 80 hectares of lush Mediterranean greenery with pine forests, rugged hills, and wildflower meadows.
The Croix des Gardes is home to 20 kilometers of well-marked hiking trails suitable for all levels of complexity.
Take the “Sentier du Paradis” (Path of Paradise), leading to the summit of the Croix des Gardes, to be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Cannes.
While hiking through the neat trails, you will meet donkeys and the horses of the Buhler villa.
Address: 166 Bd Leader, 06400 Cannes
Where to Stay in Cannes
If you are looking for great accommodation for your Cannes winter trip, here are some of our top picks:
- Hotel Barrier Le Gray d’Albion (at the beach!)
- Five Seas Hotel Cannes (excellent location!)
- BW Premier Collection Mondial (beautiful view!)
- Carlton Cannes (has a big outdoor pool!)
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Cannes in winter?
Let us know your winter in Cannes tips and suggestions in the comments!
More South of France Travel Guides
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- Small towns in France
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