Are you looking for the best things to do in Cannes for your upcoming trip to the South of France? We have you covered – keep reading for our favorite Cannes attractions (and more!).
Cannes is one of the most prestigious places to visit in the southern part of the country and if you haven’t visited yourself, you have almost certainly heard about the famous film festival that takes place there!
But, this guide showcases Cannes beyond just that! If you are looking for what to do in Cannes, France… this guide is here to help you plan!
Did we miss any of the top Cannes landmarks and things to do? Let us know in the comments!
In this post...
Best Cannes Tours (to Maximize Your Time!)
If you’re looking for something more organized when in Cannes and the surrounding area, here are some awesome Cannes tours you should check out.
These tours will help you maximize your time, which is especially important if you only have a short amount of time in the city! We listed a variety so that you can pick which one is most suitable for you (and many include multiple places!):
Round-Trip Ferry to Ste. Marguerite Island (top-rated tour from Cannes!)
- Round-Trip Boat Transfer to Saint Tropez (best day trip!)
- Half-Day Catamaran Cruise in Cannes
Best Things to Do in Cannes
1. Take a Day Trip to Ste. Marguerite Island
Step away from the hustle and bustle of Cannes and embark on a rejuvenating journey to Sainte-Marguerite Island.
As soon as you set foot on Sainte-Marguerite Island, you will be enveloped in the fragrance of pine and eucalyptus forests.
Take a stroll along the marked trails, which guide you through a botanical and historical tour of the island.
From Batéguier Pond, where you can observe various species of migratory birds, to the Pointe de la Convention, where you can discover unique plant species, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Explore the island’s history at Fort Royal, The Maritime Museum, and the new underwater eco-museum.
Enjoy the serenity of the environment and take a refreshing swim along the magnificent coastline and beaches.
2. Do a Wine & Sightseeing Tour to Grasse, Valbonne, & Gourdon
Indulge in the charm of the French Riviera with an unforgettable tour through its most iconic destinations.
Start with a pick-up from your accommodation in Nice, Monaco, or Cannes, and head to the world-renowned Grasse, the perfume capital of the world.
Explore its cobblestone streets, visit the Fragonard perfume factory, and soak in the ambiance of the Old Town.
Discover the picturesque medieval village of Valbonne, where you can enjoy a delectable lunch and stroll its charming streets.
The scenic drive along the Loup River and the visit to the tiny fortress of Gourdon will give you breathtaking views of the French Riviera.
Finally, visit the Bellet vineyards and the Chateau de Cremat, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sea and sample their red, rosé, and white wines.
3. Enjoy a Full-Day Catamaran Cruise from Cannes
Go sailing onboard a catamaran in the Bay of Cannes.
The vessel is fully equipped with modern amenities and can hold everything you need in order to enjoy a cold buffet lunch and a glass of wine as you overlook the gorgeous scenery.
Soak up the sun, relax, and savor a drink or two during your full-day sail on the Bay.
You’ll be directed to the Pointe Croisette and the Lérins Islands, and the crew will provide equipment for snorkeling there if you’re interested.
Around 1:00 PM, lunch will be served, and afterward, you’ll continue your cruise to the Massif de l’Esterel. There, you’ll stop in a cove and have another opportunity to swim and snorkel.
The tour ends at 5:15 PM and you’ll return to the Old Port.
4. See the Palais des Festivals
The Palais des Festivals is a magnificent convention center that showcases a perfect balance of modern and classical architecture.
From the inside, it offers a stunning view of the old town of The Suquet and the Bay with its Lérins islands, while the outside boasts its contemporary and clean lines.
The eastern façade is adorned with glass panels that create an artistic reflection of its surroundings.
However, the highlight of the Palais is undoubtedly its renowned 24 steps draped in a red carpet every May during the Cannes Film Festival, attracting both the biggest stars and photographers in the world.
The Théâtre Louis Lumière and the terrace with a view of the sea and old town confirm that the Palais is a place where art and culture come together in a breathtaking setting.
5. Explore La Croisette
La Croisette is a renowned boulevard and iconic location that stretches for 3 kilometers. It is lined by sandy beaches and luxury hotels on one side, and high-end shopping boutiques on the other.
It’s a place where one can swim, rest, shop, or simply stroll and admire the architectural beauty of the grand hotels that line the boulevard.
The renowned promenade is a prized location for the wealthiest of the wealthy, offering the best of what the city has to offer.
The Reynaldo Hahn square, with its flower beds and wooden carousel, leads to the Croisette and is a great place to take a break and enjoy the horizon.
Otherwise, lounge in the famous blue chairs along the Mediterranean and enjoy the refreshing breeze.
6. Visit the Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Espérance
Perched atop a hill in the historic district of Le Suquet, Notre Dame d’Espérance offers breathtaking panoramic views of Cannes Bay.
Visitors are greeted by the church’s distinctive late Gothic architecture and its Romanesque bell tower. The climb to the top may be steep, but the view is well worth the effort, especially on sunny days.
This 16th-century church boasts a Renaissance porch and a 19th-century organ, attracting admirers of architectural design and beauty.
It remains an active place of worship and also serves as the venue for the Musical Nights of Le Suquet festival, held in July each year.
Be prepared for the ascent, but once at the top, the stunning vistas of Cannes and the unique beauty of Notre Dame d’Espérance will leave you in awe.
Address: 1 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes
7. See the Vieux Port de Cannes
Le Vieux Port is a hub of activity and excitement located at the foot of the historic Suquet district and boasting easy access to Cannes’ sun-kissed beaches.
It boasts a rich architectural heritage, charming cobblestone streets, and a plethora of shopping, dining, gaming, and entertainment options.
From yacht races to romantic dinners, there’s something for everyone at Le Vieux Port. The annual International Yachting Festival draws visitors from all over the world to experience the prestige of 500 boats on display.
The port is also a gateway to the posh shopping district of Cannes, where you’ll find the hottest big-name fashion brands.
Foodies will be in heaven, with fresh seafood dishes readily available straight off the boat. The Cannes Ferris Wheel offers panoramic sights that stretch for miles.
Address: Jetée Albert Edouard, 06400 Cannes
8. Learn Local History at Musée de la Castre
The Musée de la Castre in Cannes is a treasure trove of history and culture, nestled atop Suquet Hill and housed within a stunning medieval castle.
Visitors can explore the museum’s collection of 19th-century Riviera landscape art, musical instruments, and ethnographical items, all on display within the ancient castle and connected chapel.
Saint Anne Chapel features musical instruments from around the world, while rooms throughout the castle showcase impressive examples of Provincial paintings from the 19th century.
Outside, visitors can stroll through beautifully tended Mediterranean gardens lined with pine trees and flora, and take in panoramic views of the city and sea from the viewing tower.
The museum is only a 13-minute walk from the city center.
Address: 6 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes
9. Buy Some Delicacies at Marché Forville
Marché Forville is a renowned covered market located near La Croisette boardwalk and Le Suquet and offers visitors a unique shopping and dining experience.
It was pedestrianized in 2012, making it blissful to stroll through and sample the many delicious offerings. From seasonal vegetables to fresh fish and local delicacies, the market has something for everyone.
One of the standout stalls is François Tomé’s, where you can find cold meats such as tripe sausages, ham, and dried sausage from various regions of France.
In the summer, you can also try a delicious paella, and in winter, enjoy a hearty serving of sauerkraut. Julien Darmigny, another notable vendor, specializes in Italian cuisine, offering ravioli, pasta sauces, and polenta.
For seafood lovers, Willy Carayon is the vendor to visit, selling oysters, and mussels, and providing regional recipes for prawns.
10. Take a Journey through Le Suquet
The Suquet district of Cannes offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage from atop a promontory.
Take a journey through time as you explore the charming and winding quaint streets and historic buildings of the neighborhood.
Begin your excursion by heading down Meynadier Street, where you’ll find a wealth of food shops, from delicatessens to confectioners.
This narrow, friendly street leads to the Forville market, a haven for food lovers, where you can sample the local specialty, socca.
As you climb the steps of the Suquet, you’ll find yourself immersed in the heart of the neighborhood’s lively culture.
With its many restaurants and small shops, there’s always something to see and do. Throughout the year, there are also numerous events and festivals, making the Suquet a hub of activity.
11. Stroll Along the Villa Domergue
Villa Domergue is burrowed in the lush pine forest overlooking the Bay of Cannes.
The painter Jean-Gabriel Domergue built the Villa Fiesole in this picturesque location, where he aimed to create a backdrop for magnificent shows and extraordinary fireworks.
He designed the garden, which consists of terraces of cypresses, pines, and Mediterranean plants, and embellished it with pools and waterfalls; his wife ornamented it with stone and bronze sculptures throughout.
Today, it remains open to the public for temporary exhibitions and prestigious events and is still used as the location where the jury of the Cannes Film Festival meets to deliberate.
In the summer months, jazz concerts are also held at the Villa Fiesole, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the soul of Cannes.
Address: 15 Av. Fiesole, 06400 Cannes
12. Check Out the Painted Walls of Cannes
Cannes is the ultimate destination for movie lovers and is known for hosting the prestigious Cannes Film Festival since 1939.
Therefore, the city has a rich history of celebrating and promoting the art of cinema, and the city council of Cannes has gone a step further to honor the art of cinema by dedicating entire walls to some of the biggest stars in French and international film history.
Stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Alain Delon to Charlie Chaplin and Robert De Niro, are paid tribute with their own walls.
Charlie Chaplin’s painted wall can be found on 10 Boulevard Vallombrosa, whereas Marilyn Monroe can be found on 16 Boulevard d’Alsace.
You can even find movies, such as Pulp Fiction, painted near Pont Alexandre III.
13. Go Shopping Along Rue d’Antibes
Rue d’Antibes is a shopping district renowned for its upscale boutique shopping and dining experiences.
Along the street, you will find a mix of high-end and mid-range boutique shops, offering a wide range of products, from designer clothes and jewelry to antique furniture and local arts and crafts.
The buildings themselves are also a sight to see, with much of the architecture dating back to the 19th century, highlighted with ironwork and sculptures by Pellegrini.
The district is listed as a site of cultural heritage and importance in the seaside of Cannes with almost 120 buildings constructed along the street before 1915.
In recent years, many of the buildings have undergone renovation, and top retailers have moved in to offer upscale shopping experiences, including Galeries Lafayette and Declic Dépôt.
14. Try French Coffee at the Coffee Shops
Volupté Anytime Café is a unique combination of a café, restaurant, and tea room, perfect for any time of the day.
Emilie and the Cool Kids is a vintage-style café that offers some of the best cupcakes, cookies, and baked goods in Cannes.
The café is self-serve, making it a great place to grab a Kinder cookie and latte for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Armani Caffè Cannes is housed just next door to the Giorgio Armani boutique and is particularly popular with famous guests during the annual Cannes Film Festival.
With a large terrace, this cafe is perfect for sipping and shopping under one roof. Order an Armani-branded coffee or try the Armani Club Sandwich with chicken, egg, and porchetta for lunch.
15. Indulge in French Cuisine at Local Restaurants
La Villa Archange is a 2-Michelin star restaurant in Le Cannet, offering French cuisine in an intimate setting with only 26 covers, and overlooking a courtyard with a menu including lobsters and smoked veal.
Restaurant La Palme d’Or boasts a stunning view across the bay and also has 2 Michelin stars; it focuses on using locally sourced ingredients, such as olive oil from the monks at Lérins Abbey.
Table 22 offers seasonal, inventive dishes in a sleek, modern atmosphere and is close to the Marché Forville market, ensuring fresh local produce with exciting choices like truffle-infused risotto or lobster ravioli.
Each of these restaurants elevates the art of fine dining to new heights.
16. Take Part in the Cannes International Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival is the most anticipated event that takes place each year in Cannes and is perhaps what it is most renowned for.
It draws the attention of both the film industry and the general public due to its prestige and global recognition.
Filmmakers from all over the world participate in the festival to showcase their latest works, including documentaries, to a captive audience of movie stars, film distributors, and media personalities.
Held annually in the month of May, the festival takes place at the stunning Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
The festival is a showcase of the latest trends and developments in the industry, making it an indispensable event for anyone who is passionate about film.
17. Go Hiking on Cap d’Antibes Sentier du Littoral
The Tour of Cap d’Antibes is a breathtaking hiking experience that offers a chance to explore the stunning coastal country surrounding the famous peninsula.
Departing from Garoupe Beach, hikers are immediately enveloped by the lush greenery of the verdant oasis, dotted with towering Aleppo pines and exotic trees.
As the hike progresses, the scenery becomes wilder and more rugged, with the white limestone cliffs and creeks of the coastal fringe offering a striking contrast to the prestigious villas and residences that have made the area famous.
Despite the intense tourist traffic, the narrow, uneven coastal path presents a challenging and sporty profile, with sudden swells adding to the thrill of the journey.
At the end of the hike, visit the Villa Eilenroc and enjoy views of its landscaped gardens.
18. See the Musée des Explorations du Monde
Discover a wealth of history and cultural diversity at the Museum of World Explorations located in the historic district of Cannes.
This museum, formerly known as the Castre Museum, takes visitors on a journey through art and antiquities from around the world.
With a focus on Mediterranean and Oriental art, visitors will be able to see fine arts, including the painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith, and Holofernes, along with a collection of Orientalist art, primitive arts from Oceania, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, as well as instruments of world music.
The museum offers a unique perspective on the world by showcasing history seen through the eyes of Western explorers in juxtaposition to the experiences of the indigenous cultural structures they came across, offering a multiplicity of views on the world.
There are also temporary exhibitions on display throughout the year.
Address: 6 Rue de la Castre, 06400 Cannes
19. See the Views at Le Nomade and Port Vauban
Port Vauban is lined with luxurious boats, big yachts, and some of the most expensive vessels in the world, all in its harbor.
The views across the bay show the castle overlooking the sea. It is probably the biggest marina in the world, as it is favored by billionaires and known locally as “The Port of the Billionaires.”
Throughout the centuries, a fortified tower, a shipyard, and temples were constructed in this vicinity.
However, the remains of the fort were beautifully renovated and now serve as the backdrop for the Nomade, a towering sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, located along the waterfront.
Visitors can enter the Nomade and experience how the sculpture opens up to the sea.
20. Relax on Île Saint-Honorat
Nestled off the French Riviera, the Île Saint-Honorat is a sun-soaked oasis of serenity, where history and nature harmoniously coexist.
This private island, owned by the monks of Lérins Abbey, boasts 40 hectares of verdant landscapes, turquoise waters, and historic sites, including a 5th-century monastery and various chapels, a tower, and furnaces.
Explore the island’s well-maintained trails and admire the lush greenery of Aleppo and umbrella pines, or take in the stunning coastal scenery.
On your visit, don’t miss the chance to see the historic monuments, including the first-listed monastery tower and several chapels, all free of charge.
Immerse yourself in the magic of Saint-Honorat and experience breathtaking views and a peaceful atmosphere.
Things to Do in Cannes (On a Map!)
Where to Stay in Cannes
If you are looking for the top places to stay in Cannes, don’t worry – we have some of our top picks below for you!
- Hotel Barrier Le Gray d’Albion (at the beach!)
- Five Seas Hotel Cannes (excellent location!)
- BW Premier Collection Mondial (beautiful view!)
- Carlton Cannes (outdoor big pool!)
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Cannes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.