Cannes, France | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Cannes, France

Once a small fishing village on the French Riviera, Cannes is now a glamorous and expensive seaside town considered to be one of the social hubs of Europe.

Cannes moment to shine arrives in May as the venue for the Cannes Film Festival, entertaining the rich and famous. During the festival, fans can see actors, celebrities, and directors up close and in person on the famous steps of the

Palais des Festivals

at the end of

La Croisette

. Although its nightlife, casinos and high-end restaurants give Cannes a feel of exclusivity, Cannes does have alternatives to suit all types of budgets. Tourists can check out the beauty and architecture of Read more

Cannes, France


Once a small fishing village on the French Riviera, Cannes is now a glamorous and expensive seaside town considered to be one of the social hubs of Europe.

Cannes moment to shine arrives in May as the venue for the Cannes Film Festival, entertaining the rich and famous. During the festival, fans can see actors, celebrities, and directors up close and in person on the famous steps of the

Palais des Festivals

at the end of

La Croisette

. Although its nightlife, casinos and high-end restaurants give Cannes a feel of exclusivity, Cannes does have alternatives to suit all types of budgets. Tourists can check out the beauty and architecture of

Le Suquet

, with its cobbled streets and breathtaking views, or sit at street-side tables and enjoy the favored hobby of people watching up and down the lovely marina.


By the 2nd century BC, the Ligurian Oxybii established a settlement here known as Aegitna (Αἴγιθνα in Ancient Greek). Historians are unsure what the name means. The area was a fishing village used as a port of call between the Lérins Islands. Cannes seen from Spot SatelliteIn 69 AD, it became the scene of violent conflict between the troops of Otho and Vitellius.

In the 10th century, the town was known as Canua. The name may derive from "canna," a reed. Canua was probably the site of a small Ligurian port, and later a Roman outpost on Le Suquet hill, suggested by Roman tombs discovered here. Le Suquet housed an 11th-century tower which overlooked swamps where the city now stands. Most of the ancient activity, especially protection, was on the Lérins Islands and the history of Cannes is closely tied to the history of the islands.

An attack by the Saracens in 891, who remained until the end of the 10th century, devastated the country around Canua. The insecurity of the Lérins islands forced the monks to settle on the mainland, at the Suquet. Construction of a castle in 1035 fortified the city by then known as Cannes, and at the end of the 11th century, construction was started on two towers on the Lérins Islands. One took a century to build.

Around 1530, Cannes detached from the monks who had controlled the city for hundreds of years and became independent.

During the 18th century, both the Spanish and British tried to gain control of the Lérins Islands but were chased away by the French. The islands were later controlled by many, such as Jean-Honoré Alziary, and the Bishop of Fréjus. They had many different purposes: at the end of the 19th century, one served as a hospital for soldiers wounded in the Crimean War.

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux bought land at the Croix des Gardes and constructed the villa Eleonore-Louise. His work to improve living conditions attracted the English aristocracy, who also built winter residences.

At the end of the 19th century, several railways were completed, which prompted the arrival of streetcars. In Cannes, projects such as the Boulevard Carnot and the rue d'Antibes were carried out. After the closure of the Casino des Fleurs (hôtel Gallia), a luxury establishment was built for the rich winter clientele, the Casino Municipal next to the pier Albert-Edouard. This casino was demolished and replaced by the new Palace in 1979.

In the 20th century, new luxury hotels such as the Carlton, Majestic, Martinez, and JW Marriott Cannes were built. The city was modernized with a sports center, a post office, and schools. There were fewer British and German tourists after the First World War but more Americans. Winter tourism gave way to summer tourism and the summer casino at Palm Beach was constructed.

The city council had the idea of starting an international film festival shortly before World War II. The first opened on 20 September 1946, held in the Casino Municipal.


Cannes has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) and the city enjoys 11 hours of sunshine per day during summer (July), while in winter (December to February) the weather is mild. Both seasons see a relatively low rainfall and most rain occurs during October and November when 110 mm (4.3 in) falls.

Cannes summers are long and warm, with summer daytime temperatures regularly hitting 30 °C (86 °F), while average temperatures are about 25 °C (77 °F). Temperatures remain high from June to September, the busiest time of the year.

Mean temperatures drop below 10 °C (50 °F) for only three months of the year (December to February). The spring and autumn are also warm, although more suited to those who prefer slightly cooler weather.

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Cannes, France: Port Information

It is a tender port. Cruise liners anchor offshore, and travelers are transported ashore by tender boats. Everything is within walking distance of the tender dock.

Get around Cannes, France

By foot

Walking can quite often be the fastest mode of transport in Cannes. It also gives you the chance to stumble upon hidden sights that you may miss otherwise.

By bus

Getting around Cannes is not a problem at all. The city is well equipped with an efficient bus system (the only public transportation available in town) that provides service not only in the city but also to neighboring La Bocca, Le Cannet, and Mandelieu-La Napoule. The bus companies include STU de Cannes Bus Azur, Bus Azur, CTM Cannes La Bocca, and Beltrame. They all have scheduled services with the frequency of a bus every 15 minutes. But be careful which fare you buy as buses in Cannes can be very expensive.

By taxi

Taxis can be hailed on the street or you can order them by phone calling Taxis de Cannes at +33 4 929 9272. 

By car

Cannes has all the usual hire car rental establishments (Hertz, Avis, Budget) where you can rent a car if you wish. Parking is generally not an issue. Although you will have to pay, it is recommended that you use one of the off-street parking garages as this is far better than searching fruitlessly for a parking lot on the street. Moreover, Cannes has a truly horrible one-way system and it is much easier to walk. The Fontville parking gives good access to the port and old town.
If you are more interested in the Croisette and/or dislike walking, then there are other parking garages that are available, like the one by the station: one of the best is the one underneath the Palais des Festivales and the one under the Grey d'Albion hotel in Rue des Serbes.

What to see in Cannes, France

  • Old town— The usual narrow winding streets filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. The view from the castle ruins at the top is excellent.
  • Covered Market (Marché Forville)— For spectacular eating and viewing food experience, no other market in Cannes beats this for scale and variety. The market itself is at the west end of rue Meynardiers, one of the Cote's best gourmand streets.
  • Palais des Festivals— Down La Croisette is the famous Palais des Festivals, where stars of the screen gather and watch films screened during the festival. Irresistible not to pose for a photograph on the 22 steps leading up to the entrance.
  • Port— Admire the yachts of the rich and possibly famous - though true mega-yachts will be found at the International Yacht Club down the coast in Antibes.
  • La Croisette— Cannes catwalk beside the sea, it is the center of the city's tourist activity and known for its luxury hotels and boutique shops.
  • Beaches— The beaches are mostly private. The public beaches are crowded and are found at the far east and west of town. If you want a quieter beach, a better option is to go to the Îles de Lérins. At night the beaches can be tranquil, but watch out for spectacular fireworks displays (see posters/ask at tourist info) in the bay, get to the beach early to get a good spot!
  • Îles de Lérins— Two islands in the bay that are definitely worth visiting. The smaller is St Honorat, which has a monastery and ruined castle. The monks sell monastery-made food/drink products like wine which make unique souvenirs. The larger island is Ste Marguerite which also has a castle, shops, bars, and restaurants. Find a quiet cove, some shade from palm trees, and a cheap snorkel before you swim around the rocky coves.

What to do in Cannes, France

  • Festival de Cannes: The most famous film festival in the world takes place in mid-May every year. The world's biggest celebrities are on hand to walk the red carpet, and thousands of films are screened in the festival and the Marché du Film, the world's biggest film market.
  • Trans Cotes d'Azur, Quai Laubeuf (Port de Cannes). Offers day cruises and excursions to Monaco, St Tropez, Iles de Porquerolles and other destinations. Main season only, mid-June to mid-September. Rates are subject to VAT, port charges, fuel, environmental protection. 
  • Notre-Dame d'Esperance, Place de la Castre. Provençal Gothic church with wood paneling dating back to the 14th and 15th century. Also worth a look is the collection of 19th-century paintings, which includes a fresco by George Roux that portrays the baptism of Christ. The church is situated on top of Suquet hill in old Cannes, the church offers visitors a fabulous view of the town and its bay.
  • Croix des gardes. Natural parc area, trails and vistas.
  • Tour du Masque, 9, rue du Mont Chevalier, Cannes 06401. A popular attraction for history and literary buffs, the Tour du Masque is said to be haunted by the ghost of the mythical, mysterious figure known as the "Man in the Iron Mask."
  • Molinard, 60, boulevard Victor-Hugo, Grasse 06130, ☎ +33 4 9336-0162. Follow your nose down this flower-strewn villa to learn how perfume is made and manufactured. It's an olfactory and visual feast, as well as smelling some of the world's finest perfumes. Famous perfume bottles are also on display.
  • Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence, 2 rue Mirabeau, ☎ +33 4 9705 5800. The museum retraces everyday life in Provence from prehistoric times to the present day. The Provençal way of life is illustrated through furniture, pottery, paintings, traditional costumes and santons (Christmas crib figures). There's also an authentic formal garden for you to enjoy.
  • French Riviera, CMC Cannes Riviera Gastronomie Maritime, Gare Maritime, jet Albert-Edouard, Cannes 06400, ☎ +33 4 9368-9898. Enjoy the view of Cannes from this luxury ship. You can choose to do either a lunch tour or an evening dinner tour. For one flat fee, you receive lunch or dinner and a tour whilst enjoying live music. The tours run daily from 12:30 PM-3 PM, 8:30 PM-11:30 PM.
  • Columbus International, 29 boulevard de la Ferrage, ☎ +33 4 8315-8264, e-mail: Guided motorcycle tours and rentals. Tour Cannes and the surrounding region with an English-speaking motorcycle guide or rent a motorbike to explore the South of France at your own pace.

What to eat and drink in Cannes, France


Although it tends to get pretty pricey to eat out in Cannes, it is possible to get a delicious meal incorporating the mouth-watering, fresh regional produce sourced from the markets.
The most popular restaurants to eat at are all along the riverfront, although they are not particularly value for money. While the food is ok, it's overpriced, however the people watching and posing-potential is an important compensation.
The best areas for dining are the rue Meynadier, in the beautiful old district of Le Suquet, where you can dine outdoors with a stunning view of the town below, and in the back streets of the Rue de Antibes, you can find some reasonable dining options.
Vegetarians have a bit of a rough time in France generally, in that most menus classify things as fish, meat and nothing else, and the French pride themselves in eating some fairly esoteric parts of animals not found in supermarkets back home - "testicules de mouton" for example. Traditional French cuisine is expensive at best, you could consider eating in some of the more Italian places.
The most romantic setting for dining in Cannes is away from the conference/ expense account circuit of central Cannes, in the historic quarter of Le Cannet, a northern suburb of Cannes some two kilometers away. Accessible by taxi or local buses, Vieux Le Cannet looks down over Cannes, and at its best vantage point is the large tree-lined open square of Place Bellvue, tables alfresco, bounded by four or five quality restaurants patronized mainly by French "in the know". The Place Bellvue is on the main street rue St Sauver, home to artists ateliers and picture-postcard old French scenes. Well worth the extra effort.

  • 24 Suquet Restaurant, 24 rue du Suquet, ☎ +33 4 9338 7522. Located in the old town of Cannes, this chic and cozy restaurant serves fine Provincial cuisine in an atmosphere that is as welcoming as it is becoming.
  • Le Caveau 30, 45 rue Félix Faure, ☎ +33 4 9339 0633. Fresh seafood and produce worth coming back for, at this upscale restaurant that tends to get quite crowded in the summer months. Impressive wine list to go with the varied menu options and the staff are always attentive and professional.
  • Palm Square, 1 allées de la Liberté, ☎ +33 4 9306 7827. Chic and ultra-trendy, Palm Square is the place to eat tasty food surrounded by a group of friends, in a gorgeous setting. The cuisine is mostly modern French, although the chef does mix it up with splashes of Indian or Thai flavorings.
  • La Palme d'Or, Hôtel Martinez, 73 boulevard de la Croisette. Great location overlooking the bay of Cannes. Food is of an extremely high standard, the stylish and contemporary decor impresses, and the service is impeccable. Two Michelin stars have been awarded to this restaurant.
  • Le Restaurant Arménien, 82 boulevard de la Croisette, ☎ +33 4 9394 0058. For genuine Armenian food served in a charming and atmospheric setting. Popular restaurant that also offers Mediterranean inspired alternatives.
  • Authentic, 92, Ave Francis Tonner, Cannes La Bocca (traveling west from Cannes, pass the market in La Bocca & it's on your right, one block further.), ☎ +33 4 9348 3406. No view (location isn't great), but this resto itself is simple but lovely. For a really wonderful meal at 30% or less of prices in Cannes itself, check out this great little secret. The meal always begins with a little complimentary tasting. Very popular at noon, so make a reservation during August for lunch or dinner. The chef is from Alsace but uses local fare superbly, too. 
  • Sombraro x-press, 25 rue suquet, ☎ +33 505 988-7412. Open all day+ night. Wholesome Mexican food at a great price. Menu includes light choices for watchful eaters cheap.

Shopping in Cannes, France

Cannes is renowned for its luxury boutiques and designer fashion.
The shops in Cannes are concentrated between La Croisette and rue d'Antibes - a distance easily covered on foot. Here you'll find all the luxury boutiques you could possibly desire as well as other shops selling products at a more affordable price range. The old town has any number of shops selling souvenirs as well.
Stroll, or stop by, the wide array of international designer shops that line La Croisette, which include Chanel, Dior, and Gucci. Check out the l`enfant terrible of French fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier in the Gray d'Albion arcade at number 17.
For those with a sweet tooth, get your fix on Rue d'Antibes, which has the best chocolatiers and delicatessens, including Chez Bruno, 51 rue d'Antibes (crystallized fruit and marrons glacés), and Maiffret, 31 rue d'Antibes (chocolates made on the premises).
If you are getting desperate to read something in English then the Cannes English Bookshop (11 rue Bivouac Napoléon, just by the Palais des Festivals tel: +33 4 9399-4008 can help.
A great street to grab yourself a bargain is on the Rue Meynadier, with a vibrant market atmosphere. Taste some sharp cheese at Ceneri, on 22 rue Meynadier, while quality wines are found at La Cave Forville, at 3 Forville Market.
A souvenir from the monastery on Ste Honorat is a good way to distinguish yourself from the other tourists toting bags of the same souvenirs.
Standard shopping hours are Monday to Saturday 10 AM-12 PM and 2:30 PM–7:30 PM. In high season, many shops do not close for lunch. Sales tax varies between 5.5% (food) to 19.6% (luxury goods).

Safety in Cannes, France

Criminals prefer to pick on tourists because tourists are usually relaxed and not expecting anything. Avoiding being a victim is generally as simple as paying attention to what you are doing, locking your car while you are in it and not flaunting your valuables. This can take the fun out of the holiday but on balance it is probably even less fun to be a crime-victim!

Language spoken in Cannes, France

The Riviera makes much of its living through tourism, thus people are generally willing to communicate in English - particularly in the most touristy areas. Indeed in the foreign bars and restaurants, the waiters and sometimes the managers are native English speakers. However, service tends to be better if you try to use French. If it is really fractured then quite often people will take pity on you.


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