Tucked between the southern Alps and Mediterranean Sea in France, Provence is home to medieval villages, fertile vineyards, and sweeping coastline. Here are a few ways to explore Provence from the seaside town of Cannes.
Things to do in Cannes
Welcome to Cannes
The French Riviera, that sun-dappled stretch of the southern coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, delivers on its reputation for sophisticated relaxation, with sandy beaches and sidewalk cafes brimming with beautiful people. The resort town of Cannes certainly does the Côte d’Azur proud, with its own pristine beaches, luxury hotels, boutiques, and restaurants—many clustered on Promenade de la Croisette. The city is ideally situated for day trips around the area, including guided shore excursions. For travel to cities in the area, take a half- or full-day guided trip to see the well-known seaside destinations of nearby Nice or the independent city-state of Monaco. A continuation to the less-visited town of Èze offers commanding views over the French Riviera from its hilltop lookout. In the other direction along the coast, St. Tropez offers yet another chance to bask in the Mediterranean sun, while also visiting historic monuments such as the citadel, built in the early 17th century. Head into the hills to explore the town of Grasse—a capital of the perfume industry—where the scent of Provence lavender is in the air. Options include small-group and fully private tours for the ultimate in luxury, and yacht trips are another luxe alternative. And if it's celebrities you’re seeking, the best time for star-spotting is during the Cannes Film festival, which usually takes place in May.
Top 10 attractions in Cannes
The largest of the Lérins islands located 1 km (2/3 of a mile) from Cannes, the Ile de Sainte-Marguerite is abounding with eucalyptus and pines. The island is most famous for allegedly holding the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask captive during the 17th century. During the summer months, a vast amount of boats stay in the shallow, safeguarded "Plateau du Milieu" between the islands where there is more area for water sports. The village of Sainte-Marguerite is comprised of about twenty buildings. Most of these are home to fishermen, but there are a few establishments offering refreshments to tourists who are exploring the island. The historic Fort Royal now contains a youth hostel and a Museum featuring items recovered from ancient shipwrecks. Island visitors are also able to explore a number of former prison cells and an old Roman cistern room. Close to the Fort Royal is a small cemetery for French soldiers and another alongside it for North African soldiers....
Cruise ships dock in the bay and tenders take you to Le Vieux Port (the Old Port) from where you turn right and it is an easy walk to the main promenade along the beachfront and into town, or you can catch a taxi. The train station is also an easy walk. Local buses along the coast are also a good option for day trips as many destinations are reached for only 1 euro. Cannes is a lovely place to spend the day if you like to stroll the beachfront promenade, shop or eat in lovely surroundings. French bakeries are famous so pop in there for a light lunch. If you fancy more sumptuous surrounds, head to the hotels along the front, such as the Sofitel Mediterranee with its top floor restaurant with lovely views. Or have a cocktail at the famous domed Hotel Le Carlton. Up the hill in the old quarter of La Suquet is the Gothic church Notre Dame d’Esperance and 12th century Saint Anne’s Chapel plus panoramic view of Cannes Port....
The Film Festival Palace, or Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, was built in 1982 and houses year-round events in Cannes, most notably, the Cannes Film Festival. The prestigious film festival attracts movie stars and the media from around the world. The festival is one of the most prestigious international film events and overtakes the Cannes luxury establishments for two dizzying weeks in May. The famed palais provides 25,000 square meters for exhibitions as well as many rooms and 18 auditoriums equipped with state of the art sound and lighting. The original Palais was built in 1949, and a new one was built in 1982 in response to the growing popularity of the film festival and the need for business convention space. Now, the Palais is a contemporary building that plays hosts to a variety events besides the film festival, such as the international music trade show MIDEM and the International Television Programme Market....
La Croisette Boulevard, or Boulevard de la Croisette, is the heart of Cannes, with luxury hotels, designer shops, and glittering nightlife spots lining the way along the curving coast. On the other side of the boulevard reside Cannes famous sandy beaches. It extends completely along the spectacular Cannes coastline. The boulevard overlooks the impressive harbor which is home to extravagant yachts and a pirate ship built for a film. The eastern section of the boulevard extends south at the lovely Parc de la Roseraie, curves along the Port Pierre Canto and ends at the southern tip of the Pointe de la Croisette near the Port du Palm beach. On the east side of the cape lies the charming Boulevard Eugène- Gazagnaire and its lovely beach, which extends north to the Port du Moure Rouge. The Croisette is the main drag of Cannes and features many of its major attractions....
Le Suquet is the old quarter of Cannes perched on a hill overlooking the radiant French Riviera. The hill became the property of the Iles de Lerins monks in the 11th century, and a castle constructed by them in 1088 still exists today. It is a popular area for people to climb the winding cobbled roads and enjoy the local cafes, restaurants, and shops, located mostly on Rue St Antoine. The atmosphere is more casual and medieval than the glamorous heart of Cannes....
Situated in a medieval castle atop Le Suquet, the Castre Museum is home to a wide collection of antiquities, particularly from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The chateau itself is a historical monument, and the collections housed within will be of particular interest to art lovers and ethnographers. The art collections and objects from Oceana, the Himalayas and the Americas are presented in a suite of small rooms surrounded by gardens, a collection of Mediterranean antiquities and pre-Columbian ceramics. The 12th-century Saint Anne Chapel houses a remarkable collection of musical instruments from Asia, Africa, the America, and Oceana. A few rooms dedicated to 19th century Provencal paintings of Riviera landscapes open out onto the courtyard and a square tower displaying spectacular views....
The Chapelle Bellini was well-known painter Emmanuel Bellini's studio, and houses an exhibition of some of his works. Built in the late 19th century by Comte Vitali, the chapel was part of the Villa Fiorentina and was once home to the Princess of Serbia. A Cannes native, Bellini later purchased the chapel and converted it in to his studio. In Italian Baroque style, the chapel features a clock tower, an exterior embellished with "gingerbread" and statues, Comte Vitali’s coat of arms, and an inside gallery with a restored wooden staircase. It is a real artistic and architectural delight....
Located in the south of France by the Loup River, the beautifully preserved village of Gourdon looks all the way out to the Cote d’Azur from its mountaintop peak. A place of refuge and defense during medieval times, the feudal village is surrounded by thick ramparts and has only one entrance, the Roman Gate, which leads onto Gourdon’s medieval stone house-lined main street, rue de Major. Here, look out for Maison d’Anglars at No. 17, which dates back to the 13th century. Chateau de Gourdon, a historic monument since 1971, is a popular spot in Gourdon. The castle’s 17th-century gardens were designed by André Le Nôtre, who was also responsible for the Palace of Versailles’ famous gardens. At the top of the village sits a beautiful square revealing the huge church of St Pierre. For a perfect view of Gourdon’s golden-stoned ramparts, make sure to stop at the lookout point right before you enter the village....
Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon) is a deep and wild limestone canyon worn away by the Verdon River in the French Riviera. Running up to 700 meters deep, Verdon Gorge is aptly known to locals as the Grand Canyon du Verdon and receives over 100,000 visitors a year. With glacial waters as blue as the sky, the gorge is popular among swimmers, kayakers, sunbathers and hikers. It’s also especially beloved by rock climbers, with hundreds of climbing routes across its rocky 25-kilometer-long expanse. If you’d like to boat along the crystal clear waters of Verdon Gorge, rentals are available from nearby towns like Castellane during summer. Or you can just hop right in for a swim in the refreshingly cool water. For hikers, there are plenty of trails that take in the canyon’s jagged limestone cliffs and azure waters, including the popular nine-mile Martell trail, which takes about seven hours each way....
Forty-five minutes from Antibes in France’s Alpes-Maritimes region, the scenic drive along the Gorges du Loup takes visitors up close to the Loup River (pronounced “Lou”) as it follows the deep canyon out to the Mediterranean Sea at Bouches-du-Loup. Cutting through the hills at the foot of medieval Gourdon village, the Gorges du Loup road is full of beautiful twists and carved-out tunnels. Two and a half miles (4 km) into the narrowing gorge, keep an eye out for Cascade de Courmes. For a small fee, you can park your car and walk down the steps to the terrace, where the free-falling cascade descends 130 feet (40 meters) below. There are two other waterfalls to be visited at Gorges du Loup: Saut du Loup and Cascades des Demoiselles....
Top activities in Cannes
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Cannes?
What are the top activities in Cannes?
Top activities in Cannes include:
Discover the top things to do in Cannes.
- Monaco, Monte-Carlo, Eze Half-day from Cannes small-Group and Shore Excursion
- Monaco and Eze Small Group Day Trip from Cannes
- Cannes Large Group Shore Excursion
- 5-Hour Private Cannes Shore Excursion: Monte Carlo, Eze, Cannes
- Private Full-Day Tour to Nice Eze and Monaco Monte Carlo from Cannes
Discover the top things to do in Cannes.
What are the top things to do near Cannes?
What do I need to know before visiting Cannes?
Things to do near Cannes
- Things to do in French Riviera
- Things to do in Antibes
- Things to do in Fréjus Saint-Raphaël
- Things to do in Nice
- Things to do in Beaulieu-sur-Mer
- Things to do in Monaco-Ville
- Things to do in Monte-Carlo
- Things to do in St-Tropez
- Things to do in Aix-en-Provence
- Things to do in Marseille
- Things to do in Turin
- Things to do in Genoa
- Things to do in Avignon
- Things to do in Provence
- Things to do in Piedmont & Liguria