It’s no secret that the French Riviera is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
But there are many cities and towns on the French Riviera which you can stay in and go to, and this is why deciding which you should settle with can be a hard decision.
Should you choose Nice? Should you choose Saint-Tropez, or should you choose Cannes?
If it’s your first time visit to the French Riviera, making a decision is even harder.
Don’t worry, though. If you’re trying to convince yourself to go to Cannes, or just want to compare the benefits of the different cities on the French Riviera to make a decision, in this article, we’ll share the top reasons to visit Cannes.
Obviously, all cities on the French Riviera are special in their own way, and different types of cities are most enjoyed by different types of people. Many people decide, however, which city they should stay in based on what things they offer to do. Some might prefer to go to cities that have a lot of museums, and others to go to places with a lot of beaches.
There are many reasons to visit Cannes, and the reasons to visit Cannes are so many and so broad that they speak to essentially everyone.
After all, that is the reason why Cannes attracts millions of tourists every year. Millions have been convinced already, will you be?
Let’s dig right in.
Top 18 reasons to visit Cannes
Cannes as a city dates far back, and in the 19th century, Cannes started turning into the city you know it as today. Back then, the French Riviera started to become a winter vacation place for the wealthy aristocrats, mainly from UK, Paris, and Russia, and these individuals, only satisfying with the best, therefore, started building houses and hotels in Cannes and throughout the Riviera, of course in a beautiful, and at that time contemporary architecture and design. Often times in a Belle Epoque architecture style.
Today, most of these aristocratic houses and buildings still stand today, including the Carlton Intercontinental hotel and hotel Martinez.
In the 18th century, the iconic rue d’Antibes as carried out, which obviously still exists today.
The best part about the architecture in Cannes is that it varies immensely. In the old town of Cannes, Le Suquet, you get to visit a medieval part of Cannes with small alleys, cobblestone streets, and picturesque houses, and in the more modern part of Cannes, you can see glamorous and exclusive apartments.
When it comes to architecture, Cannes really has the whole range, and if you enjoy architecture and beautiful buildings, this going to be one of the most important reasons for you to visit Cannes.
The Lérins Islands
Cannes is unique in the sense that it has a group of four islands, just minutes away from Cannes by boat, beautifully situated in the Mediterranean, and can be easily seen from the shore of Cannes. These are named the Lérins islands. Two of the islands are large enough to visit – Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite, and visiting these islands are truly something out of the ordinary.
Ferries depart regularly from Cannes, and the ferry ride itself is a marvelous experience. The islands have an absolutely amazing nature stunning coastlines, trees, and more. Sainte-Marguerite is the biggest of the islands, and this island has a stunningly beautiful forest with eucalyptus and pines, as well as amazing beaches. The Sainte-Marguerite island is mainly known for being the location of the old state prison Fort Royal where the iconic and mythical Man in the iron mask was held captivated.
Saint-Honorat has an old fortress as well as an old abbey where today, monks live and farm grapes to produce wine.
These islands offer some of the most relaxing picnic spots on the Riviera, and if you want, there are also a few restaurants to choose from.
The Lérins islands are reasons to visit Cannes because they allow you to get away from the large crowds and high pace of Cannes and live life on the slow lane. It is the contrast that is so lovely, from the big city feel of Cannes to the calmness of nature just a few minutes away. It truly is a special experience.
The national park
No matter if you are a big nature fan or not, this is one of the most convincing reasons to go to Cannes.
The national park of Cannes by the name of La Croix-des-Gardes is truly an experience out of the ordinary. The national park is made up more than 200 acres of grassland and vegetation, and is, similar to the Lérins islands a perfect place to go to if you want to get away from the large crowds and high pace of Cannes. If you are especially a fan of gardens, plants, and nature, you’ll love this national park as it embraces traditional Mediterranean nature and is shaped into something truly special.
The national park was created by Lord Brougham who was an Englishman credited with establishing Cannes as a popular holiday destination. It is here that he laid out his grand home, Château Eléonore.
Hike in the area, enjoy the calmness and the views, and if you’d like, why not bring a picnic to enjoy?
If you’re interested in art, you’ll love Cannes, as there are numerous sculptures and statues situated throughout Cannes. Furthermore, there are also a number of art museums in Cannes which you can visit, such as Malmaison, which has exhibitions of modern art, and a number of independent art galleries, including Galerie Neel and Galerie du Carlton, which is situated inside the Carlton hotel.
Since various sculptures and statues are situated in Cannes, you can enjoy a stroll and appreciate the beautiful crafts, while also enjoying the beautiful surroundings. This is the ultimate simultaneous activity.
One of the most iconic statues in Cannes is Atlante, which is the mermaid girl who watches over the coastline and serves as a reminder to be protective of the sea.
The Marché Forville food market
This is one of the most iconic markets on the French Riviera, and certainly the most iconic market in Cannes.
If you want to embrace the local French Riviera lifestyle, visiting the Forville market is definitely one of the top reasons to visit Cannes, as it allows you to embrace the local south of France way of life, as well as shop locally produced fruit, vegetables, cheese, and much more.
The iconic Forville market is open for antiques on Mondays, and then, it is only partly made up of stalls which sell the traditional and locally produced French products.
The fruit and vegetables are seasonal and grown by local farmers. You’ll also be able to find other traditional products iconic for the south of France here, including cooked meats, seafood, and other homemade delicacies.
If you are visiting the French Riviera much to experience the amazing cuisine, the restaurants and food are two great reasons to visit Cannes.
Cannes is iconically recognized for being a city of glitz and glamour of top-class, and accordingly, you can expect the restaurants in Cannes to be equally so.
The French Riviera as a whole is famous for its amazing Mediterranean cuisine, known to be the home of some of the most unique and best restaurants in the world.
Cannes has many different types of restaurants that meet all tastes and budgets. You can, of course, enjoy the traditional Mediterranean-inspired dishes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice traditional burger for a change if you feel like it.
In general, the prices of meals are a bit higher than if you’d move farther towards the inland and away from the coastline, however, there are a number of restaurants in Cannes which offers delicious food at a fair price.
Best of all is that, despite the Mediterranean cuisine being the center of restaurants in Cannes, there’s actually quite a good variety in Cannes – better than most other cities on the French Riviera. If you want to enjoy a luxurious and top-class dining experience out of the ordinary, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Cannes that will serve you incredible food.
How could we talk about the reasons to visit Cannes and not mention the beaches? In fact, the beaches of Cannes is one of the top reasons that people go to Cannes, and why Cannes attracts so many tourists during summer.
Cannes is one of few cities on the French Riviera which has sand beaches, as opposed to rocky or cobblestone beaches, and it’s obviously much more comfortable to lie on soft, wonderful sand than on rocks.
Cannes has some of the most beautiful beaches on the French Riviera and offers both public and private beaches. This allows a great selection for everyone who visits, no matter what budget or preference, to have a lovely, relaxing day on the beach.
The city of Cannes stretches more than seven kilometers along the sea, and every year, the beaches that are situated along the Mediterranean attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists, who lie and soak in the lovely sun and enjoy a swim in the azure blue waters around Cannes. Along the iconic Boulevard de la Croisette is the most iconic beach in Cannes, but there are also a number of other beaches in Cannes worth going to.
In Cannes, you can enjoy and relax on the beach all year round which is an important reason to visit Cannes.
From May to October, you can definitely go swimming as the temperature of the water is okay and quite pleasant, especially at the end of the summer.
The Croisette is one of the main reasons to visit Cannes since the Croisette is one of the most, if not the most iconic places in Cannes. As such, the Croisette is one of the top reasons you should go to Cannes, and if you go, something you have to pay a visit to.
At the Boulevard de la Croisette, you’ll find along, elegant, palm tree-lined boulevard. This boulevard stretches along the seafront of Cannes for miles, allowing for stunning scenery and a beautiful location to relax and explore Cannes from.
The Croisette boulevard is the most exclusive stretch in Cannes, with endless boutiques of designer brands lined up facing the sea.
This is where the rich & famous come to shop, and where they line up their yachts at the marina.
Along the Croisette, you’ll also find numerous restaurants and cafés where you can sit down for a moment and enjoy the stunning views and people-watch everyone who is walking past. Walking the Croisette from start to finish is a special experience which allows you to experience and see a lot of what Cannes has to offer. From luxurious buildings to private plages, and everything in between.
If you are looking for places to visit, the access is an important part of it, and therefore, one of the reasons to visit Cannes is that it is easily accessed.
Cannes is situated a mere 1hour and 20 minutes from Paris, with arrival at the Nice airport. From there, if the traffic is light, going from the airport to Cannes only takes 30 minutes.
Furthermore, if you’re taking a private plane, you’ll land in Cannes’s very own airport Cannes Mandelieu, and going from there to Cannes only takes a matter of minutes.
Also, it is possible to take the helicopter from a number of cities on the French Riviera to Cannes and vice versa, including the Nice airport, which allows for fast transportation.
The public transportations are also quite good in Cannes which allows for fast and pleasant travels.
It’s no secret that the history of a city is a big part of its experience and what it has to offer, and luckily, the history of Cannes is long and rich and has contributed shaping the town into what it is today, and what it has to offer.
The history of Cannes stretches far back, and today, the history of Cannes can be seen everywhere you go. From the old town of Cannes to the iconic buildings from the Belle Époque.
There are tons of old buildings in Cannes, especially in Le Suquet, which is home to an endless number of buildings from the Medieval age.
When in Cannes, you can really feel the history of Cannes which has shaped the city if you pay attention. Sure, a lot of the things you’ll see in Cannes has been modernized and rebuilt, but at its core, Cannes is a city with a great history which can be seen no matter where you go.
In the 18th century, the rich aristocrats started coming to Cannes and the French Riviera during the winter because of its weather and stunning scenery, and today, the stories about the wealthy aristocracy are many, which gives us insights into what and how Cannes was before it became a hub for tourists from all over the world.
The location of Cannes is truly something out of the ordinary.
It is situated in an area which is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, the south of France, and as a result, Cannes truly is a city of great beauty.
It offers incredible scenery and is beautifully situated along the azure blue Mediterranean which glisters in the sun in the blue sky.
The bright blue water is an iconic symbol of Cote d’Azur and is the first thing that welcomes you when arriving by plane and landing on the landing strip, just next to the water.
Cannes is also situated perfectly for exploring the rest of the French Riviera, with cities like Saint-Tropez in one direction and Nice and Monaco in the other.
Cannes is located right at the seafront and offers a stunning view of the Mediterranean, especially when walking along the beautiful Croisette. Furthermore, Cannes has beautiful mountains at its back which creates a breathtaking effect, with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other.
Le Suquet: The Old Town
The old town in Cannes known by the name of Le Suquet is something that makes Cannes very special, and which definitely is one of the reasons to visit Cannes.
The old town of Cannes is situated on the mountainside of Mont Chevalier on the mountains of Cannes, and thus making for an absolutely incredible view over Cannes and its bay, all the way over the Lérins islands.
Initially, before being a city known for its film festival, and for being a city which attracts many of the rich and famous every year, Cannes was a small fishing village. This village first started out in the old part of Cannes – Le Suquet, and then continued being built from there, and therefore, the buildings in the old town are quite old, dating all the way back to the medieval time. In the old town of Cannes, you’ll find narrow alleys, cobblestone streets, and small picturesque buildings. At the very top, a church is situated, as well as a watchtower and a place where you can admire the stunning views of Cannes.
Traffic isn’t allowed in Le Suquet, and this means you can enjoy and admire the lovely sights without any cars disturbing.
The Watchtower, known by the name of Tour Du Mont dates all the way back to the 11th century, and from here, you get an absolutely jaw-dropping view of Cannes and the Lérins islands which makes for some beautiful photos.
In the old town, there are a number of iconic small shops that sell traditional French locally produced products and souvenirs.
If you are a golfer, this is one of the more convincing reasons to visit Cannes.
Cannes has quite a large number of golf courses, in fact, more than a dozen, and these golf clubs have a great program of various tournaments and events.
The golf courses of Cannes hold a high standard and offers an absolutely beautiful scenery, and are all special in their own ways, but they all allow you to enjoy the beautiful nature of the south of France.
Cannes is probably known for its events throughout the year. The most important festival is obviously the iconic International Cannes Film Festival which has played a significant role in bringing exposure to the city and making it internationally famous as it attracts celebrities from all over the world, as well as press and media.
The iconic Film festival isn’t the only festival in Cannes though. The city is also home to festivals like NRJ Music Awards, MIDEM, and much more.
The activities and things to do
One of the most important reasons to visit Cannes is the huge supply of things to do and see that the city offers.
In Cannes, there really is something for everyone. From just laying on the beach and soaking the Mediterranean sun while drinking rosé all day, to visit the several museums in Cannes, and everything in between.
The list of things to do in Cannes just goes on and on.
Helicopter tours can be taken from the very own heliport of Cannes, whether you just want to take a sightseeing tour around Cannes, or travel to a city on the Riviera.
The restaurants and cafés are endless, and the views many of them offer are just magical.
If you’re looking for a place where fashion is religion, Cannes is the place to go.
Fashion is a huge part of Cannes’s identify, especially with endless haute couture boutiques situated along the luxury street of la Croisette.
Here, you’ll see many locals beautiful dressed, who look very proper and stylish. Of course, this doesn’t go for everyone, but for many locals, especially the women, dressing well is a culture here, and it’s seldom you see other people than tourists that are dressed very relaxed.
Cannes Sports – Running trails guided by a free app
If you are into sports and running in particular, this is probably one of the most convincing reasons to visit Cannes.
Cannes has a lovely mild climate, and this makes running outdoors all year around possible.
Best of all, because Cannes is working hard to get better air and to become a more exercising city, the commune has prepared many different trails in and around Cannes, which also provides incredible complimentary views while running, walking, or jogging.
Also, the city of Cannes also introduced a new app in 2017 which gives joggers sixteen different trails to follow in and near Cannes.
You can download the app on Apple Store and Google Play, and it is available both in French and English.
The various trail options include Croix des Gardes, Le Suquet, Cannes La Bocca and Ile Sainte-Marguerite. Despite Cannes being a big city, it offers great running paths which allows you to get close to nature and soak in the lovely south of France nature.
Notre-Dame d’Esperance church
The incredible Notre-Dame d’Esperance church is a great reason to visit Cannes. It is a Provencal Gothic church of an absolutely beautiful architecture, obviously with a long and rich history. For example, the wood dates back to the 14th century and the collection of paintings from the 19th century. This is the most unique and stunning church in Cannes. Best of all, as the city is situated on the hill of Le Suquet, it makes for some incredible views of Cannes and the surrounding waters.
It’s safe to say that the things to do in Cannes are endless, and equally so, no matter what you enjoy doing and what preferences you have, you are sure to find something that you enjoy doing in Cannes. Cannes is a city for everyone, and no matter if it is iconically known to be a city for the rich and famous, you can still manage to get around and spend time here without breaking the bank.