Is there any place on Earth that screams glamour more than the city of Cannes on the French Riviera? With its luxury shops, palatial hotels and gourmet restaurants, not to mention golden beaches filled with bikini-clad sunbathers, playboys cruising about in luxury cars and of course the annual film festival, the place is something of a magnet for the rich and famous.
But you don’t need to stay in the city itself and pay its high prices to get a slice of the glamour, nearby Nice makes for a much more affordable base, as well as being a beautiful and cultured city in its own right. Located just 30 minutes away, you can hire yourself a car in Nice (or as Americans would say, “rent yourself a car in Nice!”) and then make the leisurely drive along the coast for a day-trip in Cannes. And below are a few suggestions of what you should do and see while you’re there.
Of course, the first thing you think about when someone mentions Cannes is the film festival. Running from mid to late May, tickets for the festival itself, held at the Palais des Festivals are pretty hard to come by and usually only reserved for industry insiders. But you can still get your hands on free tickets to screenings for selected individual films, usually after they have already been shown for the first time.
Head to the Cannes Cinephilesticket booth outside the Palais des Festivals to see what’s available. Alternatively, celebrity spotting at the Palais is a favoured pass time during festival season, where you can watch the film stars make their way down the red carpet. Get there early as crowds can build up quickly.
Meanwhile, if you’re not in town for the festival, a trip to the Palais des Festivals to see where the magic takes place is still worth it, even if just for the good photo op.
A taste of luxury at ZPlage
If simply observing the stars on the red carpet is not enough, you can feel like one yourself at least for a few hours by heading to Hôtel Martinez and its famed restaurant/bar ZPlage. It may be pricey, but this is a favourite haunt of the rich and famous when they visit Cannes and lunch or a drink here is an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy the luxurious surroundings as you sip on a freshly made cocktail and look out across the sea.
Explore the port and take a boat to the islands
Take a stroll down to the picturesque Vieux Port (Old Port) of Cannes to see a mix of small fishing boats and luxury yachts and explore the nearby streets, which are great for shopping as well as finding somewhere for a drink or bite to eat.
From the port, you can also catch a boat out to the Lerins Islands. These comprise four islands, two of which are uninhabited, located just off the coast of Cannes. One of them, Ile St Marguerite, is where the famous Man in the Iron Mask was held for 11 years. Meanwhile, the only inhabitants of Ile St Honorat are a group of Cistercian monks, who have called the island home continuously since AD410.
Visitors can explore the monks’ stark medieval church and see the ruins of the 11th-century monastery on the sea’s edge.
Relax on the beach
There’s no shortage of sandy beaches in Cannes. Unfortunately though for day visitors many of these are owned by hotels and reserved exclusively for their guests. However, Plage du Gray d’Albion, situated just 200 metres from La Croisette, is one of the exceptions. Although also owned by a hotel, this beach is open to the public, but you’ll need to pay around €19 a day for a lounger and parasol. Still, there’s nothing like chilling out on a beautiful beach in one of the most glamorous cities in the world.
About the author
Edel Flood writes from the fabulous town of London. She creates travel content for multiple clients.
Note from me > When you are finished exploring Cannes for the day, head back to Nice for dinner! There are many amazing restaurants but the best thing to do is two take advantage of Nice’s Oceanside location and Mediterranean life-style to enjoy amazing seafood and Italian inspired menus. Some of my favorites are Boni (15 rue Tonduti de l’Escarène); Le Savanna (6 passage Emile Negrin); Au Petit Gari (2 Place Garibaldi – 66 bd Rosso); and La Gauloise Brasserie (28 ave Malaussena).
Besides where to eat there is what. Don’t forget to try out these local specialties: Socca (a rustic chickpea-flour crepe); Nicoise salad; Pissaladiere (an oven-baked focaccia topped with caramelized onions, black Nicoise olives, and anchovies); farcis niçois (tiny stuffed vegetables); and sardines.
How about you? Have you been to Cannes or Nice? What did you think?
Find more interesting spots in the south of France in my AFAR Wanderlist.
Consider leaving a comment! For every comment left on Misadventures with Andi during the month of April, I will donate 50 cents to charity:water. And when you leave a comment you earn a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD, so comment often it will help my charity of choice and you may get yourself a treat too!