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Cannes – playground of the rich and famous, with its azure blue waters and palm-tree lined boulevard a picture-perfect holiday spot on the French Riviera, and must-go place for anyone planning a Cote d’Azur sojourn. Cannes is so much more than the film festival that makes into the worldwide news every year, when Hollywood stars conglomerate in France’s most sophisticated and glamorous beach destination. But what makes Cannes so special outside of the Cannes Film Festival? We’re sharing five reasons why Cannes is worth a visit:
1 La Croisette
A long, elegant, palm tree-lined boulevard that stretches along the seafront for miles, La Croisette can’t be missed on a visit to Cannes. It is here where the rich & famous shop whose yachts you can see lined up in one of Cannes’ marinas. You find plenty of upscale boutiques here, sidewalk cafes and restaurants, or you could just go for a stroll and marvel at the beautiful villas on the one side, and tourists enjoying he beaches on the other. Make sure to walk all the way down to the Old Port, Vieux Port, for the scenic views.
2 Iles de Lerins
The Iles de Lerins are two wooded islets just off the coast of Cannes which have been famously inhabited by monks for many centuries. The monks produce the tasty Lerina liqueur on Saint Honorat and also organize wine tastings for visitors. You can even stay in a hostel in the abbey on the island to experience the simple life the monks there are living. The other island, Saint Marguerite, is famous for its gorgeous beaches and clear waters that make you think you’re in the Caribbean instead of the Mediterranean! There are regularly boat trips to the isles from Gare Maritime hourly during the summer months (and less frequently during the winter).
3 The beautiful beaches
Cannes stretches along the sea for over four miles (7 kilometers) – and the beaches are stunning. The beach that stretches along La Croisette Boulevard is of course the most famous one, but note that not all of Cannes’ beach front is public – there are several private beaches right in the city. Among the best public beaches are Zamenhof Beach and Mace Beach (both right by Croisette Boulevard), Moure Rouge Beach near the fishing ports and the golden sand beach La Bocca. Most of the private beaches can be visited too, by the way, but they charge up to €20 admission.
4 Le Suquet: The Old Town
The Old Town raises up on the mountainside of Mont Chevalier, overlooking the entire bay. This is what used to be the original fishing village that eventually turned into what Cannes is today. The setting of this neighborhood couldn’t be more picturesque, and the views over the red roofs of Cannes and the Mediterranean from up here are breathtaking. Traffic isn’t allowed, which means you can fully enjoy the narrow alleyways and staircases, courtyards and ancient walls. Make sure to climb the 11th century Tour Du Mont watchtower from which you can see all the way out to the Lerins Islands. The streets of Le Suquet are lined with fabulous boutiques and shops, by the way – not to be missed if you’re a shopaholic! In addition to luxury shops for fashionistas, you’ll find food and flower markets as well as flea markets in Cannes’ Old Town.
5 The stunning Notre-Dame d’Esperance church
This provencal Gothic church will show you that Cannes has so much more to offer than the Film Festival. History buffs will appreciate the wood paneling that dates back to the 14th century and the collection of 19th century paintings. It’s the most significant church in town. The views from the church are also some of the most terrific ones in Cannes, given that Notre-Dame d’Esperance sits on top of the hill that is home to the Old Town.
Where to stay in Cannes
Check out Villa Les Palmes – 15 recently renovated apartments inside a traditional French Riveran-style building. The apartments are furnished in a modern, contemporary way and come with fully-equipped kitchens as well as amenities such as washing machines, dishes, WiFi and satellite TV. . The apartments are near the Croisetter and only a five-minute walk from the beach. You’re right in the middle of it all, and the apartments start at only €70 per night for two people or €75 for three people!
How to get to Cannes
The closest airport is Nice, a 30-minute bus or taxi ride away. There are plenty of shuttle services that will bring you straight from the Nice Cote d’Azur airport to Cannes. The train ride from the airport is the most scenic way to arrive since it runs right alongside the coast.