Cannes is one of the most fashionable destinations on France’s Côte d'Azur. The once sleepy fishing village is now a luxury tourist destination. The city’s waterfront promenade, La Croisette, epitomizes the city’s glamour with its high-end shops and luxury hotels, including the belle époque-style InterContinental Carlton.
Much of the activity in Cannes is based along the oceanfront. Check out the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the building where movies are screened during the Cannes Film Festival. The festival began in 1946 and nowadays runs for two weeks in May, when the city is teeming with celebrities. Look for the handprints of stars, such as Bruce Willis and Joan Collins, on the sidewalk outside the Palais.
Visit the Le Suquet district to see a slice of old Cannes. Cobblestone streets lead to an 11th-century hilltop fort and views of the city and French Riviera coastline. Find a collection of 200 antique musical instruments at the Musée de la Castre (Castre Museum). Stock up on locally grown produce at Marché Forville (Forville Market), which takes place on Rue Louis Blanc Tuesday through Sunday. Nearby Rue d’Antibes is the city’s main shopping street.
In the La Bocca district, enjoy the public beaches spread along Boulevard du Midi. Try watersports, including windsurfing, wakeboarding and kayaking.
Take a short boat trip to the Lérins Islands, which sit just off the coast of Cannes. Nature lovers will enjoy spotting birds and plants while wandering the trails on St. Marguerite Island. The Fort Royal’s prison famously held Eustache Dauger, better known as the Man in the Iron Mask, during the 1600s. On St. Honorat Island you can buy wine produced by Cistercian monks.
Central Cannes is easy to get around on foot. Alternatively, buy a ticket for the “toy” train, which passes by many of the major attractions. The 35-minute tour leaves from the Palais des Festivals every hour. Driving isn’t recommended in Cannes, as parking is expensive. The city’s low-cost bus service will take you to La Bocca, and as far as Antibes, Monaco and Nice.