Cannes - tourist capital of the Riviera


Cannes - tourist capital of the Riviera

Henry Brougham, British Lord Chancellor in the 1830s, discovered the insignificant fishing village of Cannes in southeast France. Aristocrats and wealthy northern Europeans followed him in search of climatically acceptable winter quarters in beautiful surroundings. Those who could had a palatial villa built as a holiday home in Cannes.

Within a few decades Cannes changed from a fishing village to a fashionable seaside resort and meeting place for the rich and famous. The city has hosted the annual film festival since 1946. Cannes was also open to other issues. The city with more than 70.000 inhabitants was the venue for the G2011 summit in 20. No exaggeration: Cannes is the tourist capital of the French Riviera and a pearl of the entire Côte d'Azur

Five-star hotels on the Boulevard de la Croisette

Five-star hotels on the Boulevard de la Croisette

Cannes - some history 

The origins of the place are in the dark. What is certain, however, is that Rome ruled the entire region for more than five centuries. After the decline of Rome, a few Saracen raids and historically difficult to understand timescales, monks took over the region in the 12th century. They built a fort-like monastery on a hill in what is now Le Suquet. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Notre-Dame d'Espérance church was built on the hill next to the monastery. From the Middle Ages on, fishing families settled in what is now the Vieux Port.

On the hill: Musée de la Castre and Notre Dame d'Esperance church

On the hill: Musée de la Castre and Notre Dame d'Esperance church

Cannes - Economy and Transport

Tourism is an important industry for Cannes. More than two million people visit the city each year, and many visitors stay for more than a day. No wonder that there are over 100 hotels in Cannes, including several world-famous 5-star hotels.

Five Star Hotel Carlton Intercontinental Croisette

Five Star Hotel Carlton Intercontinental Croisette

Other relevant branches of industry are services, trade and aeronautics.

Cannes is well developed in terms of transport. The nearby Nice International Airport is connected to Cannes by the A8 motorway called La Provençale. There are also good rail connections to cities in Germany and abroad.

Cannes sightseeing

Cannes' undisputed top attraction is the three-kilometer-long palm-fringed area Boulevard de la Croisette promenade. The “Promenade des Anglais” previously completed in Nice provided the blueprint for this. The work on the boulevard took a long time. In 1850 it was decided to build the beach promenade. Land had to be wrested from the sea for the construction. The first phase of construction was completed in 1874, and all work was finally completed in 1890.

Boulevard de la Croisette and Hotel Carlton
Boulevard de la Croisette and Hotel Carlton

In the present, luxury hotels, restaurants and bars, upscale boutiques and that adorn above all palace of Festivals and Congresses with the casino the boulevard. Cannes is a wide sandy beach below the Croisette. Without a doubt, Cannes is one of the most famous seaside resorts in France.

Bay of Cannes to the west
Palais des Festivals and des Congrès
Plages du Midi - south beach
Food stand on the Boulevard de la Croisette

Lovers of narrow streets, historic buildings and authentic shops come to the picturesque Le Suquet old town on your costs.

How to get there If you leave the Croisette at the level of the Vieux Port, you will find yourself in the maze of Le Suquets in no time. Bars, restaurants and picturesque shops are to the right and left of the streets. Everything your heart desires can be found in Le Suquet: bakeries, delicatessen shops, fish shops, butchers and wine shops. What more do you need?

Le Suquet district - Rue Saint Antoine
Deli in the Le Suquet district



The old town is dominated by a structure that resembles a fort. The building was originally a men's monastery with defensive facilities. It consists of the main building, a chapel and a dungeon. The complex is dominated by a square tower. It comes from the 12th century. The tower can be climbed. A total of 109 steps have to be overcome.

Old town Le Suquet and Musée de la Castre
Musee de la Castre

The building is officially called Musee de la Castre. The museum has collections of primitive art, Mediterranean works of art, musical instruments from around the world, and 19th-century landscape paintings of Provence.

Next to the Musée de la Castre is the Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance. The house of God, which was mainly built in the Gothic style, took more than 100 years to complete. Construction began in 1521; It was completed in 1627. The construction of the church was originally only supposed to take three years. It turned out differently. 

Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance
Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance - the clock tower

Visiting the Musée de la Castre and the Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance is combined with climbing the streets and alleys of Le Suquet. The sometimes strenuous path makes up for it in between with wonderful views over the Vieux Port and the Bay of Cannes.

View of the Vieux Port and the festival center

View of the Vieux Port and the festival center

The is in the city of Cannes Cimetiere du Grand Jas. The cemetery is a good example of cemetery culture; at the same time, it is the largest inner-city park. From its layout it reminds of the Cemetery de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires or Municipal cemetery in Punta Arenas, Chile. The three cemeteries are all places of contemplation, but also sights with impressive graves of famous deceased people and park-like designs. A small selection of famous contemporaries who found their final resting place in the Cannes cemetery: Cannes "discoverer" Henry Brougham 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, the Russian goldsmith and jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé or the German writer Klaus Mann.

Access from the Allée du Cimetière.
Distance from the old port depending on the route: 2 ½ to 3 kilometers.

Below the Le Suquet hill is the spacious and covered one Forville Market.

Forville Market

Forville Market

The market attracts Cannes residents and tourists with seasonal products from the region: flowers, fish and food.

Location: 6 Rue du Marché Forville
Open: daily between 7:00am and 17:30pm closed on Monday

They are just a few kilometers from Cannes Iles de Lérins. Two of the four islands, the islands of Sainte Marguerite and Saint-Honorat, are inhabited and can be reached by passenger ferry. At Fort Royal on Sainte Marguerite, that has Museum of Marine Archeology sfound a location. 

Art in public space

Every year in May, Cannes revolves around films and their stars. But also outside of the festival season, visitors and locals encounter film stars and film themes on the walls of the house. Individual homeowners dedicate themselves to the famous actors or the subject of films with painted facades. A good example of such Facade painting is a building next to the Gare des Autobus. It shows in an authentic way the connection between the city and the film scene.

Facade painting at the Gare des Autobus

Facade painting at the Gare des Autobus

On the occasion of the G20 summit in 2011, the French artist Laurence Jenkell created the in honor of the participating countries and their peoples Candy drapeau named art objects. They were huge candies. The artist gave the "candy wrapper" the national colors of the participating countries. One such work, wrapped in a tricolor, can be seen in front of Cannes City Hall.

Town hall with the candy Drapeau

Town hall with the candy Drapeau

No art, but still amusing to look at: in front of the Palais de Festival et Congrès, handprints by well-known artists from all over the world can be seen in the floor.

Cannes - interesting facts for crusaders

Even experienced cruisers often don't know: Cannes is a well-attended cruise destination. The city in the south of France will be on the list of routes for international cruise ships almost 140 times in 2020. Passengers and crew members are tendered to the Vieux Port.

Cannes-Le Vieux Port
Jetty of the tender boats

The city is not rich in attractions. But the unique location in front of the Esterel Mountains, the southern French charm, the flair of the place, the many bars and restaurants make Cannes a special experience.

The 40 kilometers away Villefranche sur mer is also a port of destination for cruise ships. From there, excursions to Monaco or Nice are ideal. Anyone who knows these cities well enough can take the comfortable and reliable trains of the SNCF to Cannes. The journey on one of the local trains takes approximately hour.

Excursions & Activities Cannes GetYourGuide

Further articles