The legendary seaside resort of Cannes embodies all the prestige and allure of the Côte d’Azur: private beaches, luxury yachts, stylish boulevards, elegant Belle Epoque hotels and restaurants and bars frequented by the jetset. Cannes is blessed with a balmy Mediterranean climate, responsible for the profusion of palms and other sub-tropical vegetation that add to its charm.
Cannes manages to bewitch and beguile with its collection of attractions. Here are just a few.
Boulevard de la Croisette
The most fashionable strip in the SoF, la Croisette is lined by Belle Epoque hotels, such as the historic InterContinental Carlton Cannes, a marvellous example of grand French Art Nouveau architecture, and the Hotel Martinez, which opened in the late 1920s.
Among the opulent villas and upscale boutiques, la Croisette has a superb beachfront promenade, dotted with private beaches which is just the place for a spot of people watching.
Port Palm Beach is a quiet public beach on the western side of Pointe Croisette which attracts water sports enthusiasts and sunbathers.
Le Suquet (Old Town)
Perched on the slopes of Mont Chevalier above the bay, the Le Suquet district is Cannes’ original fishing village. At the heart of Le Suquet is the old church, Eglise du Suquet, and the 11th-century Tour du Mont Chevalier watchtower, from the top of which affords a wonderful panoramic outlook. Rue Meynadier is filled with gourmet stores, while Rue d’Antibes is lined with designer clothing boutiques.
Notre-Dame de l’Espérance
Built on the summit of le Suquet, the Notre-Dame de l’Espérance a late-Gothic edifice that dates to the 16th. The square in front of the church is illuminated for musical events and festivals during the summer.
Musée de la Castre
The Musée de la Castre is a Medieval castle that was formerly the monastery of Lérins monks. Surrounded by a Mediterranean garden, the site boasts exceptional views of the coastline and sea. The Castre Museum has a superb collection of Mediterranean antiquities and 19th-century Provencal landscape paintings. Visitors can climb to the top of the building’s 12th-century tower to take in the breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Cannes and surrounds.
Cannes is famous for its beaches, with tepid, calm waters for a dip. While many of the beaches in Cannes are private property owned by hotels, there are several beaches open to the public. These include the Macé Beach and the Zamenhof Beach, located off the Boulevard de la Croisette, and Plage de la Casino along the Boulevard de la Croisette.
This charming area of lush palm trees and villas is a wonderful place for a relaxing afternoon stroll. Picasso lived in this neighbourhood for a time, inspired by exquisite buildings and vibrant landscapes. The Eglise Russe St-Michel-Archangel on the Boulevard Alexandre is worth a visit for its blue onion-shaped dome and three prominent gold crosses.
Built in 1894 by the Count Vitali, the Baroque splendour of the Chapelle Bellini, once part of a Florentine-style villa, is set in a beautiful park. The chapel was bought by the artist Emmanuel Bellini in 1953 and is now a museum dedicated to the artist’s works shown in his own studio space.
La Malmaison Museum
La Malmaison Museum occupies the games room and tearoom of the Grand Hôtel, built in 1863, and hosts major expositions dedicated to famous artists who found inspiration on the Cote d’Azur, such as Picasso, Miró and Matisse.
Iles de Lerins
Just opposite the Bay of Cannes, the Lérin Islands offer visitors a unique combination of flora and fauna, as well as an unusual history that includes the mysteries of the Man in the Iron Mask and the cloistered lives of the Cistercian monks. For divers and snorkelers, the waters around the islands are a marine paradise.
Île Saint-Honorat is home to the Abbaye de Lérins, where 20 Cistercian brothers live a life of solitude tending acres of vineyards from which they make award-winning organic wines.
Film stars, royalty and well-heeled tourists seek the solace of the warm and welcoming Hotel Martinez. This beachfront hotel recently enjoyed a refit by interior-design genius Pierre-Yves Rochon. The Martinez is home to the world-famous Palme d’Or restaurant on a terrace overlooking the beachfront and under the direction of maestro Chef, Christian Sinicropi. The Martinez Bar boasts 22 varieties of gin, among many other indulgences, and the hotel’s buffet breakfast is deemed one of the best in Cannes.