Cannes: Local Travel Info
Pearl of the French Riviera
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Cannes
Cannes-Mandelieu Airport, including a VIP lounge, limousine and helicopter services, is situated 5 miles (8 kilometres) from Cannes downtown and is one of France's leading private aviation airports. But most visitors bound for Cannes will first arrive at Nice International Côte d'Azur Airport. France's second busiest airport, it has direct flights – regular, low-cost, charter – from and to the main cities of France and Europe, and North America, Africa and the Middle East. There are hourly flights between Nice and Paris-Orly.
Getting to and from the Airport at Cannes
To get to Cannes downtown from Cannes Mandelieu Airport, you can hire cars from Europcar and Hertz. Allo Taxi is available. A trip into the city centre takes about 10-15 minutes, costs around €30 and must be paid for in cash. If you arrive at Nice International Airport, the drive from the airport is around 30-45 minutes, depending on the traffic. From here, there is a number of travel options. The most cost effective being the half-hourly Express Coach Rapides Côte d' Azur Ouest, daily operating buses to Cannes Centre from 8am to 10pm via the A8 motorway, at a cost of around €15. Visitors can also catch a taxi at Gate A1 (Terminal 1) and Gate A3 (Terminal 2). The cost for a taxi ride to the city of Cannes provided by Central Taxi Riviera Nice is around €70-80. They only accept payment by cash. Nice International Airport also provides car hire services. Or you can book in advance a Nice Airport Private Arrival Transfer which will cost you from €15 per person. In addition, the airport organizes a personalized welcome for VIP visitors on request, and Azur Helicoptere can organize helicopter transfers to Cannes-Mandelieu airport at a cost of €350 for up to 3 people and €550 for 4 or 5 people. The cheapest way to reach Cannes is the TAM 200 bus that runs from Nice to Cannes via Nice Airport Terminal One (a free shuttle operates to link Terminals 1 and 2). The journey is frustratingly long - it takes about 2 hours - and the bus stops every few hundred yards and has no special luggage facility. However, the cost at only one euro is so low it attracts many travelers even though it may involve standing the whole journey. But at the time you return to Nice International Airport, you are advised not to rely on the TAM 200 bus. The traffic between Antibes and Cagnes-sur-Mer is infamous for snarl-ups, jams, and nose-to-tail queues which regularly put travelers at risk of missing flights. When running seriously late, the driver is sometimes inclined to miss out that part of its schedule which involves dropping of travelers at the airport terminus itself, instead of dropping them off at the roadside passing the airport.
Renting Cars in Cannes
All major car rental companies are available in Cannes but if you decide to rent a car, it is better to directly do it on your arrival at Nice International Airport. Ada, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt provide car hire services. Rental rates average around €200 per week. Access by road at popular times can be slow and frustrating. The coast roads are generally packed, and there are few ways to descend from inland. Locals do have some tricks, like the one described below, but they are complex and do not always work. The obvious way to Cannes from the A8 Cannes/Grasse exit is often extremely slow; you end up descending the Boulevard Carnot, which has an endless stream of traffic lights. The simplest way to avoid this congestion is to bear right immediately after you have left the A8 at the first traffic light. Then, once you are off the main road, get into the right hand lane and stay there as the road turns into a normal two-way road. After a sharp bend there is a traffic light. Continue straight on at the light. At the next major intersection (about 0.6 mile/1km further), turn left following signs to Cannes. You are on the N85; you should stay on it, and not follow misleading signs to other bits of Cannes until you are at the bottom (a T junction with a France Telecom building on your left). Probably the easiest thing to do at this point is to turn left at this T junction and almost immediately left again. Then go into the first parking garage you can (Parking Fontville). Another way down to the coast (this works for both Cannes and Juan les Pins/Antibes) is to go to Vallauris and descend to the coast on the D135 and then turn right (for Cannes) or left (for Antibes) when you get to the N7.
Drivers License Requirements and driving rules in Cannes
First rule for you to remember, drive on the right part of the road! Be especially careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road. Also, bear in mind that you may have to give priority to traffic coming from the right, especially in built up areas or when on small roads. Usually on large roads, you do not give priority to the right. The minimum age for driving is 18 years. All front- and rear-seat passengers must wear seat belts and children under 10 years may not travel in the front seat. A national driving licence, the car's registration document and a red warning triangle must be carried at all times or the driver may be fined. EU nationals taking their own cars to France are strongly advised to obtain a Green Card, without which insurance cover is limited to the minimum legal cover in France. The Green Card tops this up to the level of cover provided by the car owner's domestic policy. The speed limitation is 30 mph/50 kms per hour in town and 80 mph/130 kms per hour (70 mph/110 kms if raining) on motorways. Free emergency telephones are situated every 0.6 mile (1 km) along the motorways. Radar traps are frequent. Anyone caught travelling at more than 25km/h above the speed limit can have their licence confiscated on the spot. France has strict drink driving laws, blood alcohol levels being stricter than in the UK (0.5 mg/ml rather than 0.8). Rather than present you with meaningless figures relating to blood/breath alcohol levels, our advice is if you're driving, don't drink. Although you will have to pay, it is recommended that you use one of the off street parking garages as this is far better than searching fruitlessly for a parking lot on the street. Moreover Cannes has a truly horrible one-way system and it is much easier to walk. The Fontville parking gives good access to the port and old town. If you are more interested in the Croisette and/or dislike walking, then there are other parking garages that are available, like the one by the station - probably the best ones are the one underneath the Palais des Festivals, and the one under the Grey d'Albion hotel in Rue des Serbes.
Cannes by Bus
During your holiday in Cannes, you can opt for Cannes's efficient bus system that is the easiest and cheapest form of transportation. Bus companies include: Bus Azur, STU de Cannes Bus Azur, Beltrame and CTM Cannes La Bocca. Most buses run every 15 minutes and you can buy tickets on the bus or at a bus station. One ticket costs €1.50, a book of ten costs €8.30, and a weekly pass costs €9.20. There are two domestic coach stations in Cannes. The main one, at place Cornut-Gentille, serves coastal destinations, while the other, located at Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, provides an inland service. Companies operating from both stations include Rapides Côte d'Azur which links Cannes to Nice (city centre and airport), and CTM Cannes La Bocca which links Cannes to Grasse and Mandelieu.
Cannes by Taxi
There are over 150 taxi cars from Allo Taxi Cannes available round the clock 7 days a week in Cannes. Wherever you come from and want to go, you would rather book a cab in advance through calling their call centre. Indeed, you may lose plenty of time if you try to find one available in a street. You have to pay them by cash so always keep some change with you. Anyway, if the fare is at least €50, the driver will accept your credit card.
Cycling in Cannes
Cannes is not the right spot for cycling lovers mainly because of its steep streets, and the city only offers 7km of cycle lanes that is not enough for safety purpose. Nevertheless, the municipality is thinking about adding up to 14 km of cycle lanes and there is even talk of establishing one self-service bicycle system by 2011. In Cannes, bicycles can be hired from Elite Rent a Bike located Avenue du Marechal Juin. It will cost you from €16 per day for 1 day or 2 days, €14 per day for 3 or 4 days, €12 per day for 6 days, €10 per day for 1 week or more. Besides, you will be asked to pay a caution of €150.