Cannes: Main Sights
Pearl of the French Riviera
Boulevard de La Croisette
The long, shop-studded stretch of La Croisette is Cannes' central attraction, with 7.5 miles (12 kilometres) of sandy beaches. Start your walk at the seafront on Boulevard de La Croisette by the Pierre Canto port and the adjoining garden. After crossing over, stroll alongside the beautiful sandy beaches and admire the impressive palaces — Majestic, Carlton, Martinez. Those legendary names conjure up all the splendor of this magical town during the Cannes International Film Festival when stars and millionaires pose in restaurants along the expensive private beaches
The Palais des Festivals
The end of La Croisette will deliver you to the Palais des Festivals (where you will also find the Tourist Information Office). If you look down you'll see the famous palace steps, climbed every evening of the Festival by sumptuously dressed celebs to the cheers of the crowds. You can also see plaques bearing the hand prints of your favorite stars, including Sharon Stone and Harrison Ford, and directors like Martin Scorcese and Stephen Segal. Just behind the Palais lies the old port. Wander along until you reach Quai St-Pierre, where little streets and stairways lead you to Place de la Castre at the top of Le Suquet hill. On the summit, take a moment to enjoy the unobstructed panorama over the town and the stunning coastline.
Notre Dame d'Esperance church
Also located on the summit of Le Suquet Hill, the church is built in Provençal Gothic style, dating from the 12th and 16th Centuries.
Saint Marguerite Island
Sainte-Marguerite is the biggest one of the two Lerins islands which light up the sea just less than a mile southeast of La Croisette. You can reach them by the various shuttle boats that leave from the old port. The crossing takes no more than 20 minutes and some shuttles will also take you between the two islands. But whether you take the shuttle or sail over in your own boat, the waters around the islands are beautiful for swimming and diving. The island of Sainte-Marguerite is home to a 170-hectare forest, scattered with pathways and picnic areas. Two-hour tours of the island are available to enhance your appreciation of the natural beauty, the astounding flora and fauna, and the history of the island. At the Fort Royal, built between 1624-1627 and later transformed by architect Vauban, you can deepen your knowledge of such heritage by visiting the Maritime Museum. It was created in 1975 to exhibit archaeological collections from land and sea, and the visit begins by entering the old state prisons, which were still in use until the end of the 19th Century. It was here that the famous “Man in the Iron Mask” was imprisoned, a name that you may recognize from the film starring Leonardo Di Caprio, not to mention the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Next, the Roman water tanks and the interior of the fort will enlighten you as seafarers traveled in antiquity, what type of cargo the ships carried, and how drinking water was brought to the island.
Saint-Honorat, the smaller of the two islands, belongs to a Cistercian monastic order, and you can visit the fortified monastery which was built in the 11th Century. The present-day monastery stands in the center of the island, where a community of 30 monks lives a peaceful but hard-working life. From the fruits of their labor, products such as home-made honey, liqueurs and wines, are available to buy. You can also visit the church itself and a museum displaying paintings and relics as well as documents charting the history of the monastery. Seven chapels border the island, some of which have been rebuilt from medieval ruins, but entrance is forbidden. The most famous – Saint-Trinite – can be found in the far southwest corner of the island.
Musée de la Castre (Castre Museum)
The Musee de la Castre, on the hilltop of Le Suquet, is housed in the former chateau of the monks of the Lérins Isles and the 12th-century chapel of St Anne. Nineteenth-century paintings by local artists depict images of Cannes under rosy skies with palm trees, fishing boats and ladies in voluminous skirts. There is also a fascinating collection of 200 musical instruments, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern antiquities and an ethnology display. Guided tours in English are available on request.
Discover a genuine outdoor museum, along an avenue, a street or on a square. Inspired by the cinema and the very essence of the Cannes Film Festival, these painted walls reinterpret highlights in the history of cinema for a surprising creative tour. Discover the town’s architectural heritage off the beaten track.