About Cannes beaches
Cannes is a glamorous resort on the Côte d’Azur. The sandy beaches of La Croisette attract sun-worshippers and people-watchers, and Cannes’s Old Port seems to constantly expand to accommodate more cruise liners and yachts every year. Luxury hotels, famous brands and gastronomic restaurants add to the appeal of this city, whose humble beginnings (it started life as a small fishing village) have long been forgotten.
Cannes’s main attraction, the long, shop-studded stretch of La Croisette, boasts 12km (7.5 miles) of beach. There are many expensive private beaches here, offering privacy to well-heeled clients and celebrities during the film festival. Further west, along the seafront, are the free beaches where the locals gather along the Plages du Midi. These can get very crowded in summer. There are more beaches to the east of the Croisette.
Beyond the beach:
La Croisette is best viewed from the highest point of Cannes’s Old Town, Le Suquet, where the remains of the fortified tower still stand, along with the 12th-century Chapel of St Anne (now home to the Castre Museum). Le Suquet, with its winding streets, small boutiques and restaurants, is a lovely place for a stroll. At the end of La Croisette is the Palais des Festivals, whose endless Allées des Stars is imprinted with handprints and signatures of the famous. Just beyond is the atmospheric Vieux Port with its odd medley of luxury boats and tiny fishing vessels, rows of palm trees and the fragrant flower market of the allées de la Liberté.
Cannes is not known as a family resort, but the beaches are safe and clean, and most restaurants will be happy to accommodate children. Parc zoologique de Fréjus, a few kilometres west of Cannes, is a mini safari park that will appeal to younger children, while the Musée de l’automobile (772 chemin Font-de-Currault, Mougins), which has a good collection of classic and racing cars, will keep teenage boys (and their dads) entertained for a few hours.
Grasse, the world capital of the perfume industry, is just 16km (10 miles) north of Cannes. You can visit some of the perfume factories or the Musée International de la Parfumerie (8 place du Cours). August is a good month to visit – this is when the Jasmine Festival takes place, bringing a carnival atmosphere and floats of flowers to the town. Nice is another good excursion for the day. There are museums and art galleries galore, including the excellent Musée Matisse (164 avenue des Arènes de Cimiez) and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (promenade des Arts). Or hire a boat and explore the Îles de Lérins: the two main islands of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat are pedestrians-only and make for a relaxing stroll and a pleasant day on the beach.