Cannes is a glamorous and expensive seaside town considered to be one of the social hubs of Europe
Its moment to shine arrives in May as the venue for the Cannes Film Festival, entertaining the rich and famous. During the festival, fans can see actors, celebrities, and directors up close and in person on the famous steps of the Palais des Festivals at the end of La Croisette. Although its nightlife, casinos and high end restaurants give Cannes a feel of exclusivity, Cannes does have alternatives to suit all types of budgets. Tourists can check out the beauty and architecture of Le Suquet, with its cobbled streets and breathtaking views, or sit at street side tables and enjoy the favoured hobby of people watching up and down the lovely marina. Picasso’s studio in the Château de Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence, for the first time, is opened to the public.
To See & Do
- Old town— The usual narrow winding streets filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. The view from the castle ruins at the top is excellent.
- Covered Market (Marché Forville)— For a spectacular eating and viewing food experience, no other market in Cannes beats this for scale and variety. The market itself is at the west end of rue Meynardiers, one of the Cote’s best gourmand streets.
- Palais des Festivals— Down La Croisette is the famous Palais des Festivals, where stars of the screen gather and watch films screened during the festival. Irresistible not to pose for a photograph on the 22 steps leading up to the entrance.
- Port— Admire the yachts of the rich and possibly famous – though true mega-yachts will be found at the International Yacht Club down the coast in Antibes.
- La Croisette— Cannes catwalk beside the sea, it is the center of the city’s tourist activity and known for its luxury hotels and boutique shops.
- Beaches— The beaches are mostly private and cost up to €30 for a day’s use (including sunbed and shade). The public beaches are crowded, and are found at the far east and west of town. If you want a quieter beach, a better option is to go to the Îles de Lérins, see below. At night the beaches can be tranquil, but watch out for spectacular fireworks displays (see posters/ask at tourist info) in the bay, get to the beach early to get a good spot!
- Festival de Cannes— The most famous film festival in the world takes place in mid-May every year. The worlds biggest celebrities are on hand to walk the red carpet, and thousands of films are screened in the festival and the Marché du Film, the world’s biggest film market.
- Yacht charter and sailing – Windward Islands, one of the world’s largest yacht charter companies, offers everything from bareboat to crewed trips in Cannes and French Riviera. Operating from 9 offices worldwide (USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong and Dubai).
- Trans Cotes d’Azur, Quai Laubeuf (Port de Cannes),. Offers day cruises and excursions to Monaco, St Tropez, Iles de Porquerolles and other destinations. Main season only, mid-June to mid-September. Rates are subject to VAT, port charges, fuel, environmental protection..
- Notre-Dame d’Esperance. Provençal Gothic church with wood paneling dating back to the 14th and 15th century. Also worth a look is the collection of 19th century paintings, which includes a fresco by George Roux that portrays the baptism of Christ. The church is situated on top of Suquet hill in old Cannes, the church offers visitors a fabulous view of the town and its bay.
- Tour du Masque, 9, rue du Mont Chevalier, Cannes 06401. A popular attraction for history and literary buffs, the Tour du Masque is said to be haunted by the ghost of the mythical,mysterious figure known as the “Man in the Iron Mask.”
- Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence, 2 rue Mirabeau. The museum retraces everyday life in Provence from prehistoric times to the present day. The Provençal way of life is illustrated through furniture, pottery, paintings, traditional costumes and santons (Christmas crib figures). There’s also an authentic formal garden for you to enjoy.
- Aix-en-Provence is 1 hour and 30 minutes west by car.
Picasso’s Studios in the South of France
Cannes – As for Juan-Les-Pins, Antibes, Vallauris or Mougins, where he spends many summers from the 1920s, Picasso knows Cannes well before moving into the famous studio-house with a pseudo-Moorish architecture called La Villa Californie in 1955.
Royan – Picasso spends his time staying in this town on the Atlantic coast at the beginning of WWII. He sets up his studio at the villa Les Voiliers.
Vallauris – In 1948, Picasso and Françoise move into a small house in Vallauris which Picasso knows since 1936. Too small to house a studio, Picasso buys the Fournas studios in the same town but also works directly at the Madoura pottery factory.
Vauvenargues – Famed as Pablo Picasso’s grandest home and his final resting place, the Château de Vauvenargues opened its doors to the public. Under the welcoming auspices of Jacqueline Hutin (daughter of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s last wife and muse), the estate receives visitors from May 27th to September 25th.
Mougins – Picasso returns to Mougins in 1961. His last home is also his last studio. Notre-Dame-de-Vie is hidden from view in the hills of Mougins, just like Jacqueline and Picasso who works more than ever.
The Studios of Pablo Picasso • Locations & Activities