Discover Hidden Gems in Cannes

by Raya on a flying carpet
Photo by Stemark44 on Pixabay

Whenever I think of Cannes, I think of its world-famous film festival and the fact that it is a city near Nice in Southern France. Only a little I know about it. Since my family and I are staying nearby Cannes, we might as well pop by this unknown city to me.

Traveling to Cannes

We take a train from Nice to Cannes. The trip is very short, just half an hour. It is very easy to travel by train and you don’t have to worry about a parking place. Besides, the central station is in the city center. The fact that it is not a big city makes it even easier to walk around.

City center

It feels good to walk through the streets of Cannes without any plans. And we are open to discover whatever comes along. We find stores like Zara and Mango all together with unknown and more local stores at Rue d’Antibes near the train station.

Cannes Film Festival

As we are zigzagging through the streets we suddenly bump into Palais des Festivals with its bright red carpet on the stairs. We feel like celebrities but no paparazzi to be found.

Just like in Hollywood they have different handprints of celebrities on the ground next to the building. A fun fact; we found the handprints of the famous Arabic film director Youssef Chahine. He won the Cannes 50th Anniversary Awards (for lifetime achievement). Also, he was credited with discovering the famous Arabic actor Omar Sharif who shined in the movies Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago in the ‘60s. I love it when we get surprised like this.

Youssef Chahine handprints

Walking around in the city

You can totally sense the film history in this city also on the walls of other buildings. Like on the wall of a bus station somewhere near the Palais des Festivals. It looks like the decor of a film set with its actors, spotlights, and cameras. The beautiful colored drawings on the wall symbolize 100 years of cinema. There are almost 15 painted walls of movies in the city.

Film history Cannes on buildings

You can take beautiful pictures in the old part of Cannes, Le Suquet, because of all the winding roads and the steep stairways. I like the restaurants that have one small table for two on each stair step and fills almost half of the narrow street. This is also the area of the port of Cannes. You can take a boat and go to the Lérins Islands for example. If you climb up a little more you will find Église Notre-Dame of Cannes. The view in front of the church is beautiful. You can see a part of Cannes from above.

Boulevard de la Croisette

We continue our walk towards the soft and sandy Croisette Beach and enter the most important street in Cannes, the Boulevard de la Croisette. This is the place to be if you are looking for brands like Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Salvatore Ferragamo. You will find not only stores at the Boulevard but also hotels and chic bars. The Cap de la Croisette area is at the end of this long street and you will find it much calmer than the busy city center. Also, the beaches in this place are a bit calmer than at the Croisette Beach.

Boulevard de la Croisette
Photo by Txllxt Txllxt on Wikimedia Commons

Sainte Marguerite

You can take a boat from the port of Cannes to the Lérins Islands. There are four islands and the biggest is the Sainte Marguerite. The journey will take about 15 minutes to crossover. An interesting fact about this island is that it has the fortress (Fort Royal Sainte-Marguerite Island) where the Man in the Iron Mask was held captive. You can visit the fortress and see where he was living or take a dive at the rocky beach. It is nice to have some quiet time and enjoy the view, but don’t expect too much of it.

Extra tips for Cannes:

Traveling in May can be very expensive and you probably won’t find any place to stay because of the Cannes Film Festival. Also, the city will be very crowded and the restaurants will be full most of the time. The only good thing is that you might have a glimpse of a celebrity. If you travel outside of May you might find interesting exhibitions or events at the Palais des Festivals.

Have you ever been to Cannes? Or would you like to go and visit it? Let me know in the comments.

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