Cannes is certainly on every to-do list for the French Riviera. Even some cruise ships wash their guests ashore for a few hours.
To make it easy for you to find your way around, I have put together a list for your relaxed day in Cannes.
marché de forville & afterwards Pastis – like the locals!
I’d definitely start off with visiting the market. On the one hand because he closes at 1 pm (Tues-Sun 7:30 – 1 pm), on the other hand because you should buy delicious treats for a nice picnic at the beach. And third, because it’s great to sit in one of the cafés and sip a pastis – or if that’s too much alcohol for you: a café, relax and school yourself in the savoir-vivre of Southern France. As one learns in one of Christine Cazon’s crime novels about Inspector Duval, the stands with the local producers are in the middle of the market, at the edge one finds the goods from the wholesale trade.
You will find the tastiest delicacies here and you should at least buy a small souvenir, e.g. French salami with herbs, hazelnuts or wild boar. Or a glass of homemade peach jam with fruits from Biot, you can hardly get more regional! And if you’re there in wintertime, don’t miss the truffle stand!
I love picnics and meanwhile I am able to buy the ingredients blindfolded. But for you it might be new and so you can simply download my shopping list and don’t have to worry about what you might need.
There is one more thing you should try on the market: Socca!
This is some kind of chickpea pancake. It is usually served with a glass of ice-cold rosé. Socca is a regional specialty and very tasty. You will find the small stand on the side with the fish stands. Try it!
Across the harbor to La Croisette
From the market it is best to walk to the harbor. The number of fishing boats proves that Cannes used to be a small fishing village. Take a look around the harbor and look up. You will discover the bell tower of Notre-Dame d’Espérance, which can be seen on every picture of the old town. The tower a little further to the left belongs to the old castle, which today houses the Museum of Ethnology and Musical Instruments. The ascent is nice and leads through the small alleys of the old town, called Le Suquet, and is rewarded with a spectacular view over Cannes. If the weather is fine, you can see the Massif de l’Esterel in the west and the two islands of Iles de Lérin in the south.
Turn right before the palais de festival and walk around the harbor. It’s worth it! I promise. Here are outrageously big yachts, you won’t see every day… In the evening it is even more impressive.
On the promenade in front of the palais de festival you should look downwards. The stars and starlets left their handprints on it. Maybe you want to compare the size of your idol’s paws?
Now the paid beach section begins on the right and the splendid shopping mile with all the big brands begins on the left. With your picnic you can go directly to the beach at the palais de festival. Or at the end of the Croisette. There is a nice park where you can have lunch under huge pine trees.
A little culture…
You probably know that the Côte d’Azur has attracted many (if not all) of the great painters and artists. Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Bonnard, Fragonard, Renoir and all the rest of them. And at the harbor you noticed the panels with the pictures, didn’t you?
You can find traces of the artists on every corner. Every village, no matter how small, has an art museum or offers a special artistry. Since you are only one day in Cannes, I suggest you visit the “Centre d’art La Malmaison”. An unbeatable advantage is that the museum is located at the Croisette (47 boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, make sure to check the opening hours before your visit!). Furthermore, there are always interesting exhibitions here.
… a little shopping …
Yeah, we need that every now and then. And here you can go shopping excellently. If you prefer international brands, go to the rue d’Antibes or the boulevard de la Croisette, depending on your budget.
If you prefer to discover small, owner-managed shops, then take the side streets. In the rue notre Dame you will find “Musae”, a shop with decorative items. In the rue du Commandant André there is “APM Monaco”, where you can buy wonderful (and barely cheap) costume jewelry. Sneaker lovers should visit “Events X” in rue Hélène Vagliano. If you fancy soaps or essential oils, “Le Chatelard 1802” in rue Meynadier is the place for you. There is also a small shop with olive wood products beside it. At the opposite end of the street, back towards the market, you can buy regional specialties such as sweets and nougat at “péchés gourmands”. You can also find a wine dealer (“Nicolas”) here. A bottle of rosé would be just the thing when you look at your holiday photos at home, wouldn’t it?
… and a little chilling out.
Now you’ve earned a break. Moving all day is tiring. How about going to the beach now and putting your feet in the sea – or more if you have swimsuits with you – and then reading or taking a nap?
And what’s going on at night?
In Cannes the night can be turned into day in many ways. The many casinos have a historical raison d’être. The best known is certainly the one beside the palais de festival. But remember to wear appropriate clothing.
If you don’t feel like it, you can go to one of the numerous Irish pubs that also exists here for ages, after all, the English have “invented” the Côte d’Azur, so to speak.
You can also go for a classic dinner. This can last until after midnight.
Or in a club.
Also nice is the open air cinema on the beach behind the palais de festival. Some films are in English.
My special Tip
In Cannes, the man and I discovered the best ice cream in the world. The shop is called “Niva” and comes from Turin. The milk comes from the Alps, the hazelnuts from Piemont (Italy) and the fruits are grown by local farmers and selected according to the season, not according to need. In addition to the classics such as strawberry, raspberry and lemon, there are also varieties such as caramelized pear with cinnamon or persimmon. Also ricotta & fig, coconut or salty caramel. But the best of all is Gianduia! I have never tasted anything so delicious! 75 Rue Félix Faure, 06400 Cannes.
Researching the ice-cream varieties made my mouth water quite nicely now … What is your favorite ice cream?