Planning a solo trip to Cannes, France? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- A popular destination on the French Riviera, Cannes has a population of about 75,000.
- The busiest time of the year for Cannes is when the city hosts the prestigious annual Cannes Film Festival, receiving attendees and celebrities from all over the world.
- Nickname: The Festival City
- Currency: Euro (EUR).
- Spoken languages: French.
- Best time to visit: from April to October. Busiest during the Film Festival – for some, this is the most interesting time to visit.
- Arriving via airport: most of the tourists visiting Cannes by air usually fly to Nice (24 kilometers away). The distance between the two cities can be easily covered by TGV trains or buses which are available from Terminals 1 and 2 at the Nice airport. Buses drop visitors to the Cannes bus station which is close to Palais des Festivals.
- The Gare de Cannes train station is also located in a walkable distance from the city center. Airport Express Coach (Number 210) leaves every 30 minutes and costs EUR 28.50 return and EUR 17.50 Single. There are 1 Euro buses available in the evening from terminal 1, which take more than an hour to reach Cannes.
- A taxi ride from the Nice airport to Cannes is approximately 75-100 EUR.
- There is a small airport (Cannes-Mandelieu) located 6 km away from the city center.
WHERE TO STAY
Anywhere in the old town will make for a budget stay, or in La Croisette for a luxury stay.
- Cannes is quite a small city, and is best explored on foot.
- Local buses, operated by STU de Cannes Bus Azur, Bus Azur, CTM Cannes La Bocca and Beltrame are also a convenient alternative to the walking and tickets can be purchased and validated on board. A single ticket costs around EUR 1.00, valid for an hour after validation and can be used for one transfer or return. The 10 trip multi pass will cost EUR 10.00.
- Taxis can be booked by calling on +33 890 712 227, +33613413681. Taxi services are convenient but they are very expensive.
- The inter-urban bus network (Transport Alpes-Maritimes, or TAM) connects all Eastern Riviera towns between Cannes and Menton and villages – it is the cheapest available transport as the Bus fares are EUR 1.00. This is considerably cheaper than the train. It takes quite a long time to reach cities as far as Cannes by the EUR 1.00 bus from Nice; however it is ideal for destinations like Monaco, Eze and Villefranche. The tickets can be bought and validated on board.
- Drinking age is 18, last call is 2 AM.
- Hip/local scene: There are pumping bars down La Croisette, rue des Frères Pradignac and the surrounding streets.
- Trendy scene: Bars in the heart of Cannes – La Croisette, a few meters from Palais des Festivals.
- Student crowd: Brown Sugar – Antique bikes, old lanterns and musical instruments give a very kooky appearance to this bar and is ideal for the young crowd. Another great pub: Morrisons Irish Pub.
- Great cocktail bars: La Belle Epoque, L’Experience, Le Bar a Vin (wine bar), L’endroit cannes.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. A short walk down La Croisette is the ‘red-carpet’ area of Cannes – Palais des Festivals is where celebrities from all over the world gather to watch film screenings during the festival.
- La Croisette. This is the city’s luxurious city center – with the most glamorous hotels, restaurants, casinos, pubs, and shopping centers.
- Cannes Port. The port area, like in any other city on the French Riviera, offers a delightful view of luxurious mega yatchs of the rich and the famous.
- The beaches get crowded in Cannes as they are long and sandy (unlike in Nice, where the beaches are rockier). A quieter beach experience is to be found at Îles de Lérins, a small archipelago just off the coast of Cannes. Ferries depart from the South-west corner of Cannes harbor every hour to the two main islands: Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat.
- Walk down the famous boulevard de la Croisette, the city’s seaside catwalk, checking out the luxurious boutiques on the way.
- Walk around Palais des Festivals (if the visit is not during the festival of course) and check out the handprints of famous stars on the street tiles.
- Walk behind la Croisette towards Rue d’Antibes for an amazing concentration of designer boutiques.
- Stroll around Allées de la Liberté just at the rear of the old port and walk towards the Cannes flower market and the main market (Marche Forville) for some fresh produce.
- Beyond the old port, a steep walk upwards will lead to Le Suquet. The summit of the hill is an excellent vantage point from which to observe the city below.
- Knowing French helps a great deal! Try to pick up a few basic phrases before arrival – locals will appreciate your efforts. In any case, a pocket dictionary could quickly become your best friend.
- Where to find good cheap eats: Marche Forville, an open market which is just a short walk from the Port can be an interesting place to have an inexpensive lunch. There are stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, baguettes, and dried food. You can request free samples at the stalls before buying. Head to Rue Félix Faure for a traditional French meal. The formules (set meals at a fixed price) will cost around EUR 20.00-30.00. Alternatively, grab a bite on the sidewalk along the beach down La Croisette – there are many street side stalls selling crepes, salads, and sandwiches.
- Dangerous areas: this star-studded city is generally a safe place for visitors. Watch out for pickpockets (petty theft activity peaks during the Film Festival).
Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days