On our trip to the French Riviera, we started off with 3 Days in Cannes. Located about a 30-minute drive from Nice, Cannes is mixes the glamour of Hollywood with a relaxed, resort vibe. I’m sharing the top 20 Things to do in Cannes, as well as a guide on where to eat and stay in the French Riviera.
3 Days in Cannes: Day 1
1. Explore Boulevard de La Croisette
La Croisette is a famous stretch of shops, hotels, restaurants and beach clubs. Think of it as a chic boardwalk, it is the main draw in Cannes. During our 3 Days in Cannes, we probably walked along La Croisette a dozen of times.
2. Hotel Carlton Cannes
This super chic hotel located on La Croisette is the storied location that was featured in the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief. If you’re a fan of To Catch a Thief, this blog post features a bunch of locations to visit! You can walk around in the hotel grounds and lobby, visit their bar or beautiful patio. I picked up a couple vintage postcards from their lobby and stopped for some classic pictures in front of their entrance, but I’d love to stay here one day.
3. Shopping on Rue D’Antibes
Located a few streets north of La Croisette, Rue D’Antibes has a bunch of boutiques and fast fashion stores.
4. Dinner at Le Tube
On our first night in Cannes, we ate dinner at Le Tube, a trendy restaurant in the heart of Cannes. With chic decor and a beautiful patio, it was a great way to kick off our trip.
5. Check in to Hotel Verlaine
We checked in to our hotel, Hotel Verlaine which was our home base for our 3 Days in Cannes. Read more below for a full review!
3 Days in Cannes: Day 2
6. Grab a croissant and coffee at Columbus Café & Co
We probably grabbed North-American style coffee joing, Columbus Café & Co, three times at this little cafe, opposite of the Galeries Lafayette during our 3 days in Cannes. They feature a full menu of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as baked goods, and was the perfect way to kick off our day.
7. Pack a picnic
One of our favourite things to do in France was packing a picnic. In Cannes, food was a bit more pricey than other cities we visited, so we stayed on budget by picking up some prosciutto, cheese, bread and rosé from the local “Casino” grocery chain. Lunch would cost each of us under 10 euros and our bellies were full.
8. Best Cannes Beach: Public Plage du Midi
One of my favourite beaches in the world was Plage du Midi in Cannes. This Cannes beach is free to the public and has beautiful soft sand, and is perfect for swimming. It’s also great for young children as the water is shallow for a while!
9. Hotel Martinez Beach Club or Carlton Hotel Beach Club
If you’re going to do a beach club, you might as well go big or go home in Cannes! Personally I didn’t see the need to rent a chair (which run from 20 euros to 40 euros per day, depending on the property) when Cannes is blessed with a gorgeous, white sandy beach. If you’re staying at a luxury hotel and you can get a discount, this might be worth it. Otherwise, I’d advise to pack or buy a light Turkish Towel and catch some sun.
10. Explore Le Suquet
One of the most notable things to do in Cannes that’s also free is to explore the Le Suquet neighbourhood. This old part of town is perched on the hill and is full of beautiful pastel buildings, gelaterias and restaurants. We visited on a Sunday, so many of the eating establishments were closed, but I highly recommend exploring at both day and night to get lost in a maze of pretty buildings that are nearly 400 years old.
11. Visit the Clocktower in Le Suquet for views of Cannes
At the top of Le Suquet is a clocktower, a church and the Musée de la Castre that offers panoramic views of the Vieux Port and Baie de Cannes.
12. Eat at New-York New-York
Eating out during our 3 days in Cannes was a fun mix of foodie places and picnics, but for our second night, we chose to eat at New-York New-York, a steakhouse located at the Splendid Hotel. We ordered the Chateaubriand steak with frites and vegetables and it was absolutely divine. I loved sitting out on the patio and people watching as well in the beautiful moonlight near the water.
3 Days in Cannes: Day 3
13. Visit Le Vieux Port de Cannes
If you’re spending 3 Days in Cannes, a visit to the Old Port is a must. As I explain below, it was closed for the Cannes Yacht Festival, but I’d love to come back and look at the majestic yachts.
14. Climb the Steps at The Palais des Festivals
Towards the end of the luxury strip of La Croisette is the Palais des Festivals, aka the home of the famous Cannes Film Festival. Take a walk up the red carpet, and imagine you’re Charlize Theron at the premiere of a movie, with the whole world watching. Wait, is that just me?
15. Go Shopping on La Croisette
On our third day in Cannes, we went luxury shopping along La Croisette. Must-sees include Dior, Louis Vuitton (which had a lovely patio) and Hermès. I actually bought an Hermès Constance belt at this location, and the price was almost 50% less than what it would cost to buy in Canada! The sales people were very friendly in all stores, and I recommend going in the morning or before lunch before the boutiques get too busy.
16. Cannes Yacht Festival
While we spent our 3 days in Cannes, they were gearing up for the Cannes Yacht Festival located in Vieux Port. We didn’t get a chance to gawk at the superyachts up close, but could see them from far away. If you happen to be in Cannes in September, it’s definitely a must-see.
17. Visit a Market
In Cannes, there are a number of daily markets offering produce, food and antiques. Right near Hotel Splendid or the McDonald’s was a cute (albeit Touristy) set up of stalls selling antiques, knick-knacks, art and old postcards.
18. Visit Sainte Marguerite Island
A ferry service runs from Cannes to Sainte Marguerite Island all day long and takes only 15 minutes and costs 15 euros for adults. We wanted to go, but ran out of time because we needed to move onto the Provence leg of our trip. Here, you could discover nature trails, eucalyptus trees, Fort Royal (the former home of the Iron Mask), and even a naturist camp!
19. Hike in Esterel Mountains
If you have time, it would be incredible to go on a nature hike in the Esterel Mountains to take in the views and remarkable landscape.
20. Pretend to be Mr. Bean on Holiday
I’m not going to lie, I had a moment at the end of our 3 days in Cannes and ran onto the beach, barefoot and took in the gorgeous beach, luxury atmosphere and sunny weather. Whether you’re on a budget or are planning a 5-star vacation, Cannes is a hedonistic, beautiful escape from reality in the French Riviera.
Best Affordable Cannes Hotels – Hotel Verlaine Review
We stayed at the lovely Hotel Verlaine. It was a stunning property, located steps away from the shops at Rue D’Antibes and La Croisette. With charming green shutters and a beautiful garden, the grounds were perfect for relaxing in.
The hotel rooms at Hotel Verlaine were all quirky and very chic. It’s definitely my style of decor with funky wallpaper, mid-century modern furniture and bright colours. This room was also very spacious and had a chic bathroom. One warning though: the room we stayed at had a clear wall from the shower to the bedroom, so it’s best to stay here as a couple.
Getting to Cannes from Nice Airport
We took the local train system from Nice Côte d’Azur airport to Cannes. This process was easy and affordable, however it took over an hour. From Nice Airport, you take a free streetcar one stop towards the centre, then about a 5 minute walk to the Nice Saint-Augustin train station. There aren’t too many signs indicating the train station’s location, however many others with suitcases headed in the same direction.
Tickets cost about 7 euros per person, which was very affordable. We waited over 20 minutes for the trian, so check the schedule accordingly as it seems to run every half hour or so. Getting to Cannes from Nice Airport by train took about 1 hour, but luckily it was a quick walk to our hotel from the Cannes train station. If you’re not renting a car right away from Nice Airport, I think this is a great option, as you will save money on car parking in Cannes and any other destination you start with.
Have you ever dreamed of visiting Cannes after seeing a movie? Let me know in the comments below what you’d like to see in Cannes.