City Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Cannes, France
This post is part of a five part City Guide series as I explore Europe as a brand ambassador for Bonwi. It has affiliate links to things I genuinely like.
I’ve always thought that Cannes was just for film festival goers and a playground for the rich and the famous, but I was wrong. It’s a fun city to relax on the beach, eat good food and even explore the outdoors. From shopping at the market to taking a ferry to Saint-Marguerite Island, there’s plenty to do for everyone. Read on to see what they are!
Click on a section to jump down the page.
- How to Get to Cannes
- How to Get to Your Hotel From Nice Airport
- Where to Stay
- How to Get Around
- What to Do in and Around Cannes
- Where to Eat
- What to Pack
How to Get to Cannes
Flying is a great option because the closest international airport, Nice Airport, is only a 30 minute drive away from Cannes. If you’re already in France or Italy nearby, then you could take a train, drive, or even carpool.
Note: I flew with a budget airline that had a one carry-on limit. If you’re flying with a budget airline like EasyJet, Vueling, or Ryanair, make sure to check out the carry-on restrictions to avoid fees at the airport. Having a travel scale is handy for those budget airlines who even weigh your carry-on to make sure it falls under their guidelines.
How to Get to Your Hotel From the Nice Airport
Rent a Car
I highly recommend renting a car to go to your hotel because there’s so much to do in the area. With our car, we were able to have a night out in Nice and drive up to the Verdon Regional Nature Park, which has a gorgeous river canyon that’ll seriously make you yell wow out loud.
Ride a Train or Bus
If driving isn’t your thing, and you definitely don’t want to drive 2.5 hours to the Verdon Gorge, then there’s absolutely no need to rent a car! Here are three ways to get to Nice without a car:
The 210 Express bus from the Nice Airport is a popular option. It takes about 50 minutes and costs €33 round-trip (as of 4/16/17).
If you don’t have much luggage on you and prefer to take the train, then you can walk 15 minutes from the airport to Nice-Saint-Augustin railway station. The train here will get you to Cannes in about 35 minutes for less than €6.
Not feeling up to public transportation? Then you can always grab a taxi at the airport, or call an Uber. An UberX will be approximately €56-73 one way.
Enjoy a Helicopter Ride
I’ve never seen so many companies offering helicopter rides at an airport so thought it would be fun to include this as a way to get to Cannes from the Nice Airport. A helicopter ride gets you to Nice in less than 10 minutes! But it’ll cost you at €160 a person (as of 4/16/17). At least it includes space for one bag and a car service to your hotel once your in Cannes.
Where to Stay in Cannes
Most of what you want to see and do in Cannes will be in the centre. Since it’s a relatively small area and easily walkable from one end to another, you don’t need to be restricted to picking a hotel based on location and instead can focus on how to stretch your dollar as much as possible!
Using Bonwi, a hotel booking site, I decided to pick a hotel in Cannes with the best rewards since all the hotels were roughly in a good location. While searching, the Novotel Cannes Montfleury popped up offering $222 in rewards if I booked their hotel. For three nights, the hotel costs $669 meaning I would be getting back 33% of that in rewards that I could use on a future flight, hotel, Amazon gift card, and more. Plus, it was only a 10 minute walk away from the beach, so it was a no-brainer. I booked the Novotel Cannes Montfleury on Bonwi, and by the time I got home from my trip, I had $222 in rewards waiting for me in my account.
This is the fourth time I’ve booked hotels through Bonwi. Check out all the rewards I’ve built up!
Total in Rewards From 4 Trips = $982
Isn’t that awesome? I now have enough rewards to cover a completely free flight and hotel stay in Athens and Santorini, Greece free flight and hotel stay in Athens and Santorini, Greece, which has been on my bucket list for awhile. Compare this to Hotels.com, which is the hotel booking site I used to use. After 10 nights of hotels booked through them, I only got one night of hotel for free at a value of $80, which is not exactly rewarding. But now there’s Bonwi, which builds up points quickly because they give more back to the customer than any other online booking site.
How to Get Around Cannes
Cannes is pretty small so you can easily walk around. Plus it’s fun to window shop and people watch as you stroll around town.
Tip: Even though Cannes is small, you may want a map to get around. If you don’t have data, then consider downloading an offline version of Google Maps and saving places you want to go on it before leaving your hotel.
What to Do in and Around Cannes
Relax at the Beach
The beach is such a wonderful place to relax and unwind. The sand is soft, and the overall mood is simply pleasant. If you hang out until sunset, you’ll be in for a treat as the orange hues glow over the coastline.
Shop for Local Produce at Marche Forville
Marche Forville is a wonderful indoor market that sells local produce, flowers, seafood, cheese and more. I highly recommend coming here to pick up meats, cheeses, pastries and bread to have a picnic at Sainte-Marguerite Island, which is a 15 minute ferry ride from Cannes.
Explore Sainte-Marguerite Island
Sainte-Marguerite Island and Saint-Honorat Island are two islands only a 15 minute ferry ride from Cannes. Sainte-Marguerite is the larger of the two, and the perfect place to have a picnic, enjoy an easy hike in the woods, or explore the royal prisons at Fort Royal, which once housed the Man in the Iron Mask in 1687. Saint-Honorat is the island to go to if you want to kayak.
The ferry to both islands takes about 15 minutes and costs €14,50 round trip (as of 4/16/17), but if you buy your tickets online, you can save €1.
Enjoy a Night Out in Nice
Cannes is small so if you’ve spent a night or two here already and want to switch it up, then you have the option of going to Nice for the night as it’s only a 30 minute drive away. If you like live music, then check out Shapkos Bar. The night we went, there was a fantastic trio playing live jazz music.
Take a Day Trip to the Verdon Gorge and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
If you have a car, then you must go to the Verdon Gorge and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. The Verdon Gorge is a river canyon with the most brilliant turqoise blue waters while Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is known as one of the prettiest villages in France!
Although it’s a two and a half drive away from Cannes, the drive itself is one of the best parts about the day trip as there will be tons of scenic outlooks to stop at along the way and back.
Discover More of the French Riviera
There’s more to the French Riviera than Cannes and Nice! For glitz and glam, check out Saint-Tropez, or to add another country to your ‘Countries I’ve Been To’ list, head to Monaco. For something different or low-key, head to Èze, a village on the sea with only 3,000 people!
Where to Eat in Cannes
Being from New York, I scoffed at the idea of getting a burger when my husband found this place online. I said, “Seriously? We’re in France and you want to get a burger? Fine…” Well, it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Take a burger, add French cooking techniques and love to it, and bam, you have a great burger, or what the server called, “a bur-JEHR.” Also, true to the French love of food, this place only uses high-quality ingredients right down to the ketchup.
Being so close to the Italian border, you’ll find a mix of both French and Italian culture in the French Riviera. Because of that, we found some of the best pasta we’ve ever had right in Cannes! The owners of Noisette drive an hour everyday from Italy to Cannes to prep and serve their homemade pastas with love. The ravioli felt like little pillows melting in my mouth, the restaurant is adorably charming, and the chef is the kind of person who tells you how your food should be eaten. It’s a gem!
Where Not to Eat in Cannes
Do not eat at La Pizzaiola Chez Xavier. Despite the four stars across the board on Tripadvisor, Google, and Yelp, this is a must-avoid restaurant. I got fooled by the photos and the reviews, and you will too. It looks great in photos, but in person, it is one of the worst pizzas I’ve eaten at a restaurant. The quality of the cheese is poor and congeals with the dough into this weird texture as the pizza cools, and there’s not enough sauce. I also got a salad with iceberg lettuce and horrible commercial tomatoes, which confused me since we were right near Italy, home of the most delicious tomatoes I’ve ever eaten, and in France, a country who cares so much about the quality of their food. Sigh. Pizza, I tried.
What to Pack for Cannes
I always recommend bringing these products I own on any trip to Europe: a lipstick sized portable charger that holds 1.5x charges for your phone, a Sony A6000 camera that takes amazing photos and is very portable for travel, and a 4 USB port EU charging station, which can charge four devices at once! Also, since you’ll be on the beach or outdoors a lot, bring your summertime essentials and something cute to wear.
If you want to bring your hair straightener or curling wand and not sure if it’ll work abroad, then check out this post that breaks down everything you need to know about using your hair appliances abroad and which ones I own.
Reusable, Foldable Bag (See 8 Reasons Why Here)
Want to relax on the beach or be a drive away from the most brilliant turquoise you’ll ever see? Then book a hotel with Bonwi and enjoy $15 in rewards just for signing up!
Thanks for stopping by! xo.