If you’re traveling to the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival (or just thinking of going to Cannes), then you might be wondering about things to do in Cannes. This city is a great pick for food, shopping, and beautiful views! I was there for one day and can give insights on what is worth doing if you’ve got one day in Cannes. You’ll get the most out of your stay by hanging around the Cannes beach area if you’ve got one day in Cannes.
Cannes beach: La Croisette
One cannot escape La Croissette when visiting Cannes because that’s where the Cannes Film Festival is held. La Croisette is a long stretch of road that houses luxury brands on one side of the street, and a boardwalk next to the Cannes beach on the other side of the street. This area reminds me of Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles with its high-end luxury stores and ritzy feel. I was there in April before the tourist season, so there weren’t that many people there. Yet the place felt charged with this exciting energy, with luxury cars zipping by, glinting off the sunlight of the French Riviera. Cannes is smaller and less populated than Nice, yet somehow feels more energetic to me. It must be due to celebrity energy there.
One of my favorite Cannes activities was to eat at a cafe on La Croisette and sit in the outdoor seating area. From there, you could watch the people passing by and get a great view of the Cannes beach. I had a lobster supper at a restaurant called Le Cafe, and it was delicious! They got their lobster from a region off the coast of France, and the lobster was very fresh. I would recommend this place for lobster if you’re in the mood for seafood in Cannes. Just remember that the Voss water there is 10 Euros, so if you want cheaper water, order the Vittel brand. I was a bit shocked at the price of my Voss water and wished that I had specified the brand of water when I ordered!
There are a ton of brasseries and restaurants along La Croisette on both sides of the street, so you’ll always have an option for chow. Then after your meal, you can walk off those calories with a stroll along the boardwalk or even on the beach. Cannes has beautiful sandy beaches—easier to sit on than the pebbled beaches of Nice. If you’re in the mood for a picnic, you can bring a spread to sit and picnic on the Cannes beach. There are also benches and chairs along the boardwalk for you to sit and watch the sunset if you’re so inclined.
Rue d’Antibes: if your planned Cannes activities involve shopping or eating
Just a few minutes walk from La Croisette is another shopping street in Cannes called Rue d’Antibes. This street is connected to several other streets to form a dense, walkable area full of restaurants, stores, and cafes. While La Croisette features luxury brands, Rue d’Antibes features high-street fashion brands, beauty brands, and local stores. If you’re a L’Occitane fan like I am, you’ll be happy to know that this area houses a L’Occitane store. Plus 1 for Rue d’Antibes!
Rue d’Antibes reminds me of Old Town Nice, but smaller and less populated with people. It has very narrow roads, so there are fewer cars and mostly pedestrians on its paths. This networked area of streets is lined with several outdoor seating restaurants. It’s a great place to have a meal or a drink and people watch on a sunny day.
It’s also a great place to shop since there are so many clothing and aesthetically pleasing stores here. I didn’t go shopping for clothes, but one of my favorite finds in this area was a charming bookstore that carried English titles. They have travel guides in English, so if you’re in need of some English tourist guides, check out the Rue d’Antibes area for this bookstore! This area is full of artistic touches that make it pleasing to the senses.
Cannes fashion sense
What I noticed in Cannes was that the fashion there seemed brighter and lighter than what I saw in the windows of fashion stores in Nice. There were hues of white, coral, mint green, and yellow in the clothing there that I didn’t see much of in Nice. So if you want to go shopping and love bright or light colors, check out the shops in Cannes! You just might find your perfect French Riviera outfit there.
Day Trips from Cannes
If you happen to be staying in Cannes, you might be wondering about worthy day trips from Cannes. Saint Tropez, Monte Carlo, and Monaco are all nearby destinations with a similar upscale vibe. If you want more variety, then Nice, Eze village, and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat offer another side of the French Riviera.
Nice has a more populist feel to it despite its stunning coast and promenade. If you’re looking for things to do in the French Riviera, Nice has a great mixture of beaches (pebbled only—not sandy), charming cobblestoned town square, green spaces, and great food. This was where I stayed for my one and a half months in the French Riviera and I loved it. I’d go back to Nice time and time again as time affords.
Eze village offers a panoramic view of the surrounding bay from a hilltop garden. There are many souvenir shops and some restaurants along the path to the top of the hill, where you’ll find the famous Jardin Exotique d’Eze. This garden features mostly succulent plants with some beautiful flower blooms mixed in. The top of the garden is where you’ll find the breathtaking view of the surrounding bay. It reminds me of the coastal view from Big Sur, California, especially if you take the bus up to the village.
Saint Jean Cap Ferrat offers a street-level view of the sea and a small town feel to it. It was very quiet and empty when I went there in April. You can get a visitor’s map from the tourist information center. The map features worthy sites to visit on the loop around the peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. You can walk the entire loop in about three hours for an extended view of the bay. The food there was very expensive and not worth the price. So you’re better off packing a lunch and having a picnic on one of the seaside benches on the walking path.
There you have it. The above suggestions are worthy Cannes activities to put on your list if you’ve only got one day in Cannes.
Can you think of anything else worth doing in Cannes? Please share in the comments below!
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