A luxurious seaside town
The town of Cannes is situated on the coast near Antibes and Nice. This seaside city was once a humble fishing village and is now considered to be one of the most prestigious resort towns in the world. Cannes hosts the annual Cannes Film Festival, one of the most renowned film festivals around the globe. This glamorous town boasts palatial hotels, fine dining restaurants, luxury boutiques, and lively casinos.
In addition, Cannes offers long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear water, two fantastic ports, and two islands, the famous Iles de Lérins. Cannes has a large community of locals and is the second largest congress center in France, after Paris, which means the city is full of life year-round. Moreover, this city strikes the perfect balance between Riviera glamour and quiet Provençal charm.
Le Suquet, the oldest part of Cannes along with the old port, opens a window into Cannes’ past. Le Suquet is the medieval neighborhood of the city that, today, is lined with artisanal shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. The old town is made up of winding cobblestone streets and at the top of the hill there is a beautiful gothic church and an ancient castle with an incredible picturesque view of the city and the sea. There is also a fantastic open air market near the old town, Marché Forville, that offers a large variety of local produce and fresh flowers. The market is open every morning except on Mondays, where it turns into a flea market.
Cannes is rich in history and dates back to the 2nd century BC. In the 10th century, the town was known as Canua. Canua was probably the site of a small Ligurian port, and later a Roman outpost on the hill of Le Suquet, suggested by Roman tombs discovered there. Most of the ancient activity, especially regarding protection, was on the Lérins Islands and the history of Cannes is closely tied to the history of the islands. The monks who controlled the city, fortified it with the construction of a castle in 1035. Around 1530, Cannes detached from the monks who had controlled the city for hundreds of years and became independent. During the 18th century, both the Spanish and British tried to gain control of the Lérins Islands but were chased away by the French.
At the end of the 19th century, several railways were completed, which prompted the arrival of streetcars. In Cannes, projects such as the Boulevard Carnot and the rue d’Antibes were carried out. In the 20th century new luxury hotels were being built such as the Carlton, Majestic and Martinez to fulfill the increase in wealthy tourism. Shortly before World War II, the city council had the idea of starting an international film festival. Due to the war, the film festival was postponed. The first Cannes Film Festival opened on September 20, 1946.
Did You Know?
Ile Sainte-Marguerite, the largest of the two islands of Cannes, has a royal fort that was a state prison from the early 17th century to the 20th century. The royal fort was home to a number of famous prisoners including the Man in the Iron Mask who was held captive there from 1687 to 1698.
- Local Markets
- Fine Dining
- Shops & Galleries
- Beach & Water Sports
Click here to view our recommendations for a one week stay in Cannes.