Cannes has an international reputation for glamour - pictures and movie clips of its croisette, its film stars and its grand hotels instantly conjure up an image of style and sophistication. Cannes is much changed from its beginnings as a resort when an English traveller, Lord Brougham, was quarantined there in 1834. Nowadays, the city hosts conventions and festivals all year round - and there's plenty to attract the guests and delegates.
What to do in Cannes, FranceWhen thinking about Cannes Cruise Port, it’s likely that the Cannes Film Festival first comes to mind. But, there’s much more to do in this French Riviera port city. You have beautiful beaches and a vibrant city to explore. Taste some culinary delights, sightsee some historic landmarks, or whip out that credit card for a shopping spree. Here’s some options to consider for your one day visit to Cannes.
Walking TourYour cruise ship’s tender service will drop you off right in the heart of the action. You can easily explore Cannes Cruise Port by foot from the terminal area. One popular path is to follow the coastline up and down the beach. Just be aware, you’ll likely see more flesh than you’re used to on your walks. Beach goers in Cannes often like to even out that tan, if you know what we mean.
FestivalsThe most notable event in this port city is obviously the Cannes Film Festival. But, the area serves as host to a number of other annual shows and events. These include the Festival of Creativity, Carnival on the Riviera, International Festival of Games, Yachting Festival, Global Champions Tour, and more. While in port, make sure to ask whether there’s an event to join in on the fun and excitement. A visit to the site of the Cannes Film Festival may leave you wanting, as the site is relatively unimpressive outside of season.
BeachesWhen in the French Riviera, the beach might be an obvious item on your “things to do” list. Cannes beaches are “nicer” (pun intended) than those you’ll find in France’s competing port, Nice. The beach sand in Cannes is finer and softer on the rear than the rockier surface you’ll find elsewhere. Be sure to note, though, that you’ll likely see a bit more skin at French beaches than you’re used to. It’s not uncommon for beachgoers to shed a few more layers (if not all) while frolicking in the sand. Ooh la la.
Food MarketsFrance is considered the “gastronomic capital of the world” and the French are not shy about showcasing their talents when it comes to cuisine. You’ll find various markets selling local goods including cheeses (of course), cold meats, veggies, fish and more. Make sure to compare a bite of fresh, French cheese purchased from the markets of Cannes to the slice you grab while walking through your cruise buffet line.
FishingIf you’re an angler, don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of some of the best fishing in the world. Lurking just under your boat is a variety of popular game including Marlin, Tuna and Wahoo (appropriately named, because that’s what you’re going to shout when hooking one of those beasts).
Shopping in Cannes, FranceIf you’re looking for a shopping adventure, Cannes has you covered. Referred to many as the “Sister City of Beverly Hills,” you’ll find much of the same ambience during your shopping spree. In fact, Cannes has more retail activity than anywhere else on the French Riviera. Make sure to set yourself a budget, though, because prices are also comparable to those in Beverly Hills. We’re not talking about your normal cruise port souvenirs here. You’ll have no problem finding a pair of shoes that cost more than your cruise. That’s the type of shopping you’re dealing with in Cannes.
La CroisetteThis one-mile stretch of shopping paradise runs right along the coastline in Cannes Cruise Port. Not only will you have access to some of the best retail options in the world, but you’ll have a spectacular view while doing so. This is also the street where the Cannes Film Festival is held, so keep your eyes peeled for related activity. Just know, that a shopping excursion along La Croisette could be pretty costly. The shops and restaurants along this strip are known for their extravagant price tags.
Rue MeynadierUnlike La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes, this street is better suited to our bargain hunters out there. You’ll find great options if looking to take home a bottle of French wine or a slab of smelly cheese as a souvenir.
Rue d'AntibesLike La Croisette, Rue d’Antibes is a super high-end retail corridor consisting of high fashion and designer boutiques. The street runs parallel to La Croisette, but set inland a few blocks (so without the stunning waterfront view). This shopping option is also known to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. You’ll find numerous chocolatiers and delis with rich dessert options.
Attractions in Cannes, FranceBelow you'll find a list of our best things to do in Cannes Cruise Port. Whether hoping to get a tan, do some shopping, or see some sights, you should have a few good excursion options listed here.
Marche ForvilleAs mentioned earlier, the French are very proud of their cuisine. There’s no better place where this is showcased than Marche Forville Food Market. In addition to the expected colds meats and cheeses, you’ll also find fish, veggies, handmade pastas, flowers. For a truly romantic visit to Cannes Cruise Port, stroll through the local market picking up fresh cheese, baguettes and flowers for a picnic lunch in the park. Just note, the one day of the week the food market isn’t open is Mondays. If in Cannes Cruise Port on a Monday, we’re sorry you’ll miss that!
Allee des StarsThis Cannes attraction is what it sounds like. Similar to the “walk of fame” in Hollywood, California (remember, Cannes and Hollywood are sister cities), the strip of stars includes handprints of hundreds of celebrities. All of whom have attended the famous Cannes Film Festival.
Island Fortress PrisonThe prison fortress of Ile Sainte-Marguerite is a quick, 15-minute ferry ride from Downtown Cannes. There, you can visit the actual cell that held the “man in the iron mask” for 11 years. You may remember this character from the movie remake in 1998 with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Lerine IslandsIf the rich and famous vibe and subsequent price tags are making you feel a bit overwhelmed, this is a great option to escape. Included in the Lerine Islands are two land-masses, Sainte Marguerite and Saint Honorat. On these islands, you’ll find a host of old buildings, monasteries, and shops as well as lush forests and beautiful views.
Plage de la Batterie (Nude Beach)It’s likely that this option won’t appeal to many. The nude beach is very popular with gay couples and considered one of the nicest beaches in Southern France. While the beach is filled with naked people, it’s also popular with French families. It’s not at all uncommon to see kids frolicking among the flesh-filled beach.
Auberge Provencale RestaurantEstablished in 1860, this is Cannes oldest restaurant. The iconic dining establishment is known for its traditional French cuisine including a duck that you’d miss your cruise ship just to smell. Lunch here is a cruise excursion in and of itself. For our foodies out there, this will be a truly memorable experience.
Best cruise excursions in Cannes, FranceWe've analyzed tens of thousands of cruise tours to find your ideal attraction while in port. Based on these reviews, here are the Best Cruise Excursions in Cannes, France
Cannes, France cruise port map
Fun facts about Cannes, FranceCannes has a long history, rich with fun facts and quirky moments. Here are the most interesting fun facts about Cannes, France.
The Man in the Iron MaskYou know the guy? They made a movie about him? To this day, nobody knows his true identity since he spent the latter part of his life with a mask covering his face. He died after 34 years in jail, 11 of which he spent on the island belonging to, and just off the coast of, France. You can tour the island of Sainte-Maugerite when in port!
Doesn’t Look Monk-ishNow known as the “sister city of Beverly Hills,” and the center of commerce in the French Riviera, Cannes was once ruled by monks. While Cannes is very non-monk-ish at this point, the nearby island of Saint-Honorat is still inhabited by monks and has been since 410 AD.
Best DoggyThe Cannes Film Festival is the most well-known and prestigious in the world. Not many are aware, however, that there’s an award given for “Best Canine Performance.”
Cannes Pink Panther HeistThe Carlton Intercontinental Hotel is Cannes’ oldest. In 2013, an armed robber broke into a poorly guarded private hotel salon and stole $136 million in jewels. It’s suspected that the thief was a part of the Pink Panthers crime organization, but no arrests were ever made. The same hotel was featured in Alfred Hitchokock’s 1955 film, To Catch a Thief.