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Beyond the red carpet: things to do in Cannes

Away from the celebrity-studded red carpet and flashing cameras of the paparazzi, those on a Cannes Film Festival yacht charter will find there’s plenty to see and do in the glamorous city of Cannes.

From idyllic beaches to designer shopping, Cannes and its surrounds have an array of offerings to keep visitors busy, no matter whether they wish to relax, explore or splash some cash.


People walking past designer shops on the seafront in Cannes.

Those in the mood for high-end shopping should head straight to the Boulevard de la Croisette. The alluring beachfront avenue is lined with palm trees, immaculate flowerbeds and the decadently-embossed frontages of designer emporiums, ensuring visitors have plenty of upscale shopping opportunities all in one place.

Meanwhile, those with a penchant for charming boutiques nestled alongside big-name fashion retailers should investigate Rue d’Antibes, which runs almost parallel to the Boulevard de la Croisette. Here, visitors will find a lively ambience, as well as an abundance of elegant eateries and cafes where weary shoppers can make a quick pitstop.


Deck chairs lined up on a beach at the Cannes Film Festival
Carlton Beach in Cannes

Cannes plays host to some of the most idyllic, golden-sand beaches in the French Riviera, and whether private or public, all of the city’s beaches are well-maintained and have facilities nearby. Long Beach and Carlton Beach are excellent private options as they are located centrally and feature on-site amenities including a restaurant and bar.

For those seeking out the convivial setting of a public beach, la Plage du Midi is equally popular with tourists and locals alike. Located next to Suquet, the city’s old quarter, it offers a strip of sugary sand with a friendly selection of restaurants and cafes nearby, as well as showers and establishments renting out sun loungers.

Island trips

Cistercian Monastery on Saint Honorat in the Lerin Islands, off CannesTower on Saint Honorat in the Lerin Islands, off Cannes
France, Cannes, St Honorat island, the Abatial church

Known as les Isles de Lérins, a smattering of islands lie just a few kilometres adrift from mainland Cannes. Those on a private yacht charter are easily able to step on shore and discover their untouched beauty; from secluded coves rich with marine life to dense forests cloaked in the heady scent of eucalyptus and Aleppo pines.

The larger of the islands is Île Sainte-Marguerite, and it’s here that visitors can take a tour of Fort Royal, where the notorious ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was imprisoned during the 17th century. The smaller of the pair is Île Saint-Honorat, which is renowned for its impressive monastery. An order of Cistercian monks are the island’s only inhabitants, and they spend their days tending to olive groves and vineyards and producing lavender-infused honey and organic wines for visitors to sample.

The Old Quarter

Medieval church in Cannes' Old Quarter, Le Suquet on the French Riviera

Before the wealthy aristocrats discovered it, Cannes was just a small fishing village concentrated on Suquet hill, which rises sharply back from the old port. Here you'll find Cannes' Old Quarter, otherwise known as Le Suquet.

Located past the Palais des Festivals, follow Rue Saint-Antoine up through the steep, winding cobbled streets, where tresses of bougainvillea drape felicitously over charming terracotta-coloured stone dwellings and local family-run restaurants that all seem like a world away from the glittering enclave of La Croisette.

At the top of Le Suquet, the views of the Mediterranean set against a backdrop of cerulean sky are sublime, but the real treat is the town’s medieval castle, Place de la Castre and its 15th-century church Eglise Notre-Dame de l’Esperance. Climb the ramparts for great views of the bay and explore the museum housed within the castle, taking in paintings, art, musical instruments and archaeological artefacts.

Palais des Festivals

Cannes Film Festival hand print
Model poses on the red carpet at the Cannes Film FestivalPalais des Festivals in Cannes at the Film Festival

Those who want to get a taste for the glitz and glamour of the Cannes Film Festival should pay a visit to the Palais des Festivals, where the event is hosted annually. Outside the building, the star-studded floor is a selection of tiles bearing the handprints and signatures of A-listers cast in iron.

Paying homage to its enduring Hollywood heritage, the floor features plenty of iconic names dating back to the eighties. The attraction is just a stone’s throw from the red carpet and the Old Port, so those on a luxury yacht charter vacation can easily step on shore to see this sight.

The Malmaison Art Centre

Sign outside the Malmaison Art Centre in Cannes, France
Malmaison Art Centre, Cannes, France

Housed in a former hotel, the Malmaison Art Centre retains much of its grandeur and Riviera glamour, with cream-coloured paintwork and palm trees flanking the entrance. The gallery presents monographic exhibitions from a variety of 20th and 21st-century artists and is conveniently located along the Boulevard de la Croisette.

Past exhibitions have included the work of Chagall, Dali and Picasso, and is laid-out conveniently across the original Malmaison wing, and the intimate setting and charming proportions of the rooms ensure the prestigious collections are displayed in their best light.

By Rebecca Bradbury   Last Updated 10 November 2022


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