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Believe it or not, Cannes, the city that plays host every year to Hollywood’s elite, is a great place for millennials to visit on the cheap. For a start, the scenery and sunny weather are completely free. Here’s what’s on offer for millennials in Cannes.
Your best bet for cheap food in Cannes is try out the street food or head for the markets. The local delicacy of socca (a chickpea pancake) is very filling and will only cost you a few euros. Fruit and vegetables are normally cheaper in the street markets than in the supermarkets, so visit the Marché Forville, which is open Tuesday–Sunday until 1pm (Mondays it becomes a flea market). Just like anywhere else, pre-made sandwiches are always more expensive, as is brown bread. Buy a white baguette from any boulangerie – you’ll find one on every street corner – for no more than a euro and buy some cheese to fill it with. If you’re after great vegetarian options, choose Dr. Falafels for healthy eating on the go or Restaurant Le Park 45 for a four-course vegetarian menu and killer rooftop views (but with a price tag to match).
Take large bottles of water everywhere, as it can get really hot in Cannes, and refill them as you go. Most southern French towns have public drinking fountains, which are about a foot off the ground (so you might not see them unless you’re looking). The water will say non potable if it isn’t drinkable. If you do eat out, drinks will add a fair few euros to the bill (but tap water is always free — ask for une carafe). In many places, the local rosé table wine is cheaper than Coca-Cola (again, ask for une carafe de vin rather than a bottle (bouteille). If you don’t mind spending a little more money, head to the Juice Lab for fresh juices packaged in uber-chic bottles.
Cannes is small enough to walk around, but if you travel out of town, use the bus. Bus stations (la gare routière) don’t always tell you the cheapest ways to travel unless you ask, so make sure you do. Sometimes, a book of 10 tickets can reduce the price by 30% and a return might be heavily discounted compared to two singles. These tickets nearly always need to be bought in advance at the kiosks within opening hours (usually 9am to 5pm).
Cannes’ Mediterranean coastline is beautiful and doesn’t cost a penny. Head to one of the public beaches; Plage du Midi, Plage de la Bocca and Palm Beach are firm favourites among the locals. They may be heaving with people in the summer, but don’t be afraid to fight for your space and head out to empty rocks if you can. Spread out your towel here and you’ll have a little more privacy. Watch the locals before jumping into what you think is deep water; they’re normally a really good guide as to what’s safe, but always use your common sense. If there’s no one there in the middle of summer, there might be a good reason (jellyfish or strong currents). Take picnics and save your money for ice cream.
When you’ve had enough of the beach, head into the countryside. Just outside of Cannes, there’s an amazing 200-acre national park called La Croix-des-Gardes where you can hike and picnic. The lookout spot at the top (marked by a sculpture of a cross) is the perfect Instagram spot. When you get back into town, check in with the tourist office on Facebook to find out about free concerts and events happening in town.
The nightlife isn’t cheap in Cannes and you’ll need to make sure you look the part if you want to get into clubs when the town’s busy. For a laid-back vibe, start the night at Bar Lalu or splash out on a drink at Le Roof at the Five Seas Hotel. End the night at Le Sun7, which stays open until 5am.
Your accommodation can take up most of the budget so, to keep it down, opt for somewhere with shared rooms or a place located a little bit further out of town; the Chanteclair starts at €34 per night or try the Hotel Les Tourrades, where you might be able to find a good deal.
Looking to experience Cannes on a budget? Check out our article on the top free things to do in the city.