With its wide boulevards and chic shopping streets, there are some wonderful places to stroll in Cannes. Whether you want to experience seaside, countryside or cobbled roads lined with wonderful architecture, here are our picks of the best spots to go for a wander in town.
The Îles de Lérins (Lérins Islands) are a group of four islands in the Mediterranean off the coast of Cannes. One of the most popular beaches in Cannes, Palm Beach, overlooks Île de Sainte-Marguerite. The second best well-known of the four islands is Île Saint-Honorat. Take the boat from the port and wander around the abbey in Saint-Honorat, where the monks have taken a vow of silence and they make wine and honey. Or take a long walk around Sainte-Marguerite along the coast. Amazing.
In the 19th century, an English family was forced to rest up in Cannes after being stopped from reaching Italy by an outbreak of disease. They fell in love with what they saw – the scenery, the food, the climate – and decided to make Cannes their home. They built a huge house with even bigger gardens. Today, these gardens are a public park called La Croix-des-Gardes. Roam over 200 acres of seaside foliage, take one of the five trails and hike to The Cross (La Croix) at the top for the best views. This stroll really shows a different, quieter side of Cannes while still providing stunning views.
This might seem like an obvious choice for a pick of places to stroll in Cannes, but no list of wonderful walks in the city is complete without mentioning Cannes’ most famous boulevard, La Croisette. It’s an essential walk to really appreciate the town’s soul. The interesting thing about this much-hyped road is how much it changes character along its one-mile length. Large hotels dominate the architecture on one side, while the posher private beaches vie with free public ones. People gravitate here at all times of year, whether it’s to exercise, eat an ice cream or stroll slowly.
People like Palm Beach because it’s free (so they don’t need to pay for a sun lounger), simple (there’s no waiter service to your towel) and because it’s off the beaten track – as much as you can be in Cannes. Palm Beach is right at the easterly end of the Boulevard de la Croisette and is a great place to watch windsurfers or paddle in the sea as you walk around the headland.
If you can manage it, combine Plage du Midi with Palm Beach, and walk the entire length of Cannes’ coastline. For a shorter stroll, take in Plage du Midi by itself, which is on the westerly side of Cannes. It’s near the old neighbourhood of Le Suquet and slightly more built up than Palm Beach, but certainly less chaotic a stroll than along the private beaches of La Croisette. End your walk with an ice cream from a local street vendor or some socca, the local chickpea pancake.
The old port in Cannes is an ideal place to wander because of the large, luxurious super yachts that come in and out of the harbour; it can be fun to people-watch here as you begin your stroll. If the night market is out, you can browse the jewellery and other trinkets on offer before heading up the cobbled streets into the small neighbourhood of Le Suquet. It isn’t big, but its multicoloured streets offer a look at life before Cannes gained its heady reputation. This neighbourhood is where Cannes’ most historic buildings can be found, including the Château de la Castre, which was built by local monks in the 12th century. Walk around the fishermen’s cottages and stop for dinner in one of the family-owned restaurants. There’s no better way to work up an appetite.