Day trip to Cannes

Cannes With everything in such close proximity to the train station, Cannes is an easy day trip from Nice.  Besides the Cannes Film Festival mystique, Cannes also boasts sandy beaches, great shopping, a tiny arty old town, and a plethora of restaurants.

Oh, and by the way, Cannes is pronounced ‘can’ (like ‘yes, I can!’), not ‘cans’ or ‘khon‘.  You’re welcome.

What to See in Cannes (map at bottom)

When you exit the Cannes train station, go straight.  The first street that you cross is a good for little restaurants, and the second (lined with giant metal balls) is rue d’Antibes, known for its shopping.   A minute later you will be at the famous Cannes seaside, and the Cannes tourist office is just to the right tucked in between the two main stairways, for maps and info.

Cannes Film Festival Red CarpetOn your right are the famous steps of the Cannes Film Festival red carpet!  It may look puny now, but just imagine it lined with crowds and paparazzi…

(If you are going to Cannes during the Film Festival in May, don’t miss my indispensable insider’s guide to How to do the Cannes Film Festival without a badge…)

Beaches on the Cannes CroisetteTake a stroll down the Croisette and admire the gorgeous sandy beaches (as opposed to the stones in Nice!)  The first beach, Plage Mace, is the only public beach, so go ahead and throw down your towel and catch some rays like a festival starlet.  Farther down all the beaches are private, but maybe worth the fee to have a comfy lounge chair and parasol, and have a memorable Cannes lunch with your toes in the warm sand.

The other side of the boulevard is lined with designer boutiques and the grand hotels that embody years of film lore.  Here is a fun article from Entertainment Weekly with just some of the stories just from one hotel, the Carlton

Back at the red carpet, if you head right, towards the Port, you might see an antique market (Saturdays and Sundays) or a flower market, and the locals playing boules in the afternoon.  Two streets inland from the Port is a lovely walking street rue Meynadier with bargain shops and wonderful food stores (especially if you want inspiration for a picnic…).  At the end of this walking street and to the right you will find the lovely covered food market (mornings only, Tues-Sat, then antiques all day on Mondays).  If you go to the far corner of the Port and head up the hill you will find the Le Suquet, Cannes’ tiny but exquisitely charming and arty old town (just one steep street!) with great restaurants, and fun shopping, and topped by the Cathedral with a panoramic view of the bay of Cannes.

FREE Walking Tours

GuruWalks does daily FREE walking tours of Cannes in English.  It starts at 10:30am lasts 2 hours, and you can tip your guide at the end if you enjoyed it (you will!), but there is no set fee. Reservations a must via their site.

The Cannes Tourist Office also offers FREE tours in English with volunteer greeters, locals that are not professional guides, but possess a passion for Cannes that they want to share.  Each Greeter has been vetted for quality by the tourist office, and offers a specialized tour based on his/her interest/expertise, so the tours can range from history, shopping, urban hiking, cinema and celebrities, architecture, photography, gardens, to themed walks on virtually every subject, and whereas the facts might be a little fuzzy, the passion is clear and the price is definitely right!

Island Adventures

See those two islands out there? One holds the prison where the Man in the Iron Mask was held, and the other is a 2,000-year-old working monastery and vineyard tended by the monks.  You can get there with a quick and inexpensive boat trip from the far side of the Cannes Port, but each island is serviced by a different boat company, so you have to choose!   (See the island day trip page for more info and ideas).

Best way to get to Cannes

The best way to get from Nice to Cannes is to take the train, which costs around 8€, leaves every half-hour, and just know that every train going in that direction (Grasse, Draguignan, Saint Raphael, Marseilles) makes a stop in Cannes.  It will cost 16€ round trip (unless you have a day-pass or discount card) and take 20-40 minutes depending on the train.

Don’t be tempted by the 2.50€ bus to Cannes as it takes for-ev-er and you will arrive exhausted.

Getting back at night

If you are going to make an evening of it, know that the last train back from Cannes to Nice is around 10pm on weeknights, and 11:30pm on Friday/Saturday.

The Nice-Cannes Bus #620 stops running its regular route at around 8:30pm. The exception is Friday and Saturdays when there is a special #621 Night Bus leaving from the Cannes bus station/train station at 11pm, 12:30am and 3:45am.  Even then this night bus will only take you as far as the Parc Phoenix stop (near the Nice airport), and since the Nice tramway doesn’t run at that hour, from there you can easily do the last little bit with an Uber.

Taking a taxi back from Cannes to Nice will set you back around 100€, so better to take an Uber which will only cost around 50€.  First-time Uber users can click here and save 10€ on each of your first 5 rides

…Or, better yet, just roll with it and find a casino, an all-night restaurant, or dance ’til dawn (Bisous Bisous or Disco 7) until the trains and buses start running again…

Map created using Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Photo credit:  Cannes by Rita Molnar,  Croisette by Bledard92, Masses on Red Carpet by Tangi Bertin, all licensed under Creative Commons. 

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