Exploring Cannes Old Town
Travel3 Minutes Read

Exploring Cannes Old Town

April 12, 2022 Share

With the Cannes film festival quickly approaching, we thought it would be nice to get a feel for this Mediterranean town on the French Riviera before its premier event takes place next month. 

We all know Cannes is filled to the brim with luxury hotels and Michelin starred restaurants, and these certainly warrant a visit, but what else is happening in this famed French town?

Well, without further ado, here is what to do — while visiting Cannes.

First off, explore the town by having a stroll beneath the palms on La Croisette. This beachfront boulevard through the heart of Cannes passes the Palais des Festivals — where the film festival will be held next month.

La Croisette, Cannes' waterfront boulevard.
La Croisette, Cannes’ waterfront boulevard. Credit: Alexis AMZ DA CRUZ

From here it is a toss-up between spending a day on the incredible beaches of the French Riviera or heading to the old town. As tempting as the seashore is, let’s head up the hill to the old town or le Suquet as it’s known in French.

Le Suquet is an old fishing village — built before the glimmering hotels and the stunning beaches became some of the most popular in the south of France. Its narrow and winding streets are over 100 years old and are mostly pedestrianised, making for an excellent place to explore on foot.

A view of Cannes from the top of the hill.
Cannes has a majestic old town just up the hill from the bustling waterfront. Credit: Jim Thirion

Head for Rue St Antoine to explore old buildings and shop at exclusive boutiques or enjoy a meal in the cool Mediterranean evening air.  Near le Suquet, on Tuesday through Sundays, you will find Marche Forville — a bustling open-air market selling produce, fresh fish and cheeses among other items.

In the oldest part of this medieval town, you will find the Chateau de la Castre Castle, built by monks in the 12-century — the town slowly grew around this fortress. 

Cannes, France. A yellow building on a street corner.
Credit: Paolo Bendandi

From here, head to the top of the hill to the Notre Dame de l’Esperance for stunning views of the port city and the sparkling sea — climb the bell tower for the best views.

Just because you are a short walk away from the jet-setting style of the Rivera that Cannes is most known for, doesn’t mean the old town is any less luxurious. Finding fashionable, and locally owned boutiques in le Suquet is as simple as turning a corner.

A street in Cannes, France.
Credit: Elisa

Upscale cafes and bars, some with incredible rooftop terraces, dot the old town — be sure to have a wine or a coffee overlooking the city.

The old town is lit up at night and makes for a dazzling display — both from the town itself and from the yachts below.

Now that you have spent a day exploring Cannes’ historic old town, it’s time to live it up on the Riviera — but that is for tomorrow. No trip to Cannes is complete without first exploring the quaint area where this city was born.

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Author: Matthew Dooley
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