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With beautiful beaches, an iconic film festival, and several luxury stores, Cannes is definitely a popular destination on the French Riviera, and it isn’t difficult to see why. So how do you make the most of just one day in Cannes? I’m going to show you how.
During my South of France road trip, I made sure to spend some time in Cannes, and I have to say, “Wow.” For starters, you’ve got lush, sandy beaches, immaculate beach clubs, designer shops dotted on the Boulevard de la Croisette, and even an epic viewpoint to watch the sunset.
While there may not be much time for shopping on this trip, you definitely have time to see and do a lot during your Cannes one-day itinerary.
Without further ado, let’s discuss the best things to do in Cannes in one day.
One Day in Cannes Itinerary
Your 1 day in Cannes trip is going to include some time exploring the city as well as time spent on the beach. Let’s show you how to spend the perfect day in Cannes.
1. Get Breakfast at The Lady Coffee
To fuel up for your big day, you’re going to want to start with coffee. This place has tasty treats for breakfast such as croissants, pastries, and more as well as good coffee. So stop in for a quick breakfast before continuing on your one-day in Cannes, France itinerary.
The Lady Coffee is open Monday-Saturday from 10 am-7 pm.
2. Visit Marche Forville
Next up on your itinerary is to wander over to the Marche Forville. As someone who loves any and all farmer’s markets, especially the charming markets around the south of France, a stop here is a must.
Here you can just stroll along and admire the stands selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, flowers, and more. And if you’re hungry, you can certainly purchase some snacks!
This covered market has been around since 1934 and is one of the more famous markets in Provence to visit. It is open on Tuesday through Sunday from 7:30 am-12:30 pm. On Monday, it is a flea market.
As a bonus, if you want to try a sweet treat that is famous in the area, there is a bakery next to the market selling the lovely Tartre Tropiezienne. This is originally from Saint-Tropez, and it is a brioche that is halved and filled with lemon and vanilla pastry cream and topped with sugar.
Now that you’re sufficiently full from the morning’s activities, it is time to explore the next stop.
3. Explore the Vieux Port
The Vieux Port of Cannes is right along the dazzling Mediterranean Sea, and you’ll be able to spot many yachts and sailboats on the water. The port is also lined with many colorful buildings serving as shops and restaurants.
Plus, in the distance from the port, you can see some mountains. It really is just a lovely place to wander around and take photos in the late morning.
4. Walk Along the Croisette Promenade
After exploring the Vieux Fort, you can keep walking to the Croisette Promenade. On one side of this promenade, you’ll see the stunning Mediterranean Sea lapping up on the sandy Croisette Beach.
On the other side of the promenade across the street, you’ll find all the big luxury stores. I don’t know about you, but they were certainly not in my budget. So I just window-shopped in the area.
But, if you’re hoping to make a big purchase at a store like Dior, Louis Vuitton, etc., you can stop by before continuing your walk.
This promenade is quite long, so you can just spend a bit of time wandering before you finally take advantage of being at a beach town and relax on the beach.
5. Beach Day at La Plage du Festival
While you can certainly hang out on the public part of the beach and swim to your heart’s content, if you’re in Cannes you may as well treat yourself to a beach club day.
Along the Croisette Promenade are several beach club entrances where you can rent a beach chair for the day. The rental also comes with an umbrella and towel. This will vary in price depending on when you visit and whether you choose the front row or not, but prices typically start at €40-50 and can even go up to €75+ for the day.
However, if you show up in the off-season in October as I did during my time in Cannes, it was actually only €25 for the day.
La Plage du Festival is a great beach club to go to, and it is open from 10 am-5 pm. So you can spend the remainder of the day just relaxing on the beach, getting lunch here, and having drinks brought to your beach lounger.
The beaches in Cannes are sandy, so no water shoes are needed to get in the water. Go for a swim in the crystal clear waters before relaxing in your beach chair lazily watching the day go by.
My sister and I had the best time just relaxing, reading, and swimming at this beach club, and I highly recommend it.
But, once it hits 5 pm, it is time to towel off and pack up to get ready for the evening.
6. Explore Place de la Castre
Once you’ve gone back to your hotel and gotten ready for the evening, it is time to head back out to explore and eat dinner.
While you could just hang out along the Vieux Fort and grab a bite to eat, I found it super busy and none of the restaurants looked that great. Instead, there is a better area that I’ll mention later to get food.
But first, you’ll want to climb up the hill to the Place de la Castre for the most beautiful views of the city and sea. And if you happen to come here for sunset, that is even better.
This area is where you’ll find the Chateau de la Castre, the iconic Cannes sign, and the beautiful Eglise Notre-Dame d’Esperance.
It is a truly stunning area to explore for a bit, and we happened upon it when the church bells were tolling the hour and the sun was setting.
Spend a bit of time visiting the area and perhaps walking along the chateau walls before heading to dinner and drinks.
7. Drinks and Dinner in Suquet
Instead of going back down to the Vieux Port for dinner, just walk around the Suquet neighborhood for dinner and drinks. This neighborhood is super charming with cobblestone alleys.
Rue du Suquet is actually where you’ll find most of the action. This skinny alley is full of restaurants and bars so it makes for a great place to go out at night. Start at a place like Le Jardin Secret, Charly’s Wine Bar, or Charley’s Bar Club for cocktails before dinner.
Then, for dinner, I highly recommend Restaurant Mickaella. This restaurant is run by a husband and wife team and they make incredible fresh seafood dishes paired with delightful wine.
After this, you can continue your night out if you wish, or you can head back to your accommodations for bedtime.
This wraps up your visit to Cannes in one day!
If You Have More Time in Cannes
I actually have another blog post on how to spend 3 days in Cannes where you can find details on other things to do in Cannes including spending a full day at a beach club, catching a movie at a cinema in Cannes, and even taking a day trip to either Ste. Marguerite Island, the Italian Riviera, or just going on a catamaran cruise.
How to Get to Cannes and Get Around
Cannes is easy to get to thanks to its train station. So, you can just hop on the train to get here from places like Nice or even Paris.
You can fly into Paris, Nice, or Marseille and take the train if you don’t want to rent a car. I like checking Skyscanner for the best flight prices! From Paris, it is a 6-hour train ride to Cannes. From Nice, it is only about 38 minutes away, and from Marseille, it is about 2 hours away.
Once you’re in Cannes, it is a pretty walkable city. However, there are buses too. Check here for bus and ticket information.
Where to Stay in Cannes
Luckily there are several hotels in Cannes, so finding one to fit your budget shouldn’t be too bad, as long as you book early!
Budget: Novotel Suites Cannes Centre
Located 5-15 minutes from the main sites and 18 minutes from the beach, this is a great budget option. It also has air conditioning, wifi, and parking.
Mid-Range: Hotel de Provence
Located near the shopping district and only 10 minutes or so from the beach, you’ll love this cute boutique hotel with a garden!
This is super close to the beach and the famous Palais des Festivals, making it a fantastic place to base yourself in Cannes. Plus, it has multiple bars and restaurants, a beach club, and a pool with a view.
Best Time to Visit Cannes
Is there really a bad time to visit Cannes? This beautiful Mediterranean city is great to spend time in year-round.
That being said, if you want to be able to enjoy some time on the beach, the best time to visit is between June through September. Even early October can have good weather for swimming as well depending on the year.
Just note that prices do increase during the summer months for beach clubs and hotels as it is a popular time to come. It is also a good idea to make reservations in advance if you can for restaurants and things.
Don’t forget that the famous Cannes Film Festival is in May, so if you want to come to Cannes for star-spotting, then that is a great time to go. Check the Cannes Film Festival website for dates.
This is how to spend the perfect one day in Cannes, France! From relaxing beach time to the charming Vieux Port, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Cannes.
Would you spend one day in Cannes?
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