A Day Trip To Cannes - Emma Jane Explores

How To Spend The Perfect Day Exploring Cannes

Cannes is known for its glitzy, star-studded film festival, but there are many more things to do in Cannes than just celebrating cinema. Nestled on the glorious stretch of French coastline that makes up the French Riviera, Cannes is situated between Nice and St Tropez on the coast with the home of French Perfume, Grasse, a short way inland. Cannes is easily accessible in a day trip from either city or for a longer stay.

Like many towns on the French Riviera, Cannes has been populated since the second century BC by various races including the Greeks, Romans and, of course, the French.

How to get to Cannes

In order to make the most of exploring the French Riviera, I recommend choosing a home base and taking day trips around the various towns. For my money, basing yourself in the city of Nice makes sense as there are so many things to do, see and eat in Nice before even venturing out.


From Nice, the drive along the Cote d’Azur will take between 35 minutes to 1 hour depending on traffic. The drive from Nice will take you along a section of the Promenade des Anglais, past Cagnes-sur-Mer, before turning inland and bypassing Antibes and Juan les Pins.


One of the most efficient ways to get around the French Riviera is via the railway system. Cannes is serviced by a railway station that is only a short distance from the waterfront and trains from Nice run regularly.

From Nice-Ville, the main station in Nice, the trip will take between 25 and 40 minutes. If you can, try to time your departure to take one of the express trains which only stops at Antibes and Cannes to limit your travel time.

A one-way ticket from Nice to Cannes will cost around 6.10 euros. To ensure that you get the best price, book your train ticket in advance here.


The French Riviera bus lines are incredibly cheap and if you’re not in a hurry, they’re extremely effective. In this case, though, the price does not outweigh the time it takes to get to Cannes, and I’d definitely recommend the train as the best option.

However, if you want to take the bus, you can catch the 200 from rue Verdun or along the Promenade des Anglais and then ride it to Cannes for only 1.5 euros each way. Bear in mind it will take you 2-3 times the amount of time you’d spend on the train, so definitely consider spending the extra to cut down the travel time. 

Cannes old town

Where to stay in Cannes

As I mentioned above, staying put and basing yourself in a town on the French Riviera makes for a stress-free way to holiday in the region. Cannes has plenty of options when it comes to accommodation but note that the area is not known for skimping on luxury!

Find an apartment walking distance to the waterfront like one of these gorgeous Cannes accommodation options or search for one of your own.

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Things to do in Cannes

Explore the old town

 The beautiful old towns on the French Riviera promise hours of joy from just strolling through the laneways and exploring. Cannes’ old town, Le Suquet, is absolutely no exception to this rule. Visitors will be rewarded for making the trip up the hill to Le Suquet where Roman ruins can be spotted.

This part of Cannes is also home to the best views in the area, sweeping out across the Cote d’Azur and looking over towards the two small islands off the coast – Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat.

The view from the Musee Le Castre

Visit the Musée de la Castre

Part of your trip to Le Suquet has to include a trip up the many stairs (109 to be exact) to the Musée de la Castre where the best views of Cannes Bay can be sighted and the panoramic vista also allows visitors to look back over the beauty of the former fishing village. From here, the pastel coloured houses with their gorgeous window shutters offer perfect photo opportunities. 

The Musée de la Castre can easily be spotted, thanks to its imposing tower and features French Riviera landscape art as well as antiques and musical instruments. 

Musee Le Castre on top of the hill in Le Suquet

Promenade along La Croisette

Just like the Promenade des Anglais in neighbouring Nice, Cannes also has a gorgeous waterfront walk that runs parallel to the sandy beaches of the town. There’s plenty of luxury to be found along this route, with many of the town’s most luxe hotels featuring private sections of beach for their residents and guests. 

If you’re willing to pay your way, pop in for a cocktail on a sun drenched beach lounge and watch the world go by. 

La Croisette, Cannes

Find your favourite actor’s handprints on the Allée des Étoiles du Cinéma.

Located on La Croisette around the Palais des Festivals, this tribute to the famous Cannes Film Festival and its yearly bevvy of celebrities that descend on the town reminds me of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles where handprints are imprinted into the cement.

With over 150 celebrity prints in the area, you’re bound to find a few that belong to actors that you love!

Meryl Streep’s handprint in Cannes

In Summary

Cannes is just one of the many attractive towns on the French Riviera. In truth, one day hardly does this lovely beachside spot justice but it is a nice, easy day trip from Nice with plenty to see and do.

FAQs about Cannes & the French Riviera

What other towns should I visit in the French Riviera region?

The French Riviera has towns dotted all along the coast and inland into the mountains. My favourite coastal towns are Villefranche-sur-Mer, Nice, Menton and Antibes. Looking more inland, Grasse is the home of French perfume and definitely worth a visit. In addition, the walled medieval villages of Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Èze are stunningly beautiful day trips inland from the coast. You can even go so far as Monaco or Ventimiglia if you’d like to explore another country!

What is Cannes famous for?

Cannes is well-known for its famous film festival and has a reputation for being a favourite holiday destination of the rich and famous. It has a strong background in the arts and is home to many luxurious hotels and restaurants to cater for its wealthy clientele.

When is the Cannes Film Festival on?

The Cannes film festival is usually on in May, so avoid Cannes around this time of year as accommodation will be extremely expensive. That said, if you’re desperate to catch sight of your favourite actor, then this might be the ultimate time to visit Cannes!

Are there beaches in Cannes?

Yes. Cannes is one of the few towns on the French Riviera that has sandy beaches rather than pebbled beaches. There are both free and private beaches in the area – the most notable are La Croisette and Plage du Martinez.

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A Day Trip To Cannes on the French Riviera - Emma Jane Explores
A Day Trip To Cannes on the French Riviera – Emma Jane Explores
A Day Trip To Cannes on the French Riviera - Emma Jane Explores
A Day Trip To Cannes on the French Riviera – Emma Jane Explores

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