A French Riviera Itinerary: 48 Hours In Cannes

Chapter II: Cannes, from a fishing village to a beguiling world-renowned city.

The city of Cannes is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns on the French Riviera. Idyllic beaches, typical southern architecture, luxurious boutiques…etc; Cannes is a true vacation-worthy destination. Immerse yourself in its fascinating history and discover how it went from a modest fishermen’s village to a glamorous jetset city. Here is your guide on how to make the most of 48h in Cannes.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Nice, it is a fairly easy trip. You can either take the train, the car, or the bus.

Taking the train is probably the easiest way, as there are more than 50 trains circulating between the two cities each day, and the ride is approximately 30 minutes long.

If you wish to reach Cannes by car, it is a one-hour drive along the coast. We recommend passing through all the small seaside towns to admire the unique landscape.

By bus, you have the choice between OuiBus or BlaBlaCar Bus. It is the least expensive option, and only takes about 30 minutes to reach the destination. But check the stops before booking your trip as they aren’t always convenient!

DAY 1

Morning: Visiting Cannes

Cannes represents many things: the festival, La Croisette, le Palais des Festivals, but above all, visiting Cannes is about getting lost in the streets, and admiring the beauty of a French southern town. Start off by walking along la Rue d’Antibes and la Rue des Etats-Unis, where you can marvel at luxurious boutiques, and delicious chocolateries. Don’t hesitate to pick up a little treat! Next, head to Les Allées de la Liberté where open-air markets take place, and numerous pétanques games. Finally, go in search of the painted walls of Cannes: 16 murals plastered on the front of different façades. You can find murals, such as: Charlie Chaplin (10 Boulevard Vallombrosa,) Marylin Monroe (16 Boulevard d’Alsace,) as well as Cinéma Cannes (La Place Cornut Gentille.)

La Croisette Cannes
UNSPLASH Lea Stander

Lunch: L’Antidote

60, boulevard d'Alsace

Mediterranean mackerel marinated in herbs
Mediterranean mackerel marinated in herbs. FACEBOOK L’Antidote

After walking all morning in the sun, you may want to relax in a refreshing and shaded spot, thus the Antidote. Sheltered by an imposing building and endowed with a garden full of flowers and plants, this restaurant represents the perfect “green break.” Enjoy some local, and home-made dishes basked in a tranquil atmosphere, including: fried gnocchi accompanied by a garlic sauce, roasted fig with creamy polenta, or even gambas flavoured with Pastis. Chef Christophe Ferré wows every client with his culinary skills, creativity, and simplicity. L’Antidote has definitely earned its pristine reputation.

L’Antidote cannes
L’Antidote. PHOTO

Afternoon: The Rothschild Villa

1 Av. Jean de Noailles

This magnificent palace is a must-see in Cannes! The Rothschild Villa and its gardens, were constructed in 1881 under the supervision of Betty Rothschild after her husband had passed away. With over 40 rooms, 28 bedrooms, a beautiful marble terrace, and a winter garden; you can’t help but feel at peace in such a lovely and secluded spot. The villa is certainly splendid, but the gardens are well worth the detour. Bamboos, magnolias, 12 different varieties of palm trees, and numerous other plant species thrive in this green haven. Also admire the beautiful 12-meter-high araucaria, which had to be transported in a special carriage, drawn by 12 horses. Today, the Rothschild Villa has been transformed into a media center for all, so that everyone can enjoy this enchanting place.

The Rothschild Villa
PHOTO The Rothschild Villa.

Drinks and Dinner: La Chunga

24 rue Latour Maubourg

The great ambiance at La Chunga
The great ambiance at La Chunga. FACEBOOK La Chunga Cannes

This prestigious lounge bar is a great address both for a drink and dinner! Its amazing reputation is mainly due to the Cannes Festival, as many stars come and relax in this establishment. If you like dining to the sound of piano in a subdued atmosphere, then La Chunga is the perfect spot! For dinner, enjoy some delicious dishes, such as: pasta with cuttlefish ink, scallops a la plancha, and even truffle raviolinis. But do not miss out on their delicious freshly prepared cocktails, and home-made appetizers. La Chunga is a well-known address for organizing regular shows, and concerts, so be sure to check the schedule!

The interior of La Chunga
The interior of La Chunga. FACEBOOK La Chunga Cannes

Sleep: Villa Claudia

37 Boulevard d'Alsace

To make a change from the five-star resorts, here is a charming little three-star hotel set in a XIXth century villa. Glamour and simplicity are the order of the day! Fully renovated in 2017, the 18 rooms are practical, while staying chic: soundproofed, air-conditioned, and some even come with a private garden. Pay close attention to the decorations, as photographs of movie legends adorn the walls. The garden is exotic and represents the perfect spot to enjoy a generous buffet breakfast before starting the day. At only a five-minute walk from La Croisette, and set in the center of Cannes, Villa Claudia is the ideal escape when staying in a dense city.

Villa Claudia and the exotic garden
Villa Claudia and the exotic garden. FACEBOOK La Villa Claudia
One of the rooms cannes
One of the rooms. FACEBOOK La Villa Claudia

DAY 2

Morning: Forville Market

6 Rue du Marché Forville

an overview of the market cannes
An overview of the market. FACEBOOK Marché Forville à Cannes

Each morning, from Tuesday to Sunday, saunter around this provincially known market! It is truly a place of learning, as you can meet vegetable farmers, fishermen, and ask them about their work. The market is colorful and vibrant as well as representing the perfect opportunity to buy some local and fresh products, such as: fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables, and numerous more. You might feel a little hungry when wandering around, so we suggest trying the socca, a homegrown delicacy. Located near Old Cannes, behind the town hall, the Forville Market is a Cannes tradition you don’t want to miss out on!

The entrance of the market
The entrance of the market. FACEBOOK Marché Forville à Cannes

Lunch: Le Jardin

15 Av. Isola Bella

This is a great address if you wish to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine. The modest entrance may give you the wrong idea of what this restaurant holds, but trust us, and if you continue you will be left speechless! As you walk across Le Jardin, a beautiful garden and a winter veranda will be there to greet you; a spot hidden from all, except for you and the regular customers. The setting is refined and calm, which will make you second guess the fact that you are in the center of Cannes. As for the cuisine, the dishes are prepared using only seasonal and fresh products. The personnel are friendly and treat the clients with the best care possible, which makes Le Jardin a comfortable place to eat!

Le Jardin cannes
Le Jardin. FACEBOOK Restaurant Le Jardin Cannes

Afternoon: Les îles de Lérins

The Sainte-Marguerite Island
The Sainte-Marguerite Island. FACEBOOK Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Tourisme

Do you wish to discover Cannes’ noteworthy history by boat? The Lérins Islands await you! Composed of two islands – Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat- where nature and tranquility are king, this territory is a big part of Cannes’ history. The Saint-Honorat Island is the smallest between the two, but certainly not the less interesting one. At the beginning of the 5th century, Saint-Honorat decided to dedicate this island to the spread of the Christian doctrine by building a beautiful monastery. During the wars, it was used to protect the island from invaders, and today, it is home to Cistercian monks. On the other side, the Saint-Marguerite Island is dedicated to both fauna and flora. 3 km long with 22 km of trails through the forest, is certainly the place for wilderness lovers. You also have the chance to visit a bird sanctuary, and the famous Iron Mask Museum. To reach the islands you have two main options: by boat or by kayak (if you are feeling adventurous!)

The Lerins Monastery
The Lerins Monastery. FACEBOOK Abbaye De Lerins

Drinks and Dinner: Zoa Bar

2 place de Gaulle

The Zoa Bar
The Zoa Bar. FACEBOOK ZOA Cannes

This establishment is a concept bar/restaurant that is a hit! Located near Le Palais des Festivals, the Zoa Bar is a must-do in Cannes for its creativity and high-quality cuisine. Do you like sushi? And do you like cocktails? I hope that both of those answers are yes, if so then this cozy bar is for you! Enjoy some freshly prepared Japanese cuisine paired with great cocktails in a contemporary lounge. The menu is always changing, and the chef never ceases to amaze with his detail-oriented dishes, including: poke bowls, prawn tempuras, delicious rolls, and many more delicacies. The staff is extremely friendly, and the ambiance is harmonious and serene whether you are on the terrace or inside.

One of Zoa's delicious cocktails
One of Zoa’s delicious cocktails. FACEBOOK ZOA Cannes

Sleep: Le Cavendish

11 Boulevard Carnot

One of the rooms overlooking the streets of Cannes
One of the rooms overlooking the streets of Cannes. FACEBOOK Hôtel Cavendish Cannes (Page Officielle)

Perfectly located in Cannes’ center between la Rue d’Antibes and Le Palais des Festivals, Le Cavendish is a hotel worth discovering. This charming hotel is a mix between being a historical building while having modern-day amenities, including: access to a private beach, valet parking, and many more. The elevator, and the façade evoke the aristocratic style of the 20th century so be sure to pay attention to the details! Each floor has a different color theme, and the 34 rooms available are spacious, high-ceilinged, and sumptuous. Some rooms even have their own balcony, overlooking the active streets of Cannes. It is also the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee and the delicious and generous breakfast buffet at your disposal. Either with your family or friends, Le Cavendish is a great family-friendly place to stay at.

Bon voyage!

Eve spent two days in Cannes.

Eve McGuardian

Contributor

Eve was born and raised in NYC and later on, moved to Paris. She grew up in an international home and is fluent in both French and English. Every chance she gets, she travels; either to discover a new culture or as a volunteer in an organization. The most memorable cities she has been to are: Ischia, a little island off the coast of Naples for the people, Istanbul for the culture, and Paris for the architecture.

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