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Ormond Apartment Cannes in Cannes Croisette, Cannes, French Riviera
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What to see in Cannes

Well there's little doubt that Cannes is most famous for its International Film Festival which draws a huge crowd of both tourists and industry visitors not to mention the attention of the world's media. It's not all there is to this surprisingly small town on the Riviera though.

Cannes has beautiful beaches, manicured gardens, grand architecture, traditional markets, great shopping, sparkling blue seas and a history that's just as individual, original and incredible as any other ancient town dotted along this part of the coast. There's a wealth of things to see and do, below are suggested just some of the most famous or the most interesting.

Sunworshipping in CannesWindow Shopping in CannesFamous Cannes skyline

Historical Cannes

Cannes' history pre dates the Roman era when it was occupied by a race of people know as the Ligurians. The Ligurians populated areas from Northern Italy into Provence and possible stretching all the way acorss to parts of Northern Spain. Early remains suggest that the site, on which Cannes as we know it today stands, dates from the neolithic era from 4000BC. However it was the Iles des Lerins and their strategic importance to the growing shipping trade that really established Cannes on the Riviera.

Ancient Cannes was a very small place and to this end Cannes feels like its history is more recent than, for example, Nice. The grandeur of Cannes came much later in the 19th Century when the town extended and its magnificent old belle epoch and bourgeoise buildings were built. However the Old Town, or Le Suquet, will whisk you back through time and you can imagine how it all looked in its earliest days.

Le Suquet

The Romans arrived into the area in 2BC and Cannes became a naval base in their growing empire. Cannes' future was not secure as a result however and, after the fall of the Roman empire, entered into a bleak period of history that saw the area descecrated and nearly wiped out altogether by raids and wars.

It was the Counts of Provence who eventually brought some stability to the area through a repopulation plan that dealt with issues of security and safety for the region. Cannes was given over to a noble family from Grasse in return for defeating barbarian warriors.

As the family grew so too did stability for the town. One of the sons studied under the monk Honoratus and became a monk himself. He giften the town of Cannes and the ile des Lerins to the church in 1030AD. This would prove to be a turning point for Cannes.

The safety of the the town was improved with towers and forts built on the Ste Marguerite and at Le Suquet on the mainland which meant that the security and longevity of the town became sealed.

Musee de La Castre, CannesPines standing watch over Cannes
MuseeCastle Grounds
Chapelle Ste Anne CannesOld looking over new Cannes
Ste MarieOld looking on new

Today Le Suquet, as the Old Town in Cannes is known, still stands guard over the port and surrounding area. The streets wind up a steep hill to the 11th century castle and distictive square tower with views that sweep down over the entire town, the mediterranean sea and the mountains stretching away into the distance.

In its day these views were the very thing that guarded Cannes against attack from its many enemies, the horizon gazed upon for many an hour no doubt, albeit for very different reasons. Today we can simply stroll up to this highest point, enjoy the vista and remark at the constructions.

On this site you will also find the 12th Century Chapelle Ste Anne and a 19th Century church called Notre Dame d'Esperance. The Castle houses the museum de la Castre where archealogical displays are on view as well as a collection of musical intruments from around the world and paintings by Provencal artists. Whether your interest lies in history or not it's simply a lovely walk and a great view, well worth the effort.

Parks and Gardens in Cannes

French towns take great pride in their appearance and throughout the country you will find impeccably manicured town squares and well tended parks. Cannes perhaps takes even more care than other towns and the flowers and gardens of the Mediterranean coast have become synonimous with spectacular, formal flower displays. The municipality in Cannes grow more than 400,000 bedding plants every year and the famous flower gardens along the Croisette are planted out four times a year with seasonal floral displays.

Iles des Lerins

Although formal gardens are dramatic and beautiful it's wonderful to see natural flora and vegetation as it has grown, without the influence of man, for thousands of years. The best place to experience this is on the Iles des Lerins, in particular St Honorat.

St Honorat is the smaller and more remote of the two islands but its history predates even Cannes town itself and belies the level of importance it once held in Europe. St Honorat first built a monastery here in the 5th Century where it was a place of study for 3700 monks at one time and a religious centre for all of Southern Europe.

Its power became diminished over the centuries by invasion and corruption but it remains a cistercian monastery to this day. The forested island also homes indigenous parasol pines, fragrant Eucalyptus and towering Cypress trees in a lanscpe that seems untouched by time. The monks grow vines, lavender and oranges and produce their own honey and alcohol.
Beautiful park on the CroisettePalms on the Route de Palm D'Or
Cannes GardensParasol Pines
Clear Cannes DayStonework Cannes
Island viewFamous Visitors
The islands are wild and as nature intended them to be with wild flowers and winding paths down to rocky sheltered coves. They are a wonderful discovery and it's a great way to pass the day. Bring a picnic and swimming gear to really make the most of it.

Other gardens, of the more formal variety, include those at Villa Rothschild, the Riviera extension Hanging Gardens, Jardin Albert 1er and the Square Verdun. See more listings for parks and gardens in our directory under 'Cannes'.

Festivals in Cannes

Cannes is famous for its festivals, in particular the Film festival, but there are many less well known events staged at various times of the year so it would seem prudent to mention them here as they are indeed something to see. The chances are that you will come across one whether you have scheduled your holiday around one or not. There are festivals centred around magic, games, dance, television, property as well as film.

The Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival was initially launched as a antidote to sceptism of the Venice film festival which had been launched by Mussolini in the 1930's. The French saw it is nothing more than a propaganda vehicle and decided to start their own festival.

The timing however couldn't have been worse. In September 1939 Mae West was one of the first starlets to hit the shores of Cannes but she promptly jumped back onto her ship and sailed off as the threat of War became a reality. The festival stalled before it could begin and nothing more happened until 1946 when it restarted as a small trade festival.

In 1951 the festival switched to the month of May, perhaps to fit in with the start of the summer 'season'. Despite being small and ostensibly for film critics and reviewers, Cannes was already established on the jet set social calendar so the festival crowd was always going to be illustrious.
Diamonds are a girls best friend in CannesElegant Cannes
Art exhibition, CannesPhotography exhibiton, Cannes
It is believed that more than 70,000 people make the trip to Cannes each year for the festival despite it being a private industry event. Of this number less than 5000 are press, journalists or critics.

The glamour and glitz, however , are uncontainable and the streets are a blaze with the vibrancy and occasion of the festival, people gather for the chance to soak up the atmosphere and rub shoulders with champagne sipping stars.

Renting holiday Accommodation in Cannes

Accommodation at the time of the festival is premium so it is essential to book your holiday rentals early. To book a holiday apartment or villa in Cannes, at any time of the year, then simply use the search facility below. To see when are the best times to visit Cannes then move onto our next section, when to visit Cannes.


Some top holiday rentals in Cannes

Isabelle Apartment

French Riviera » Cannes » Californie 35 sq.m. Apartment 0444
»Holiday rental apartment
»Price per night:$86.58
»Per person (x4):$21.65
This is a lovely, modern studio with lots of charm in the prestigious area of Montfleuri. The apartment is located in a very nice suburban area, it's surrounded by the villas of the rich and famous. It's a super rental, it's inexpensive but excellent.

3 Bed Festival Apartment

French Riviera » Cannes » Cannes Croisette 130 sq.m. Apartment 1295
»Holiday rental apartment
»Price per night:$256.53
»Per person (x6):$42.76
City Centre, Contemporary
Large, three bedroom apartment, ideally located 100 meters from the Palais des Festivals. This spacious, newly renovated apartment is literally minutes from the Palais and the beach. This is the best location possible for the Cannes Film Festival.

Villa Castelleras Mougins

French Riviera » Cannes » Mougins 350 sq.m. Villa 0746
»Holiday rental villa
»Price per night:$3,206.64
»Per person (x12):$267.22
Tranquil, Swimming Pool
Newly built, 6-bedroom villa in a private domain near Mougins. South facing terraces overlook large pool and gardens comprising a boules court and table tennis facilities. WiFi acces and air-conditioned master bedroom.


Find your holiday rental in Cannes


Immediate Area

» Cannes old town» Le Cannet» Super Cannes
» Theoule sur Mer» Mandelieu» Mouans Sartoux
» Mougins» Cannes Croisette» La Bocca
» Californie» La Croix des» La Banane
» Carnot 
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