Z Plage Pontoon at the Hôtel Martinez Z Plage Pontoon at the Hôtel Martinez

What to do in Cannes this season

As the glitterati descend on the South of France once again, we've compiled the ultimate list for where to go and how to escape during the Cannes Film Festival and beyond

For the next two weeks in the South of France, it’s all about the Cannes Film Festival, but, the Mediterranean resort has plenty to offer, the rest of the year, when Brad and co aren’t in town wreaking havoc and bringing traffic to a standstill. Here are our top 5 reasons to love Cannes.


The food


Grand-Hyatt-Cannes-Hotel-Martinez-P422-La-Palme-dOr.masthead-feature-panel-mediumPalme d’Or at the Martinez  © Hotel Martinez

Cannes is densely packed with restaurants, giving visitors somewhere new to eat every day of the year, and then some! To really push the boat out, don’t miss the legendary Palme d’Or at the Martinez, where the festival’s jury dinner takes place each May. Indulge in two Michelin-starred chef Sinicropi’s vision of gourmet food, picking an item and being spoilt with his ‘declinaison’ or variations on the theme. Clint Eastwood, Sharon Stone and Quentin Tarantino have enjoyed the culinary discovery. The cheese trolley is also worth the trip alone. For lunch, try the Barriere’s ‘La Plage’; here mozzarella fans can treat themselves to a delightful three types dish, or to the freshest, most mouth-watering tuna tartar in town.

Related: 5 reasons to visit St Rémy de Provence


The Croisette's beaches


004-Croisette-SEMEC-PERREARDLa Croissete, Cannes Bay © SEMEC PERREARD

The 2-kilometre-long Boulevard de la Croisette is famous the world over for its glamorous, palm tree lined promenade where one can watch the world go by. Whether you fancy a quiet stroll, a skate or a jog, the Croisette is the place to be seen in Cannes. Even better though, it runs along the beach and every few metres you’ll see the entrance to yet another 'private beach.' Mostly run by hotels, these beaches offer sun loungers and restaurants, in cool contemporary surroundings, with a little lounge music, cocktails aplenty and the sparkling sea, as well as a bit of sand, should the children be with you. Try the Martinez Z Plage for celeb spotting, with the likes of Belmondo having lunch, or the Baoli for a party atmosphere.

Related: 5 reasons to visit St Rémy de Provence


The shopping


Eric-Borda© Eric Border/Flickr

Love designers? Head to the Croisette where all the big names have a flagship store, from Fendi to Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. For the more affordable end of the scope, try the parallel road beyond the Croisette, Rue d’Antibes where you’ll find French institutions like Maje, Berenice and Repetto, or even Petit Bateau and Lacoste. Other big high street brand names like Zara and Mango are also to be found, as well as the Galleries Lafayette department store.

Related: 5 weekend escapes in France


The spas


Spa-Cannes-Clarins’ Spa My Blend at Majestic Barriere

With so many plush hotels in town, Cannes is also packed with superb spas, to take a break from it all. To mingle with the stars, try the Swiss run L Raphael Beauty Spa at the Martinez or go for a classic with Clarins’ Spa My Blend by Clarins on the first floor of the Majestic Barriere. Step inside and let yourself be gently rocked by the soothing sounds of the rainforest, go for a sauna or hammam or let your therapist adapt a facial to your needs for the best in bespoke. The ultra violet light, pristine all-white treatment rooms and Clarins aromas all make for a very relaxing time. Luckily, it’s ok to fall asleep while between those expert hands - which is just as well.

Related: 5 of the most artistic villages in Provence


The day trips


GrasseGrasse © grassetourisme.fr

Cannes is brilliantly located for taking day trips. Head into the ‘arriere pays’ and explore the villages of Mougins, famous as an artists’ hangout and home to the Classical Art museum or try Grasse, the home of all things fragrance, including the Parfumerie Fragonard.

12-iles-lerinsSEMEC-DERVAUXile de Lerins © SEMEC DERVAUX

For a drive along some of Europe’s finest scenic roads, head to Nice or onto Monaco: the perfect coastline road trip packed with photo opportunities. Travelling with the children? Take a trip to Marineland in nearby Antibes. Prefer to get onto the water? The ile de Lerins, just fifteen minutes away across the bay, are the perfect place for an excursion. Alight on the island of Saint-Honorat, home to a Cistercian monastery where the monks are renowned for their homemade wines and olive oils. 

1 Marineland
2 Mougins
3 Grasse
4 Ile de Lerins
5 Saint-Honorat
6 la Croisette
7 La Palme d'Or - Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez
8 La Plage at the Majestic Barriere
9 Zplage Restaurant
10 Bâoli
11 Rue d'Antibes
12 The Hotel Martinez
13 Majestic Barriere

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