The most famous imagery of Cannes involves lavish hotels and casinos, sunning on the beach, and strolls down the main oceanside drag known as La Croisette, which is dotted with designer shops and pricey eateries. But there’s a charming, more provincial side of Cannes to explore if you can stand to take your eyes off the stunningly blue Mediterranean waters.
Whether you’re just stopping through on a day trip or hanging around for awhile, some of the best things to discover in Cannes are beyond the beach. Start in the City Centre, near the train station along Rue d’Antibes, and then make your way up to the Medieval fishing village known as Le Suquet, where the streets were laid out over 400 years ago.
A cafe/bookstore with mismatched furniture is perfect for a quaint place to chill for 30 minutes or three hours. The books are in French and they specialize in French authors, but there’s outdoor seating and the coffee is good (you can also enjoy some salads, sandwiches, small plates, and pastries). It’s got a cozy, friendly atmosphere with a lively staff on a small street.
“Bobo” is the French term for “bourgeois bohemian” and this little bistro/cafe lives up to its name (without sacrificing quality). Baroque wallpaper pairs well with the eclectic menu—try one of their tartars or pastas.
It’s easy to forget how close this part of the French Riviera is to Italy, but this modern, laidback Italian bistro is a local favorite (and open all day until 7:30 p.m.—many eateries in Cannes close after lunch and then reopen for dinner). “Nonna” is Italian for “grandma,” if that gives you a sense of the kind of food they serve (very fresh). Go for the omelettes, chicken salad, or one of their pasta dishes.
This organic, vegetarian cafe is a great place to go for a healthy bowl, sandwich, or pastry paired with an expertly crafted latte. Sit outside on the plaza with their adorable marbled plates and cups, or inside on the stylish wicker chairs. Cannes, meet Instagram.
Shopping / Rue d’Antibes
This area of town has more mid-range commercial shops (there’s a Zara and Belair—the French H&M—around here) but there are also more obscure boutique brands, consignment stores, and independent shops to be discovered. Rue d’Antibes is the main drag, but there’s plenty on the side streets as well. Check out Apostrophe-Georges Rech, Chacock, Projecteurs, and Le Depot.
This charming cafe is a Southern France-based chain (with seven outposts sprinkled throughout the region and one in Iceland) for delicious, fresh-baked cookies and coffee. A perfect pitstop after a long day of shopping.
The only wine bar in Cannes carries a lot of weight. The rustic space with loft hangout and outdoor seating is always lively with a helpful staff and affordable wines by the glass. Come here before or after dinner to hang with locals. This is the kind of place that can become your neighborhood bar for the duration of your trip.
Come here early to get a whiff of fresh flowers and sample some of the best local produce you can find straight from the source, from cheese to homemade tapenade. This open-air market starts at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m., so prioritize accordingly.
This affordable eatery right next door to the market offers a friendly atmosphere with delightful wine and tapas. Sit outside for lunch to observe the comings and goings of the market.
This Medieval tower at the heart of Le Suquet is on a small hill hike that rewards with a gorgeous view of Cannes at the top. The old-school museum itself is full of landscape paintings and other relics that offer a quiet respite from the busy Croisette below.
If you’re looking for some traditional French street food, look no further than this charming crêperie that’s been operating for over 50 years. The standard crêpes are good here—ham and cheese, Nutella. No need to reinvent the wheel.
This is the pick for a night of dancing and drinking in Le Suquet. A campy, three-part bar with outdoor lounging and disco balls, the DJ here isn’t too cool to play the hits.