History of Cannes, France
Name: first record, 10th century Canua. The name might derive from "canna", a reed.
This was probably the site of a small Ligurian port, and later a Roman outpost on Le Suquet hill. Gallo-Roman and Roman tombs were discovered here. Le Suquet housed an 11th-century lookout tower, and overlooked swamps where the city now stands. Most of the ancient activity, especially for protection, was on the Lerin Islands just off the coast, and the history of Cannes is really the history of the islands.
Cannes is a city located on the French Riviera. It is a commune of France located in the Alpes-Maritimes department, and host city of the annual Cannes Film Festival, Midem, and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The city is known for its association with the rich and famous, its luxury hotels and restaurants, and for several conferences. On 3 November 2011, it also played host to the G20 organisation of industrialised nations.
Cannes has a Mediterranean climate and the city enjoys 12 hours of sunshine per day during summer (May to September), while in winter (December to February), the weather is mild. Both seasons see a relatively low rainfall and most rain occurs during October and November, when 110 mm (4.3 in) falls.
Cannes summers are long and warm, with summer daytime temperatures regularly hitting 30 °C (86 °F), while average temperatures are about 25 °C (77 °F). Temperatures remain high from June to September, the busiest time of the year. Despite the hot daytime temperatures, a Mediterranean breeze keeps summer evenings comfortably cool.
Temperatures drop below 10 °C (50 °F) for only three months of the year (December to February). The spring and autumn are also warm, although more suited to those who prefer slightly cooler weather.
The area around Cannes has developed into a high-tech cluster. The technopolis of Sophia Antipolis lies in the hills beyond Cannes. The Film Festival is a major event for the industry. There is an annual television festival in the last week in September.
The economic environment is based on tourism, business fairs, trade and aviation. Cannes has 6,500 companies, of which 3,000 are traders, artisans and service providers. In 2006, 421 new companies were registered.
Cannes hosts the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center, headquarters of Thales Alenia Space, the first European satellite manufacturer.
La Croisette is known for picturesque beaches, restaurants, cafés and boutiques. Le Suquet, the old town, provides a good view of La Croisette. The fortified tower and Chapel of St Anne house the Musée de la Castre. A distinctive building in Cannes is the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence houses artifacts from prehistoric to present, in an 18th-century mansion. The Musée de la Castre has objects from the Pacific Atolls, Peruvian relics and Mayan pottery. Other venues include the Musée de la Marine, Musée de la Mer, Musée de la Photographie and Musée International de la Parfumerie.
The villas of Cannes
Cannes of the 19th century can still be seen in its grand villas, built to reflect the wealth and standing of their owners and inspired by anything from medieval castles to Roman villas. They are not open to the public. Lord Brougham’s Italianate Villa Eléonore Louise (one of the first in Cannes) was built between 1835 and 1839. Also known as the Quartier des Anglais, this is the oldest residential area in Cannes. Another landmark is the Villa Fiesole (known today as the Villa Domergue) designed by Jean-Gabriel Domergue in the style of Fiesole, near Florence, which may be visited on appointment.
Île Sainte-Marguerite(St Marguerite Island)
It took the man in the iron mask 11 years to leave this tiny, forested island. The mysterious individual was believed to be of noble blood, but his identity has never been proven. His cell can be visited in the Fort of St Marguerite, now renamed the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea). This museum also houses discoveries from shipwrecks off the island, including Roman (1st century BC) and Saracen (10th century AD) ceramics.
Île Saint-Honorat(St Honorat Island)
Cistercian monks are the only inhabitants of the smaller, southern St Honorat Island. Monks have inhabited the island since AD 410 and, at the height of their powers, owned Cannes, Mougins and Vallauris. Medieval vestiges remain in the stark church, which is open to the public, and in the ruins of the 11th-century monastery on the seashore. The monks inhabit the Lérins Abbey and divide their time between prayer and producing red and white wines.
Theatre and music
Cannes is not renowned for traditional theatre. However, small venues stage productions and host short sketches during the annual International Actors’ Performance Festival. Popular theaters include the Espace Miramar and the Alexandre III.
Festivals and show events
The Cannes Film Festival founded in 1946 is held annually, usually in May, at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a global event and awards show for those working in advertising and related fields, held annually in June.
Midem, the foremost trade show for the music industry.
MIPIM, the world's largest property-related trade show.
Carnival on the Riviera is an annual parade through the streets to mark the 21-day period prior to Shrove Tuesday.
The International Festival of Games is festival of bridge, belote, backgammon, chess, draughts, tarot and more (February).
Cannes Yachting Festival is an event for boating enthusiasts in the Vieux Port (September).
The International Actors’ Performance Festival: comedy sketches and performances by fringe artists
The International Luxury Travel Market brings together under one roof the top international luxury travel providers and suppliers from all around the world.
Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique is a magnificent annual fireworks competition held in the summer at the Bay of Cannes.
The [Global Champions Tour] showjumping league has an annual event in the ports of Cannes.
Mipcom and MIPTV, held in October and April respectively, the world's most important trade markets for the television industry.
The Pan-African Film Festival, held in early April and featuring films from the African diaspora.
Nice Côte d’Azur Airport
Located 24 km (15 mi) from Cannes, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport has close to 10 million passengers a year. Marseille Provence Airport is also 150 km (93 mi) away. The smaller Cannes – Mandelieu Airport is nearby. CannesExpress operate a regular door-to-door airport shuttle service between Nice Airport and hotels/accommodations in Cannes. Price per seat is 20 Euros.
TGV rail services to the Gare de Cannes provide access from major French cities, including Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Paris and Toulouse. Other cities with rail connections include Brussels (6 hours), Milan (5 hours), Basel (10 hours), Rome (10 hours) and Venice (10 hours). The minor train stations Gare de Cannes-La Bocca and Gare du Bosquet serve only regional destinations.
Coach services arrive at the Gare Routière de Cannes, in the centre of the city, near the Town Hall. Companies from abroad include Eurolines and Agence Phoceens. Regional services are by Rapides Côte d’Azur and CTM, with services from Nice and Grasse/Mandelieu respectively. Local bus services are provided by Bus Azur.
Ferries are available in Nice harbor from Bastia and Calvi in Corsica, with services provided by SNCM Ferryterranée and Corsica Ferries. From Bastia, the journey is 4 hours, 45 minutes on conventional ferries and 3 hours, 40 minutes on express ferries, while from Calvi, conventional vessels take 3 hours, 45 minutes and express vessels take 2 hours, 45 minutes. An average of four ferries a day sail on these routes, with more during summer.
If you are not busy shopping, eating or ogling, there are miles of beaches along the Golfe de la Napoule or along "La Croisette" in the Rade de Cannes. The beaches are all sandy here, as in Antibes and Juan-les-Pins.
Cannes is great for "upper-crust" shopping. You should be in Nice for serious or business shopping, while Cannes is a shopper's paradise for chic and expensive items. Although you might want to buy your yacht in Antibes, the Rolls-Royce dealer is in Cannes, and there's an endless collection of top-of-the-line jewelry shops, haute-couture clothing shops and art galleries.
Rue d'Antibes. This long street runs the length of Cannes, from the eastern edge to Rue Félix Faure at the port. Shops of all types are along here, including clothing boutiques and many places with fine gift items. Cannes' movie theaters are along the Rue d'Antibes as well.
Bvd de la Croisette. Along this famous boulevard and its many side streets are the art galleries, jewelry stores and the most exclusive clothing shops. If you're not on a budget, your hotel will probably be here as well.
Zone Piétonne - Walking Street. The Rue Meynadier runs parallel to the port, one block in from Rue Félix Faure. Roughly six blocks long, this street has markets and shops with things like produce, meat, groceries, clothes and gifts. There's a Pier One Imports shop with household items.
Forville. The main daily market is at Forville, two blocks north (inland) from the Hotel de Ville on Rue Félix Faure. This big, active covered market takes up a full, long block. A flower market is at the west end of the covered area. On Mondays, Forville becomes a Marché Brocante (flea market).
Flea Market. A Marché Brocante is held every Saturday, "Sur Les Allées", opposite the old port, beneath the trees. This becomes a two-day market with the first Sunday of the month.
Place Gambetta. This is a smaller, but still sizable, daily market in the covered area in the center of the square. Place Gambetta is a block north of the Rue d'Antibes and a couple of blocks east of the train station.
Parks and Playgrounds
A small "square" on the Le Suquet hill, just below the tower and ramparts, and places to sit amidst large oleander bushes and beneath lovely shade trees.
At the west end of "La Croisette", between the Palais des Festivals and the beach, is a shaded grassy park area with playground, including slides and things. You'll find a real carrousel there, or sometimes an even bigger one out on the esplanade in front of the "Palais".
At the east end of "La Croisette", just before the new Port Canto yacht harbor, is another park and playground. This one also has carnival-type rides for the bigger kids.
Beside the playground at the east end of "La Croisette" is the Jardin Alexandre III, a lovely big flower-garden park.
There are restaurants everywhere in Cannes, and of all kinds and prices, from Pizza or Tex-Mex to multiple Michelin 5-star.
Seafood. Many of the seafood restaurants are on the Quai St. Pierre (along the west side of the port) or on the Rue Félix Faure. In "Astoux & Brun" on the corner of Rue Félix Faure and Rue Louis Blanc, for example, you can enjoy oysters or large shrimp and a bottle of Cabris blanc-des-blancs any hour of the day, avoiding the normal mealtime crowds.
Terrace café-restaurants abound along the "la Croisette", with great star-and-car watching.
The narrow Rue Saint Antoine going up the "Le Suquet" hill has several nice, cozy restaurants.
View. There is only one restaurant with a good view of Cannes' old harbor and the sea out to the Lerin islands. The Méditerranée restaurant on the top (7th) floor of the Sofitel, out at the corner of the port, has a panoramic view of the port, the town, the sea and part of the Esterel.
All the tables have a good view, but the round room at the end has the best view of the sea, especially the three 2-person tables at the outer side. The tables at the opposite end of the main room overlook Le Suquet hill and the roofs of the old town. The restaurant offers fish courses of course and a vegetarian menu too.
They are open mid-days and evenings. On Sundays they have a Grand Buffet (brunch) from 12h30-14h30. During the winter season (until April), they're closed on Sunday evenings and all day Monday.
Location: Bd Jean Hibert and Rue du Port
Plage de Midi
06400 Cannes Cedex
Tel: (33) 492 99 73 00; Fax: (33) 492 99 73 29
There are several restaurants on Rue du Port, facing the side of the port. Most of these are ground floor only, without much of a view.
The Gaston Gastounette restaurant has a second floor (1ere étage), with four window tables that offer some view of the port and the sea.
Tel: (33) 493 39 47 92 or (33) 493 39 49 44.