Things to do around Cannes

Day trips from Cannes

…. St Raphaël in the west and all towns east to Menton are easily done in a day - don't miss Villefranche sur Mer and St Paul de Vence.


Mougins is the nearest "perched village" to Cannes. it is a romantic place for dinner.

"Eat your art out" best sums up this marvellous village which is both a gastronomic and art lovers' delight. Whether you visit during the day or evening the shops, artists' studios and galleries are open.

Do explore this snail shaped village which dates back to Roman times and where Picasso spent the last years of his life, 1961-73. The village today has 30 art galleries and workshops.

The winter exhibition at the Eco Park in Mougins starts on Saturday 22 October. A great day out for all the family with something for everyone from three to 93. There are six themes including sleep, the body, archeology, games and a science village. There's also a cafe and outdoor play area.


Grasse, a town eight miles from Cannes, is the centre of the perfume industry.

Perfume manufacture developed in the 18th century from the former tanning industry which spezialised in making perfumed gloves. Two key names today are Molinard and Fragonard where visitors can view the production and even make their own personalised perfume.


The town is famous throughout France for its October Book Fair. It includes debates and literary cafes - with discussions with authors, films and a literary concert. About 350 authors attend plus 50,000 enthusiasts. It is great to visit if only to soak up the atmosphere. It costs 4 euros for the three day pass. See

Mouans-Sartoux is on the road to Grasse just beyond Mougins. The old town is criss-crossed by narrow streets adjoining the Chateau de Mouans-Sartoux with its beautiful gardens, where various events are held including concerts. Art exhibitions are held in the l'Espace de l'Art Concret(see right) in the grounds of the chateau.

The town also holds events such as the book fair in autumn and an organic gourmet fair in late summer (well, the mayor is a member of the Green Party). The old church near the chateau is famous for its modern stained glass windows. Well worth a visit.


The capital of the Côte d'Azur, Nice has everything you would expect in the fifth largest city in France.

Nice has a thousand surprises in store ... its monuments, churches, gardens, the footpaths which link the surrounding hillside to the city centre, but also its museums, its artists, its local crafts, its internationally renowned gastronomy with its unmistakeable flavours of garlic, olive oil and basil, as well as its folklore.

2010 saw Nice celebrating being part of France for 150 years. The French border with "Italy" was originally the river Var. Napoleon III agreed to give military backing to Victor-Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, in his war against Austria...but in return for the Comte de Nice and another trifle likeSavoie. Nice became officially part of France on 11 June 1860 and the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created a few days later to include the Grasse region, originally in the Var, and Menton and Roquebrune, ceded from Monaco in 1848 to Sardinia. The current geography of the Alpes Maritimes was completed in 1947 when the residents of the villages of the Roya valley voted to join France. They had voted oui in 1860 but remained part of Italy because Emmanuel wanted to keep his hunting grounds.

A monumental sculpture (see right) by Bernar Venet has been erected to celebrate the anniversary the nine columns represent the nine valleys in the Alpes Maritimes according to the mayor of Nice but M Venet, the artist, says it just happened to be nine that was the most aesthetically pleasing to him.


Antibes is a busy town favoured by English expats, which explains the presence of grocery shop,Geoffreys of London, The Blue Lady Pub and Indian restaurant Achiana - as well as plenty of French restaurants, shops for souvenirs such as colourful provençal tablecloths and the recently renovated Picasso museum.

The main feature of Antibes is a splendid old harbour with boats of every size and 'yachties' from all over the world.

Antibes is the second largest town in the region after Nice. The old town is well worth exploring.


Haut-de-Cagnes is the original medieval village perched on a steep hill a little way inland. Dominated by the Chateau-Musee Grimaldi which includes the olive museum and a jewellery museum. Also to be seen is the contemporary House of Artists, and the notable frescos in the Chapel of our lady protection.

A painter of quality and quantity,Renoir moved into Domaine des Collettes in Cagnes in 1908 and lived there until his death in 1919. The Renoir museum in the Chemin des Collette.

Golfe Juan

The nearest port and seaside resort to the east of Cannes is Golfe Juan which is where Napoleon landed in 1815, after escaping exile with 600 men from the Isle of Elba, 150 miles away. Welcomed by an enthusiastic populace who supplied him with food and other provisions he and his supporters marched north over the mountains, now known as Route Napoleon, to reach Grenoble in six days, then on to a victorious entry into Paris. The event is celebrated every year in March with a colorful enactment on the beach.

Today Golfe Juan is a pleasant break from Cannes, quieter and less expensive - a lunchtime pizza only costs 8€. Great place for boat hire and fishing trips.


The village is famed for its glass production which started in 1956 when Eloi Monod created la Verrerie de Biot. He sought to develop "old glass" and, by adding carbonate of soda to the process, the world famous bubble glass was born. There are now eight different glass studios in Biot - many of them can be visited free of charge. At La Verrerie there is also an international glass gallery with major artists' work on show.

Before becoming a centre for glassmaking Biot was renowned for its pottery and ceramics (18-20th centuries), especially for the large Biot jars. La Poterie Provencale, 1689 route de la Mer, is the last traditional jar maker in the village - entry free. There are another six ceramic workshops in the village but visits are by appointment only.

Just before you reach the main square is leather maker Marc Zanardelli with beautiful handbags and other small leathers on sale. He takes commissions for individual pieces as does the stylish glass maker opposite - Mando. The village is also home to jewellery makers, painters, ironworks, cutlery factory and even a marionnettist.

Picturesque Biot is home to two major companies: up-market fashion label Chacock and City Motion which makes electric scooters.


The Provencal village of Villeneuve-Loubet is a mere three kilometers inland but a complete contrast to the commercial coast. It is the birthplace of France's greatest chef Escoffier and the house where he was born is now a museum to gastronomy.

Founded in the 13th century the church overlooks steep streets and fabulous buildings. Sensible shoes recommended, the cobbled streets are steep.

There is a medieval castle which Francis l visited in the 16th century and who ruled France from here for three weeks.

Along the River Loup are picnic areas. On the route de Grasse (RD 2085) you will find fun for the kids from two years old as well as for the parents. Adventure is to be found in the Canyon Forest with 160 tree top challenges of monkey bridges, rope swings and rock climbing and, if that is not enough, there is a four kilometer maze. Plus you will find Le Bois de lutins and Pitchoun Forest.


Frejus was once the most important port in the Mediterranean. Founded by Julius Ceasar in 49BC, and named Forum Julii, it still has many Roman sites including the amphitheatre (see right), a theatre, remains of an aqueduct and two gates. After the fall of Rome, Frejus was repeatedly sacked by Muslim raiders and left in ruins and the port silted up.

The medieval city later started to take shape. A cathedral was built on the remains of a Roman temple in the 5th century and was completed in the 11th and 12th centuries. This was the seat of the Bishops of Frejus - one went on to become Pope John XXll, 1316-1344. Today the cathedral is a must on the sightseeing list. The Baptistry (5th century) was only discovered in 1925.

Mandelieu-La Napoule

A short car journey to the west of Cannes along the coast road, or two stops by train, is La Napoule. On the sea side of the station is themuseum of Henry Clews. A New Yorker, who moved to the south of France in 1918 acquiring the Château de la Napoule, then a ruin. With his wife, Marie, he renovated it and created formal gardens with fountains and topiary.

St Cezaire sur Siagne

This village dates back to Roman times and is untypical of the usual perched villages in the Alpes-Maritimes. If you have a car do visit it and the Grottes de St Cezaire – about 30 km from Cannes. Drive towards Grasse and before entering Grasse itself take the D2562, direction Peymeinade. St Cezaire is signposted off this road onto the D13. You will arrive at the grottos before the village. The grottos are actually sinkholes ie a vertical hole in the ground with caverns off. There are some magnificent stalactites and stalagmites plus draperies, fountains and organs – Eric played Beethoven for us on them. The range of colours is from pure white through to a deep reddish brown. It is all well lit - an amazing place to visit and not at all claustrophobic.

The grottos were discovered by a farmer, Leon Dozol, in June 1890.

He was moving a large boulder and found a hole without a bottom beneath. Three years later Leon and his farmhands explored this hole and the La Grotte de Dozol was born. Many members of the aristocracy, wintering on the Cote d'Azur, made the journey to the grotto.

Loup Valley Tourist Information

A car is essential for this day trip in the breathtaking Arrière-Pays (back country). Head towards Chateauneuf de Grasse and then on to the places of interest - Gourdon, the waterfalls at Saut du Loup, Bar sur Loup, Pont du Loup and Tourrettes sur Loup before going on to Vence and back to Cannes, choosing your own route.

Gourdon is a small village with spectacular views of both the coast and the valley. It has a ninth century chateau with museums and wonderful gardens. Tip: visit the perfume shop, it holds a surprise, and from one of the food shops buy a ginger cake, yummy.

Bar sur Loup again has great views and a 13th century church. The road around the village has some good restaurants.

On to Pont sur Loup where the remains of the railway bridge bombed during WWll can be seen. Tourrettes sur Loup is perched 1300 feet up with sheer drops around it. This medieval town is an absolute delight. It has a 14th century church and a host of craftsmen and women you can watch working – from potters, to woodworking, jewellery making and gem engraving.

...even to Italy

Every Friday there is an enormous market in Ventimiglia in Italy well worth visiting, one stop beyond Menton.

There is also a great trip from Nice, which goes north through the stunning Roya Valley - eventually to Cunéo in Italy.

Trip via train pass Nice - going to Digne - is a great day trip for visiting towns difficult to reach by road. This train leaves from Gare CP, very near the main Nice station. Long awaited new rolling stock has finally arrived for the Nice- Digne line. This scenic railway winds its way through the mountains via 32 tunnels and across 500 bridges reaching at its highest point 1,823m.

...and the islands and beyond

Day trips by ferry are great and the boats go from Cannes, quai Labeuf, to the Iles de Lérins, Monaco and St Tropez throughout the summer. The other route to St Trop is by train to St Raphaël and then by bus. If you must go by car in the summer – it's hell actually – drive to Ste Maxime and take a boat to St Tropez.

The Folly Too, moored in the Old Port, is a 14 meter sailboat which offers excursions at 10.30am and 6.30pm for 81 euros pp including a meal and wine. The captain's wife and cook, Joyce, is English. On board you get to work and play. A great day out. Tel: 04 93 43 48 80 or go to