Located on the French Riviera, the resort town of Cannes is synonymous with glamour and dreamy beaches. However, few people may know that after Paris, Cannes is rated as the second French business destination hosting over 300,000 conventioneers annually.

 

A health retreat in the 18th century, the area subsequently attracted aristocrats, artists and the 1960’s “jet set.” Today it’s an established holiday destination, with paths connecting many coastal villages and towns. The city is known for its association with the rich and famous, luxury hotels and restaurants, and for several high-profile festivals and conferences.

Population

74,000

Airport

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport has close to 10 million passengers a year and is 15 miles from the city. The smaller public airport, Mandelieu Airport, is only 3 miles from Cannes.

Currency & Tipping

France officially operates on the Euro. Tipping: Taxis- A good tip for taxi drivers is considered 10% percent of the fare. / Restaurants & Bars- You will always find a service charge on your bill, above the line for TVA (European Value Added Tax.) By French law a 15% ‘service compris’ is always included in the price wherever you eat or drink.

Time of Year to Visit

Having a delightful Mediterranean climate, the city enjoys 12 hours of sunshine per day during summer (May to September), while in winter (December to February) the weather is mild. Seasons see a relatively low rainfall and any potential rain occurs during October and November.

Hotels & Convention Center

Built in 1911, The Carlton InterContintenal, was the first of the grand hotels to stake out the stretch of beach and greenery on La Croisette. During the Cannes Film Festival it is the most prestigious place to stay and Variety magazine once referred to it as “the undisputed headquarters of motion picture industry deal-making.” It houses 343 luxury rooms, a fitness center, spa and business center. It can accommodate all types of events, with 12 multi-purpose meeting rooms and receptions from 10 to 4,000 guests. Their own Belle Epoque Grand Salon, was classified as a historic monument, and the Salon La Côte, with its stunning balcony overlooking the Mediterranean has been featured in many films.

Opened in 1982, The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, was renovated to the tune of $24 million dollars and hosts over 50 flagship events per year. A picturesque setting with the old port next door and the Promenade de La Croisette begins at the Palais steps. The harbor wraps around the largest hall for beautiful water views. It can accommodate events ranging from 500 to 30,000 people. The building boasts 3 halls, 5 auditoriums and nearly 12,000 feet of exhibition space.

Local Culture

Head to the Promenade de La Croisette, a famous mile-long waterfront promenade and stroll among the palm trees, flowers and crowds. La Croisette is known for picturesque beaches, restaurants, cafés and upmarket boutiques.

Two blocks behind La Croisette lies, Rue d’Antibes, is a high-end shopping street packed with trendy clothing boutiques and fine-food shops. Not far away is the covered Marché Forville, the scene of the animated morning food market that is perfect for an espresso and people watching.

Historical Sights

Le Suquet, is known as ‘the old town’ and provides good water views. The fortified medieval castle and Chapel of St. Anne house the Musée de la Castre. Showcasing a castle as its home and featuring many rooms surrounded by gardens, the Castre Museum is a charming way to spend an afternoon. It is host to a wide collection of antiquities, particularly from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well as 19th-century Riviera landscape art, ceramics and musical instruments.

Activities for Groups

Set into the surrounding pavement of the Palais des Festivals is the Chemin des Étoiles aka the Stars’ Walk. It enshrines some 300 autographed hand imprints that are then cast in bronze metal- featuring such Hollywood stars as Gerard Depardieu, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, and Sylvester Stallone.

The Musée Picasso is built upon the foundations of the ancient Greek town of Antipolis. The former chateau of the Grimaldi family, it was the home of the artist Pablo Picasso in 1946. Today the museum is known as the Picasso Museum, the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the artist. Picasso himself donated works to the museum, today the collection totals 245 works by Picasso. Group visits get half price on tickets and they are open daily, except Mondays!

Festivals

Carnival on the Riviera is an annual parade through the streets of Cannes to mark the 21-day period prior to Shrove Tuesday(or what Americans would refer to as ‘Fat Tuesday.’) Celebrations feature grand parades of flower covered floats with giant figures and people dressed in costumes.

Summertime on the French Riviera is full of fun, scenic outdoor events enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. One of those events –Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique– is a magnificent annual fireworks competition that dominates the skies weekly. The festival was created to promote ‘pyromusical’ shows, or shows that combine spectacular fireworks with an eclectic music selection. A different show is staged each week and the fireworks blast off from three barges along the coast, with music blaring from speakers located near the Palais Stéphanie.

The Cannes Film Festival founded in 1946 is held annually at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and is the most famous annual event in Cannes. The Festival de Cannes has been celebrating cinema for more than 60 years. The Association Française du Festival International du Film that puts on the film festival has a clear passion for cinema, discovering new talent and showcasing the enthusiasm of festival goers and celebrity attendees alike.