The French Riviera city of Cannes is best known for its prestigious International Film Festival, when the attention of the entertainment world is front and center every May. But for the rest of the summer months and well into October, Cannes has become one of the newest ports to be added to a Mediterranean cruise itinerary for Norwegian Epic and other cruise lines, as well.
Mediterranean cruise ships still include the nearby ports of Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer, but the addition of Cannes as a port adds another choice especially when considering options for shore excursions. From the port of Cannes there are many options for exploring nearby attractions and locations such as Nice, Monaco, and Monte Carlo; the medieval village of Eze; the perfume capital of Grasse and the town of Saint Paul de Vence; and a scenic drive along the Golden Corniche and the resort town of Saint Raphael.
Cannes City Highlights
Cannes itself has much to offer and is an easily walkable city. After tendering at the dock, I was greeted by local French musicians dressed in traditional costume, and the entertainment was my first experience in the French Riviera.
Aside from walking along the lovely promenade de la Croisette or through the historic center of Cannes past the casino and the film festival hall, there are plenty of other options, as well. One of the best ways to see Cannes is to take a ride on the Petit Train touristique de Cannes.
There are two separate itineraries, and each can be boarded at convenient spots along La Croisette, one on the seaward side and one opposite the casino. The 45-minute tours depart every half-hour for a cost of seven euros and 10 for a combination ticket for both tours.
Nice is a large city, and although you can walk along the beautiful waterfront and have a swim, there is also a little train similar to the one in Cannes that will give you the highlights of Nice, although you cannot get on and off, like a Hop-On/Hop-Off sightseeing bus. If you want to browse along the flower market or the seashore, then walking would be a better option.
A tour to Eze is a walk back into the past as you find yourself caught up in the charm of the winding streets and old buildings with small restaurants and shops tucked in between. Sometimes a tour to Eze includes a tour of Nice, as well.
Monaco and Monte Carlo
Cannes is not that far from Monaco and Monte Carlo, and a driving tour to this fairy-tale place would be the best way to get there. It will likely take the whole day to see everything including the driving time, so take this into consideration. It could be a once in a lifetime experience, though, especially if you get lucky in the casino.
Grasse and Saint Paul de Vence
Grasse is where perfume fills the air, and you can actually tour a real perfume factory. On this same route is the 16th-century walled village of Saint Paul de Vence, which is full of boutiques and art galleries and occasionally the rich and famous.
Scenic Golden Corniche Drive
A drive along the cliff road along the French Riviera will take your breath away, and it’s the perfect excursion for anyone who wants to relax. The little town of Saint Raphael is full of shops and little cafes and is great for people watching.
Cannes is a great addition as a port of call on the Mediterranean itinerary and offers more choices than you can imagine. I guess this means a repeat visit may be in the future for me.