Cannes Day Trips from Nice

Cannes is synonymous with cinema and a day trip is the perfect way to discover it. Book the tour and get ready to feel like a star.

Matteo Gramegna

Matteo Gramegna

11 min read

Cannes Day Trips from Nice

Cannes | ©Ștefan Jurcă

Famous worldwide for its film festival, Cannes is actually more than a paradise for lovers of the big screen. Its calling card is the Promenade de la Croisette, a long avenue that runs along the coast. A few meters further back is Le Suquet, the old part of Cannes with its traditional stores and steep alleys.

In this same area is Marché Forville, a covered market where you can buy andouillettes (pork intestine sausages), ravioli niçoise (stuffed with vegetables such as spinach and chard) or socca, a tasty focaccia made with chickpea flour.

It is also worth strolling around the old port or visiting Villa Rothschild. Finally, it is impossible not to mention the Palais des Festivals where the famous cinema kermesse is hosted. A trip to Cannes is one of the best things to do in Nice.

1. Route to Cannes, Gourdon and Saint-Paul de Vence

Cannes| ©Bob Zumwal
Cannes| ©Bob Zumwal

The excursion touches the main destinations near Nice. It takes place in an air-conditioned minivan and includes an expert guide who will tell you the most remarkable stories of the region. Here are the main stops:

  • Grasse, world capital of perfumery and birthplace of many fragrances. The microclimate and abundance of water allow the cultivation of species such as orange blossom, violet and jasmine, among others. If you have time, I recommend entering the historic factory of the Fragonard perfumery (20 Boulevard Fragonard)
  • Gourdon, a perfect example of village-perché. This term identifies villages located on top of a rocky outcrop, with narrow streets and arcaded passageways. Thanks to its elevated position, it was an important defensive post
  • Saint-Paul de Vence, the romantic destination par excellence. The center is completely pedestrianized, making every walk a leap into the past. Along the way you will see medieval streets and the Chapelle du Rosaire painted by Matisse

Before returning to Nice, the bus will stop at the protagonist of this post: Cannes. Take advantage of your free time to get lost in the Suquet, a word that in Provençal means "summit". In fact, this district that corresponds to the old town is located at the top of Mont Chevalier.

Another activity that can not miss is a walk along the famous La Croisette, the promenade dotted with luxury hotels and stores of the most prestigious brands. I recommend that you get at least to the Palais de Festival which hosts every year the festival dedicated to the big screen.

If you have a craving for ice cream, you can find the best cones and tubs at L'île de la Glace. They are famous especially for two flavors: chocolate sorbet (no added sugars) and Cote d'Azur (with curaçao syrup). It is located 400 meters from the Palais de Festival (2 Avenue de Grasse).

  • Price: about 100 €
  • Duration: 8 hours or a little longer

Book your excursion to Cannes from Nice

2. Half day tour in Cannes, Antibes and Saint-Paul de Vence

Croisett boulevard palaces| ©RB
Croisett boulevard palaces| ©RB

If you have less than three days in Nice, you may want to spend a little less time in Cannes. For this, there are excursions that dedicate half a day to make a route along the French coast visiting the most important places.

With pick-up and drop-off at the hotel in Nice, this minivan tour takes you to the palaces of the Croisette boulevard and the Walk of Fame, where you can strike your best poses while walking the red carpet of Cannes.

The next stop is Antibes, where you can walk through its walled old town, discover the marina or stroll around the Picasso Museum, located in the Grimaldi Castle and former residence of the Spanish painter.

Finally, this half-day excursion will take you to visit Saint-Paul de Vence, one of the most beautiful villages of the French Riviera.

  • Price: about 60 €
  • Duration: 4 and a half hours

Book your excursionto Cannes from Nice

3. Private tour of Cannes in Citroën Mehari

Citroën Mehari| ©Etienne Musslin
Citroën Mehari| ©Etienne Musslin

Like all successful inventions, the Citroën Mehari was born by mistake, or rather by accident. The entrepreneur Roland de la Poype had used materials such as plastics and colored resins to make small vehicles. After an accident, he realized that the bodywork was badly damaged while the mechanics remained intact.

He decided to build a multi-purpose vehicle, capable of carrying heavy loads or becoming a light car for transporting people. The Citroën Mehari can travel on any terrain and is a true icon of style. This excursion departs from Nice (with pick-up at your hotel) and goes to Cannes.

Before reaching the glamorous town on the Côte d'Azur, you will drive along a very evocative road with green forests and splendid views of the Mediterranean. Normally, a stop is scheduled in Cannes where you can have a snack from the city (but it won't last long).

The route continues until you reach the Massif de l 'Esterel, a mountain range that originated 250 million years ago due to pressure between the European and African plates. If you like nature, this is your Eden: you can go horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and much more.

  • Price: around 700 €
  • Duration: between 6 and 7 hours

4. A day on the French Riviera

Marvel at the luxury of Monaco| ©Matthias Mullie
Marvel at the luxury of Monaco| ©Matthias Mullie

This route passes along the famous Moyenne Corniche, possibly the most famous scenic road in the world. You will see great cliffs, olive trees, Mediterranean pines and some of the most beautiful villages in Provence:

  • Èze, the first stop is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. Like other towns in the region, it had a great importance at the defensive level so much so that it was disputed for a long time between France and the neighboring Kingdom of Sardinia, the state that gave rise to the unification of Italy. At its summit is the Botanical Garden of Èze that brings together Mediterranean species and arid areas of the land
  • Monaco, a city that needs no introduction. The stage in Monte Carlo usually touches the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-Immaculee (neo-Romanesque style) and the Casino with its impressive collection of luxury cars

After visiting the principality, you will finally arrive in Cannes! Its most famous postcards are the Croisette promenade and the old harbor (Port Vieux) with its luxurious yachts moored. By the way, if you like boats, I recommend you to visit this town when the Yachting Festival is organized (usually in September).

Although not everyone knows it, the old town of Cannes hosts some very beautiful graffiti. Street artists have paid tribute to movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin (Boulevard Vallombrosa 10), Marilyn Monroe (Boulevard d'Alsace 16) and Buster Keaton (Boulevard Victor Tuby 29), among others. After this stop, you will take the bus or minivan and make two more stops:

  • Antibes, a place that has inspired the masters of impressionism. Picasso himself lived for six months in the Grimaldi castle, which now houses his museum. Open from 10:00 to 18:00 and the ticket costs around 5 €
  • Saint-Paul de Vence, a historic village overlooking the Var valley, is nicknamed "village of artists" because it has enchanted artists such as Chagall, Picasso and Matisse. Here time seems to have stood still and it is not uncommon to see old people playing petanque in the squares.
  • Price: 100 € or a little more
  • Duration: 9 to 10 hours

Book your excursion to Saint Tropez from Nice

5. Vintage car tour on the French Riviera

French Riviera afternoon| ©Vanessa Houspic
French Riviera afternoon| ©Vanessa Houspic

Do you have a passion for old cars and are you looking for an original experience? This excursion is the answer to your questions. A minivan will pick you up at a central point in the city and accompany you to an agency that preserves and cares for the cars of yesteryear. From there, a driver will take you to Monaco, Cannes and Saint-Paul de Vence via the beautiful roads bordering the Mediterranean.

As usual, the route takes place aboard a Citroën Traction Avant from the 1950s. Although less famous than other cars, this model adopted extremely advanced technological solutions (independent suspension, monocoque chassis, etc.). Not for nothing did it earn the nickname "car of the future".

It is a unique experience since the Citroën Traction went out of production in 1957 and few examples have survived the passing of the years. It admits only two passengers and therefore, it can be a good idea if you are looking for an activity for couples. At each stage, a guide will explain the history of the city and the most important landmarks.

  • Price: between 500 € and 600 €. You can find more information on the official website
  • Duration: 8 hours

When is the best time to see Cannes and Nice?

Summer in Nice| ©Javier Doren
Summer in Nice| ©Javier Doren

It depends on your goal. If you want to enjoy the beaches, you must travel to Nice in summer. In the same city you can sunbathe at Opéra Plage, the oldest private beach in Nice housed in a former opera pavilion. I also recommend Villefranche-sur-Mer, just a short train ride away (TER C3 and TER C13 lines from Nice-Ville station).

On the other hand, if you are interested in visiting the villages of Provence without spending too much heat, you have two options: spring and autumn. You will avoid the tourist peak while enjoying the spectacle of nature. Nice is also worth visiting at Christmas. In the south of France, the winter is quite mild (although a bit rainy).

Book the best tours in Nice

Can I go to Cannes on my own, is it worth it?

Rent a car| ©Dan Gold
Rent a car| ©Dan Gold

Yes, it is possible to travel between the two cities thanks to the train. The convoys leave from Nice-Ville (a few minutes walk from the Basilica of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption) or Nice Saint-Augustin stations. The journey takes between 20 and 40 minutes. You can find more information on the official website of the French railroads.

If you only want to visit Cannes, this is a recommendable option as the ticket price is around 5 €. However, an organized tour is preferable if you want to see more places and do not feel like renting a car. Keep in mind that you will also have an expert guide at your disposal.

Can I go to Cannes by boat?

Boat to Cannes| ©Danilo
Boat to Cannes| ©Danilo

Yes, the company Trans Côte d'Azur offers regular connections between the two locations. As usual, the ferries leave only in spring and summer while the ticket costs around 40 € (round trip). They also offer routes on the islands and nearby towns.

Where to eat in Cannes

For a gourmet break, you just have to choose among the many bars and restaurants of the city. To help you choose, I recommend a few places:

  • Philcat, a small kiosk that offers a classic of the region: the Pan Bagnat. It is a small sandwich with tuna, anchovies, olives and fresh seasonal vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil. Cheap and tasty (Promenade de la Pantiero)
  • Chez Vincent et Nicolas, a simple restaurant with red checkered tablecloths and candles in glass jars (92 Rue Meynadier)
  • Marché Forville, a covered market with dozens of food stalls. I recommend you try the socca, a chickpea flour crepe with a stark contrast between the crispy outside and the soft inside. It's the perfect snack (6 Rue du Marché Forville)
  • L'Assiette Provençale, one of the few affordable restaurants in the port. As usual, they offer a midday menu based on fish with a fixed price. Open every day of the week (9 Quai Saint Pierre)
  • La Pizza Cresci, in case you feel like eating a pizza in front of the sea (3 Quai Saint Pierre)

Is it advisable to take a trip to Cannes with children?

Promenade du Paillon| ©Lodan
Promenade du Paillon| ©Lodan

It depends on your kids and their character. In my opinion, a very long excursion with several stages can be a bit heavy. If you think they won't like it, in Nice there are other plans to do with the family:

  • Promenade du Paillon, a public park in the heart of the city. There are some very original games: wooden "skeletons" of sea creatures
  • César Milano, one of the best ice cream parlors in Nice. It is famous for its caramel flavor (43 Avenue Jean Médecin)
  • Nice Car, a three-wheeled vehicle for a different tour of the city. The reviews are very good

Book your excursion in Provence from Nice

What are the best beaches in Cannes?

Plage de la Bocca| ©Angel Torres
Plage de la Bocca| ©Angel Torres

If time permits, I recommend you to make a stage on the coast of the city. To help you in your choice, here are some tips:

  • Long Beach, the private beach of the Marriott Hotel. It is located in the middle of the Croisette and it is not rare to find some celebrities. Needless to add that the restaurant is both delicious and refined. Find more information on the official website
  • Plage de la Bocca, probably the most coveted public beach in the city. It is the perfect destination if you are traveling with your children but be careful, during the summer it tends to be very crowded
  • Handiplage, a stretch of coastline equipped for handicapped people. It is equipped with ramps and adapted deckchairs. You have to book in advance and therefore, I recommend you take a look at the website of the town hall
  • Plage du Midi, within walking distance of the Suquet district and the old port. It is characterized by white and soft sand
  • Gazagnaire, splendid and at the same time quiet. The sea is great and you can also go canoeing
  • Zamenhof, a communal beach located at the beginning of La Croisette. Here the rental of parasol and deck chairs is somewhat more affordable compared to other establishments.

Are there other recommended excursions?

In the Gorges du Verdon| ©Olivier Duquesne
In the Gorges du Verdon| ©Olivier Duquesne

Of course it is! If you are planning a trip to the Côte d'Azur in spring, you can take the opportunity to go on some nature excursions. Not far from Nice you will find the Mercantour National Park, the Saint-Cézaire Cave and the Gorges du Verdon.

The latter is a canyon with steep walls over an emerald green river. If you have a car, I recommend you to drive along the northern road and stop at the panoramic points such as, for example, the Point Sublime viewpoint. To learn more about this topic, I recommend reading the post that explains how to visit the Gorges du Verdon.

Alternatively, you can book a day trip to Saint Tropez or a route to Monaco and Èze from Nice. If you like glamping, you should do at least one.

Book your transfer from Nice airport

Frequently asked questions

  • What is Cannes famous for?

    Cannes is associated with the lifestyle of the rich and famous, with luxury hotels and restaurants and a Mediterranean climate. But above all, Cannes is famous for its film festival, held annually since 1946 and considered one of the best events in the world of cinema.

  • Is English spoken in Cannes?

    Locals speak French, but being a destination for wealthy tourists you will find that English is spoken in many restaurants, bars and hotels. The pro tip: learn a couple of expressions in French, which in addition to giving a chic touch to your visit will make things easier for you at times.

  • Is Cannes expensive?

    It can be expensive if you go to the bars and restaurants in the waterfront area, but you can find different options for all budgets in other areas of the city, both for eating and shopping. Be careful when ordering a bottle of wine with your meal, as this can add a lot to the bill. All in all, Cannes is just as expensive as any other city on the French Riviera.