07 August 2023

How To Spend a Day in Cannes for €50

Planning a French vacation on a budget? Cannes probably isn't the first destination that springs to mind. The Euro cents soon add up in the glamorous French Riviera city known for its Film Festival premieres and parties, designer shops and glitzy beachfront hotels. But it is perfectly possible to experience some of the best of what Cannes has to offer — from beautiful beaches, history, culture and, of course, delicious food — without breaking the bank. 

After a recent long weekend in Cannes — and many other trips over the years — I set myself the challenge of creating a one-day itinerary with a €50 budget. Thanks to my parents — who have spent even more time there than me — for their research assistance for this post. Scroll to the end for a map and downloadable one-page cheat sheet! And for more Cannes inspiration, with a less restricted budget, check out my long weekend guide.

9:00 — Eat cake for breakfast (€3)

You're never too far from a boulangerie or patisserie in Cannes, so pick out a perfectly buttery croissant or two at a spot like Césarine or indulge in an eclair. But if you're craving coffee, head to Copenhagen Coffee Lab (I've also visited their Danish HQ and Lisbon outpost) near Marché Forville and order an espresso (€1.80), using the remaining €1.20 to buy a freshly baked baguette.

9:30 — Red carpet queues and aerial views (free)

After breakfast, stroll along Boulevard de la Croisette, passing elegant hotels and designer boutiques as you take in the views of the impossibly blue sea and distant mountains. If you're in Cannes in the summer, try to plan any strenuous activities for the morning or early evening to avoid the worst of the heat.

When you reach the Palais des Festivals, home to the Cannes Film Festival (among many other events), pause to take a selfie on the red-carpeted steps (you might have to wait a while) or track down your favourite celebrity's handprint. Even if you are only window shopping, it's worth a jaunt down Rue d'Antibes, Cannes' main shopping street, where you can find unique boutiques amid international chains.

Pass the gourmet food shops of the historic Rue Meynadier (into Le Suquet, Cannes' historic old town, located at the western end of the Croisette. Climb the steps up to Place de la Castre and you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Cannes, the harbour and the Mediterranean. 

11:30 Stock up at Marché Forville (€10)

Once you've climbed back down, head to Marché Forville, a covered market in Le Suquet with a huge selection of fresh and colourful local produce. It's a great place to stock up on supplies for a picnic lunch  — but it's certainly easy to spend a lot more than €10! Casino and Monorprix are also good places to pick up any essentials.

Splurge option: Pick up a selection of salads, deli items and sweet treats from Ernest Traiteur, a prepared lobster at Astoux et Brun or a rotisserie chicken from Rôtisserie Christophe or Boucherie Pierre (pre-ordering is recommended).

12:00 Boat out to Île Sainte-Marguerite — iron mask not required! (€17.50)

The diminutive Îles de Lérins — Île Sainte-Marguerite and its even smaller sister, Île Saint-Honorat — are located around 1 km from the mainland. Boats run to the islands regularly throughout the day. The journey (€17.50 return) takes 15 minutes and offers spectacular views of the Bay of Cannes. On Île Sainte-Marguerite you can stroll under the shade of the eucalyptus trees and find your perfect spot for picnicking, sunbathing and rock jumping. Bring water shoes if you have them for the rocky beaches.

Île Sainte-Marguerite's most (in)famous historical inhabitant was the prisoner known as the Man in the Iron Mask. You can take a look at Fort Royal, where he was imprisoned, but it's €6.50 to visit the museum.

Splurge option: Enjoy a gourmet seafood lunch on a private beach at La Guérite, with a private speedboat transfer from Cannes. A very splurgey splurge, but one I very much enjoyed.

17:00 Life's a beach (free)

Take the boat back to Cannes and now it's time for total relaxation. Unlike most of the Côte d'Azur, Cannes has soft, sandy beaches and although there are dozens of private beach clubs, the public beaches are great. Plage Zamenhof, nestled at the southeastern end of the Croisette, is my favourite. It has clean, clear blue waters, gentle waves (for the most part) and beautiful views of the Croisette and the Estérel mountains. If you didn't go to Île Sainte-Marguerite, you could spend the boat fare by renting a sun lounger (€9) and parasol (€8) at the western end of the beach. For a more relaxed vibe, try Bijou Plage, five minutes' walk towards Port Canto.

Splurge option: Rent a sun lounger at one of the beach clubs and relax in total comfort. You are likely to pay at least €60 per day for a non-front-row spot.

20:00 Dinner at Bobo (€20)

Located on buzzy Rue du Commandant André, one block back from the Croisette, Bobo is a fun and relaxed spot for lunch or dinner. You can just about dine there for €20 — try a delicious Neapolitan pizza (€15) or one of the appetizers (like the burrata and heritage tomatoes or the octopus salad) — some are big enough to have as a main course. On my recent trip, I had the poulet rôti with mashed potato (€22) — out of the budget for this itinerary but #noregrets.

Splurge option: Sip a preprandial cocktail at the elegant Bar 58 at the Carlton Hotel (I highly recommend the Old Fashioned), followed by dinner on the beach at Miramar Plage where there's a great menu, from homemade guacamole and ceviche to steak-frites, impeccable service and a fab atmosphere.

21:30 Film or fireworks on the beach (free)

If you are in Cannes in July or August, check out the schedule for the Festival d'Art Pyrotechnique — AKA the firework festival. The impressive displays, set to music, usually begin at 10 pm and Plage Zamenhof is the best spot to watch them. And if you're in town during the Film Festival in May, they screen free films every night at Plage Macé at 9:30 pm as part of the Cinéma du Plage. Otherwise, stroll along the Croisette, soak up the ambiance and enjoy the people-watching opportunities!

More resources


Have more time and/or a bigger budget for your Cannes trip? Check out my guide to a perfect long weekend in Cannes or browse my other Cannes articles.

If you found this post useful, please consider supporting my blog by buying me a coffee.

No comments:

Post a Comment