Sailing on the French Riviera: a day to visit Cannes by boat

The allure of the French Riviera is undeniable, and there’s no better way to visit Cannes than by embracing the gentle waves and the azure expanse of the Mediterranean. Our journey began at the picturesque Santa Lucia Marina in Saint-Raphaël, a hidden gem that’s often overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbors. As we set sail, the promise of adventure and the thrill of the unknown beckoned us forward.

The Corniche d’Or unfurled before us like a golden ribbon, its beauty unparalleled and often whispered about in hushed tones among seasoned sailors. This stretch, which lies between Saint-Raphaël and Cannes, is not just a route but a journey through time, narrating tales of ancient mariners, hidden coves, and the timeless dance of the waves. As we sailed, the coast seemed to whisper secrets, urging us to discover more of its treasures.

The excitement of the sail was palpable. Every ripple in the water, every gust of wind felt like nature’s way of guiding us, of sharing in our adventure. And as we sailed, the iconic landmarks of Cannes by boat came into view, each more breathtaking than the last. From the distant silhouette of Le Suquet Cannes to the shimmering sands of Cannes beach, the city seemed to rise from the sea, welcoming us with open arms.

But it wasn’t just the sights that captivated us. The sounds of Cannes — the distant hum of the Cannes Film Festival, the soft melodies wafting from the Croisette LV, and the chatter of tourists exploring the hidden gems in Cannes — added to the symphony of our journey. And as we anchored at the Vieux Port de Cannes, the heart of visiting Cannes France, we knew that this was just the beginning of our exploration.

For those pondering is Cannes worth visiting? or what is Cannes famous for? let this tale be your guide. Join us as we delve deeper into the Cannes travel guide, uncovering the best things to do in Cannes, from the bustling boulevards to the quiet corners where stories come alive.

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Sailing on the Corniche d’Or from Saint-Raphaël to Cannes: Île d’Or at Cap Dramont

Setting sail — our journey begins

The sun was just beginning to cast its golden hue over the Santa Lucia Marina on the afternoon of 24 June 2020. As its rays touched the water, the marina came alive with the soft hum of boats preparing to set sail. Among them was our vessel, ready to embark on a journey to visit Cannes, the jewel of the French Riviera.

As we pulled away from the dock, the familiar sights of Saint-Raphaël faded into the distance, replaced by the breathtaking landmarks that dot the coastline. Cap Dramont stood tall and proud, a sentinel watching over the waters. Its silhouette was a stark contrast to the shimmering gold of L’Île d’Or, an island that has inspired countless legends and tales.

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At one point, our sounder gave up and just wrote “DEEP” instead of the actual depth in numbers

But the true magic began as we sailed past Cap Dramont along the Corniche d’Or. The sea here is unlike any other —  a deep blue that seems to go on forever, reflecting the sky above and the world below. So deep that even our sounder refused to show numbers at one point. It’s said that this stretch of water holds the secrets of the French Riviera, tales of love, adventure, and the timeless allure of visiting Cannes. Every ripple, every wave seemed to whisper stories of the Cannes attractions that awaited us, from the bustling boulevards of La Croisette Cannes to the quiet charm of Le Suquet Cannes.

As we sailed, the excitement was palpable. There’s something about Cannes by boat that’s truly special. Perhaps it’s the promise of discovering unique things to do in Cannes or the anticipation of tasting the culinary delights at the best Cannes restaurants. Or maybe it’s the simple joy of feeling the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the freedom of the open sea.

Our journey was more than just a trip — it was an experience. An invitation to explore, dream, and fall in love with Cannes all over again. And as the city’s iconic landmarks came into view, we knew that our adventure had only just begun.

For those who still wonder is Cannes a good place to visit? let this voyage be your answer. For in the heart of the French Riviera, between the rolling waves and the golden sands, lies a world of wonder waiting to be discovered. Come set sail with us and let the magic of Cannes captivate your heart!

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Sailing on the Côte d’Azur in the South of France

Embracing the sailing life with comfort and caution

As we continued our journey to visit Cannes, the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea stretched out before us, its azure waves glistening under the sun. The thrill of Cannes by boat is unparalleled, offering a unique perspective of the French Riviera that few get to experience. With every nautical mile, the anticipation grew, thinking of all the unique things to do in Cannes and the myriad of Cannes activities that awaited our arrival.

The joy of sailing is not just in reaching the destination but in the journey itself. Every so often, the silhouette of another boat would appear on the horizon, each one with its own story, its own destination. Some were headed to the bustling Cannes port, while others seemed to be on a leisurely cruise, perhaps exploring the Cannes France points of interest or seeking out the best beaches in Cannes.

One of the marvels of modern sailing is the convenience of the autopilot. It allows sailors to take a moment to soak in the surroundings, from the rugged cliffs of Provence to the distant shimmer of Cannes La Croisette. But with this comfort comes a responsibility. The importance of safety at sea cannot be overstated. Even with the autopilot engaged, it’s crucial to stay near the helm, ever vigilant and ready to take control if needed. After all, the sea, with all its beauty, can be unpredictable.

Observing other sailors is a pastime in itself. Some appeared utterly relaxed, lounging on their decks, perhaps dreaming of the Cannes nightlife or deciding on which best restaurants in Cannes to dine at once they dock. We saw one solo sailor actually leaving the cockpit to be on his phone while sitting in front of his mast, protected from the sun by the shade cast by his genoa. Reassuringly, most sailors seemed more cautious, their eyes scanning the waters every now and then while sitting close to the helm even while using the auto-pilot, just like us.

As the sun began its descent, casting a golden hue over the waters, thoughts of visiting Cannes and exploring its landmarks filled my mind. From the historic Musée de la Castre, Cannes to the bustling shops on Boulevard de la Croisette, there’s so much to see and do. And as the first lights of Cannes began to twinkle in the distance, the excitement was palpable. After all, what is Cannes known for if not its allure, its charm, and its promise of unforgettable memories?

Mathieu Letailleur sailing to Cannes
Mathieu making a shade while sailing to Cannes

Sun protection — the need for shade on the open sea

As we sailed closer to our dream destination, the desire to visit Cannes grew stronger with each passing wave. The sun, while a welcome companion, shone down with an intensity that reminded us of the Cannes France weather during its peak summer months. The Mediterranean sun, known for its warm embrace, also highlighted the importance of protection while visiting Cannes by boat.

One often underestimated accessory on such voyages is the bimini top. This simple yet effective shade solution is to sailors what the iconic Musée de la Castre Cannes is to art enthusiasts — indispensable. It offers respite from the relentless sun, allowing sailors to enjoy the Cannes things to do on their boat without the constant worry of sunburn. Just as one would consult trip advisor Cannes for the top 10 things to do in Cannes France, seasoned sailors often stress the importance of a bimini top for those boat Cannes adventures.

Before leaving, we didn’t really consider putting on a bimini top to have some shade aboard. We had a Sunbrella tarp for when we stopped, but nothing for when we were actually sailing. And right on our first day, after a few hours at sea, we felt our skin burning, despite all the lotion so Mathieu had to improvise. Using a large piece of striped fabric and some flexible tent poles, he created a makeshift shade that not only protected us from the sun but also became a conversation starter at the Cannes port. His innovative solution is a testament to the human spirit’s ability to adapt and highlights the significance of shade on the open sea.

As we continued our journey, watching the shimmering waters reflect the sun’s golden rays, thoughts of those famous shopping Cannes boulevards and other landmarks in Cannes filled our minds. But for now, under the comforting shade of our bimini top, we relished the present moment, grateful for the protection it offered and the memories we were creating.

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The Vieux Port de Cannes as seen from our sailboat

First impressions after sailing into Vieux Port de Cannes

The moment had finally arrived. As we approached the shimmering coastline at around 7 pm, the anticipation to visit Cannes was palpable. The azure waters of the Mediterranean gently rocked our boat, and the iconic landmarks of Cannes France began to come into view. The decision to explore Cannes by boat was proving to be one of the best we’d ever made.

As we neared the Vieux Port de Cannes, the heart and soul of this illustrious city, the bustling energy was unmistakable. Fellow sailors, some of whom were on a Cannes walking tour, waved and shared some of their own tales of visiting Cannes. The port, with its rich history, was a testament to the Cannes meaning — a place of luxury, culture, and timeless charm. Locals and tourists alike moved about with a sense of purpose, eager to indulge in the myriad of Cannes France things to do.

Docking at the Vieux Port was an experience in itself. The marina, with its state-of-the-art facilities, was a haven for sailors. Our initial interactions with fellow sailors were both enlightening and entertaining. A jovial couple visiting French Cannes shared their adventures of going to renowned shops in Cannes France. The topic soon shifted to the practicalities of sailing, and solar panels became the center of discussion. The consensus? They were a game-changer, especially for those planning journeys that were longer than mere day trips from Cannes. And our strong solar panel arch became the etalon for the couple next to us who was installing their own.

But what truly took us by surprise was the unexpected luxury of the marina bathrooms. They were more akin to what one might find in the top-rated hotels Cannes boasts of, like the famed Hotel Martinez Cannes. The facilities were immaculate, offering value for money and a touch of opulence that one might not expect at a port. It was clear that Cannes travel was not just about the external beauty but also about the finer details that made every experience memorable.

As we settled in, the allure of Cannes nightlife, the promise of the best beaches in Cannes, and the recommendations from Cannes TripAdvisor beckoned. But for now, as the sun cast its golden hue over the Vieux Port Cannes France, we took a moment to soak in our surroundings, grateful for the journey and the adventures that awaited.

Stopping with your boat in the Vieux Port de Cannes is very cheap for the South of France, at around 50 eur/night. And you’re in the full center of the city! Plus, they give out cute welcome bags, with some fliers, a mug, and a flag. Another amazing thing is the security. Besides accessing the port and the showers/toilets area with a badge, there is a guard passing on each pier every 10-15 minutes. So if you’re ever wondering where to stop with your boat on the Cote d’Azur without spending too much, this is it!

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Wondering what is there to do in Cannes at night?

Exploring Cannes by night — a walk to remember

The sun had dipped below the horizon, casting a soft, velvety darkness over the city. It was the perfect time to visit Cannes in its nocturnal splendor. With the gentle hum of the Mediterranean waves as our backdrop, we decided to embark on an unforgettable journey, exploring some of the things to do in Cannes at night.

Our first stop was one of the iconic Cannes beaches. Even at night, the allure of the sandy shores was undeniable. Couples walked hand in hand, their footprints leaving transient marks on the wet sand. And small groups were sitting on the sand, enjoying late apéros and adding to the city’s vibrant nightlife.

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Mathieu and Mirela Letailleur wandering on Suquet Hill at night

As we continued our stroll, the towering silhouette of Musée de la Castre beckoned. Climbing the ancient steps, we were rewarded with a panoramic view that took our breath away. The city lights shimmered like a sea of stars, and the distant sounds of Cannes’ nightlife echoed softly. It was easy to see why visit Cannes France — the city’s beauty was unparalleled.

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While it has a wild side, there’s also the quiet Cannes nightlife to enjoy

Descending into Vieux Cannes, the old town’s charm was palpable. Narrow cobblestone streets, lined with quaint cafes and boutiques, spoke of a history rich and profound. The best of Cannes was not its luxurious resorts or its famed film festival. It was in these quiet corners where time seemed to stand still. The city’s nocturnal beauty, with its soft-lit streets and the distant murmur of the sea, was a sight to behold. As we walked under the starry sky, the magic of Cannes enveloped us, making it a night to remember.

Why visit Cannes — the allure of the French Riviera

Nestled along the sparkling coast of the French Riviera, Cannes stands as a beacon of luxury, culture, and timeless beauty. But what is it about this city that beckons travelers from all corners of the globe to visit Cannes? Is it the sun-kissed beaches, the world-class events, or the allure of walking the same streets as movie stars and legends? Let’s dive into the heart of Cannes and uncover its magic.

Cannes is not just another city on the French Riviera. It’s a symbol of the region’s rich history and vibrant culture. As you wander through its streets, every corner tells a story. From the bustling marketplaces where locals barter for the freshest produce to the serene beaches where the Mediterranean waves kiss the shore, visiting Cannes is an experience like no other. For those wondering what to do in Cannes, the city offers a plethora of options. One can take a leisurely stroll along La Croisette, discovering high-end boutiques and La Croisette Cannes shops, or delve into the city’s history with a Cannes walking tour that reveals hidden gems and tales of yesteryears.

But beyond its scenic beauty and rich history, Cannes is globally renowned for something even more spectacular — The Cannes Film Festival. This annual event transforms the city into a cinematic wonderland. The world’s most celebrated actors, directors, and film enthusiasts flock to Cannes, making it the epicenter of global cinema. The Cannes Film Festival address becomes a sought-after location, with red carpets, flashing cameras, and a buzz that’s palpable. Attending the festival is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Cannes. Even if you’re not a movie buff, the festival’s ambiance, filled with glamour and excitement, is contagious.

However, Cannes is not just about the glitz and glamour. It’s a city that offers a unique blend of experiences. From boat rental Cannes France adventures that let you explore the Cannes islands to indulging in the local cuisine, there’s something for everyone. And for those who seek a deeper connection, the city’s landmarks, like La Malmaison Cannes and the historical Le Suquet district, offer a glimpse into its soul.

So why visit Cannes France? Because it’s a city that promises unforgettable memories. Whether you’re drawn to its cinematic history, its luxurious lifestyle, or the simple pleasure of watching the sunset over the Mediterranean, Cannes is a destination that never ceases to amaze. That’s why the next time you’re pondering where to go in the south of France, let the allure of Cannes guide your way.

Cannes travel guide to make the most of your visit

Ah, Cannes! A jewel of the French Riviera, this city is a tapestry of azure waters, cinematic history, and the allure of the Mediterranean lifestyle. If you’re planning to visit Cannes, you’re in for a treat. Let’s embark on a journey through this iconic city, ensuring you make the most of your visit.

Cannes attractions and more

Start your day with a leisurely stroll along La Croisette, the city’s famous promenade. As you walk, you’ll be greeted by the sight of golden sands and the gentle waves of the Mediterranean. For those wondering what to see on foot in Cannes France, La Croisette is a must. Lined with palm trees and luxury boutiques, it’s the perfect blend of nature and opulence. Don’t forget to make a stop at La Malmaison Cannes, an art gallery housed in a former grand hotel, showcasing contemporary masterpieces.

Hungry? Cannes offers a gastronomic delight. From Michelin-starred restaurants to quaint cafés, there’s something for every palate. And if you’re a shopper at heart, the map of Cannes France and surrounding area is dotted with high-end stores, local boutiques, and bustling markets.

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When visiting Cannes by boat, you can stop in the Vieux Port de Cannes or in Porto Canto

Visiting Cannes by boat

For maritime enthusiasts, Cannes by boat is an experience like no other. The city’s ports, Vieux Port and Porto Canto are hubs of activity. Whether you’re docking your own vessel or hopping onto a chartered yacht, these ports offer unparalleled views of the city and the Lerins Islands. And the best part? If you’re arriving from a cruise, you can easily walk from the cruise ship to Suquet in Cannes. The convenience of Cannes ports makes them favorites among sailors and tourists alike.

Delving into Cannes’ rich tapestry

But Cannes isn’t just about luxury and leisure. It’s a city steeped in history and culture. Dive into the facts about Cannes at the Musée de la Castre, perched atop Le Suquet Hill. This museum offers insights into the city’s past, from its ancient origins to its rise as a cinematic powerhouse. And speaking of cinema, no visit to Cannes would be complete without acknowledging its significance in the world of film. The Cannes Film Festival is a global event, drawing celebrities and cinephiles from around the world. Even if you’re not visiting during the festival, the city’s cinematic vibe is palpable year-round.

As you can see, Cannes is more than just a destination — it’s a uniquely French experience. From its historical landmarks to its modern-day luxuries, it offers a unique blend of the past and the present. Whether you’re visiting Cannes by boat or by plane (landing at the convenient Cannes airport), this city promises memories that will last a lifetime.

Practical information for travelers

This gem on the French Riviera beckons travelers from all corners of the globe. But before you pack your bags and set out to visit Cannes, there are a few practical tidbits you should be armed with to make your journey seamless and memorable.

The name’s Cannes, pronounced…

First things first, let’s address a common query: how do you pronounce Cannes France? While many English speakers might be tempted to pronounce it as “Cans”, the correct Cannes pronunciation has a soft a, almost like “Can”. But, with a touch of French intonation, it sounds more elegant, almost like a whisper of the sea breeze.

Safety first, always

For those wondering is Cannes safe for tourists?, the answer is a resounding yes. Like any popular tourist destination, it’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings and keep your personal belongings secure. But overall, Cannes boasts a reputation for being welcoming and secure.

If you’re arriving by sea, you might be curious about Cannes as a tender port. Indeed, some cruise ships anchor offshore and ferry passengers to the city. The good news? The journey is short, and if you’re wondering if you can walk from the cruise ship to Suquet in Cannes, the answer is yes! The port’s central location makes it convenient to explore the city’s attractions on foot.

Touchdown in Cannes

Flying into Cannes? The Cannes France airport, officially known as Cannes Mandelieu Airport, serves the city and its surrounding regions. It’s a hub for some commercial flights and private jets. Wondering where do you fly into for Cannes as an international traveler? Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is the nearby option, especially for international travelers, with easy transportation links to Cannes.

Stay and move around with ease

When it comes to accommodation, Cannes hotels range from luxurious palaces to charming boutique stays. Whether you’re looking for opulence or a cozy nook, Cannes France hotels have something for every traveler. Once you’ve settled in, getting around is a breeze. Opt for an open top bus tour Cannes for a panoramic view of the city, or explore the best places to see in Cannes France on foot. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not visit Cannes by boat? The city’s maritime charm is not to be missed.

Cannes is an experience waiting to be savored. With this practical guide in hand, you’re all set to dive into the heart of Cannes, exploring its beauty, history, and myriad things to do in Cannes France.

FAQs about visiting Cannes

The very name Cannes conjures up images of sun-kissed beaches, glamorous film stars, and the azure waters of the Mediterranean. But beyond the glitz and glamour, what truly makes Cannes a must-visit destination? Let’s delve into some frequently asked questions about visiting Cannes.

Is Cannes worth visiting?

Absolutely! When you visit Cannes, you’re not just stepping into a city; you’re immersing yourself in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the bustling La Croisette promenade to the historic Le Suquet district, there’s a myriad of things to see and do in Cannes France. And for those wondering what is Cannes famous for? — beyond the glittering Cannes Film Festival, the city offers a plethora of attractions, making it a top destination on the French Riviera.

What is there to do in Cannes in one day?

If you don’t know what to do when you’re spending a day in Cannes France, start with a leisurely stroll along the marina, perhaps even Cannes by boat for a unique perspective. Explore the local markets, indulge in some retail therapy at La Croisette, and don’t miss the panoramic views from the Church of Our Lady of Esperance. The city’s compact nature makes it perfect for exploring on foot. And for those docking, Cannes port excursions offer a plethora of activities right at your doorstep.

What is there to do in Cannes at night?

After dark, the city comes alive with vibrant bars, gourmet restaurants, and beach clubs. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or enjoy a quiet seaside dinner, Cannes offers a nightlife experience like no other.

Where is Cannes located and how do you get to Cannes France?

Nestled on the French Riviera, Cannes is a jewel in the crown of the Côte d’Azur. Its strategic location makes it a hub for Monte Carlo travel and other iconic destinations. The city is well-connected by air, with the nearest large airport being Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. From there, a short train or car ride will whisk you to the heart of Cannes. If you’re arriving by sea, Cannes is known as a tender port, with cruise ships often anchoring offshore. But fret not, the journey to the heart of the city is short and scenic.

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Sailing to Cannes and visiting the city from the Vieux Port de Cannes is a fantastic experience

Sailing to Cannes, the heart of the French Riviera

One can’t help but reflect on the unparalleled experience of visiting Cannes by boat. There’s something truly magical about approaching this iconic city from the sea, watching the skyline gradually come into view, with the historic Le Suquet district standing tall, bearing witness to centuries of history.

Visit Cannes, and you’re not just stepping onto a sun-kissed beach or walking the glamorous La Croisette promenade but immersing yourself in a story. A story of art, culture, and cinema. A tale where every corner has a narrative, from the bustling markets to the quiet alleyways that have seen the footsteps of movie stars and legends. The Cannes Festival, with its red carpet and glittering events, is not just a film festival but a celebration of creativity and the human spirit. And for those still wondering what is Cannes France known for? Well, it’s this spirit, this joie de vivre, that truly defines the city.

For those with limited time, fret not. Even if you’re planning to visit Cannes in one day, the city offers a plethora of experiences. From the top 20 things to do in Cannes to hidden gems that only locals know about, every moment here is an adventure. And if you’re arriving from a cruise, the city welcomes you with open arms.

But beyond the attractions and the activities, what truly makes Cannes special is its essence. The gentle sea breeze, the laughter of families enjoying their south of France with kids vacations, the passionate discussions of cinephiles at a local café, and the soft strumming of a guitar somewhere in the distance. This is Cannes, a city that’s as much about the moments as it is about the landmarks.

As you read this, know that words can only do so much. The true essence of Cannes, the magic of the French Riviera, is something that needs to be felt. And what better way to feel it than visiting Cannes by boat, letting the waves guide you to an experience of a lifetime?

In the end, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or someone embarking on their first adventure, Cannes promises memories that will last a lifetime. Set sail and let the winds of the French Riviera guide you on a journey that’s not just about seeing a city but feeling its soul.

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur, coming from the picturesque landscapes of Romania, now calls the sun-kissed shores of the South of France her home. As the mastermind behind The Travel Bunny blog, she delves deep into the heart of affordable European adventures, offering readers unparalleled insights, especially for those yearning to visit Cannes by boat or sail the mesmerizing French Riviera.

Her meticulously crafted travel guides stand testament to her expertise, making her the internet’s go-to local travel maestro for the region. Beyond her writings, Mirela’s prowess as a problem solver and her keen eye for detail, coupled with her penchant for a fine cup of coffee, make her an indispensable guide for every traveler seeking the authentic Riviera experience.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

After this Cannes travel guide for sailors, check out these blog posts
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