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La Croisette, the coastal boulevard and promenade of Cannes, is probably one of the most well-known landmarks associated with the city.  This 3 kilometer long road stretching from the Palais des Festivals (the headquarters of the festival) down the shore past row after row of elegant Cannes hotels and restaurants has put this coastal French city on the map.

This promenade between the sea and the city has been around since 1850, and it has become a central fixture of life in Cannes.  Chances are you will have easy access to La Croisette from your hotel, since most hotels are on or near the boulevard.

So what is it about La Croisette that’s so appealing?  Well, I really think there’s no better way to get a quick taste of the laid back lifestyle in the south of France than an afternoon stroll down this famous street.  Why?

Photo by Audrey! via

Wandering With No Destination

First of all, La Croisette isn’t a place to go see, snap a picture, and then leave.  You have to take your time slowly strolling and exploring, letting the Mediterranean sun warm you as you discover great little spots and stop wherever you want at your own leisure.  A walk down La Croisette isn’t just a tourist “must”, it forces you to really slow down and take your time soaking up the Cannes atmosphere.

For me, this is the essence of the Mediterranean lifestyle.  You don’t need to rush and you’re not fixated on getting somewhere while ignoring everything around you.  You can just savor the moment and enjoy the simple things all around you: sun, beach, great food and great coffee.

Cafés and People Watching

Photo by Mathias Pohl via

There is no better way to get to know a city than stopping in a little café or bar and people watching for hours on end.  Take a friend or a book with you, get some delicious French coffee (I always order the café au lait), and enjoy the ocean view while watching Cannes residents and other seasonal visitors go about their day.  Check out the great Armani Caffe, or if it’s later in the day and you’re in the mood for a cocktail, head to 72.

What could be more French than spending hours sipping on a wonderful coffee or cocktail while relaxing by the sea?

Also, if you want to easily lounge by the promenade at any time, book one of the hotels located right on La Croisette, so you can head down to the hotel bar any time you like.

The Cannes Beach and Waterfront

Photo by Melinda Rusli via

If you are lucky enough to go to Cannes before the summer season kicks into full swing around July, you can enjoy the beach next to La Croisette in some peace. Then again, if you like crowds and the many potential beach buddies you can find among them, July and August might be your ideal months.

Either way, this is your chance to mimic the confident French attitude and body image, and put on the bathing suits you might be too cautious to wear back home.  Relax, stop being self-conscious, and enjoy your day on the French Riviera.