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Despite its small size, Cannes, France is a famous destination thanks to the international film festival that takes place in the coastal town every May.

Photo by Misha Gillingham via

Though the Cannes Film Festival is the city’s most well-known high-profile event, the city has so much more to offer travelers than this one glamorous film celebration, or the luxury shopping along jet-set favorite La Croisette.  If you’re heading to the 2015 Cannes Film Festival this year, you will definitely have an amazing time, but take a few days after to explore some other beautiful parts of this area.

Here are some of the city’s less known draws that you should try to explore on your next visit.  Figure out what you want to see, so you can book your Cannes hotels just a short walking distance away.

Le Suquet: Cannes’ Old Town

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Le Suquet is the picturesque old quarter of Cannes, originally built as a residential area for local fishermen.  Charming cobblestone alleys laid out more than 400 years ago take you up away from the coast and into the heart of the old town.  The neighborhood is easily walkable, and any time you need a break, just stop in at one of the many elegant restaurants that line Rue du Suquet and Rue Saint Antoine.  Le Suquet also has some of the cheapest hotels in Cannes, and though you will be relatively close to jet-set favorite La Croisette, you will feel miles away from the glitzy part of the city.

History on the Beach in Iles de Lerins

Photo by Misha Gillingham via

Iles de Lerins, otherwise known as the Lerins islands, are a cluster of islands that sit right across the Bay of Cannes, yet pretty untouched by tourism and development.  Besides beautiful coves that let you lie on the beach and swim all day undisturbed, historic buildings lie scattered all across the islands.  You can check out a local monastery or the ruins of old forts, and then unwind by the beach. Book a boat to the Iles de Lerins to spend a day unwinding in a calm, unspoiled setting.

Drive the Route des Cretes La Palud

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If you want to try something a little more active and adventurous, drive the Route des Cretes La Palud.  This stunningly scenic road takes you to the “French Grand Canyon”, otherwise known as the Verdon Gorges, where you can hike, bike, or just sit back to admire and photograph the majestic views.  Drive carefully, as this road has a lot of turns with steep drops off to the side.  Most Cannes hotels will be able to help you arrange a one-day excursion to this scenic area.

Admire the View from Eglise Notre Dame

The Eglise Notre Dame d’Esperance was built on a Cannes hilltop in the 16th century, and still functions as a church today.  Take a trip up there, not only to see this beautifully constructed building and find out something about the history of the area, but also to get one of the best panoramic views possible of Cannes.  There is a bit of a climb to get up to the church, so prepare for a bit of walking, and try to make sure you don’t go during a mass, since you won’t be allowed into the church at that time.  You can easily walk to the Eglise Notre Dame from the Cannes hotels along La Croisette, so don’t worry about transportation.

Thanks again to the Hipmunk City Love Project for this collaboration, and thanks to Hipmunk for providing links to cheap hotels in the area.