Nice and Cannes are enticing places, both situated on the Mediterranean coast of France. Tourist compares and contrasts them a lot when weighing their advantages and disadvantages in order to decide the best division of their time between these two places.
Nice is a bigger city, Cannes is a more pompous one. The beaches in Nice have pebbles, uncomfortable for some, more picturesque and hygienic in other people’s opinion, while Cannes boasts sandy shores. But both cities are easily accessible, have the great choice of accommodation for all budgets and offer unforgettable sights.
Nicknamed Nice the Beautiful, the fresh Mediterranean air and deep blue waters of the Cote d’Azur are the trump cards of this settlement, Apart from strolling on the waterfront promenade admiring the water views, doing water sports and enjoying restaurants and nightlife, make time for a few beautiful Nice sights.
Top Things to See in Nice
Place Rossetti in the Old Town in the heart and soul of the city. It is not the main square of Nice, that is Place Masséna, but it is the place I would visit most. Hosting sit out venues for eating by day, and musical events by night, this pedestrian-only area with elegant buildings and a refreshing fountain will steal your heart.
Place Masséna is a much larger, more spacious square with tram-lines cutting across it. While Place Rossetti has a real provincial French feel to it, Masséna is a truly Mediterranean square. It is a prominent spot for public events and hopefully you will be lucky to witness either a concert, military procession or other celebration going on while you are there.
Take your ‘been here, done that, got the T-shirt’ pictures in these squares as well as from the Castle Hill, if you are interested in an eagle eye of the city, then plunge yourself in local colour. Stroll along Promenade des Anglaises, enjoy the large Pedestrian Zone with small boutiques selling clothes, shoes and souvenirs, eat, drink and see art.
‘Olive and Artichaut’
‘Olive and Artichaut’ is a hip restaurant working with local, seasonal ingredients, whose menu changes every day based on the raw materials that its chefs find on the market that day. It prides itself with everything ‘faite-maison’ (home-made). ‘Les deux Canailles’ is also a Mediterranean restaurant with a touch of Japanese inspiration, using a lot of vegetables, fruit and sea food. Sit for a drink in the most touristy bar frequented by locals as well: the ‘Comptoir Céntral Électrique’. It is the place to be.
And do not forget to sample art. Stop and admire the work of artists painting in the streets. All great painters, they say, Picasso, Dalí, Chagall, Matisse, came to Cote d’Azur because it has the best sun in the world. For a little art experience visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
If inhabitants of Nice have the impression of always being on vacation, tourists visiting Cannes will have the sense that they are in a movie. Its flora of subtropical flowers covering the city under the umbrella of green palm trees only adds to the glitz and feeling of exclusivity of Cannes.
Top Things to See in Cannes
Boulevard de la Croisette
Boulevard de la Croisette, the boulevard lined with palm trees running before grand villas, upscale boutiques and ‘Belle Époque’ hotels is the centre of tourist activity in Cannes. It curves along the coast with sandy beaches and is home to the Palais de Congrés and Allée des Stars (Cannes’ walk of fame).
Le Suquet is the old town in Cannes. Situated on the picturesque hillside of Mont Chevalier, it has a good view on Promenade de la Croisette. Having been the sight of the original fishing village from where this glorious city started, it has the charm of times gone by. Naturally a pedestrian area and traffic-free zone, the Old Town gives you the opportunity to just walk around and explore its ancient walls, quaint old staircases and shady courtyards. Notice Église du Suquet, an old, old church and Tour du Mont Chevalier, an eleventh century watchtower, both in the area.
And some final suggestions: after beachfront and old town Cannes, head to the shopping downtown with the famous Rue d’Antibes to do some shopping. If you have more time and want more depth in this city, other famous landmarks are: Musée de la Castre, Notre-Dame d’Espérance, Vieux Port and naturally the relaxing private as well as public beaches. Enjoy.
If there is once chance for this, go during one of the festivals in Cannes. This place is the host of the annual Cannes Film festival, Midem, Cannes Lions International festival of Creativity and many more. These events attract lots of movie starts, celebrities and are a magnet for other great happenings in the city.