Cannes Beaches, Côte d’Azur, France

Plage du Casino, Cannes beaches, France

Plage du Casino, one of the free public Cannes beaches. This one runs alongside the Festival Hall (Palais des Festivals, visible on the left) and the famous Boulevard de la Croisette.

Cannes Beaches

Cannes is a small seaside city of historical charm, a resounding name, terrific coastal buildings and excellent sandy beaches, both free  and pay strands.

The Vieux Port – Old Port – hosts a staggering array of mega-million dollar motor yachts and you too can stroll beside them, dripping envy. Or stick around for one of the awesome fireworks displays.

However, apart from the beautifully maintained and tranquil shore and perhaps three blocks inland (as far as the rail station), Cannes town is dusted with bad architecture and little interest.

Best Cannes Beaches

Pay-no-pay, Cannes beaches, France

Mace Beach below La Croisette, Pay vs. No Pay. See Mace, a prime location, at fireworks time.

The public beach on the right has the added twist that – in the daytime – you can rent a sun lounger or parasol from the local municipality (i. e. Cannes Mairie) at half the price of the private beaches. However, food is not allowed there. These two public but furniture-rentable beaches are called regie municipal. The other one is Plage Zamenhoff, photo below.

The best and most convenient no-pay, public Cannes beaches are the three at the start of La Croisette, running from Palais des Festivals, as well as the beach at the far east end, Plage Zamenhoff. Between these there is a mass of restaurant/hotel spaces totally occupying half a kilometre until a short stretch before the bay ends.

On the distant left in the photo is the island of Ile Sainte-Marguerite, accessible by ferry from Cannes’ Quai Laubeuf.

Plage Zamenhoff, Cannes Bay, France

Plage Zamenhoff, ‘regie municipal’ late in the season, looking towards the Festival Hall and Le Suquet.

Zamenhoff beach is at the east end of Cannes’ main bay, next to Porto Canto and near the Parc Croisette underground parking and No. 8 bus stop.

Bijou beach, Cannes, France

Bijou Beach and Cannes Handiplage on the far east side.

If you take a long walk or a short drive along La Croisette, past the large Port Pierre Canto, you will come across this charming little local beach called Bijou Beach (in a calm, leafy area also known as La Croisette), a very handicap-friendly stretch of sand with a decent, not too busy car park (Verdun) adjacent.

Cannes west beaches on the far side of Le Suquet and The Vieux Port

Cannes, Midi Beach, French Riviera, France

The first beach on Boulevard du Midi, just west of the port, at 9 am on an August morning, including a group of oldies doing an aqua gym workout.

Beaches here are crammed with pay loungers and small beach café restaurants, but these are popular with locals as they serve better food at better prices in an arguably better atmosphere than La Croisette beaches – and for that matter  – better than Nice beach restaurants too.

A typical beach restaurant in action, Midi Beach, Cannes, France

Bijou Beach and Cannes Handiplage on the far east side.

Alternative beaches

And if Cannes beaches are too stuffed or difficult to get to/park at, head 22 kms east to Nice’s lengthy pebbly beaches or 20km south west to the horseshoe cove of Plage d’Agay which has plenty of space though parking on the road is limited. The sand is coarse but the beach is attractive, the ambience tranquil and families feel at home. There are some shops and cafés beside the road through the village.

Alternatively Frejus Plage is another kid-friendly beach just 5kms further than Agay and though small is sheltered, coated with fine sand and offers cafés and kiddie stuff. Again, parking is limited so get there early.

Jellyfish

The Cote d’Azur is happily free of sharks but does get occasional visits from jellyfish, usually the pelagia noctiluca, a fairly small and clearly visible creature that generally travels in swarms. The sting is painful but not deadly. These purple blobbies swarm every few years but scientists have failed to find a definitive explanation of why they suddenly appear.

French pharmacies sell a sun cream cream called Medusyl which prevents jellyfish stings by not allowing the tentacles to attach.

What to Do if Stung

If you’re stung, either tough it out, deal with it yourself or head to the nearest lifeguard/first aid station where they should be equipped with an antidote.
An effective treatment is to soak the area in salt water and then rub with sand to remove the stingers. If you have access to hot water soak the area in very hot water. Don’t try the urine cure, it doesn’t work, nor does washing the stings off in fresh water.

Stinger Netting

Gazagnaire, Macé and Plages du Midi beaches place anti-stinger barrier nets during the summer months.

The quality of the sea water

Water quality in Cannes is excellent. Samples are taken regularly throughout the summer months and analysed for contamination. Results are then posted at the entrance to all beaches and on the city website. The only exception to the generally pristine waters is the region east from Porto Canto (e. g. Bijou Beach) to Mouré Rouge which on rare occasions experiences slightly elevated pollution levels from exposure to boats in neighbouring Porto Canto.

Cannes Weather

Cannes gets a surprising amount of rain, including during the notoriously wet Cannes Film Festival week, so June thru August should be the best months for tourism, although it’ll be busy of course. Firework festivals in Cannes and neighbouring towns such as Antibes and Cagnes-sur-Mer give plenty of bangs for no bucks, the Mediterranean Sea is a perfect cool but not cold temperature, the sun shines for at least 12 hours a day and air temperatures are generally comfortable for T-shirts and shorts 24/7 if you like to keep it simple.
Average summer temperatures range from highs of 28C to lows of 17C while winter runs to average highs of 14C and lows of 4C.
October and November are statistically the wettest months.