Beneath the promenade, many sandy beaches stretch out to sea. Most of them are private, which means you have to pay to gain access, but your money will buy you the comfort of a sunbed, parasol and drinks at the bar.
The town side of La Croisette is largely devoted to illustrious fashion boutiques of big names in haute couture and jewelry such as Christian Lacroix, Hermès, Chanel, etc.
This is also the site of Cannes' most prestigious and palatial hotels, including the famous: Hôtel Carlton and Hôtel Martinez, which is home to most of the film stars during the International Film Festival.
The mystery of a man in the iron mask
Iles de Lerins are two small islands (Ile Ste-Marguerite and Ile St-Honorat) off Cannes, where you can take a short ferry ride over, and a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
On the Ile St-Honorat, which is a smaller island of the two, you can visit a small chapel - St. Caprais, Abbaye de Lerins - the 19th century church, and the Monastere Fortifie - built in 1073 to protect the monks from Saracen pirates.
I visited Ile Ste-Marguerite to visit the Fort Royal where the man in the iron mask was imprisoned for 11 years. The island is covered with Eucalyptus trees. From the port, you walk up the hill to the fort. There are a few small restaurants and cafes on the way.
The Fort Ste-Marguerite was built under Richelieu in the 17th century, and strengthened by Vauban in 1712. Many of the original buildings are still standing there including a building now used for a Maritime museum, and a prison building where you can step inside the man in the iron mask's cell.
Warning! - No photographs inside the building. I didn't know that and wanted to take a photo of the cell sign, but right when I was ready to take it, a staff jumped behind me and said, "No photo!". He actually waited for me to put a finger on the shutter button to scare me. I put a camera away, and walked inside the cell. Then, he came inside and said, "Now, you are in jail with me." No one else was there... I walked right out. Maybe it's not a good idea to visit a prison alone...
The beach at Cannes is one of the best in the entire region. For starters it actually has sand instead of rocks, whether they ship it in for the film festival or not I don't know but if your looking to build a sand castle with sand instead of rocks than the beach at Cannes is your best bet. Its along stretch of beach that has about average width, its crowded during the tourist season so get there early.
Paris by the sea
As you breathe in the scent of mimosa (15 January-15 March) and gaze down along the Croisette, you can only agree with Jean Cocteau that Cannes is "paris by the sea". Life maybe a beach elsewhere, but here it is a festival.
The long palm tree-lined boulevard on the water's edge, here Cannes struts its stuff. Rollerbladers hurtle along the seafront while shiny Ferraris, Bigattis and Lamborghinis grudgingly stop long enough to allow bathers access to the beaches. In early summer, in the afterglow of the film festival, Cannes gives out her Cote d'Azur charms.
Le Suquet is the old town overlooking the west end of the port. Le Suquet area has narrow streets climbing up and around the hill, with a fine view from the top. Take in the square stone tower, La Tour de Chevaier, on top of the Suquet hill. Once a lookout post, it houses the charming Muséé de la Castre, which features primitive art and Mediterranean antiques. There are panoramic views of the old port, the Esterel mountains, and terracotta-roofed houses. After mass on Sunday a band strikes up in the square at the foot of the tower and there is an eclectic programme of evening concerts during the summer.