Cannes was only a small village of about 4 thousand inhabitants, up until as recently as the 19th century. Since then, it has become very popular with especially the English, who have a long-established presence in Cannes.
These days, Cannes has a population of around 70 thousand and is known around the world thanks to the Cannes Film Festival, taking place every year in May in the Palais des Festivals.
Cannes is also famous for its jet set status, the expensive yachts moored in its harbour and its many expensive fashion boutiques.
I prefer to visit Cannes in the winter, stroll on the beach and soak up the winter sun (for some serious summer sun bathing Cannes is not a good place to go. It does not have any good beaches to start with, only strips of sand, and those get extremely crowded during the peak tourist season. You'd much better head off further west, to the Esterel or Frejus and St. Raphael).
The famous boulevard de La Croisette runs from the harbour, along the sea front, to the Palm Beach Casino.
Apart from many designer shops, there are some very luxury hotels to be found along the Croisette, such as Hotel Majestic, the Carlton Intercontinental and the Martinez. This is were some of most famous movie stars and directors stay during the Cannes Film Festival.
Park your car in one of the parking garages (street parking is nearly impossible at any time), such is the one offered by Hotel Gray d'Albion, and stroll along the Croisette, watching the Mediterranean see or the people walking, running or roller skating by.
The recently refurbished Palais des Festivals is host to a large number of international conferences, ranging from real-estate, taxes, technology, and advertising to entertainment and yachting.
Adjacent to the Palais des Festivals is the harbour, where you can find local fishing boats as well as luxury yachts. From this harbour you can sail to the Lérins islands: Île Saint-Honorat and Île-Sainte-Marguerite.
Cannes Mandelieu Airport is used by private business jets as well as the local aviation clubs. It is a small and calm airport, its parking area lined with palm trees, and is a far cry from the big airports we all know; it always makes me wish I could travel using this airport…
The Musée de la Castre is a castle built in the 11th century by the Lérins monks and it is a classified historical building.
It is located just west of the harbour, on the Place de la Castre, overlooking the harbour and the Croisette and provides views across the bay of Cannes and the Lérins Islands.
It houses art collections and paintings from all over the world.
The Sainte-Anne Chapel, which is near the entrance of the museum, has a collection of musical instruments, also from around the world.
More information on the official Cannes website.