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Best people-watching spots in Cannes

featured in News & reviews Author Jo Morgan, Cannes Reporter Updated

Where to soak up the Riviera sun and watch the world go by

Life doesn’t get much better than sitting at a pavement café in Cannes on the French Riviera, watching the world go by. From celebrities stepping off their superyachts, super cars pulling up under the palm trees, and supermodels tottering along in their super-high heels, this is a town that glitters, and the people-watching is superb.

Rihanna arrives on La Croisette for the Chopard dinner

The Croisette

A stroll along the palm-lined Promenade de la Croisette in the summer time is one of the great people-watching experiences on the planet.

With grand art deco hotels on one side and splendid superyachts on the other, the Croisette boulevard winds itself along the Mediterranean seafront past the iconic Palais des Festivals, past glamorous boutiques, past the foot of the old town with its cluster of sailboat masts in the port, and finally around to the famous beach clubs stretched along the golden sands.

No matter what time you come out, the Croisette is a people-watching extravaganza, but expect the glamour quotient to ramp up on summer nights as the sun sets across the Mediterranean.

image of an indoor produce market

Marche Forville

Much of French local life takes place at the market, and Cannes is no exception.

Marche Forville is a bustling covered market, housed in a huge Provençal-styled building painted a pinkish ochre colour. Inside you’ll find seemingly endless rows of colourful produce from gleaming piles of black and green olives, huge wheels of French cheeses, profusions of fresh-cut flowers, and shining whole fish.

As you wander through the market, watch the locals chatting, the stallholders calling out their wares, the superyacht chefs loading up their baskets with seafood and just enjoy the happy clamour of Mediterranean market life.

the entrance to the Palm Beach Casino, Cannes

The Casino

Cannes has several casinos, but whichever you pick, the people-watching is always good, particularly in high summer, when you can expect a high-rolling clientele. (The more supercars out front, the better your chances are of spotting a celebrity).

Intercontinental Carlton Cannes Hotel exterior

Intercontinental Carlton Cannes Hotel

You may not necessarily be able to afford to stay there, but your budget should stretch to a high tea or brunch at the Intercontinental Carlton Hotel, for a magnificent people-watching experience.

This opulent art deco hotel has seen over a century of royalty and celebrity past through its doors, and it is still considered the most prestigious hotel in Cannes particularly during the Cannes Film Festival.

men pplaying boules on the croisette in cannes

Boules Square

One of the best places to see the locals in action is one of Cannes’ boules (petanque) clubs. Cannes has two boules squares: one down by the old port (a small fee to play) and one by Port Palm Beach near the casino (free).

image of a lane with restaurants at night

Le Suquet

The narrow cobblestone laneway that winds up through the old town is lined with restaurants and bars, and if you can nab one of their outside tables then you can settle in for an evening of fantastic people-watching.

Expect to see the young, the old, the famous, the tourists, the rich and the poor: Le Suquet is a living breathing old town, so anything is possible.

La Plage 45 Beach Club, Cannes terrace

Beach Club

Take your pick of the many beach clubs in Cannes, and settle in on a deckchair by the Mediterranean as you drink cocktails and watch the glamorous people swim, dine and party as the day goes on.