Cannes is one of those cities that you feel like you already know. Even if it's your first time here, the place is just so famous that you'd think you've been here before. Of course, it helps that the Cannes Film Festival
has made the town a hot tourist destination. There are also celebrities who always escape to Cannes when they want to party and have fun. They frequent places like Croisette Boulevard or Vieux Port, turning them into the most popular hotspots in the city. But what about the likes of Îles de Lérins, Lérins Abbey, Église Notre-Dame d’Espérance, and Palais Bulles? These are some of the best but underrated spots in Cannes.
Îles de Lérins
Let's start this list with an actual island! Îles de Lérins is a hidden gem worth discovering again and again. This archipelago has some of the most beautiful coasts in the world. The waters that surround them show different shades of blue, offering up a breathtaking sight that you won't see anywhere else. And the best part? These islands are mostly remote. This isn't to say that no one lives there or that they have no communities, but compared to the actual city of Cannes, these islands are downright rural. You get to be at peace in any one of them!
Source: Flickr.com/ Photos.dan2010
Although Île Sainte-Marguerite is technically part of Îles de Lérins, it deserves its own part on this list of underrated spots in Cannes. Though it's the largest out of all the Lérins Islands, it remains a largely untouched destination. You won't find any five-star resorts or bustling commercial districts here. You'd barely even spot restaurants or cafes either. Instead, you get a slightly rocky shoreline, calming waves, and lots of lush greenery. With such serenity, you'd almost forget that you're still on the always-busy French Riviera
! You'd rarely even see luxury yachts
docking here. There are some, sure, but not a lot!
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Kazimierz Mendlik
On another of the Lérins Islands, Saint-Honorat, you'll find the incredible Lérins Abbey. Located well off the beaten path, this abbey has stood on the island since the 5th century. It's one of the oldest of its kind here in the French Riviera and perhaps even in all of France. And don't worry! Despite how old it is, the abbey isn't deserted. Lérins Abbey remains the home of many monks and even produces fine wine too. While it's not the most beautiful winery in France
, it pays to visit if you fancy yourself a connoisseur!
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Idarvol
Église Notre-Dame d’Espérance
From an abbey to a church, who knew that Cannes had a lot of incredible places of worship? Under the gloss of its International Film Festival and jet-setter appeal, the city is still pretty traditional, after all. It's no surprise that Église Notre-Dame d’Espérance is among the more underrated spots in Cannes. Far from the Gothic architectural marvel in Paris, this church is a lot plainer in design. So why did it make it into this list? Because its location atop a hill gives you the best views of the city. These are sights worth posting on a travel inspo Instagram account
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Miniwark
Musée de la Castre
Surprise surprise, a museum made it unto this list! Musée de la Castre isn't that well-known of a hotspot in Cannes. There might even be more than a handful of residents who haven't heard of it. If you moved to Cannes
yourself, would this be part of your usual hang-outs? Probably not! But that doesn't mean the place isn't worth visiting. The Medieval structure that houses Musée de la Castre alone is pretty eye-catching. Not to mention the fascinating art collection displayed inside. There aren't any earth-shattering works here, sure, but any art-lover would still appreciate them nonetheless!
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Christophe.Finot
Once owned by a man of the same name, Villa Domergue is a hidden escape a fair distance away from the city center. Not even standard public transport
will easily get you here. So is it worth the journey? You bet it is! This brick and stone villa is the quintessential historic home in the Mediterranean. Its former owner used to be a portrait painter, hence the abundance of art inside. It's not a gallery, per se, but the interior design and decorations clearly show his love of art. Moreover, the villa itself is so beautiful that it has often served as a venue for various events.
And finally, there's Palais Bulles. Fairly popular among the jet-set crowd, this spot almost didn't make it unto this list. For one thing, it's hardly that unpopular if many of the rich and famous know about it. Though perhaps what's best-known about Palais Bulles is that it was designed for fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Louis Vuitton even staged a fashion show here once, further introducing the place to the rest of the world. But still, compared to the likes of Boulevard de la Croisette and Vieux Port, Palais Bulled is definitely underrated.
Source: Flickr.com/ Niklas Morberg
The underrated spots at Cannes are some of the best places to truly appreciate the beauty of the French Riviera and the Mediterranean. From historic forts to lavish villas, you'd sooner question why they were never that popular in the first place.