The Old Town in Cannes on the French Riviera

Look around the south coast of France and you will see how old it is. Much of this character comes from Ancient Roman times. The first Roman appearance in modern Cannes goes back to the middle of the IInd Century BCE when they pacified the area. The old town of Cannes is based around Le Suquet. There are a few Ancient Roman remains in this area. A bit of etymological knowledge will tell you that suquet is related to summit.

The old town stretching from the harbour up the hill to the castle

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Where does the name Cannes come from? One possibility is the Latin term canna meaning reed, which grew all over the old town area. One of the oldest Ancient Roman remains is a military camp at the top of Le Suquet hill. It was once named ‘Castrum Canois.’ A sharp observer would easily realize where the Museum of the Castre got its name. The modern name still in use today, Cannes, was only first officially used in 1035.

The walk down is not so bad but it would be worth while thinking about a lift up here if your legs are not 100%


The area was under the rule of the County of Provence, but power was given to the Lerins monks in the Xth Century. They became the new rulers of Cannes. Much of the old town comes from their actions and presence. Cannes remained a sleepy French coastal town until a British aristocrat came across it in 1834, fell in love with it and decided to live here. He was a one-man publicity machine and brought Cannes out of its sleepy rest and into a lively glamorous world.

One of the principal characteristics of many old towns across Europe is the width of the streets. They are so narrow. Le Suquet is just full of them, but the number of small streets with stories to tell and views to be seen is too numerous to be named here, so look out for Rue Mont Chevalier and Rue St. Antoine. Everything is connected via squares, some of which are so small; you might not realize that you just walked through or sat in them.

In Le Suquet, you will come across the Forville flea market, the Museum of the Castre and the Church of Our Lady of Hope. The former is on Rue Felix Faure and the best time to visit and walk away with less money in your pocket or handbag is a Monday. The view offered from the top of hill is simply breathtaking, especially if you manage to arrive just as the sun rises or sets. Everything below you just lights up.


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