25 Reasons Why You Should Visit Cannes in 2018

Cannes is one of the most popular destinations in southern France and home to a dynamic variety of sport, cultural and artistic events, as well as over 40 trade fairs, conferences and business meets yearly.

If you’re looking for somewhere to visit with a lovely climate and plenty of things to see and do, book a trip to Cannes at any time of the year – you can never accuse Cannes of being a boring destination!

1. Illuminated Landmarks

Until January 22, landmarks in Cannes will be spotlighted at night by artist Gaspare di Caro whose beautiful illuminations have lit up the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Negresco Hotel in Nice and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

gaspare di caro

Visit Cannes in January to see Gaspare di Caro’s illuminations

2. Dance & Choreography

Cannes is well known for its biennale Festival du Danse (the next edition is December 2019) but you can still find other dance shows year-round.

From the urban vibe of breakdancing, street dance and hip-hop at Break The Floor to classical dance performances during the Gala d’Étoiles, you can find exceptional choreography and expressive dance in venues around Cannes.

dance cannes 2018

Gala d’Étoiles – classical dance performance in Cannes (image copyright: Eric Dervaux)

3. Festival des Jeux 2018

Held across 3 days (23 to 25 February 2018), the Festival International des Jeux is a family-friendly event at the Palais des Festivals where you can discover new board games, video games, fantasy and role play games, wooden toys and kids comics.

A number of tournaments and game demonstrations are onsite as well as boutiques, authors and illustrators for games.

Entry is free; there are also VIP Passes (paying) available which include early entrance to the show and goody bags.

Watch the video by Cannes is Yours below and find out more information here:  Festival International des Jeux 2018

4. Cannes Half Marathon 2018

Created in 1992, the Cannes Half Marathon (Le Semi de Cannes) will be held on 25 February 2018 with a course that starts and finishes at Pantiero near Vieux Port and follows a circuit along the Cannes seafront.

Around 4000 runners will hit the pavements on a Sunday morning – there is also a 10-kilometre run for participants who prefer shorter distances (or like me, still recovering from the excess of food consumed over Christmas!).

Entrants must supply a medical certificate as usual; entry is €20 per person for the 10km run and €25 for the half-marathon.

For other keen runners, you can also enter the Nice-Cannes Marathon which is staged in the last quarter of the year.

5. MIPIM 2018

MIPIM (Marché International des professionals de l’immobilier) is an international property market that brings together over 24,000 professionals from over 100 countries looking for new markets, those who want to exchange ideas, share insights about property hotspots and discuss real estate trends.

Cannes will host the 28th edition of MIPIM from 13-16 March 2018 with the theme ‘MAPPING WORLD URBANITY’ : What will urban life be like in 2030 and 2050?

Keystone elements of the 4-day schedule at MIPIM 2018 include the Startup Competition for those who seek to innovate within real estate, the invite-only Real Estate Institutional Investor’s Summit, a diverse range of conferences and the MIPIM Awards that celebrate the leading global property developments.

mipim 2018

The MIPIM Awards celebrate outstanding global real estate projects, completed or yet to be built. (image: Twitter).

6. Cannes Sports – Running trails guided by a free app

Cannes is blessed with a mild climate and running outdoors year-round is possible with many different trails that take in city and sea views.

In September 2017, a new app was launched by the Mairie de Cannes which gives joggers and runners sixteen different trails to follow in and near Cannes.

The Cannes Sports app is available in French or English and trail options include Croix des Gardes, Le Suquet, Cannes La Bocca and Ile Sainte-Marguerite.

The Cannes Sports app is free to download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Trailer video below by CannesWebTV:

7. MIPDoc 2018 and MIPFormats 2018

MIPDoc is the documentary-specific prequel and MIPFormats is focused on non-scripted formats.  They both run just prior to MIPTV, and are set for 8 and 9 April 2018.

MIPDoc will be hosted at the JW Marriott Hotel on the Croisette, it involves over 1600 programmes of non-fiction that may catch the interest of 400 buyers.   At-market screenings, co-production networking plus a print and online catalogue ensure good visibility for factual or documentary programmes supported by a dedicated MIPDoc Screening Library.

If you’re interested, the Top 30 MIPDoc programmes last year are found here:   MIPDoc Top 30 Programmes

MIPFormats focuses on the changing trends with non-scripted shows and is a great place to find new talent and ideas.  Held at the Palais des Festivals, there are a lot of distributors and production companies networking over reality TV concepts, game shows, quiz shows, dating shows and similar.

For the latest updates, go to:

8. MIPTV 2018

MIPTV (Marché International des Programmes de Télévision) is the global TV and digital content market which is held in Cannes every April.

MIPTV 2018 will run from 9 – 12 April 2018 and continue as the epicentre for producers and buyers hoping to find success with the next big show!

New for 2018, the Kids Live Action Pitch will be a platform for creators to pitch original kids live action series aimed at kids aged 6-12 years.

View the MIPTV 2018 trailer below (video:  mipmarkets)

9. CANNESERIES 2018TM

The inaugural season of CANNESERIESTM (Cannes International Series Festival) will be held in the palm-tree lined resort from 4 – 11 April 2018 and feature an Official Competition that will showcase 10 world debut series – from any genre, any country and any format.

Dubbed as an incubator for international series, the event will cross-over dates with MIPDoc, MIPFormats and MIPTV creating the biggest week in TV.

The festival Patron is Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen and the event will feature the world premiere Out of Competition screening of ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair’, a 10-part series from MGM Television, Eagle Pictures and Barbary Films which will screen in France on TF1 this year.

CANNESERIESTM Institute will begin prior to the festival proper and welcome 8 international students to a 5-week writing residency, overseen by teachers from the University of Cote d’Azur (UCA) and a Berlin-based writing residence, Serial Eyes.  The ultimate aim is to give writers a platform to conceptualize and write a pilot TV series which may be developed by Canal+.

CANNESERIESTM Addict is a week of free public screenings of classic series, Competition series and digital selections.    CANNESERIES TM Digital will focus on short formats.

In Development, the Cannes Drama Creative Forum is a 2-day mini session that takes place at the Gare Maritime and aims to accelerate new productions at an international level; the dates are 10 – 11 April 2018.

Don’t miss the emerging and established TV talent that will be present at CANNESERIES 2018 TM

CANNESERIES (TM) and MIPTV will be held in April 2018

10. Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018

For the first time ever, the Red Bull Air Race will be coming to Cannes from 21 – 22 April 2018 where the world’s best pilots navigate an aerial racetrack marked by air-filled pylons.  Reaching speeds in excess of 350kph with forces up to 10G, the pilots need to be extremely skilled to fly at high speed, low altitude and perform tricky manoeuvres.

The series pilots come from Canada, Australia, China, Spain, Japan and South Africa (to name a few) and amongst them are 5 French pilots in the series – 3 Master Class pilots: Mikael Brageot, Nicolas Ivanoff and François Le Vot  and 2 Challenger Pilots:  Melanie Astles and Baptiste Vignes who will get the chance to show off their aerobatics in front of a home crowd.

Don’t miss one of Red Bull’s most popular spectator events, tickets will go on sale via the link here: Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018 Tickets

red bull air race cannes

Cannes is one of 8 global cities included in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship for 2018 (Race Calendar courtesy of Red Bull)

11. Cannes International Triathlon 2018

From 27 to 29 April 2018, the 5th edition of the Polar Cannes International Triathlon will be staged in Cannes incorporating a 2 kilometre swim off Bijou Plage, 100 kilometre cycle stage to Tanneron, Montauroux and Pegomas and 16 kilometre run based around Port Pierre Canto.

The triathlon attracts competitors from over 40 countries with the main Village Expo hosted at Square Verdun.

For the registration process, race schedule and information about volunteering, find out more at CIT2018

Watch the teaser video from Mikael Sport for Polar Cannes International Triathlon below:

12. Cannes Film Festival 2018

Undeniably the crowning glory of the annual events in Cannes, the world famous Cannes Film Festival will be hosted from 8 to 19 May 2018.

For the 71st edition, the opening day has moved forward one day and will start on a Tuesday. The organisers say the change in dates means they can also hold an additional gala evening before the Festival weekend, and organise previews of the opening film throughout France.

By bringing forward the announcement of awards by one day to Saturday evening, it is expected that this will increase its prestige while at the same time giving the closing film better exposure.

cannes film festival 2018

Cannes Film Festival 2018 is a world famous film festival (image: critique film.fr)

Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who won two Oscars for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine, has been named as Jury President of Cannes Film Festival 2018 and will join other jury members to decide the winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or.

As usual, Access Riviera will be publishing a full guide to Cannes Film Festival 2018 closer to the event including festival tips for Marché du Film.

13. Watersports in summertime

Cannes is making a strong effort to promote outdoor activities and watersports are always high on the list of things to do.  Cannes occupies a wonderful location on the Mediterranean and has great views to the Iles de Lérins, the Esterels and beyond to Cap d’Antibes.  Whether you are a beginner or experienced, there are plenty of companies where you can rent equipment and/or take lessons to learn a new on-water activity.

During summer, pontoons on plage du Midi, boulevard Jean Hibert and along the Croisette are open daily until around 7pm (weekends until approx. 6pm) and offer a range of watersports including waterskiing, jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, wakeboarding, flyboard sessions, kayaks, dinghy hire, pirogue tours and more!

watersports cannes

Watersports are popular in summer in Cannes (map: Cannes Destination)

14. MIDEM 2018

What is MIDEM?  For the uninitiated, MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale) will take place from 5 – 8 June 2018 and unite leading players in the music industry.

It is the industry event to attend for rising talent looking for labels, musicians looking for licensees and distributors, bands to connect with creatives for advice about how to boost their marketing, tech innovators showcasing their products as well as publishers and agents looking for new talent and trends.

I’m always interested in Midemlab which is the startup competition as it is great to see innovative concepts for online promotion, tech or musical education.   The Midem Artist Accelerator (MAA) is also interesting to see develop and is into its fourth year, it aims to continue supporting emerging talent; submissions close on January 28 so get in quick!

Some of the brands who will be attending MIDEM 2018 include Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Fox Music and Billboard.   Find out more about the event at Reed MIDEM‘s official website:  MIDEM 2018 

MIDEM 2018 will run from 5 – 8 June 2018 (image: Flickr)

15. Guided tours in Cannes

Year round, visitors to Cannes can experience a number of guided tours bookable through the Tourist Office.  Two popular options include :

Cannes and the Cinemain French and English, this guided tour runs from October to May every Wednesday at 2.30pm ; from June to September every Wednesday at 9.15am.  Duration: 1.5 hours. Adult price: €6 each, free for under 16 years of age. Note: Minimum of 5 people required.

Visit of the Croisette – in French and English, this guided tour runs from October to May every Wednesday at 2.30pm in French and English; from June to September every Wednesday at 9.15am.  Duration: 1.5 hours. Adult price: €6 each, free for under 16 years of age. Note: Minimum of 5 people required.

One of the nicest places to visit when in Cannes are the Iles de Lérins (Lérins Islands) just a short cruise away.  You can join a wine tasting experience on the first Friday of every month on Íle Saint-Honorat and sample some of the wine harvested by the Cistercian monks.  Buy a wine tasting excursion here:  Wine Tasting Abbaye de Lérins.  Visit the island courtesy of a virtual tour viewable here: Ile Saint-Honorat

lerins islands cannes

Visit the Lérins Islands when you come to Cannes (image: Atout France)

16. Cannes Lions 2018

Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is a 5-day festival for branded communications, marketing, media, entertainment and tech which will be held from 18 – 22 June 2018.

The event has over 4500 attending companies however for the 2018 edition, the event length has been reduced from 8 days to 5 days amidst feedback from holding companies, stakeholders and agencies that Cannes Lions was becoming ‘too expensive’.   Additionally, for Cannes Lions 2018 there will be a six-Lion entry limit for one piece of work.

cannes lions 2018

Cannes Lions 2018 has been adapted to reflect feedback from previous years including restructuring of categories to win Gold Lions (image: Campaign Asia)

Again, the organisers have been shuffling around with the Categories; for 2018 they’re scrapping the Categories for Cyber, Integration and Promo & Activation and introducing new Categories including Social & Influencer and Creative E-Commerce.

To find out more about what’s in store this year for Cannes Lions, the official website is here:  Cannes Lions 2018 

17. Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes 2018

Firework enthusiasts will love the French Riviera in summer because Cannes is one of a number of places that hosts regular public firework displays through July and August.   Other fireworks competitions are held in Antibes/Juan les Pins and Monaco.

Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes takes place over the bay of Cannes and features international pyrotechnic teams who create brilliant fireworks displays to music and a winner is chosen at the end of the summer series.

cannes fireworks 2018

Panzera from Italy competed in the Cannes fireworks competition (image: Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique)

Follow the official website Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes to stay informed of competition dates when they are released.

18. Nuits Musicales du Suquet 2018

Each year in the square in front of the Notre-Dame de l’Espérance church at the top of Le Suquet, you can listen to open-air orchestral concerts under the stars in late July.

Featuring the Orchestra of Cannes and acclaimed soloists, the atmosphere is inviting and relaxing.

The 2018 Nuits Musicales du Suquet programme is yet to be released, so stay updated by subscribing to my blog on the right-hand side (you can unsubscribe at any time), or refer to the Orchestra of Cannes or Palais des Festivals websites regularly.

19. Les Plages Électroniques 2018

One of the French Riviera’s best summer festivals for dance music, Les Plages Électroniques is an annual electronic music festival that is held on the beach beside the Palais des Festivals and the rooftop terrace of the Palais.

This year, Les Plages Électroniques will be held from 10 – 12 August 2018.

Unfortunately as with many events here on the French Riviera, the organisers Panda Events have put no information about accessibility on the official event website but if you have restricted mobility and would like to attend this music festival, please do get in touch with me via my Contact Me page to obtain more information about accessibility options for this event.

plage electronique cannes 2018

Les Plages Électroniques organised by Panda Events is an annual electronic music festival held on the beach in Cannes (image: discothequemagazine)

20. Cannes Yachting Festival 2018

As Europe’s leading in-water boat show, Cannes Yachting Festival is one of the French Riviera’s most important nautical events.

Hosted across both Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto, Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 will run from 11 to 16 September 2018 and showcase new builds for motor yachts, sailing yachts, tenders and marine equipment.

In 2017, I was disappointed by the Luxury Gallery which was an uninspiring display zone that brought nothing dynamic to the event, and the Concours d’Elegance which seemed under promoted and underwhelming.  A real shame, and I hope that the event marketing team take on feedback to boost these two elements of the show.

Follow updates until Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 at:  https://www.facebook.com/Cannes-Yachting-Festival-180413645312841/?ref=hl

cannes yachting festival 2018

Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 will run from 11 to 16 September 2018 (image: Cannes Yachting Festival Facebook)

21. Museums & Galleries in Cannes

Cannes has a number of interesting museums and galleries with collections that you won’t find elsewhere on the French Riviera.

Take your pick from the Musée de la Castre at Le Suquet, visit the Musée de la Mer on Ile Saint-Marguerite or drop into the Centre de L’Art Malmaison on the Croisette.

Within a short distance from Cannes, you can also visit the Musée Bonnard in Le Cannet, Chateau de la Napoule in Mandelieu-la-Napoule and the National Picasso Museum in Vallauris to get a cultural fix.

22. Cannes Régates Royales 2018

Staged in the bay of Cannes, the Régates Royales is an annual nautical fixture that brings the elegance of classic sailing to the French Riviera.

Founded in honour of King Christian X of Denmark, the Régates Royales Cannes are set for 22 – 29 September 2018, where you’ll see beautiful classic sailing yachts race amidst Dragons, Tofinous and International classes.

Don’t miss finding your vantage point to watch the action at sea!   Here is the official website for the Cannes Régates Royales 2018

regates royales cannes 2018

Régates Royales is an annual nautical fixture in the bay of Cannes (photo copyright: Guido Cantini/Panerai)

23. MIPCOM 2018

MIPCOM 2018 will be held in Cannes from 15 to 18 October 2018, where you can join around 4000 companies at the global event for programming for all genres across all sectors and meet international producers and production companies in one place.

It is deemed the world’s best entertainment content market and the place to go to secure licensees, pitch to broadcasters and finance or sell TV and digital content for shows, series and documentaries.

Previous companies who have been to MIPCOM include DreamWorks Animation, BBC Worldwide, Nickelodeon, FremantleMedia, NBC Universal Studios, MGM Studios, Viacom, HBO and Netflix.

Find out the schedule and what to expect here:  MIPCOM 2018 (official website)

mipcom cannes 2018

MIPCOM 2018 will be hosted in Cannes from 15 – 18 October 2018

24. P’tits Cannes à You

For two weeks starting in late-October, P’tits Cannes à You is a family-friendly festival aimed at children 3 – 13 years of age offering puppet shows, cinema screenings, story telling, kids craft workshops and activities for free or low prices.

Timed to coincide with Toussaint school holidays, participating locations include Mediatheque Noailles, MJC La Raguin, Musée de la Castre and Theatre de la Licorne.

The P’tits Cannes à You programme will be released later in the year.

25. NRJ Music Awards 2018

Each November, the NRJ Music Awards are held at the Palais des Festivals and televised on TF1 French television.  The award categories include French and international musicians, and they are handed out by well known French personalities such as actresses, DJ’s or fashion designers.

nrj music awards cannes 2018

NRJ Music Awards Cannes 2018

In 2017, some of the attending musicians included Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, U2, Kygo, Amir, Soprano, Arcadian, David Guetta and Julien Doré.

The dates for the NRJ Music Awards 2018 are yet to be released publicly.

Thank you for reading my post.  As you can imagine this list is just a small sample of the events, activities and sightseeing that you can enjoy in Cannes in 2018.  Other reasons to come to Cannes include Heavent Meetings, Tax Free Cannes, MAPIC, ILTM Cannes, traditional festivals and markets.

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