Villages around Cannes. Source: Depositphotos.com
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Last Updated: 1 August 2023

Although Cannes is famous for its glamour, beaches and international film festival, the surrounding area is also full of hidden treasures worth discovering. If you're looking for good deals for a trip in France, to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore picturesque landscapes, you'll be enchanted by the charming villages within easy reach of Cannes. In this article, we'll introduce you to seven must-see villages around Cannes that are well worth a visit during your stay in the region. 

French Riviera - Cannes © Gilbert Bochenek - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Cannes © Gilbert Bochenek - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Each of these villages has its charm and offers a unique experience, from cobbled streets and colourful houses to breathtaking panoramic views of the French Riviera. Get ready to immerse yourself in Provençal authenticity and discover these hidden treasures around Cannes.

Follow us as we explore Biot, Gourdon, Mougins, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Théoule-sur-Mer, Valbonne and Vallauris.

🎦 Watch our short video on the French Riviera, an aerial journey from Toulon to Menton via Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Monaco ⤵

7 Villages Around Cannes

Before we delve into the must-see villages around Cannes, it's essential to underline the incredible richness of this region between the Esterel mountains and Cap d'Antibes.

The French Riviera's sunny climate and breathtaking scenery offer an ideal setting for dramatic escapades.

Historic towns such as Grasse, famous for its perfume factories, Vence, with its medieval old town, and Antibes, with its ramparts and charming town centre, are also well worth a visit. 

It's important to note, however, that choosing which villages to visit wasn't easy, as the region is packed with other gems to explore. Although we can't cover everything in this article, we're focusing on these seven villages that offer a unique and memorable experience.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence © Jmchevreau - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Saint-Paul-de-Vence © Jmchevreau - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons


Biot

Biot is an enchanting Provençal village that exudes authenticity and old-world charm. As you stroll along its cobbled streets, you'll be captivated by its well-preserved medieval architecture and stone houses with colourful shutters. 

Known for its traditional glass-blowing crafts, Biot offers much more than just sparkling souvenirs. The 16th-century church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine stands proudly in the heart of the village.

Art lovers will also appreciate visiting the Fernand Léger Museum, housed in the former home of the famous cubist painter.

Biot is famous for its pottery, and you can visit the workshops and shops of local artisans to admire their unique creations.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the surrounding hills offer magnificent hiking and mountain-biking trails, allowing you to enjoy breathtaking views of the Provencal countryside.

Villages around Cannes: Biot © Jpchevreau - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Biot © Jpchevreau - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Biot. Source: Depositphotos.com

Villages around Cannes: Biot. Source: Depositphotos.com

Biot Musée National Fernand Léger © Ecce Art - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Biot: Musée National Fernand Léger © Ecce Art - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons


Gourdon

Nestling in the heights of the Alpes-Maritimes, the village of Gourdon offers breathtaking views of the French Riviera. Perched over 750 metres above the Loup Valley, this medieval village fascinates visitors with its picturesque beauty and breathtaking panorama. As one of France's "Most Beautiful Villages", its location has earned it the nickname "Eagle's Nest".

As you explore its steep, narrow streets, you'll be transported back in time, surrounded by stone houses dating back to the Middle Ages. At the top of the village is the Gourdon Castle, once a medieval fortress and now home to a museum and exhibitions on local history.

Gourdon's main attraction is its exceptional panoramic views. From the village's belvedere, you can gaze out over the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean, the rolling countryside of the hinterland and even catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. This breathtaking view is particularly spectacular at sunset when the warm colours flood the landscape.

As well as its medieval charm and panoramic views, Gourdon is also known for its artisans, who offer unique handicrafts such as jewellery, pottery and paintings. You can also indulge in the village's charming cafés and restaurants, where you can sample local specialities while admiring the breathtaking views.

Villages around Cannes: Gourdon © Иерей Максим Массалитин - licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The perched village of Gourdon © Иерей Максим Массалитин - licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Gourdon © Ziegler175 - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Gourdon © Ziegler175 - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Gourdon. Source: Depositphotos.com

Villages around Cannes: Gourdon. Source: Depositphotos.com


Mougins

The Provencal village of Mougins is a hidden gem in the green hills of the French Riviera. Renowned for its medieval charm and artistic heritage, Mougins retains its authentic character despite its growing tourist appeal.

As you stroll through its narrow, winding streets, you'll be immediately captivated by its stone houses, old doors and colourful shutters. The peaceful, romantic atmosphere here makes it an ideal place for a quiet getaway.

Mougins is also renowned for its unique gastronomic scene. With many Michelin-starred restaurants and charming cafés, food lovers will be delighted by the region's culinary delights. The village also hosts the famous Festival International de la Gastronomie every September, attracting renowned chefs worldwide.

The village is home to several art galleries and museums, including the Mougins Museum of Classical Art, where you can admire ancient and contemporary artworks.

Villages around Cannes: Mougins © Olivier Cleynen - licence [CC BY 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Mougins © Olivier Cleynen - licence [CC BY 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Mougins © Rinaldi - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Mougins © Rinaldi - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Picasso Museum in Mougins. Source: Depositphotos.com

Picasso Museum in Mougins. Source: Depositphotos.com


Saint-Paul-de-Vence

The medieval village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a jewel nestling in the green hills of Provence. This charming fortified village is renowned for its bohemian atmosphere, artistic heritage and spectacular panoramic views.

As you stroll along its cobbled streets, you'll be captivated by the timeless aura that reigns here, with its stone facades and colourful shutters.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is famous for having attracted many artists and writers over the decades. Picasso, Chagall and Matisse found inspiration and refuge in this picturesque village. Today, you can visit art galleries and studios where local artists display their unique creations. You can also admire sculptures dotted around the streets, adding an artistic touch to the whole.

The village is also home to architectural treasures, such as the 14th-century collegiate church, which is well worth a visit. You can also relax on the shady terraces of the cafés and restaurants while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.

Villages around Cannes: Saint-Paul de Vence. Source: Depositphotos.com

Villages around Cannes: Saint-Paul de Vence. Source: Depositphotos.com

Saint-Paul de Vence © KoS - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

An old fountain in Saint-Paul de Vence © KoS - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Saint-Paul de Vence © Frantogian - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The village of Saint-Paul de Vence © Frantogian - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons


Théoule-sur-Mer

Whether you're looking to relax on the beach or explore the surrounding natural landscapes, Théoule-sur-Mer is an ideal destination on the Riviera. 

Its peaceful atmosphere, natural beauty and easy access to the sea make it an enchanting place for visitors seeking relaxation and a change of scenery. The relaxed atmosphere, natural beauty and easy access to the sea make it an excellent place for visitors seeking peace and a change of scenery.

With its fine sandy beaches, secluded coves and turquoise waters, Théoule-sur-Mer is a true paradise for nature lovers. Walking along its seafront, you will be amazed by the spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the Esterel mountains.

The sea resort, nestling on the Mediterranean coast between the Esterel's red rocks and the sea's crystal-clear waters, offers an idyllic seaside getaway.

Esterel Corniche road - Theoule-Sur-Mer Castle © Alistair_Cunningham - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The castle of Theoule-Sur-Mer © Alistair_Cunningham - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Théoule-sur-Mer © Florian Pépellin - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Théoule-sur-Mer © Florian Pépellin - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Cannes and Esterel. Photo by loeber-bottero via Envato Elements

View of the Esterel massif from Cannes. Photo by loeber-bottero via Envato Elements


Valbonne

The Provençal village of Valbonne is a real hidden treasure in the Cannes hinterland. With its preserved medieval charm, cobbled streets and stone facades, Valbonne transports you into a warm, authentic atmosphere. Stroll through the village, and you'll be immediately captivated by its shady arcades, picturesque squares and houses with colourful shutters. The 13th-century Romanesque church of Saint-Blaise stands proudly in the heart of the old town and is well worth a visit for its remarkable architecture.

Valbonne is also famous for its central square, the Place des Arcades, bustling with cafés, restaurants and shops. It's the perfect place to relax over a coffee, sample local specialities or browse the craft shops selling local produce.

Villages around Cannes: Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Place des Arcades in Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Place des Arcades in Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Valbonne © denfr - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

An arcade in Valbonne © denfr - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons


Vallauris

Situated on a hill 6 km northeast of Cannes, the village of Vallauris is an artistic and historic destination that attracts visitors worldwide. Known for its exceptional ceramic heritage, Vallauris is the ideal place for arts and crafts lovers. Stroll through its picturesque streets and discover numerous art galleries, pottery workshops and craft shops where you can admire and buy unique creations.

The village is also famous for Pablo Picasso, who lived and worked in Vallauris for many years. You can visit the Musée National Picasso, which houses an impressive collection of the artist's works.

In addition to its artistic heritage, Vallauris offers a charming southern atmosphere with its cobbled streets, lively squares and sunny cafés.

Finally, the advantage of Vallauris is its proximity to the beaches of the Riviera. Cannes, Golfe-Juan, Juan-les-Pins and Antibes are all nearby, offering easy access to seaside activities such as swimming, windsurfing and sailing.

Vallauris Chateau © François de Dijon - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Vallauris Castle © François de Dijon - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Vallauris Chateau © François de Dijon - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Vallauris Castle © François de Dijon - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Vallauris: Rue Lascaris © Dacoucou - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Rue Lascaris, Vallauris © Dacoucou - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons


Experience the hinterland of Cannes

By exploring these seven must-see villages around Cannes, you'll immerse yourself in the essence of Provence, far from the tourist hustle and bustle of the coast. Each of these villages has its fascinating story, with its narrow streets, picturesque houses and breathtaking panoramic views. Whether you're a history buff, an art lover, a gourmet, or just looking for peace and quiet, these villages have it all.

Villages around Cannes: Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Villages around Cannes: Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Remember to explore their local markets to sample the region's culinary delights and lose yourself in the cobbled streets to discover unique craft shops. Find a café terrace and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset over the Mediterranean.

Golfe Juan near Vallauris © Alistair Cunningham - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Golfe Juan near Vallauris © Alistair Cunningham - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Provençal villages around Cannes offer an authentic experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in Provençal culture and enjoy an idyllic setting. Artists, writers and celebrities of the past have been drawn here, and it's easy to see why.

Place des Arcades in Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Place des Arcades in Valbonne © Ville valbonne sophia - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Whether you're an avid traveller or a local searching for new discoveries, these must-see villages around Cannes invite you to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and immerse yourself in an authentic and memorable experience. So plan your itinerary, get your camera ready and set off to discover these hidden gems of the French Riviera. You won't be disappointed with your trip off the beaten track.

Villages around Cannes. Source: Depositphotos.com

Cannes. Source: Depositphotos.com

To learn more about tourist info in the Cannes region, please visit the official website of the tourist board.


About the illustrations in the article

Most of the photos are ours (© French Moments). However, I have selected some photos (including the Featured Image of this article) from Depositphotos, a commercial platform that brings authors of high-quality licensed stock photos, graphics, vectors and videos together with appreciative buyers. 

Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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