Nice vs. Cannes: A Beach Showdown

Are the Nice beaches… Nice?

Ok, Cote d’Azur. I see you.


When I initially planned my weekend trip to Nice, my main goal (besides eating lots of things) was to spend a day at the beach living my best life. Hours after arriving, I was advised by both a local and retiree traveler to head to Cannes for the beach. Their explanation was simple – the Nice beach is really rocky. Sold!


At the beach in Cannes, France

I took the advice and spent the next day at Riviera Beach, a beach club in Cannes. There are several public and private beaches in town. I was south of the popular city beach, Plage du Midi.

One of many Cannes beaches

I liked that wasn’t too crowded considering it was also le 14 juillet (Bastille Day) weekend. The waves were gentle and the sand was steep but pretty smooth heading into the water +3 points. The built-in pool style railing was a nice an unexpected touch +5 points. For the not so distant cruise ship -5 points.


Hours before leaving on Sunday, I brought my patisserie haul down fromVieux-Nice (Old Town) to the beach along the Promenade Anglais for an impromptu picnic. Wow! How did I miss this before?!

Views from Promenade Anglais in Nice, France

When I heard rocky beach, I envisioned tiny pebbles. No. These were legit, hot stone massage sized rocks +3 points for uniqueness.

Yep, I’m THAT person with sneakers on the beach

The blue water was irresistible. I definitely had a FOMO moment, so I took action.

Pain for beauty. OK. Perhaps I exaggerate , but you get the idea.

I had no choice but to take off my orthotic sneakers and socks and did a little wading. People, those stones are intense. I thought I’d strike some equilibrium when walking and standing where the smooth curves of the stones would gently press on my feet but that is impossible. I, like nearly everyone else, hobbled around the laid out towels and umbrellas to the water -8 points.

Thought it might feel like a foot massage. It didn’t 🙂
But it’s pretty

The shore slopes down steeply into the water and I was pondering how to navigate my entry, a little girl grabbed onto my arm for stability. She wasn’t thinking of “stranger danger”, I guess, but I couldn’t blame her. It After a few moments, her mom hobbled over and brought her down the bank into the ocean, but not before I made this video.

Not sure how I only took a 1 sec video, but I keep playing it on loop and imagining I’m back there


Sike! No winner. It’s not really a show down. Why chose favorites? Check out both the beaches in both towns. Cannes definitely wins for “ease of use”/least painful beach. They even have railings in the ocean which seems like an American invention.

I loved the dramatic landscape bright blue water breaking on the stones in Nice. And I could imagine spending a whole day there if I had a lounger and some 90’s style water socks. That said, probably any beach on the French Riviera is going to be a good one, especially with that requisite bottle of Rosé.

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