Cannes might not be your first choice for a travel destination with toddlers, but there is plenty to do. There are two excellent playgrounds, one by the Palais des Festivals and one at the other end of the Croisette, by the Jardin Alexandre III. Both are clean and well-maintained, with plenty of French kids to interact with. Next to the Palais de Festivals playground is a lovely carousel, and the boarding point for “le petit train”, a little mechanical train that drives you around Cannes’ old town.Cresci Pizza, a fifty-year-old restaurant by the old port, is child friendly and has an open kitchen where kids can watch their pizza being prepared and lifted into the open-flame coal oven. Children will enjoy Cannes’ two open markets, with their huge selection of colorful fruits and vegetables. Visitors can make meals out of locally-made cheese and sausage and French bread. French yoghurt, available in supermarkets, is also very tasty.
For a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown, take a 15-minute boat trip to Iles de Lerins, from the pier near the old port. Ile St-Marguerite is the larger island – the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned there, in an old fort you can visit – and Ile St. Honorat is smaller, with a monastary. These islands are forest preserves and absolutely lovely, but so isolated that some find them dull. A picnic lunch would be an excellent idea. There are restaurants on the islands. There are also many lovely places in town to buy children’s clothing.
The designer shops are purely for the rich, but French chains like “Les companies des petits” have lovely things in the same price category as Baby Gap.