Here is where to experience the glamour that is Cannes. At the height of the summer season this stretch of sand and the chic restaurants lining it are a showcase for Russian models and moguls, sleek and taut Riviera wives and the crème of Parisian society. June and September are the best times to experience less preening and in the winter the ambience is positively laid-back.
And you don't have to shell out big bucks to enjoy the calm waters and stunning view of the Ile des Lerins. There's a "managed" municipal beach, Macé, that offers rock-bottom prices for a lounge chair and towel. Next to it is a free portion. There's another public beach near the Palais des Festivals, called the Plage de Casino.
The Croisette beaches are on a long cove that is sheltered from east-west winds. It's a shallow drop off as well which makes for excellent swimming. If you swim out a hundred metres you'll be suprised to find what appears to be a gigantic pipe under the water. It's a breakwater that runs 550m along the shore to protect the beaches and beach-restaurants from the intense winter storms that occasionally pound the coast.
Whatever the time of year, dining in the private beach restaurants is superb. Many, but not all, beach restaurants close for the winter. Be aware that during the Cannes Film Festival the beach restaurants are closed for exclusive private parties at night and fairly hectic during the day. I advise heading further east to the Port Canto beaches or further west to the Midi beaches during the festival.
The beaches along this stretch are an easy walk from the Cannes train station. Just head downhill. Parking along the street is scarce. There are several underground parking garages: in the Marriott hotel at 50 blvd La Croisette and at the slightly more expensive Parc Palais des Festivals in the Festival Palace at the western end of La Croisette.
Bus No 8 stops at Palais de Congres, Palais Croisette and Miramar along the blvd la Croisette.