The daylight raid bore all the hall marks of the Pink Panthers, the notorious gang responsible for similar crimes all over the world.
A man with a deep suntan and 'very colourful clothing including a shirt straight out of Honolulu' marched into the jewellers in the French Riviera resort on Monday.
'This included staff who were instructed to keep their heads down while all of the jewels, watches and other luxury goods were cleared away.
It is at the centre of the Cannes Film Festival every year, when stars arrive for a week of film releases, parties and awards.
Police fear that the Pink Panthers, who are renowned for targeting glamorous hotspots like Cannes, are now operating full time in the south of France.
The gang is behind the theft of some £150 million worth of goods from luxury stores during the past two decades.
Many are ex-soldiers from eastern Europe with past convictions for violence.
The gang made its name in 1993 after stealing a £500,000 diamond from a jewellers in London's Mayfair and hiding it in a jar of face cream.
They copied this tactic from the 1963 Pink Panther film, starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau.
The Pink Panthers' attention to detail led one criminologist describing their work as 'artistry'.
In Biarritz, for example, they applied fresh paint to a bench opposite the jewellery store they were about to rob to deter potential witnesses from sitting on it.
In 2005, they raided a Saint-Tropez jewellers dresssed in similary flowery shirts before escaping in a speed boat.
A Cannes police spokesman said: 'The latest raid has all the hallmarks of one carried out by the Pink Panthers. We are investigating every lead while we search for the three suspects.'