The annual Cannes Film Festival is one of the world’s great film festivals. The downside is that it's an industry event so you have to have accreditation to get into the film showings themselves. But hey, it’s a wonderful time to be in the Mediterranean resort; the place is full of stars, and the whole town is really buzzing with excitement. So you’re bound to spot them – either around town or on the red carpets.
However there are ways you can join in the film festival. Tourists might not be able to get into the main films, but there is a wonderful and exciting chance to see groundbreaking films before anybody else. Go to the Cannes Tourism Office and get the schedule and tickets for the Cinéma de la Plage. This is a huge outdoor film screen, so take a picnic and watch films on the beach at Plage Mace as evening falls. On the programme are films from the Out of Competition section, as well as Cannes Classics and it’s a magical experience.
Tents set up around the Cannes Film Festival grounds are the places for special souvenirs, like t-shirts, posters, mugs and the like. The official shop is opposite the Majestic Barriere Hotel. Check out the map of the Film Festival site.
Many of the stars stay at the InterContinental Carlton Cannes and you could try to book there. But you’ll have to book early in the year, and have a fairly substantial budget.
Security is inevitably tight at the hotel, but you might try for a table in the Carlton Restaurant. Or dress the part and go for a drink at the Carlton Bar. If you do, order the Lady Carlton, apparently named after an Englishwoman who lived in the hotel for 25 years. Or just wait outside the hotel and wait for the celebrities to appear.
Many stars stay on the luxury yachts that fill the harbor or are anchored just out in the bay. Just walking around gives you the chance to spot somebody; check out the schedule and find yourself a good spot at the barricades near the red carpet entrances into the main theaters.
Cannes is an elegant town and the star of the Côte d’Azur. The main attraction is La Croisette, a long boulevard of elegant architecture and palm trees that runs beside the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean. At the west end and just in front of the Old Port with the red rocks of the Esterel as background, you’ll find the famous Palais des Festivals.
The rich live in the area that stretches fom La Croisette up to the Rue d’Antibes. The area is full of villas and fancy apartment blocks, boutiques and restaurants, and hotels like the InterContinental Carlton Cannes, the Martinez and the Majestic Barriere where the jet set hangs out. Sidewalk cafes near the Palais des Festivals are great for spinning out a café au lait and watching the glamorous world go by.
Cannes is a good center for visiting the glorious surrounding towns and countryside. Nice is very close by, as is the old port of Antibes. Or go up into the hills where medieval hilltop villages like St. Paul de Vence attract those wanting to escape the heat and the crowds of the Côte d’Azur.
Cannes Tourist Office
Palais des Festivals
1 bd de la Croisette
Tel.: 00 33 (0)4 92 99 84 22