One of my best friends happens to be married to a very famous French photographer, and when they invited me to join them in Cannes during the film festival to escape the London rain and get a little bit of a mommy-break, I jumped at the chance.
The Cannes Film Festival lasts for 12 days, and thousands of people flock to the famous La Croissette (the boardwalk that plays host) in the hopes of spotting a celeb or two.
I arrived on the first day and it was bananas.
Where to Stay:
(If you can get a room)
This is where it ALL happens. In order to even book a room you need to be a known journalist/photographer/PR/actor/etc, book for the entire festival, and pay upfront for the entire 12 days. To even get in the door of the hotel you need a room key or press pass.
Inside there are hospitality suites for all the major designers and jewelers where the celebs can come and choose what to wear before they hit the red carpet. We visited the Fendi suite, and had a chance to play with the beautiful gowns and purses that were ready and waiting to be borrowed by a starlet. There are also dozens of stylists, hair dressers, and make-up artists who hold camp waiting to ensure the stars are ready to shine on the carpet. And if you need your nails done before a premiere? L’Oréal has a nail bar in the lobby.
The Fendi Suite
I wanted a bit of R&R on this trip, so we tried to stay away from the crowds as much as possible. Which basically meant we were sequestered at the hotel and on their private beach.
The famous octagonal swimming pool at the Martinez
And before the film screenings began we sat on the terrace to watch all the beautiful people make their way to the red carpet.
I only played paparazzi when Freida walked by…
Where to Eat:
Anywhere on La Croissette
There are a million cafes on La Croissette and they are all great for people watching. Of course, if you can get a table at the Martinez beach, or any of the other hotel restaurants on the water, I would definitely recommend that.
The spicy calamari salad at the Martinez beach, recipe from the China Grill in New York, delicious!
Where to Go Out:
Le Club by Albane
You can’t go to Cannes without experiencing a bit of the crazy nightlife. Every evening there is a dinner and party to celebrate something. My favorite was the L’Oréal party where all the lovely women who represent the brand were present including Eva Longoria and Naomi Watts.
And afterwards, you move on to a club…
Le Club by Albane is on the rooftop overlooking the Croisette. Apparently a favorite of Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Harvey Weinstein, and Antonio Banderas, this is the place to party.
Entry to the club is via photo ID membership cards, so make sure to find someone who has one to sneak you in. The music was great, and the free champagne was even better.
What to Wear:
If you’re going to a film, its black tie all the way, but if you’re just going to drink good wine and observe (like me) then anything pretty much goes. Girls were out in everything from black leggings and leather jackets to ball gowns.
I’m really glad I went and experienced the madness that is the Cannes Film Festival, but all in all, the South of France should be all about sunshine, long lunches, and peace, the last of which is pretty impossible with massive crowds and crazy energy. Next time I visit it will be to relax and hide!