I spent my teenage years in French immersion of a different kind – watching La Piscine and Pierrot le Fou, reading Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse and listening to my mom’s record collection of chansons dominated by the raspy voice of Serge Gainsbourg and sweet melodies of Francoise Hardy. I didn’t actually learn much French, but I fell in love with the idea of the French Riviera. It seemed to me like the most perfect destination for summer romance ever imagined (nod to Madame Sagan), and inevitably found its place on my infinite travel wish-list. It felt like my life had come full circle when my husband announced that the short film he had recently produced (Frozen Marbles!) was chosen as an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival 2015. Overwhelmed with joy for his success, I didn¹t feel surprised – the Cote d’Azur and I were always destined to meet!
So what has it been like to be here during the festival, when this charming sea side town transforms into a buzzing hotspot for international celebrities to mingle and promote latest projects? It is a rush of excitement from the moment you get there: The extravagant galas, the red carpets, and running into some of the world most famous people at a local cafe (#nobigdeal). It is an unforgettable experience of modern luxury and affluence in the authentic setting of sea side town, overwhelmed with bustling crowds spilling from the Palais des Festivals et des Congres and onto the streets. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the Cannes in true spirit of the festival, party like a movie star would and live a moment of everlasting romance!
Film buff hot spots
Cannes Film Festival is first and foremost about the film screenings and Palais des Festivals et des Congres is the theatre to watch them at. Not Only is it a place of a great significance for the history of cinema, but an example of modern architecture and innovative design. Dating back to 1949 it was completely rebuilt in 1979 and reopened this year after the impressive renovations. It’s also home to the festival’s red carpet, which rolls out right onto the bustling boulevard La Croisette, making it more accessible to public view than at any other film festival in the world.
I would be lying if I didn¹t say that the second biggest draw for Cannes during the film fest is people-watching. Coffee in hand (a much-needed fuel to keep up with a hectic festival schedule), stroll down Boulevard La Croisette. The seafront promenade lined with luxury hotels and boutiques is a perfect location to spot a celeb. Another one is Cannes’ miniature marina, Vieux Port, where luxury craft dock beside fishing boats. Overcrowding the tiny harbor the extravagant yachts often service as venues to host and of course, throw parties for both film execs and movie stars.
In case you wants experience a thrill of dining/having a drink in close proximity to a celeb (we know you do!) make reservations at La Colombe d’Or. This charming restaurant (also 5 star boutique hotel) high on a mountaintop offers the absolute best of local cuisine. It is very popular with celebrities (you’re almost always guaranteed to spot a star) and for good reason. The hotel is a living breathing legend of art history. Local artists like Picasso, Signac, and Matisse would spend time here forging friendships with the family of the owner, often trading paintings for a meal and place to sleep. The tradition continued in the 1950’s with commissions from artists like Chagall, Miro, Braque, Calder, Modigliani and Leger!
When it’s time to party
Come to celebrate the life of luxury at the ultimate beach club – Nikki Beach. For over a decade the pop up party (sister to a permanent Saint Tropez location) has been notorious for its lavishness and famous guests. Nestled in the midst of it all, Nikki Beach La Plage (on the beach of the Carlton Hotel) and Nikki Beach Le Petit Bar are the favorite spots for the Hollywood VIP’s to unwind and dance the night away. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, champagne flows from early noon and well in to the night to the beat of the world renowned Nikki Beach¹s resident DJs hailing from St.Tropez, St. Barth and Ibiza.
For a little bit of a breather…
It is impossible to mention Cannes and not to mention Saint Tropez, the beloved vacation spot of the European beau monde. Only an hour’s drive away this is little gem of the French Rivera, immortalized by Brigitte Bardot’s break through role in And God Created Woman, is well worth a trip. Saint Tropez seems to have the best of everything – labyrinths of cobblestone streets lined with high end shops, restaurants and cafes, white sand beaches and most importantly the allure of glamour. Don’t forget your sunscreen: The French Riviera is all about quality beach time. And there are plenty of them from over-populated Pampelonne to clothing optional Tahiti. For those who seek privacy and serene views, Kube Hotel’s poolside provides both. Overlooking the Mediteranean coast, this boutique hotel embodies best of St Tropez’s party spirit with an elegant setting and modern design. Enjoy the breathtaking views of yacht-studded Saint Tropez Bay while sipping cocktails at the rooftop Skybar.