7 reasons NOT to visit the Côte d’Azur in winter

Over a century ago, the Côte d’Azur was a destination for those who wintered here for health reasons and old money who holidayed here, drinking red wine and wondering how to magically transport the sky, sea and sunshine back to their own part of the world.

Faced with grey skies and snowfall that encourages marathon Monopoly sessions by the fireplace, many tourists could easily just skip going on a winter getaway, right?  Here’s 7 reasons NOT to visit the Côte d’Azur in winter:

1. Having to decide between the beach or ski resorts

Do you prefer beaches or the mountains?  Well, don’t visit the French Riviera in winter if you need an easy choice because you can do both in one day, if you like.

That’s right, you can be on the slopes in the Alps in the morning and enjoying a late afternoon snack at a coastal cafeteria on the same day.   Sound impossible?  Well, it’s not.  And while swimming in the sea may be out of the question for most and only the brave dip into the Mediterranean during winter, we are very lucky to have the chance to do this!

The French Riviera in winter : it’s possible to enjoy the sea and mountains in one day

The geographical location of the French Riviera stretches from the Mediterranean coast to hinterland communities and Mercantour region that includes alpine towns.   The Alpes Maritimes region has easy access to established ski resorts, and you’ll find no shortage of pistes to ski or snowboard including Isola 2000, Auron, Valberg, La Colmiane and Val d’Allos La Foux.  Gréolières is the closest to the coast and while it doesn’t have the amenities of the other resorts it’s perfectly fun for a day out with the family.

Even if you don’t ski there are many exciting things to do at the mountain resorts such as toboganning, DJ concerts on the pistes or simply visit one of the restaurants for a lovely meal overlooking the mountains.

Of course, if winter isn’t your thing then the mountain resorts can also be visited in warmer months when the wildflowers are in bloom, walking trails are beautiful and other attractions and activities are open such as the zip line at La Colmiane, the luge at Valberg, Vesubia Mountain Park with climbing wall, swimming pool and canyoning, Parc Alpha Wolf Park and the natural pool at Roquebillière.

2. Too many winter options for families

If you prefer to have a relaxing winter with your family, the French Riviera isn’t for you.  How could you possibly decide what to do when there are ski resorts, Christmas markets, ice skating, food festivals and traditional celebrations such as the santon fairs or local events including the Lucéram nativity / crèche displays?

Not to mention, the weather is usually mild throughout winter so you can still play outdoors at any of the numerous French Riviera playgrounds.

Lucéram has a nativity crèche display each Christmas with around 450 displays throughout the town

3. Uncrowded walking trails

It rarely rains for days on end throughout winter on the French Riviera so people simply dress up warmer for their regular promenades through town.

However, it seems the change in weather causes a mass exodus from popular walking routes and hiking trails.   If you prefer busier walking paths (excluding the Promenade des Anglais in Nice and Croisette in Cannes which generally have foot traffic all year), go on holiday elsewhere as you’ll likely have little or no company on many walking trails here during colder months.

4. Seasonal winter food

I do sometimes hear from visitors that the restaurants here are tourist traps churning out average food in high season.  So, if you’re a ‘meat-and-three-vegies’ kind of traveller then don’t come back in winter!

The cooler months kick start some absolutely lip-smackingly good food fairs, the popular truffle season, oyster sales, chestnut festivals, grape harvesting and more.  Also, one of my favourite festive season pastimes is a glass of vin chaud and a slice of pain d’épices at the Marché de Noëls 🙂

Marrons chauds (hot chestnuts) are found at many winter festivals

5. No long queues at tourist attractions

Many of the Côte d’Azur’s tourist attractions close over winter or have reduced hours, but there are still plenty of attractions that are open and you won’t have to brave long queues of tourists to enjoy them.

Drop by one of the French Riviera’s popular museums, visit the gorgeously ornate Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild or take a French Riviera art trail soaking up the sites and landscapes painted by famous artists.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a year-round attraction worth visiting

6. Quiet hilltop villages

I love the buzz of big cities, but it can be overwhelming to be constantly bombarded with urban noise from traffic, construction and city life!

If you prefer a more sedate experience, you can’t miss visiting some of the towns on the French Riviera during autumn and winter when time moves at a much slower pace.

Go to Eze, St Paul de Vence, Tourrette-Levens, Gourdon or Sainte-Agnès and stroll around appreciating the history, village houses and medieval architecture.

I also find taking photographs is great during colder months because you don’t have other people crowding the background of your panorama, you can get some fantastic photos of daily life without residents feeling they are on show (that perhaps they may feel in high season) and people are generally going about their day at a more relaxed pace.

Sainte-Agnès is exceptionally tranquil during cooler months

7.  Classy festive decorations

Some people love over-the-top Christmas decorations, but you’ll find the Côte d’Azur eases back on the tacky factor and decorations are mostly classy.

Casino Square always has an amazing festive display every year

While Christmas on the coast may be short on snow, you’ll find no shortage of festive imagination.  Expect to see garlands of festive lights, giant Christmas trees and lots of Christmas markets – without the repetitive song of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ 20 hours a day, every shop window crammed with yuletide merchandise from early November and every house decorated excessively with neon lights blinking to synchronised music.

Also, most shops tend to stick to civilised opening hours – you won’t see mass frenzies of late-night shopping at most stores right up to Christmas Eve putting pressure on consumers to grab a late Christmas bargain.

Luxury hotels have elegant displays for Noël, Casino Square in Monaco looks suitably grand during the festive season and who won’t think a torchlight descent down the mountain with fireworks over the snow isn’t a fantastic way to see in the New Year?

Some people prefer grey skies, heavy snow and freezing temperatures in winter, however while the French Riviera may not be an obvious choice for a winter getaway it is a perfectly viable destination to visit with tolerable weather, lots of activities and less crowds.

Photo Credits:  Tyrolienne La Colmiane (Neo Extreme), Lucéram image (Departement06), Marrons chauds (Provence7), Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (Paris Frivole), Ste Agnès (Notre Provence Group),

 

 

 

 

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Are French Riviera tourism operators ready for China’s National Week?

Are French Riviera’s travel and tourism operators ready for China’s National Week?   I’m dubious to say ‘Yes’ as I believe a high proportion of travel-related businesses here are completely oblivious to targeted marketing for one of the world’s largest holiday periods and tourism markets.

What is National Week?

Chinese National Day is celebrated on 1st October each year to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China.  National Week or Golden Week is the holiday period that follows National Day – this year, it runs from 1st October to 8th October 2017.  Golden Week is the longest public holiday in China aside from Chinese New Year.

Why should France care about China’s National Week?

Traditionally, France has ranked within the top 2 overseas destinations for Chinese visitors however it is increasingly facing tough competition from other European destinations.  Switzerland has made huge efforts to attract Chinese tourists, as has Croatia with Game of Thrones-themed tours.

Director Jiang Yiyi of the International Tourism Research Institute with the China Tourism Academy says, “Chinese tourists no longer only select traditional hot journey places such as Thailand, the United States and Japan to spend their holidays. Countries such as Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand and Peru have all become a new attraction.”

France needs to adapt their tourism model and refresh their marketing to go beyond standard tour product by assessing the entire tourist journey from availability and frequency of flights from Chinese cities to French cities to including Chinese-specific signage at key tourist areas.

Notably, one of the biggest lags in tourism development for Chinese visitors is translation of French websites.  To compare, Barcelona Tourism has their main website resources available in 13 languages; Nice Tourism’s website is 7 languages including Chinese – something to think about for French businesses looking to grow their Chinese client base.

Chinese tourists visiting the French Riviera

Locally, companies are realising the potential of Chinese tourism on the French Riviera.

Monte-Carlo SBM has hosted high-profile events for Chinese companies adapting their service offering for their clients, including Chinese TV channels and meal options.  Their 4 hotels –  Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort and the Monte-Carlo Beach have obtained the Silver Certification, a hospitality standard for outbound Chinese travelers, awarded by ‘Welcome Chinese’.

‘Welcome Chinese’ is the only officially recognized by Chinese Authorities certified travel service standard and travel platform, aimed at upgrading the services dedicated to Chinese travellers.

Monaco has promoted the Principality as an add-on travel experience for National Week holidays, appealing to Chinese visitors to Monaco Yacht Show to stay and discover the Principality and surrounding regions.

Golden Week – French Riviera

French Riviera travel and tourism businesses need to prepare and strategise for this important tourism market – over the 8-day Golden Week holiday period, 650 million Chinese will travel which is an incredible number logistically and of that number, 6 million will travel abroad.  While they won’t all be heading to the famous Côte d’Azur coastline, a large number have been researching their travel options for European highlights and booked already.

The chance to create travel product and packages for a target group (known as mid to high spenders) is untapped for many businesses.  Shanghai-based Ctrip.com International, a Nasdaq-listed travel agency said that a quarter of their Ctrip customers chose to travel between 7 and 10 days, up 140 % year-on-year.   As well, shopping ranks highly as an activity during this time.

Immersive culture experiences, adventure activities and enticing landscapes appeal to Chinese visitors and as it is shoulder season here with comfortable temperatures and clear weather, the potential for opportunity is high.

Stats:  Ctrip.com, UNWTO

250,000 THANK YOUS

Sunday smiling and sending out a huge heartfelt thank you to all my followers, sharers, commenters and occasional readers who have stopped by Access Riviera – I have hit a milestone of 250,000 visitors!

I’m totally overwhelmed with all of the support for my blog from what started as a simple vision to provide information about the French Riviera and has grown into a behemoth and I’ve appreciated every like, share and comment along the way.

I’ve worked with some brilliant clients, learned a lot about growing and ungrowing followers, committed myself to writing good content and generally sticking to writing about things I believe in whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly.

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!  Here’s to the next 250K

Becks

To read some of my most popular articles, click on the links below:

Secret French Riviera : Hidden spots worth visiting

The Lavender Route

Cannes Film Festival : The Ultimate Guide

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints for amazing photos

Monaco on a budget

To work with me or simply send me feedback, you can contact me a number of ways from my Contact Access Riviera page.

Flying to and from the Monaco Yacht Show 2017 in Style  

A complete guide on how to experience the Monaco Yacht Show 2017 in style.  

Learn all that you will need to experience one of the hottest tickets in town this autumn –  The Monaco Yacht Show 2017.   

Every September, the world’s most prestigious brands descend upon the principality of Monaco, to showcase all things new in luxury to a global audience. What better way to join in the fun than with a private jet charter to arrive in style? Learn all you’ll need to know for the perfect trip to the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show.

Monaco Yacht Show

The Show

The Monaco Yacht Show, first and foremost, provides a setting for the world’s most respected shipyards to showcase their latest super-yacht creations. However, over the years the exhibition has attracted a wider audience – from luxury fashion, to the automotive and aviation industries.

During the show, several ports of call are a must. Below are a few of the exhibits at this year’s show that will leave you already booking a private jet to return for next year’s event.

Port Hercules

From 27 – 30 September, Port Hercules will transform itself into a super-yacht showroom. This year, 40 of the world’s most exclusive super-yachts will be unveiled. With the yachting elite poised for what is sure to be an amazing spectacle, a stroll around the harbour is not to be missed.

The Upper Deck Lounge

After taking in the latest and greatest yachts on earth, head to the Upper Deck Lounge for a light refreshment. Located under the Parvis Piscine exhibition tent, visitors can unwind in a professionally designed space, equipped with restaurant and Lanson Champagne Bar.

Test driving at the Car Deck

Once you’ve re-charged your jet setter batteries, why not test drive a Bentley or Lamborghini from the Quai Antoine 1er; situated on the eastern side of Port Hercules.

This year, Bentley, McLaren, Lamborghini and amongst others, Aston Martin, will be offering visitors to the show a chance to take a spin in one of the most famous F1 locations.

Travelling to the Monaco Yacht Show 2017

With anticipation growing on how you can be part of this extravaganza, read on for our tips of how to get there, where to stay and what to do with those long Riviera nights.

How to Get There

Transportation links to and from the principality are limited to rail, road… and helicopter. It therefore could not be easier by flying with a private jet charter, due to the flexibility and services booking privately affords.

After landing in Nice, you’re a stone’s throw away from Monaco via helicopter transfer. When you book a private jet, helicopter transfer can be added. This exceptional service will transport your party and luggage from door to door in style and sophistication.

Where to Stay

There isn’t a spot on the Riviera that does not exude luxury, however, our suggestion for the ultimate Monte Carlo experience would be the Fairmont. Situated on the Avenue des Spélugues, this four-star hotel is a short walk from Port Hercules, restaurants and Casino.

fairmont hotel

Aerial view of the stunning Fairmont, a short walk from Port Hercules, restaurants and the Casino

With an eclectic choice of restaurants & bars, shopping arcade, spa & fitness, pool and pop up Beach Club, the Fairmont is a perfect retreat from the bustling crowd of the yacht show.

Nikki Beach at Fairmont Monte-Carlo

Fairmont Monte-Carlo at night (image: ©ArtmanAgency5340)

Dining in the Principality

Choice during your private jet charter tour could be daunting with the plethora of impressive restaurants on offer, but help is on hand to highlight a few of the best spots in town.

Avenue 31

For a taste of the Mediterranean, venture to Avenue 31; a cosy yet exemplary dining experience, with expertly crafted menus designed by head chef Andrea Lanzillotta.

Avenue 31 dining during Monaco Yacht Show

Buddha Bar

For something a little more extravagant, the Buddha Bar which neighbours the Casino is sure to dazzle the senses. With exotic interiors and a menu to match, the Buddha Bar will live up to any finalé evening in the playground of the rich and famous.

best club monaco

The Buddha Bar with exotic interiors and a menu to match is one of Monte-Carlo’s hottest nightspots

Le Louis XV

Within the Hotel du Paris resides Le Louis XV. Recently refurbished, guests can enjoy haute cuisine with a 3 Michelin star price tag for a special occasion. Alongside the à la carte menu, guests can choose from one of two set menus: Jardins de Provence, or Menu Gourmet.

le louis xv in monte carlo

Fine dining at Le Louis XV (image: (c) PierreMonetta)

With the Monaco Yacht Show hot on your jet setting heels, there has never been a better time to grab your passport, purse and private jet charter and head to The Monaco Yacht Show 2017.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in partnership with Relevance.

 

Reblog from L’Occasion: Mapping France In Wine Bottles

If you have the impression that finding affordable wine in France is hard – it is definitely time to revisit that stance. My husband and I have taken several road-trips through France, meeting winemakers and tasting wine – much of it high-quality, AOP wines with price-tags that need to be forgiven for their modesty. Where […]

via Mapping France in Wine Bottles: Where to Get Affordable French Wine — L’OCCASION

Secret French Riviera : Hidden Spots Worth A Visit

This month, for my contribution to All About France blog link-up hosted by Lou Messugo, I’m sharing a few secrets about the French Riviera.

When you live somewhere, you are privy to local tips and things that you learn about your home town or region that tourists perhaps don’t see or aren’t aware of.

Yes, TripAdvisor and tourist offices can be great sources of information but if you want to find where the tastiest food is, the most uncrowded attractions or coolest activities at a great price, then ask a local.   Whenever I travel, I like to see where the locals eat, where they shop and where they party (!) because this is often where the hidden gems are!

Here are some of my Secret French Riviera suggestions:

Top chefs under the radar

One of the nicest things about living in France is the fact you can find a top chef in a humble setting and people are either unaware of their ‘fame’ or don’t make a fuss.

There are ex-chefs who run restaurants at camping sites, high-profile chefs who grill fish in summer at beachside kiosks before skipping back to the galleys of top kitchens and chefs who own orchards and vineyards far off the tourist path.

One of my great finds here is My French Burger, which is often parked at  Zone Industrielle Des Terriers near Decathlon and Animalis in Antibes.  The owner is Grégory Leriche, previously a top pastry chef at Lenôtre who has always dreamed of having his own food truck making burgers from scratch with homemade mayonnaise, ketchup and bread buns.  Of course, he sells his patisseries which I would sell my soul for.  If you’re nice, ask him to show you his photo album with photos of A-list stars he has taught to cook.

Grég’s chalkboard with Paul Bocuse’s quote

There are other great chefs in many other dining establishments across the Côte d’Azur.  Most tourists are familiar with the Michelin or Gault Millau guides for restaurant suggestions, but are you aware of the ‘Maître Restaurateur’ title or ‘Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’?

The title of Maître Restaurateur is the only title awarded in France by the state for professional catering whereby the chef themselves (not the restaurant) is audited by an independent body on 30 criteria.  This includes signalling when recipes are home made, freshness of products, service quality and decoration.  The title is valid for 4 years, after which the chef must be reaudited so the standards remain high.

To see the list of Maître Restaurateurs for the French Riviera (06 Alpes Maritimes), visit http://www.maitresrestaurateurs.com/liste-maitres-restaurateurs

maitre restaurateurs

Maître Restaurateurs are worth finding for fine chefs

Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (better known as MOF) is a prestigious award in France according by category of trades where the competitors are judged on technical skills, innovation, respect for traditions, speed and other criteria and awarded points.  The categories are diverse – some of the categories include clockmaking, cabinetmaking and silkscreen printing.  For hospitality, competitors can excel in butchery, pastry making, chocolate making and more.  Some of the famous winners are Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé and Joël Robuchon.

Famous locations mostly unknown by tourists

Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon I) has left a number of locations to visit on the French Riviera including Cannes (he camped at 15 Rue des Belges near Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Voyage church) and in Nice (6 rue Bonaparte was the residence of Napoléon in 1794 where he discussed plans with his generals and Palais Hongran de Fiana, a complex of holiday rental apartments beside Ma Nolans Irish pub is where he slept briefly after the building was confiscated in the late 18th century; look for the commemorative plaque on the façade).

6 rue Bonaparte in Nice

The town of Mougins has many famous locations including homes where Christian Dior and Yves St Laurent lived.  Edith Piaf stayed at La Gatounière in 1963, and Jean Cocteau, Man Ray and Pablo Picasso drifted in and out of the town.  Artist Maurice Gottlob was the communal rural policeman.

mougins history

Mougins has many famous locations visited by writers, film stars, artists and politicians

Picasso has a lot of history with Mougins; Villa Vaste Horizon (previously Hotel Vaste Horizon) is the town’s cultural centre today, but back in the 1930’s Picasso arrived with his bags.  He painted the walls in his room, only to be told to cover over his work with white paint the next day by the hotel owner.  He used to dine at Place de Mougins which used to be Le Feu Follet.  Most famously, he lived near Chapelle Notre Dame de Vie (1 Rue Eglise) at his estate, L’Antre du Minotaure (the Minotaur’s Lair).  The chapel garden has a tomb that was built for the Guinness family.

vaste horizon mougins

Pablo Picasso at Hotel Vaste Horizon in Mougins (© Lee Miller Archives, England 2015. All rights reserved. ©Succession Picasso/DACS, 2015).

You don’t need to go far to see the wide influence on the French Riviera credited to the monks from the Lérins Islands.  Running a functioning monastery and vineyard (as well as a gift/liqueur shop) on Île St-Honorat today,  the Lérins monks are due some credit for the town of Valbonne in its modern incarnation.

Augustin of Grimaldi, Bishop of Grasse and abbot of Lerins decided in the 16th-century to rebuild a town (wiped out from drought, barbaric invasions and the Black Plague) on the land beside the Abbey of Valbonne; the town layout of Valbonne is unique on the French Riviera in that it follows a Roman plan with a central street and perpendicular streets around a central square, now Place des Arcades.  There is also a private estate nearby, Domaine de la Sylviane, where this former stone Monastery built by the Lérins monks still produces olive oil under the label ‘Domaine de la Sylviane’.

la sylviane valbonne

Domaine de la Sylviane near to Valbonne is a former Monastery built by the Lérins monks

Other locations that exist thanks to the Lérins monks include Hostellerie Jérôme that is a wonderful restaurant in La Turbie set in the old presbytery of the Lérins Abbey, and Domaine de La Royrie, an olive grove in Grasse that was planted by the monks in the 15th-century and offers tours of the estate and tastings of their AOC Nice olive oil.

Swimming spots tourists don’t often visit

The French Riviera has some great beaches ranging from family-friendly options to full-service beach clubs for a day of lounging and soaking up the sun.

However, some of the most beautiful swimming locations are not found at beaches, especially in the height of summer.  You don’t have to venture too far from the coast to enjoy some really stunning river, waterfall and lake swimming spots.

Some great places for a refreshing dip in warm months are:

The Gorges du Loup & Rives du Loup:  Less than 40 minutes from the coast, Pont-du-Loup is a small hamlet best known for its aqueduct ruins and Confiserie Florian candy factory.  However, it’s a great base for escaping from the summer heat; the best pools are 2 kilometres upstream along the D3 road and you can find places to jump from or sunbathe on large rocks.  This area is popular for canyoning trips, so choose from a number of professional guiding companies if you fancy climbing and sliding into pools.

Gorges du Loup

The Parc Departmental Rives du Loup has some great river spots that are quite shallow so ideal for small kids.  For families, Ludiparc near La Colle sur Loup, has access to the river with a pebble beach as well as tonnes of fun activities and a mini water park.

La Brague:  Between Biot and Valbonne, the Brague River has shaded forest trails next to refreshing water where you can dip your toes in on hot days, including this small pool where I snapped this photo of two of my favourite people skipping stones.  I find there can be issues with mosquitoes, so take insect repellant!  We park at Sophia Antipolis near La Veirière, a few minutes from the Air France headquarters.  A map of river walks along the Brague is here:  http://www.ville-valbonne.fr/IMG/pdf/BRA_DepliantA4_V10_300dpi-2.pdf

Parc de la Brague has forest paths beside the River Brague

The Siagne River & Lac St Cassien: Head to Chapelle St Cassien de Bois, find a park and walk from there.  The Siagne River has lots of current-free sections with some small cascades.  Lac St Cassien is excellent for families with lots of watersports equipment for hire such as pedalos, inflatable climbing frames, kayaks.  Lots of picnic spots and some good restaurants.

La Clue d’Aiglun, Pont de la Cerise, Riou de Pierrefeu and Clue du Riolan:  About 1.5 hours from Nice, the Esteron River is a stunning colour and you can find perfectly tranquil sections of river with jade and turquoise plunge pools amidst white rocks, caves, lush ferns and medieval bridges.

From the village of Sigale, Aiglun is 7 kilometres west. Park in the village, find the canyoning sign, and follow the canyon return path for 1 kilometre down to a series of pools, about 200 metres upstream of the road bridge. You can also access the river directly from a narrow path from the road bridge, 1.5 kilometres beneath the village, and you’ll find there are pools under the bridge, too.  Riou de Pierrefeu is great for families and Clue du Riolan is popular with canyoning enthusiasts.

Gorges du Cagnes (Gorges du Riou):  Rocks, waterfalls, moss – it’s the French Riviera’s secret swimming hole fantasy near to Vence.  Beware: The path is not well marked and there are loads of signs saying ‘rock fall’ and similar so watch for loose rocks, the stairs are not fenced and the pool is not deep enough for diving!  Other than that, it is so quiet you’ll probably have the place to yourself.

Riou swimming spot near Vence

Gorges de Pennafort:  We discovered this little gem with many swimming holes a few years ago and the bonus is that the journey is just over 1 hour from Antibes.  The best part is its proximity to some great wineries and a good restaurant across the road at Hostellerie des Gorges de Pennafort.  You can find out more about the area around Gorges de Pennafort here

The Gorges de Pennafort are a great place for a cooling swim on a hot day

The Gorges du Verdon:  One of the most beautiful regions in France and only a few hours drive from the French Riviera, there are many zones perfect for kayaking, pedalos and swimming.  The most crowded lake is Lac St Croix, but there are other excellent places including Lac de Castillon.

Gorges du Verdon are a must-see in France

Do you have any secret places you like on the French Riviera?  If you liked this post, make sure you join my mailing list to get updates to your inbox – simply add your email address on the right-hand side of the home page.  Feel free to share this post!

Lou Messugo

 

The 70th Cannes Film Festival 2017: The Ultimate Guide

The 70th edition of Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes) will start next week in Cannes and run from 17 to 28 May 2017.

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the French Riviera’s biggest events and a major Festival for both film industry attendance and appearances by the world’s A-listers.

cannes film festival 2017

The 70th Cannes Film Festival 2017 will be one of the biggest events on the French Riviera

WHY VISIT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2017?

The Cannes Film Festival is famous worldwide and sees the most exclusive parties, eclectic people and luxury brands all merge into one frenzy of film-fuelled decadence in one of the Cote d’Azur’s most popular destinations.

For first-timers and casual tourists, it is exceptional for people-watching and you really do see all walks of life during the duration of the Festival.

Global journalists, photographers and television presenters ensure that the fashion, celebrities, charity events and films are filling media columns daily – aside from the glitz and opulence during the Festival, there are also the less glamorous side stories and un-newsworthy tales of cantankerous door staff, road closures, bar and restaurant staff with egos to rival a Palme d’Or and paparazzi crowding the Croisette.

red carpet cannes

Cannes Film Festival red carpet is highly anticipated for the fashion and celebrities

Cannes is used to luxury lifestyles (enter stage left the superyachts at Vieux Port and high-end boutiques along the Croisette), but Cannes Film Festival throws the definition of ‘luxury’ to the ground and well and truly tramples it.  Expect every major luxury brand to fall over themselves for a piece of the action from dressing the beautiful people in the latest red carpet fashion and jewels, to premium supercars, rare Champagnes and every makeup brand Ambassador taking selfies with their ‘favourite’ lipstick for next season.

You’ll see the keenest Festival spectators in their finest suits and gowns outside the Palais des Festivals with signs such as ‘Premiere, s’il vous plait?’ and others perched on seats and ladders in the hope of chancing a celebrity on the famous red carpet; then immediately after a blacked-out vehicle with police escort will zoom past whisking some unknown passenger to a private soirée.

It’s a place where emerging talent sips cocktails beside established industry players, where having a glass of Champagne at 11am in haute couture is perfectly normal and headliners match hangovers.

Crazy, exciting, magic, super-hyped, bold and beautiful – I will be there again.  If you get to experience Cannes Film Festival I highly recommend it!

CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2017 GUIDE

I have written this ‘Cannes Film Festival 2017 Guide’ for filmmakers, distributors, producers, film financiers, writers, film school students, international sales agents, press and casual tourists to help you understand the whole event and get value from your time in Cannes.  It includes lots of inside tips from living here in the region as well as first-hand knowledge from attending the Festival.

Cannes is a unique opportunity to network with practically every main buyer and seller within film there.

Note: My guide is the only in-depth online guide for Cannes Film Festival that specifically includes information for persons with reduced mobility to enable them to visit Cannes and experience the Festival. I hope you find it a useful resource and kindly share it on social media.  If you can’t find an answer within this guide, feel free to contact me here.

first timer guide to cannes film festival

Cannes Film Festival Ultimate Guide 2017 by Access Riviera

THE LOW DOWN:  HOW TO DO CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2017

First things first, if you’re planning on coming to Cannes Film Festival say goodbye to a good nights sleep.  For accredited film industry professionals, media and celebrities, the action starts early – expect breakfast interviews, press junkets from early morning and lunches at the beach restaurants such as Le Plage 45, Z Plage and Carlton Beach.

If you don’t have an invite to the premieres, the same beach restaurants host nightly parties with endless buckets of rosé, Champagne and all kinds of entertainment.  They are invitation-only, so unless you’re on the guest list or a plus-one, it’s nigh on impossible to blag your way in.

Getting press accreditation does not mean you’ll be welcomed with open arms because you posted a photo of your favourite A-lister on Instagram; there are around 4,000 global journalists representing 90 countries therefore you’ll be required to submit samples of credited work plus media distribution numbers and your press badge has your photo on it, so sadly it’s not transferable.

A new reception venue, the Terrasse des Journalistes, on the 4th floor of the Palais des Festivals, will be inaugurated on Wednesday 17 May and open to journalists every day from 10 am to 7 pm.

For nightlife, there’s loads of options…..some of the best parties are hosted on superyachts, so keep reading….

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Jury

The aim of the jury is to decide the award winners between the films in competition.  The winners will be announced on Sunday 28 May at the closing ceremony, with the presentation of the highly-acclaimed Palme d’Or.

Spanish director, screenwriter and producer Pedro Almodóvar was named Jury President back in January and will be joined by other jurors:

Jessica Chastain (Actress, Producer – United States)

Will Smith (Actor, Producer, Musician – United States

Fan Bingbing (Actress, Producer – China)

Agnès Jaoui (Actress, Screenwriter, Director, Singer – France)

Maren Ade   (Director, Screenwriter, Producer – Germany)

Park Chan-wook (Director, Screenwriter, Producer – South Korea)

Paolo Sorrentino (Director, Screenwriter – Italy)

Gabriel Yared (Composer – France)

cannes film festival jury

The jury of the 70th Cannes Film Festival

Italian actress Monica Bellucci will succeed French actor Laurent Lafitte in her 2017 role as the Mistress of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Romanian director, screenwriter and producer Cristian Mungiu will preside over the Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury. Mungiu shared last year’s Best Director Award for his film ‘Graduation’ (the award was shared with Olivier Assayas for his film ‘Personal Shopper’).  Mungiu also won the Palme d’Or in 2007 with his feature ‘4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days.’ His ‘Beyond the Hill’ went on to win screenplay and actress prizes.

U.S. actress Uma Thurman and French actress Sandrine Kiberlain were previously named as presiding over the festival’s Un Certain Regard and Camera d’Or juries.

Cannes Film Festival 2017 :  Full list of films

When does the red carpet action actually happen?  For visitors and tourists hoping to see celebrities on the red carpet, the action outside the Palais des Festivals happens twice nightly at 7pm and 10pm when the Jury watch the films in competition and the industry stars show up.

Cannes Film Festival red carpet

The Festival is split into three main events, each with their own schedules – the Festival de Cannes, Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs; this is a budget-friendly way for the public to see a film) and Critics’ Week (La Semaine de la Critique).

Included in this are screenings for Un Certain Regard, Cinéfondation, and Short Films In Competition.  Entr’2 Marches runs alongside the main Festival from 21 to 26 May 2017 and screens short films with the themes of disability.

Cannes Film Festival is well known for its politics – the naming of the jury and awards always comes with debate.  This year, the official poster was slammed for photoshopping and Festival organisers have said they’ll ban Netflix from entering the films in competition next year unless an agreement is reached on French theatre release.

Regardless, here is the line-up for 2017:

Official selection

Opening film – out of competition
Les Fantômes d’Ismaël (dir: Arnaud Desplechin)

Competition
(BPM) Beats Per Minute (dir: Robin Campillo)

The Beguiled (dir: Sofia Coppola)
The Day After (dir: Hong Sang-soo)
A Gentle Creature (dir: Sergei Loznitsa)
Good Time (dirs: Benny & Josh Safdie)
Happy End (dir: Michael Haneke)
In the Fade (dir: Fatih Akin)
Jupiter’s Moon (dir: Kornél Mundruczó)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (dir: Yorgos Lanthimos)
Redoubtable (dir: Michel Hazanavicius)
Loveless (dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev)
The Meyerowitz Stories (dir: Noah Baumbach)

Okja (dir: Bong Joon-ho)
Radiance (dir: Naomi Kawase)
The Square (dir: Ruben Ostlund)
Wonderstruck (dir: Todd Haynes)
You Were Never Really Here (dir: Lynne Ramsay)

Un Certain Regard
Barbara (dir: Mathieu Amalric) – opening film
April’s Daughter (dir: Michel Franco)
Beauty and the Dogs (dir: Kaouther Ben Hania)
Before We Vanish (dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Closeness (dir: Kantemir Balagov)
The Desert Bride (dir: Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato)

Directions (dir: Stephan Komandarev)
Dregs (dir: Mohammad Rasoulof)
Jeune Femme (dir: Léonor Serraille)
L’Atelier (dir: Laurent Cantet)
La Cordillera (dir: Santiago Mitre)
Lucky (dir: Sergio Castellitto)
The Nature of Time (dir: Karim Moussaoui)
Out (dir: György Kristóf)
Walking Past the Future (dir: Li Ruijun)
Western (dir: Valeska Grisebach)
Wind River (dir: Taylor Sheridan)

Out of competition
Based on a True Story (dir: Roman Polanski)
Blade of the Immortal (dir: Takashi Miike)
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (dir: John Cameron Mitchell)
Visages, Villages (dirs: Agnès Varda & JR)
Midnight screenings
A Prayer Before Dawn (dir: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire)
The Merciless (dir: Byun Sung-hyun)
The Villainess (dir: Jung Byung-gil)
Special screenings
12 Jours (dir: Raymond Depardon)
24 Frames (dir: Abbas Kiarostami)
An Inconvenient Sequel (dir: Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk)
Carré 35 (dir: Eric Caravaca)
Claire’s Camera (dir: Hong Sang-soo)
Demons in Paradise (dir: Jude Ratman)
Le Vénérable W (dir: Barbet Schroeder)
Napalm (dir: Claude Lanzmann)
Promised Land (dir: Eugene Jarecki)
Sea Sorrow (dir: Vanessa Redgrave)
They (dir: Anahita Ghazvinizadeh)
Top of the Lake (TV – dir: Jane Campion)
Twin Peaks (TV – dir: David Lynch)

Top of the Lake (Photo Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh)

Children’s screening
Zombillénium (dir: Arthur de Pins and Alexis Ducord)

Virtual reality
Carne y Arena (dir: Alejandro G Iñárritu)

Directors Fortnight

A Ciambra (dir: Jonas Carpignano)
Alive in France (dir: Abel Ferrara)
L’Amant d’un Jour (dir: Philippe Garrel)
Bushwick (dirs: Cary Murnion & Jonathan Milott)
Cuori Puri (dir: Roberto de Paolis)
The Florida Project (dir: Sean Baker)
Frost (dir: Sharunas Bartas)
I Am Not a Witch (dir: Rungano Nyoni)
Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (dir: Bruno Dumont)
L’Intrusa (dir: Leonardo Di Costanzo)
La Defensa Del Dragón (dir: Natalia Santa)
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (dir: Mouly Surya)
Mobile Homes (dir: Vladimir De Fontenay)
Nothingwood (dir: Sonia Kronlund)
Ôtez-moi d’un Doute (dir: Carine Tardieu)

Patti Cake$ (dir: Geremy Jasper) – closing film

The Rider (dir: Chloé Zhao)
Un Beau Soleil Intérieur (dir: Claire Denis) – opening film
West of the Jordan River (Field Diary Revisited) (dir: Amos Gitai)

Critics’ Week

Competition
Ava (dir: Léa Mysius)
La Familia (dir: Gustavo Rondón Córdova)
Gabriel and the Mountain (dir: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa)
Makala (dir: Emmanuel Gras)
Oh Lucy! (dir: Atsuko Hirayanagi)
Los Perros (dir: Marcela Said)
Tehran Taboo (dir: Ali Soozandeh)

Special Screenings
Sicilian Ghost Story (dir: Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza) – opening film
Brigsby Bear (dir: Dave McCary) – closing film
Bloody Milk (dir: Hubert Charuel)
A Violent Life (dir: Thierry de Perretti)

For a copy of the screenings guide for Cannes Film Festival 2017, you can download it here.

Special mentions

ROBIN WRIGHT: at the opening of Cannes Classics on Thursday 18 May in the Buñuel screening room at 8 PM, the actress, producer and now director will come to present her first short, The Dark of Night, homage to film noir. It will be followed by the screening of the restored copy of Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, winner of the Palme d’or in Cannes in 1980.

CLINT EASTWOOD, who was President of the Jury in 1994, and will be in Cannes from 19 to 21 May. On Saturday 20th May at 4:45 PM, he will be at the Debussy Theatre to present the restored copy of Unforgiven, which is celebrating its own 25th anniversary at the Festival with Warner. The following day, he will inaugurate the 70th ANNIVERSARY MASTERCLASS with a discussion in the company of American critic Kenneth Turan, in the Buñuel screening room at 4 PM.

KRISTEN STEWART: after starring in the last two years in the films of Woody Allen and Olivier Assayas and winning a Best Supporting Actress Cesar, the young American actress will come to present Come Swim – her first work as a director – on Saturday 20 May at 6:45 PM.

On Monday 22 May, the Debussy Theatre will host a TRIBUTE TO ANDRÉ TÉCHINÉ. The French director, who was a member of the Feature Film Jury in 1999, has presented 11 films in the Official Selection since 1975, including 6 in Competition. His new film, Nos années folles, will be screened to mark the occasion. Those who have accompanied him in his movies throughout the years will be present.

JANE CAMPION, who presided the Feature Film Jury in 2014 and remains to this day the only female director to have garnered a Palme d’or for The Piano in 1993, will present her latest work on Tuesday 23rd May, Top of the Lake: China Girl, which she co-directed with Ariel Kleiman.

Finally, in memory of the immense ABBAS KIAROSTAMI, winner of the 1997 Palme d’or for Taste of Cherry, who died on 4 July 2016, there will be a screening of his posthumous film 24 Frames. The session will take place on Tuesday 23 May in the presence of his friends and his son Ahmad Kiarostami.

ALFONSO CUARÓN, a member of the Feature Film Jury in 2008, director, producer and screenwriter, will also give a Masterclass, in the company of film critic Michel Ciment on Wednesday 24th May at 4:30 PM in the Buñuel screening room, during which they will discuss his career in Hollywood and Mexico.

DAVID LYNCH, 1990 winner of the Palme d’or with Wild at Heart, Best Director in 2001 with Mulholland Drive and President of the Jury in 2002, will return to the Festival to present Season 3 of Twin Peaks on Thursday 25th May at 7:30 PM in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.

Throughout the Festival, ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU, the visionary director of Birdman and The Revenant, and winner of the Best Director for Babel, will present his 6 minutes 30 seconds film Carne y Arena, an immersive experience within an incredible Virtual Reality installation.

First in, best served

The first weekend at Cannes Film Festival is traditionally the busiest and the first week is most preferred by buyers of film distribution rights at Marché du Film as attendance usually dips in the last few days of the Festival. So, in essence go early to secure the best chance for industry success.

For first timers, there are various accreditation types to gain access to the ‘salles’ (cinemas) screenings, pavilions and events ranging from Festival Accreditation, Market/Marché du Film, Producers Network, Cinéphiles, Press accreditation and pricey Market passes on the day.

The Market / Marché du Film

Marché du Film is the biggest film market in the world with thousands of screenings and over 12,000 attendees buying, selling and financing film.

Registration includes a hefty Marché guide with contact information for around 5,000 registered companies, access to the Official Selection of the Festival and Marché du Film screenings, company listing on Cinando.com and access to reserved areas for industry only.

The Short Film Corner is run by the Marché from 22 to 28 May – it is important to mention that Short Film Corner is not part of the Official Selection of short films.

The Producers Network and Producers Workshop are hosted under the Marché umbrella. Producers Network is reserved for producers who have recently produced feature films and focuses on networking sessions to develop their projects.  The Producers Workshop is aimed at producers who want an introduction to the international market and provides practical sessions with tips for pitching, co-production and financing.

NEXT is part of the Marché and a venue for meetings and workshops.  It aims to highlight alternative forms of storytelling so it’s no surprise that VR has crept up in the programme with a dedicated mini theatre to watch registered VR projects.

Don’t miss the Mixers – a series of cocktail events for Market badge holders invited in accordance with the theme. Three cocktails target the key players in documentary, genre cinema or festival and sales agents; hosted at Plage des Palmes.

The Palme d’Or

The Palme d’Or is the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival, awarded to the best film in competition from the Official Selection.

Since 1998, the trophy has been crafted annually at the Chopard workshops in Meyrin near Geneva, it takes 7 craftsmen around 40 hours for the process including injecting fair mined certified gold into the mould and mounting it to the rock crystal pedestal.

Cannes Film Festival Dress Code

I’m often asked what the dress code is during Cannes Film Festival.  Unless you’re attending industry events, if you’re visiting Cannes in the day, smart casual is fine but in the evenings party attire is more acceptable.

Climate wise, the weather in May can be variable and alternate between hot days to rain so be prepared for all seasons!

For industry, smart casual during the day is fine but the evening is reserved for invitation-only events and gala screenings and you should dress appropriately.  For the In Competition screenings, the dress code is black tie/evening wear (and your invitation will usually advise of this).  Men, this means a tuxedo and ladies an evening dress. No visible brand labels emblazoned on clothing.

A special mention for the ladies:  The Croisette is paved but you should be aware that Cannes has many cobblestoned streets and pavement surfaces such as marble tiles (i.e slippery!) so wear comfortable heels and invest in those genius anti-slip sole grips.  You will thank me later.

What To Bring To Cannes Film Festival

Plenty of business cards.  Mobile/charger and adaptors.  Laptop / Pocket PC if you’re doing press. Sunglasses.  Travel umbrella.  Info from the main trades so you don’t hassle buyers who aren’t looking for new projects. Mints.  Paracetomol and eye drops to ward off tell-tale hangover signs.

Don’t bring pages of screenwriting; people are too busy rushing between workshops, screenings and parties to read anything.

Read the Festival Daily distributed each morning at the Palais entrances and the guides from main trades as they detail key events and screenings.

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Party Guide

Cannes Film Festival throws some epic parties and everybody always wants to know where the hottest parties during Cannes Film Festival 2017 will be!

Cannes Film Festival has a number of high-profile parties at exclusive venues such as the stunning Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

If your intention is to come to Cannes to gate-crash parties, then be aware that it is not as easy as the gossip magazines lead people to believe.  Access is usually very restricted; the expense to host a party during Cannes Film Festival runs from €50,000-upwards for a few hours on the beach so invitations are selective.

Hotels and private events will check your accreditation pass and you will often need your business card and/or I.D.  Press may not be guaranteed access; check first with each venue.   Due to the security in place, if you book a private driver to/from a Croisette hotel, they may need authorisation from the Mairie (Town Hall) to pick you up and drop you off.

Parties at Cannes Film Festival 2017

One of the most star-studded events to attend every year is the amfAR Cinema Against Aids charity gala night which is hosted at the beautiful Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the Cap d’Antibes. This year, the amfAR night will be on Thursday 25 May.   Every supermodel, producer, actor and member of high-society attends – here’s a video of last year’s amfAR event:

Here is a round-up of some of the other parties and top places to socialise during Cannes Film Festival 2017:

Wednesday 17 May – On the opening night, from early evening until late at night, Cannes Film Festival offers a welcome party to greet the Festival attendees and the press. The party will take place on the Plage du Majestic (Majestic beach) as well as on the Agora, with live music by the Fantasy Live Experience Orchestra and DJ Daddy Ryton.

Wednesday 17 May – Chopard’s ‘Glittering Prizes Exhibition’ presented by Chopard and Vogue featuring photographs of actresses and models on the Cannes red carpet.

Wednesday 17 May – L’Oréal at CanalPlus beach for open-air cinema

Wednesday 17 May – Swarovski party at Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc hosted by Nadja Swarovski with special guest Naomie Harris.

Naomie Harris

Wednesday 17 May – Nikki Beach, Gotha Club and Baoli Cannes opening nights

Thursday 18 May – Magnum Beach party for Magnum x Moschino with special guest Cara Delevingne and featuring Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott.

Thursday 18 May – Mouton Cadet Wine Bar opening event.

Thursday 18 May – Rihanna Loves Chopard collection.

Thursday 18 May – Salute to Akiro Kurosawa media event and panel discussion at the Majestic.

Thursday 18 May – L’Oréal at CanalPlus beach for open-air cinema with Susan Sarandon’s ‘Thelma & Louise’.

Friday 19 May – Jeffrey Katzenberg Gala night in the Grand Salon of the InterContinental Carlton, a dinner for the film industry professionals present in Cannes. On this occasion, a tribute will be paid to American producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Friday 19 May – L’Oréal at CanalPlus beach for open-air cinema with Elle Fanning.

Friday 19 May – Mouton Cadet Wine Bar ‘Global Gift’ evening with Eva Longoria and Maria Bravo.

Friday 19 May – Charles Finch Filmmaker Dinner with Jaeger LeCoultre : Paolo Sorrentino will be feted at this cocktail party followed by dinner event and awards ceremony. Also on view: Series 3 of Finch’s “The Art Of Behind The Scenes” photography exhibition.

Friday 19 May – Chopard’s SPACE party under the big top at Port Pierre Canto with headline act Bruno Mars.

Saturday 20 May – At the Agora, the “Dinner of the Festivals” will reunite 150 directors of the greatest film festivals in the world.

Saturday 20 May – VIP Pool Party at Chateau Savant hosted by SmokexMirrors and Mia Moretti

Saturday 20 May – L’Oréal at CanalPlus beach for open-air cinema with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Saturday 20 May – Cannes Fashion and Global Short Film Awards

parties cannes film festival

Sunday 21 May – Villa Golden Gate will host a Jamie Reuben and Michael Kives’ dinner with Arnold Schwarzenegger to celebrate Jean-Michael Cousteau’s Wonders of the Sea 3D, followed by a party hosted by CAA.

Sunday 21 May – Netflix party at Villa St George.

Sunday 21 May – Hollywood Foreign Press Association party at Nikki Beach with special guest Jake Gyllenhaal in aid of the International Rescue Committee. 

Sunday 21 May – L’Oréal at CanalPlus beach for open-air cinema with Andie MacDowell’s ‘Sex, Lies and Videotape’.

Sunday 21 May – Private villa luncheon hosted by Three Six Zero and Champagne Armand de Brignac.

Sunday 21 May – Festival de Cannes and Kering Women in Motion Awards Dinner.

Monday 22 May – La Plage Royale luncheon (supported by YouTube) for the world premiere of Elton John: The Cut, followed by a screening and Q&A with the singer.

Monday 22 May – The annual Trophee Chopard event at Hotel Martinez.

Monday 22 May – L’Oréal at CanalPlus beach for open-air cinema with Eva Longoria’s ‘Lowriders’.

Monday 22 May – Spike Lee Gala

Tuesday 23 MayTiffany’s Red Carpet Fashion Show

Tuesday 23 May – The 70th anniversary dinner at the Grand Théâtre Lumière. Under the presidency of Isabelle Huppert, the stage will feature screenings, edited archives and film extracts, musical interludes and presentations by artists. The traditional anniversary dinner will bring together all the major figures at Cannes that evening, including many artists who have won the Palme d’Or, or have left their mark on the history of the Festival.

Tuesday 23 May – Top of the Lake: China Girl pre-party in partnership with Grey Goose at Versini and special guests Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman and the cast of ‘China Girl’.

Tuesday 23 May – Queer Night Party at the American Pavilion hosted by John Cameron Mitchell.

Tuesday 23 May – Timothy White x Julian Lennon soiree benefiting amfAR with a DJ performance by the Misshapes, Decora and Andrew Mancilla at Chateau Savant.

Tuesday 23 May – de Grisogono Dinner + After Party Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc

de grisogono party cannes

Bella Hadid at the de Grisogono party in 2016

Wednesday 24 May – Chopard Gents Night with Annabel’s at Hotel Martinez.

Wednesday 24 May –  The Members Club at La Plage Royale is the venue for this charity event, Cinemoi Presents: Cannes Film Festival Fashion Charity Gala, that benefits Children United Nations. Revelers will be treated to a special fashion show straight from the runway of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, presented by designers Keiichiro Yuri and Adolfo Sanchez. With performances by Maria Conchita Alonso, Ricky Rebel and American Idol’s Trenyce Cobbins.

Thursday 25 May – In the Grand Salon of the InterContinental Carlton, the Press Dinner will gather 250 international journalists and critics present in Cannes.

Thursday 25 May – The Haas brothers private reception to benefit The Art of Elysium by 1stdibs and Chateau Savant.

MTV

Wild Bunch

Variety

Vanity Fair Dinner

Naomi Campbell Birthday party

Horyou Charity Event

Belvedere Party

Hollywood Reporter

Villa Schweppes will feature performances by Atom, Breakbot & Irfane, Busy P, IAM, Kungs, Laurent Garnier, Para One and more!

Note:  Hosting a party during Cannes and want to be included on this list?  Contact me to be added.

How to get tickets to Cannes Film Festival parties

Some ways to get tickets to these parties include buying a ticket through registered sales agents such as Experience The French Riviera and Boutique Luxury International, approach the national pavilions at the Festival for an invite to their parties (for example, American, British, Canadian etc), make friends with publicists and PR agencies and try your luck with the door bouncers.

Of course, Cannes sees a flotilla of superyachts cruise into the region for May as many celebrities stay on for Monaco Grand Prix too.  If you’re not lucky enough to have booked a yacht charter for Cannes, you can try and grab an invite to some of the most spectacular parties hosted on board including Paul Allen’s incredible themed yacht party and Leonardo DiCaprio’s yacht party.

Port Vauban in the yachting hub of Antibes is now under new management and will host a schedule of events throughout the Festival with a Champagne bar from Perrier-Jouet, exclusive wine tastings from Riviera Wine, a whisky and cigar lounge, vodka and caviar tastings, drive-in cinema with vintage cars and fashion shows on the IYCA.  You can see the programme of events here:  http://events.vauban21.com/dynamics/EVENTS%20PROGRAM%200205.pdf

Cinéma de la Plage 2017

Each year, Cannes Film Festival shows free films at an open-air cinema on the beach for the public and you can see Cannes Classics and out-of-competition films.

The Cinéma de la Plage is easy to find – it is held at Plage Macé which is the public beach beside the Palais des Festivals and opposite the Majestic Barriere Hotel.  You can’t miss the giant screen set up on the beach!

Look for the scaffolding and sound system on the beach, you can't miss it! (Cinema de la Plage, Cannes)

Look for the scaffolding and sound system on the beach, you can’t miss it! (Cinema de la Plage, Cannes)

Various festival ‘how-to’ websites and the Cannes Office du Tourisme will tell you to reserve in advance, but it’s not necessary – entrance is free and you don’t have to show a physical ticket.

Films are listed as starting at 9pm but usually commence from 9.30pm nightly.  The deckchairs are limited, so show up early if you want one (many people arrive before 7pm).   If you miss out on a deck chair, take a picnic blanket to sit on the sand.  There are no food facilities, but you are able to take a picnic; glassware and glass bottles are not permitted so leave the bottle of rouge for another time.  Please respect the environment and take all your rubbish away with you.

The front row chairs are often reserved for film industry execs and often the Hollywood stars show up, so keep your eyes open for surprise guests!

It may be warm and sunny during the day, but Plage Macé can get chilly at night especially if there is a mistral blowing. Take warm clothes and rain protection as the entire zone is uncovered.

The nearest public toilets are located on the Croisette just past the children’s play ground, they are usually open late during the Cinéma de la Plage screenings.

Access notes: Persons with reduced mobility can access the beach at the Cinéma de la Plage site via a concrete ramp on the right-hand side at the entrance, there is no specific area set aside for wheelchairs but there is plenty of room for you.  Accessible toilets are just past the public toilets by the children’s playground; look for the silver automated cubicle, access is by a 50 centime coin.

The Cinéma de la Plage schedule for 2017 is:

Thurs 18 May: All About My Mother by Pedro Almodóvar

Fri 19 May: Bugsy Malone by Alan Parker

Sat 20 May: Saturday Night Fever by John Badham

Sun 21 May: No movie just a free concert from -M- Matthieu Chedid

Mon 22 May: Bad Boys by Michael Bay

Tues 23 May: Missing by Costa-Gavras

Wed 24 May: Chariots of Fire by Hugh Hudson

Thurs 25 May: Film & concert DJAM by Tony Gatlif

Fri 26 May: Weekend at Dunkirk by Henri Verneuil

Sat 27 May: Un 32 août sur terre by Denis Villeneuve

Practical Information for the Festival & Cannes

  • For a map of the Festival zones, layout of the Palais, map of Cannes and map that shows the entrances to the Palais for disabled visitors, download them here http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/festival/participer/prepare
  • For the layout of the screening rooms, click here
  • Information points with directions and information about the Festival and Marché are located at various spots in the Palais and at the entrances to Riviera and Pantiero; look for the info points signalled by a yellow ‘I’.
  • A luggage cloakroom is located at the Barrière Bistingo (near the Casino Croisette) and open most days until at least 5pm.
  • Lost property is at the Gare Maritime (the port building next to the Palais) and open until 6pm.
  • Download the free bilingual (English and French) mobile application ‘Festival de Cannes’  available for iPhone, iPad and Android to stay updated with hour-by-hour coverage, film trailers, videos from the red carpet and more.
  • Radio Festival will be broadcast on the official Festival de Cannes website and mobile app and will also be available on Deezer. And you can catch up with previous broadcasts on podcast platforms (iTunes, SoundCloud).  The radio studio will be located within the Festival enclosure and accessible to passing visitors.
  • On Twitter, you can follow @Festival_Cannes with hashtag #Cannes2017.  You’ll also find official Festival updates on Facebook, Instagram and Festival TV.

cannes_cnt_9nov09_istock_b

TRANSPORT TO/FROM CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

The most popular option to arrive in Cannes is via train or bus. Central Cannes and the zones around the Palais and Croisette are flat and paved, and the distance from the train station or main bus station to the Croisette is only a few minutes walk.

If you’re driving, be aware that the large carparks nearby and under the Palais des Festivals are extremely busy.  There are road closures frequently during Cannes Film Festival (particularly on the Croisette) and police will block roads for major stars entry and exits from hotels and restaurants.

Public transport schedules at night are limited and taxis are expensive; I highly recommend you to pre-book a transfer before you decide to stay out late.  If you miss the last train/bus, don’t fret – you will not be the only Festival attendee doing the ‘walk of shame’ in the wee small hours of the morning.

Specialised transfers to/from Cannes

Helicopter transfers are by far the quickest way to get to Cannes from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, book via Azur Helicoptere.  For bilingual English and French private chauffeured transfers, book via registered driver Djamel Bouzidi.

By train to Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes train station (Gare de Cannes SNCF) has ticket counters with attendants, but it is very easy and much quicker to buy your train tickets from the self-service ticket machines.

The self-service machines have English language as an option so you don’t need to be fluent in French to use them.  Use coins for the self-issuing machines as they can be temperamental and often they can’t read non-French issued credit and debit cards.

If you are in Cannes for the Festival, rather than buying single fares get a ‘ZOU ! Hebdo’ pass.  This is a train ticket valid for 7 consecutive days and gives you up to 75% fare discounts, they are available to tourists or residents.  You must specify your origin and destination point – for example, Antibes to Cannes.  TER SNCF, the regional train provider have a ton of fares including discounts if you’re under 26 years of age.

ALL tickets must be validated before boarding your train, look for the yellow validating machine (compostage de billets) at the entrance to the platforms.

04-theme_composteur

Cannes train station has caféterias, a newsagent selling newspapers, phone credit, cigarettes as well as vending machines with snacks. There are also high tables with connections for tablets and smartphones.

Well-maintained and clean public toilets are located just outside the station, 50 metres along from the station entrance. These toilets are open Monday-Sunday 8am-9pm (excluding bank holidays), these toilets cost 50 centimes and you insert your coin into the automated turnstile and it opens the gate. There are 2 ladies toilets, 2 men’s toilets and an accessible parent’s room with baby changing facilities. There is a change machine there to swap notes for coins but it is often out of order so don’t rely on it or there being an attendant available.

Access notes: Persons with reduced mobility can contact ONET Accueil in the main hall of Cannes train station (service available Monday through to Sunday 7.30am-7.30pm) where they can assist passengers with luggage and access on and off trains. All interior facilities of the main train station including the public toilets are on flat ground and accessible.

Buses to and from Cannes Film Festival

From Nice Côte d’Azur Airport to Cannes you can take the following bus routes:

  • Express bus 210 line (between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and Cannes via the highway)
  • Bus 200 (between Nice and Cannes)
  • Noctambus 200 (the night bus for weekends and bank holidays)

All of the above timetables with current prices as at 12 May 2017 are found here: https://www.departement06.fr/vous-deplacer-en-bus/lignes-et-horaires-3029.html

Bus 210 is the fastest bus from the airport, the journey from Terminal 1 to Hôtel de Ville close to the Palais takes just under one hour.

Bus 200 is a local bus and is particularly busy during peak hours with limited luggage storage on board.  The journey takes around 1.5 hours for the full oneway journey from Nice to Cannes, but it is by far the cheapest option at €1.50 oneway.

The Cannes bus stops are the Gare Routiere (near Hôtel de Ville, the port and close to the Palais), and outside the train station (the 200 stop is opposite Hotel Ligure).

If you are staying in Le Cannet, Palm Beach and Mandelieu-La Napoule, local company Palm Bus will run night buses during the Festival.  Their main website is in English, French and Italian with maps and timetables.  For the timetables for the night buses during Cannes Film Festival, download them here NightbusesPalmBus

Access notes: Buses have kneeling ramp entrances and designated wheelchair areas midway on the bus. On bus number 200 there is lighted signage and sound calls advising of the next bus stop to assist hearing and sight-impaired travellers as well on board visual route maps. Wheelchair bound travellers also have an on demand service for regional buses called Access06 whereby you can pre-book a designated minibus ; more information is here (in French only) https://www.departement06.fr/accessibilite-des-transports/service-access06-4020.html

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

If you’re not invited to a party with free food and booze, don’t be put off from a few sundowners or a meal out in Cannes for fear of going home bankrupt. Here are Access Riviera’s recommendations for places to go for decently-priced food and drinks, good atmosphere or a true Cannois experience:

L’Epicurieux, 6 rue des Frères Casanova

A wine bar with excellent antipasti platters as well as pasta, salads and steak. The café gourmand is great and they regularly have live music.

rue Hoche

Rue Hoche is full of caféterias and restaurants so take your pick for somewhere to grab a coffee, drink or meal.  I highly recommend Da Laura on the corner of rue Hoche and rue du 24 août.

The Palace Hotels

All of the bars at the Palace hotels on the Croisette are very good.   My favourite is the terrace bar at the InterContinental Carlton, and Bar L’Amiral at Hôtel Martinez is also excellent with award-winning barmen.

cannes best bars

Bar L’Amiral at Hôtel Martinez is one of Cannes best bars

Marché Forville

I can’t mention food in Cannes without telling people to go to Marché Forville.   Fruit, vegetables, cured meat, seafood – this market has it all which is great for grabbing supplies for snacks or DIY dinners.

If you’re staying in a self- catering apartment, Marché Forville is surrounded by a couple of supermarkets, a boulangerie (bakery) and a few fancy shops selling caviar, salmon and foie gras.  Try the socca or sit for a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants.

The market is open every day from 7am-1pm, except on Monday when it is a bric-a-brac flea market.

Access notes: The entire market is accessible and on flat paved ground. There is an accessible ground-floor toilet at Café de l’Horloge next to the market.

Croisette 72 a.k.a The Gutter Bar

Most popular during Cannes Lions, Croisette 72 is the proper name of the infamous Gutter Bar just across the road from the glitzy Hotel Martinez.  This is one of the places to go at the end of the night during Cannes Film Festival where late night shenanigans morph into early morning shenanigans.  Drink, network, be merry, repeat.

Le Tikawa, Allées de la Liberté

Just a few minutes from the Palais opposite the port, Le Tikawa is a snack kiosk selling tasty decent-sized salads, paninis and cold beers.

It’s by no means plush, just merely a few tables and chairs beside the pétanque pitch, but it is one of the best places in Cannes to have a quick bite to eat – all for a snippet of the price at neighbouring restaurants.

Access notes: Fully accessible on flat ground. Nearest accessible toilet facilities are automated pay toilets in the square.

Le Petit Majestic, corner of rue Tony Allard and rue Victor Cousin

Le Petit Majestic has fame as being one of the Festival’s swarming watering holes to drop by late at night.  The owner has traditionally kept it open around the clock, closing for just one hour daily during Festival to allow for cleaning but this year he has a restriction and must close by 12.30am.  It’s fairly certain this won’t deter Festival attendees.

Le Petit Majestic - a Festival favourite for pre and post-event drinks

Le Petit Majestic – a Festival favourite for pre and post-event drinks

Ma Nolan’s Pub, 6 rue Buttura

Irish pub Ma Nolan’s gets a lot of Festival foot traffic due to it’s location close to the Palais.  They’ve had a bit of an issue with slowness of orders if you sit outside due to lack of staff, but the atmosphere is pretty good and if you’re not in a major hurry it remains one of Cannes best pubs.  Head along for tap beers, pub food, live music, and screening of football on TV.   www.manolans.com

Access notes: Ma’s is fully accessible outside with tables on flat ground, however there are stairs up to interior of the bar and toilet facilities.

Ma Nolans - one of Cannes best pubs

Ma Nolans – one of Cannes best pubs

WiFi

I get quite a bit of feedback that the WiFi in and around Cannes venues is dubious and erratic, it’s a real shame because the city is competing with other global destinations for festivals and events.  I have heard various explanations about network overloading due to attendee numbers, but for a major event it’s inexcusable in my opinion to have third-rate connection problems.  The Palais and pavilions have WiFi zones but elsewhere in Cannes here are some places to find WiFi.  If you go to any of these places to use their signal, please be courteous and buy a coffee/drink/meal:

  • Cristal Café on rue Felix Faure
  • Factory Café at the Gray d’Albion shopping arcade
  • La Potinière du Palais on square Merimee
  • Le Melting Pot at rue de la Rampe; the opposite side of the port from the Palais des Festivals
  • Mocca which is directly opposite the Palais des Festivals
  • New York New York on Allée de la Liberté Charles de Gaulle
Wifi in Cannes

Wifi in Cannes

WHERE TO STAY DURING CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2017

During Cannes Film Festival, accommodation prices increase dramatically with the most expensive accommodation lining the Croisette.  If you want to book anything centrally located in Cannes you need to be prepared to pay top dollar.

The benefit of accommodation closer to the Festival is you have the option to return to your room/villa/apartment and save time when getting ready for other events.  Staying further away you’ll have to commute, but you will save money for accommodation.  Bear in mind, that over 60,000 people descend on Cannes so if you’re planning to get taxis to and from your accommodation you need to book in advance.

Staying in satellite suburbs and other nearby towns and commuting can be a more financially feasible option for many Festival attendees. Possibilities include Mandelieu la Napoule, Cannes La Bocca, Le Cannet, Golfe Juan, Juan les Pins or Antibes.

Accommodation during Cannes Film Festival 2017

I highly recommend Festival attendees to book through reputable sources or if you use third-party sites always verify their booking process and read some reviews.

Unfortunately, the Festival brings fraudulent companies to the scene who contact prospects with bogus offers using the logos of the Festival, Marché du Film and Palme d’Or so as to seem authentic accommodation providers.  The fraud is often not discovered until the time of check-in when the reservation, company and payment are no longer to be found.  Result = no refund and no reservation.

Check, check and triple check the authenticity of your accommodation source. French-registered rental businesses should have a physical address, contact details and a SIRET or SIREN number (business registration).

Overseas accommodation representatives should email you full booking details including local contact numbers, so take the time to check everything before transferring deposits or full payments.

Some fraudulent company names to avoid that have duped Festival goers in previous years include:

Business Travel International

Cannes Events

Euro-Events

Expos-International

Expo Travel Group

Global Living Group

Premier Destinations

Riviera Network

Splendor

Star Eventz

The Ultimate Living Group

Universal Events Solutions Limited

Universal Shows

If you’ve left your Cannes accommodation until the last minute, check with the Office du Tourisme at the Palais des Festivals as they often have updated information on hotel availability and partner hotels give them last minute rates to fill rooms.

THINGS TO SEE & DO IN CANNES

If you are not an accredited Festival badge holder, you can still visit Cannes and enjoy the atmosphere. Here are a few local tips of things to see and do during Cannes Film Festival 2017:

Film-related sightseeing

Cannes connection with film goes beyond the 12 days that the Festival will be hosted; there are a number of film-related sites to visit around town.

At the base of the Palais des Festivals, you can see the ‘Allées des Étoile’s du Cinema’ which is a trail of handprints from film stars. Unfortunately, there are no plaques with information to match the handprints but you can grab a few photos of Angelina Jolie, Sylvester Stallone, Jodie Foster or Sophia Loren’s hands.

Access notes: Fully accessible on paved flat surface.

Allées des Étoiles, Cannes

As well as the handprints, Cannes has a series of film-themed murals scattered around the city on walls of buildings.  The most prominent one is right near the port at the Gare Routiere bus station.  The murals include Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and cars from films.

For directions to find each mural and descriptions, download this map : Murs peints de Cannes

Access notes: Fully accessible on flat paved surfaces.

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Two new murals were added recently at Pont Alexandre III of Pulp Fiction and the Piano.

The Croisette

Outside of Festival time, it is one of the best seafront promenades on the Côte d’Azur but ‘La Croisette’ is undeniably the hub of all the action during Film Festival.

It is a supremely entertaining strip of road to visit with an eclectic variety of people found there during Film Festival  – hardy tourists, wannabe stars with their own ‘rent-a-photographer’ escorting them, men in tuxedos at 9 a.m, champagne swiggers at beach clubs, and every dressed-up fashionista in town strutting along with the chance to be snapped by any one of the many photographers.

Stroll along the Croisette and you will see all of the promotional billboards at the entrances and on the façades of the hotels. Security is tight for all the hotels, but you can join the spectators and paparazzi crowding the road frontages for free.   The top hotels for star spotting are the Hotel Martinez, InterContinental Carlton and the Majestic Barrière.

For families who are visiting, there is a small public playground with fairground area and carousel (fee applies) near to the Palais, and another small public playground at the other end of the Croisette before Port Pierre Canto. All of the kiosks along the Croisette sell ice-cream, snacks and drinks.

Access notes: The Croisette is paved and flat all the way from the Palais des Festivals to Port Pierre Canto, and there are accessible public toilets along the Croisette.

‘Games, Chance & Cinema’ at Palm Beach Casino

Situated at the far end of the Croisette, the legendary Palm Beach Casino was built in 1929 and welcomed all the jet set personalities including stars from the world of cinema.

It will be closing soon to move to Hotel-Casino 3.14 in Cannes and therefore to honour its legacy there will be an exhibition from 150 painters, sculptors, visual artists and photographers on the theme “Games, Chance and Cinema”. The includes works from fine art photographer Justin Gage, Italian painter Giacomo de Pass and French artist Patrick Moya.  The 10 Colossi statues have been customised by artists and will be sold at the end of the exhibition.

The exhibition has started already and will run until Sunday 4 June 2017.  At the closing of the exhibition, over 400 historic items will be auctioned off at 10am including the roulette tables, chandeliers, a bronze Sphinx statue from the Carlton, photographic portraits of film stars, light fittings, plush armchairs (for just €50!) and a very special Steinway & Sons piano (Lot 166) which has accompanied concerts by Charles Aznavour (a frequent performer at the Moulin Rouge), Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt.  For the auction lots, see here PalmBeachCasinoAuctionLots

Le Suquet

Charming Le Suquet is the Old Town quarter of Cannes, interspersed with terraced stone houses with flower boxes, small alleyways and many restaurants.

To get to the top of the hill where the church is (fee applies to enter the museum Musée de la Castre , excluding the 1st Sunday of the month when entry is free), walk up rue Saint-Antoine, rue du Suquet, and then Traverse de la Tour. The views from the top are excellent and reach across Cannes, the Lérins Islands and the Ésterels.

Access notes: Wheelchair bound or tourists with reduced mobility can still visit the top to enjoy the views, though the streets are steep!   Follow rue Saint-Antoine, rue du Suquet, rue du Pré then rue Louis Perrisol. This route follows paved flat roads and avoid the many stairways in Le Suquet. Or jump onboard the Petit Train tourist train that departs from near the Palais des Festivals as it chugs it way up there too.

Thank you for reading Access Riviera’s ‘Ultimate Guide to the Cannes Film Festival 2017!  This guide has taken me a lot of research hours and checking of content so if you’ve found this resource informative or you are featured in this guide, please leave a comment and/or kindly share it on social media crediting Access Riviera (Facebook or Twitter). Thank you!