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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

The 70th Cannes Film Festival 2017 and 75th Monaco F1 Grand Prix

Next month, two of the most exciting events on the French Riviera are set to thrill worldwide media – the 70th Cannes Film Festival 2017, and the 75th race of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.

Hosted in the second half of May, these are two of my favourite events to write about and visit.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing my in-depth guides about both events with advice for recommended companies to book with, advice for travel to the events, tips for first-timers and details about the best parties!   Cannes Film Festival attendees can also find my other guide through Marché du Film distribution during the event.

Get the FREE Cannes Film Festival 2017 and Monaco F1 Grand Prix 2017 guides

If you aren’t already subscribed to my blog updates, please click the blue button on the right-hand side on my blog home page ‘Subscribe via email today!’ to receive these insider guides straight to your inbox.  You can also follow me over on Twitter; www.twitter.com/accessriviera

I will be attending both events and will be posting regular photos to Instagram, follow the feed at https://www.instagram.com/ariviera06/

The 70th Cannes Film Festival 2017

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the world’s most influential platforms for the film industry with press coverage ensuring high publicity across print and digital media.

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Cannes Film Festival 2017 is one of the major events on the French Riviera (image: FDC)

For 2017’s Cannes Film Festival, Spanish film director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar has been selected as the President of the Jury, and 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.

The 70th Cannes Film Festival will take place from 17 to 28 May 2017.

The 75th Monaco F1 Grand Prix

Track preparations have already started in the Principality of Monaco; it takes around 2 months for the set-up and involves construction of tonnes of grandstands and kilometres of safety barriers.

monaco grand prix set up

(images: MonacoDailyPhoto)

 

During the 4 days of Monaco F1 Grand Prix, (there is also a Grand Prix Historique held every 2 years), it would be fair to say Monaco is a very cool place to visit!

Race fans come to Monaco for the day and crowd the race stands, hotel balconies, apartment terraces and the yachts berthed beside the circuit.   Restaurants and bars are full, hotels are full and parties are happening day and night.

The prestige for the race brings many celebrities to the event, and naturally the luxury sponsors who are keen to capture the allure of a legendary motor race in the public eye.

This year, Monaco F1 Grand Prix is from 25 to 28 May 2017.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Fête du Citron 2017: Bringing ‘Broadway’ to Menton’s Lemon Festival

We have bid farewell to 2016 and I am looking forward to what 2017 brings!   For visitors to the French Riviera, February is an excellent month to visit because there are many interesting festivals and public events happening.

One of my favourite festivals because of it’s uniqueness is the Fête du Citron – the Lemon Festival – which is hosted each February in Menton.

In 2017, the 84th edition of Menton’s famous Lemon Festival will be held from Saturday 11th February to Wednesday 1st March.

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History of Menton’s Lemon Festival

In Victorian times, the French Riviera was not known as a summer destination but was a popular winter resort where artists, distinguished royalty and the wealthy came to escape cooler climates, gamble in the purpose-built destination casinos or ‘take the air’ as it was referred to.   The mild winter climate also attracted convalescing tourists who would stay in the towns believing that the exposure to sun and sea air would help their ailments.

Due to the seasonal population increase, Menton initiated a festival as a novel way of providing entertainment for locals and tourists.

Old town architecture of Menton on French Riviera

Menton is one of the most picturesque towns in the region with a backdrop of the mountains, an eastward-facing Italianate Old Town and a promenade stretching toward Cap Martin.

It has the accolade of being the warmest town on the French Riviera with high sunshine hours that are ideal for growing citrus fruits, and in the 1920’s the concept of including lemons was added to the festival because Menton was the most significant lemon-growing town in Europe.   The Mentonnais lemon is more elliptical than round, it has a high acidity and exceptional oil in the peel so it is favoured by top chefs.

vintage poster (copyright A.Bermond)

vintage poster (copyright A.Bermond)

Today, the Fête du Citron welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors and it is one of the region’s major festivals.

The Lemon Festival Theme & Programme

Each year, the Fête du Citron is based around a theme.  The years from 2013-2015 were themed on a trilogy about Jules Verne and the Tourism Office decided that the next trilogy from last year would be based on cities or regions famous for their major art.

Therefore, last year’s theme for the Lemon Festival was Cinecittà about Italian film.   If you have never been to the Lemon Festival, 2017 will be a great year to go because I can’t rate it highly enough.   This year, the theme for Fête du Citron 2017 is Broadway.

Fête du Citron 2017's theme is 'Broadway'

Fête du Citron 2017’s theme is ‘Broadway’

Visitors to the 2017 festival will be able to step back in time and relive musicals from the 1930’s until the present day, all with a citrus-infused ambiance!

I’m a big fan of musicals so I think it will be fantastic and I can’t wait to see what they create for the displays and parade floats – from Mary Poppins in the heart of the music hall, to Dorothy and Toto along the Yellow Brick Road to the annual Cats Ball.

During the festival, there are all types of roaming street performers including buskers, clowns, stilt walkers and costumed actors.  You can buy tickets for Sunday afternoon parades or Thursday night parades complete with lanterns, dancers, confetti, bands and fireworks.  You can see a trailer video below which shows what to expect at the Fête du Citron (video: Ville de Menton):

The Jardins Biovès is very popular and this is where you’ll find the impressive citrus sculptures, some reaching heights of 5-10 metres.

The sculptures are constructed around wire frames using tonnes of lemons, oranges and agrumes and they really are an engineering marvel.   I think the entrance fee is very fair to see a unique exhibition.

The gardens are open during in the day and also on select evenings, when the sculptures are illuminated with sound.

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Adjacent to the Jardins in the Palais de l’Europe you’ll find the ‘Salon de l’Artisanat’, an arts and craft market with vendors selling citrus-themed products.  Here you can find goods such as Provençal table linen adorned with orchard groves, limoncello, marmalades, orange-infused wine, old fashioned lemonade (which you can also find sold at many shops in Menton as ‘citronnade’), curds, olive oil and vintage art with photographs of lemons. The Palais also hosts an orchid display.

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This year to match the Broadway theme, there are some additional shows. On Saturday 11 February and Tuesday 21 February, singers, dancers and musicians will perform at Theatre Francis Palmero a medley of Broadway hits from Mamma Mia to West Side Story to Phantom of the Opera.  Tickets for these performances are available here

For more details about the Lemon Festival, click here Fête du Citron 2017 Programme

Where to buy tickets for Fête du Citron 2017

Tickets can be pre-purchased via various options:

  • Online at www.fete-du-citron.com  From past experience, if you buy them online they will be issued in your name and accompanying companions only as you have to give I.D. when entering the festival (though in reality, I have never once been asked for I.D).
  • At the Menton Tourist Office, 8 avenue Boyer, 06500 Menton.  During the festival, the Tourist Office is open Monday to Sunday from 9am-6pm, and from 9am-9pm the days that the night Corsos happen.
  • For the citrus sculpture display at Jardins Biovès you can also buy tickets at the entrance (door sales).
  • For groups of 20+ people, you receive a small discount per person and can order tickets via email pro@feteducitron.com

Ticket prices for Jardins Biovès 

Day time citrus displays (Exposition des Motifs Agrumes) between 10am-6pm:  Adults €10 / Kids (6-14 years) €6

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Night time citrus displays (Jardins de Lumières) between 8.30pm-10.30pm on select nights only: Adults €13 / Kids (6-14 years) €8

chateau

Ticket prices for the Corsos (parades):  Thursday night Corso Nocturne at 9pm OR Sunday afternoon Corso des Fruits d’Or parade at 2.30pm

Standing:  Adults €10 / Kids (6-14 years) €6

Seated: Adults €25 / Kids (6-14 years) €10

fete-du-citron-2014-menton-paysage-82lemon-festival-80-9_w600

Combo tickets include entrance to either the Corso des Fruits d’Or parade OR a Corso Nocturne parade PLUS the Jardins Bioves citrus display

Standing (Forfait Promenoir):  Adults €17 / Kids (6-14 years) 10

Seated (Forfait Tribune): Adults €30 / Kids (6-14 years) €15

For a routing map of where the parades go, see below – Circuit Dimanche (for the Sunday afternoon Corso Fruits d’Or) or Circuit Jeudi (for the Thursday night Corso Nocturnes):

Fête du Citron parades map

Fête du Citron parades map

Important information for persons with reduced mobility

The festival has free entrance for wheelchair bound visitors to the Jardins Biovès and parades.  For their accompanying person, they are entitled to receive free entry to the gardens and standing access to the parades (seated admission is at reduced price).

For persons with 80% mobility with disability card I.D and their accompanying person who must be named on the same card, they are entitled to free entry to the garden display and access to the parades but without seating. You are entitled to reduced prices for a seat in the stands.

lemons

For persons with reduced mobility there is a footbridge and stairs separating half of the garden sculpture display at Jardins Biovès – however, if you are in a wheelchair you can exit at the bottom of the stairs and re-enter at the other side where the exhibition begins again (there is a ground-level gate with an attendant).

The Palais de l’Europe where the orchid display and Salon de l’Artisanat is located is wheelchair accessible with an elevator to the first floor, and this is where you will find accessible toilets located on the ground floor.  Entrance is free to Palais de l’Europe.

If you are attending the Corsos (parades), there is a designated wheelchair spectator area on Place Saint-Roch which is the eastern end of the parade route you can see in the map above.

For persons with restricted mobility wishing to enjoy the beach, you can access the south-facing stretch of beach opposite Hôtel Royal Westminster.

Special package deals for visiting Menton

For the duration of the festival, hotels in Menton are offering special weekend and week-long packages including accommodation, breakfast, seated tickets for parades, unlimited entry to Jardins Biovès and more.

Séjour  Tangor are deals for 1 and 2-star hotels

Séjour Citron are deals for 3-star hotels in the centre of Menton

Séjour Calamondin are deals for 3 or 4-star hotels on the seafront

For accommodation only, the Menton Tourist Office’s hotel booking site is found at:  http://www.hotelmenton.fr/hotel-menton/

reserver-votre-hotel

Getting to Menton for the Fête du Citron

By Train

The closest train station to the Fête du Citron is called ‘Gare de Menton’, and is just 200 metres from the Jardins Biovès that host the main citrus sculptures.  Beware that you don’t get off at the station ‘Gare de Menton Garavan’ which is the next station heading towards Vintimille (Ventimiglia) in Italy and 3 kilometres from the festival.

To check train timetables, you can go to http://www.ter.sncf.com/paca

By Car

The easiest (and quickest) driving route is via the A8 highway, get off at exit 59 (sortie 59).

68161526For car parking, take your chances with public parking in the town or use the designated free car park located just off the highway exit at the Intermarché du Carei Shopping Centre; regular shuttle buses link this car park and the festival sites on the Sunday parade days.  There is also a car park at Stade Rondelli and Stade Val d’Anaud, again regular shuttle transport links the parking with festival sites.

It’s important to note that there are some street closures and detours around the centre of the festival, however all detours are well-signposted.  On the days of the Corsos (Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights) traffic access to and from Menton is usually busy.  See road closure info below:

Dimanches = Sundays

Jeudis = Thursdays

Axe rouge stationnement interdit = Red zones, no parking

Axe noir circulation & stationnement interdits = Black zones, no access or parking allowed

Axe vert = Advised routes

Road closures during Fête du Citron 2017

Road closures during Fête du Citron 2017

By Bus

Bus number 100 travels between Nice and Menton and bus number 110 travels between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and Menton.  These are regular public buses and not put on specifically for the festival. Its important to note that if you plan to attend the parades the bus schedules from Menton to Nice do not run late in the evenings. You can find these bus timetables here:  https://www.departement06.fr/vous-deplacer-en-bus/lignes-et-horaires-3029.html

For any organised group tour buses they drop off passengers at the Musée Cocteau on the seafront and the distance is 15 minutes by foot to the Jardins Bioves.

Around Menton itself, you can take the local Zestbus for €5 per day for unlimited travel, buy your ticket on board from the driver.  www.zestbus.fr

When the curtain closes….buy your citrus here after the Lemon Festival

The Fête du Citron uses an enormous quantity of citrus fruit during the event. A huge percentage is thrown away due to rot or composted, but once the main sculptures are disassembled the rest is sold off cheaply to the public.

So, at the end of the festival you can buy a kilo of lemons for 30 centimes and oranges for 50 centimes as well as beautiful flowers from the displays, and I’m quite sure there’s no limit – besides, they have plenty of stock to move!

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Top sightseeing and other things to do in Menton

Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman is situated in an architecturally distinct building on the seafront and has extensive film excerpts and collections of the works of Jean Cocteau who spent much of his life in the region.  Sadly, he died before this museum opened.   Another Cocteau site to visit is the Hôtel de Ville (Menton’s Town Hall) where Jean Cocteau was invited to decorate the Salle des Mariages, the official room for marriage ceremonies with Provençal images such as a fisherman and his bride.

d0347869_2422589More Cocteau influences can be found at the old defensive Bastion that was built on the harbour wall, not far from the modern Musée Cocteau. It is the original small museum that was redecorated by Jean Cocteau and until the purpose-built museum opened it was the main location for his new exhibitions to be displayed there.  The seafront walkway is flat and paved and therefore ideal for family outings and nearby is a small children’s playground.

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The Musée des Beaux Arts is housed in Palais Carnolès, which was the former summer residence of Monaco’s Grimaldis.  The collections include art from the 13th century onwards from artists including English painter Graham Sutherland and Dufy.  The surrounding gardens have one of the largest fruit tree collections in Europe with over 120 different fruit trees such as limes, Seville oranges, clementines, lemons and grapefruit trees.

Foodies will enjoy visiting Menton.  You can find stores such as Au Pays de Citron and Prestige de Menton selling lots of lemon-infused goodies as well as great restaurants using local produce such as Michelin starred Mirazur.

Menton has a number of beautiful churches including Basilique Saint Michel and Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs located near to each other in the Old Town.

Basilique Saint Michel is a Baroque church that is one of Menton’s landmarks, its 16th-century altarpiece is by Manchello (1565).  The square in front of the church is paved with pebbles in a design of the Grimaldi coat of arms and is a magnificent setting for an annual classical concert in August, the Menton Festival de Musique.   The surrounds were also filmed in Bond movie Never Say Never Again where Bond chases Fatima on his motorbike and crosses down the stairs at Place de la Conception.

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The 17th-century Chappelle des Pénitents-Blancs has a ornate façade and is historically listed; don’t miss stepping inside if you visit as the interior is beautiful.

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Menton’s seafront is a lovely place for a stroll – Promenade du Soleil sprung a number of Belle Époque buildings during its heyday and has a wide, wholly accessible seafront pathway with plenty of cafeterias and restaurants for a meal or drink.

The promenade leads all the way to Plage des Sablettes, the main beach that curves around the bay beneath the Old Town.  You can see the road that follows the bay; this is built over a series of arches built by Napoléon I who wanted to move munitions and men quickly without losing time in the steep, narrow alleyways behind.

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The French Riviera is dotted with numerous famous gardens, a legacy of many foreign residents.  Menton has some well-known gardens – in fact, they have held an annual festival to celebrate them, Le Mois des Jardins held each year in June.  In 2017, the Jardins Biovès will also participate in the Côte d’Azur’s first Garden Festival from 01 April to 01 May 2017.

The hillside Serre de la Madonne gardens originated in 1924 by an American born in Paris, Lawrence Johnston.  In 1907, he created Hidcote Manor Gardens in the Cotswolds in England and for many decades he travelled and looked for plants to acclimatise in Menton. His French garden has fountains, statuary and orangeries for exotic plants.

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The Jardin Botanique et Exotique Val Rahmeh was established by a former governor of Malta in 1905.  There are over 700 tropical plants including edible varieties such as medicinal plants and spices from the Americas and Asia, as well as a rare tree from Easter Island.  The water lily pond is really pretty as the Victorian waterlilies grow up to 2 metres in diameter.

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One of the French Riviera’s best kept botanical secrets is the historically-listed Jardin des Colombières. Part of a private estate created on the site of an old olive grove, the gardens were designed by Ferdinand Bac, who also painted themed Mediterranean frescoes inside the villa.  You can visit the gardens and villa by guided tour only by booking via the website http://lescolombieres.com/en/index.php   Due to the hillside layout, the gardens are not accessible for people with mobility issues.

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les Colombières Menton France

les Colombières Menton France

The Jardin et Villa Maria Serena is on the seafront beside the Italian border and was built around 1880.  The garden is a hectare and a half of tropical and sub-tropical plants including palm trees, agaves, and cyclads with a nice view of the sea and Menton.

5785292183_e66c3e657c_bJardin Fontana Rosa is a Valencian-styled garden created by Spanish writer Vicente Blasco Ibañez in the 1920’s.  The garden is dedicated to the memory of important writers such as Cervantes and Dickens and is decorated with ponds, columns and busts of writers.  The Rotonde de Cervantes is very vivid with benches and bright mosaics.

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Fontana

Musée de Préhistoire Régionale has exhibits and archaeological pieces from Menton and neighbouring Liguris up until the end of the Bronze Age including rocks and the skull of ‘Grimaldi Man’.

Visiting a cemetery may not be the top of any tourist’s list, however Menton’s Cimetière du Vieux Château (Old Château Cemetery) is situated high above Menton and is worth visiting for the panoramic views over the sea and tiled rooftops.  The cemetery is home to some famous burial plots including those of William Webb Ellis (the founder of rugby) and English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley.

88650346Useful Links:

Fête du Citron website:  www.fete-du-citron.com

Fête du Citron Mobile app: Download on the App Store and Google Play

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Feteducitron

Twitter:  @fete_du_citron

Menton Tourist Office, 8 avenue Boyer, Tél . +00 33 (0)4.92.41.76.76, www.tourisme-menton.fr

Image credits:  Access Riviera, Belhamba, France Voyage, Garden Visit, Les Colombières, Menton Tourist Office, Pinterest

If you have found my post informative, please click on the share buttons to share it on social media via Facebook or Twitter. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the Fête du Citron 2017!

 

 

 

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

I would like to take the opportunity before the last hurrah of the festive holidays to say thank you to all my fans, followers and clients for a great 2016.

2016 has been a year of new connections and interesting work projects mixed with a dose of laughter, tears and trials from my family including a few bouts of chicken pox and kids illness that comes part and parcel of being a parent.

To all the followers, likers, sharers of anything ‘Access Riviera’ without your clicks and shares my blog is nothing worth getting up for so please do keep following in 2017!  I have also (finally!) stepped into the Instagram-a-sphere, so if you fancy checking out some of my photos from the French Riviera and other travel pics of mine please drop by to say hi www.instagram.com/ariviera06   

Last but not least, to my family – thank you for your support of my work deadlines this year, my typing in the quiet of the night and general unpredictable nature and bad jokes – I love you all.

I want to wish all of you a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve whether you are staying in for the night or planning on fuelling your next hangover.   Happy New Year, Joyeux Réveillon and see you in 2017!

Becks

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Why this travel app is like having the French Riviera in your pocket

Imagine reading a great travel article about the French Riviera and thinking to yourself, “I’ll bookmark this and use it as a reference when I go there…”

If you have access to the internet, you can visit the website again. But more often than not, you’d rather not use up valuable data to access the internet and then spend your holiday time having to look up directions to find all the great places you want to visit – that amazing beach, the restaurant everybody raves about….

Guess what? There is an easier, quicker and smarter way!   Use a GPS-guided travel article.

top sightseeing tour cote d'azur

GPS-guided travel articles are a great way to discover a destination

What is a GPS-guided travel article?

A GPS-guided travel article is a travel article or blog post that has GPS coordinates embedded in the article and a map of the route the author described in the article.

You can find them in over 600 worldwide cities via the popular travel app, GPSmyCity, that has been reviewed by The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times and Travel Weekly.

best travel apps

GPSmyCity is a popular travel app with tours available in over 600 cities worldwide

Benefits of using a GPS-guided travel article

Many local government or tourism boards offer free audio walking tours that you can download, however because you are in France this means they’re often usually only offered in French language.

There are plenty of free maps available at tourism offices, however they skip all the local tips that only come from living and experiencing the region on a day-to-day basis – where to find the best local food, the best times to visit monuments, how to save money on transport etc

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If you’re the sort of traveller who avoids group tours because they’re not to your liking or don’t suit your budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit Monaco without seeing some of the best attractions, or explore Villefranche-sur-Mer without learning a bit of its history. You don’t need a group tour; you just need a smartphone or iPad.

monaco on a budget

sightseeing tour french riviera

Convenient, user-friendly tours

Once you download GPSmyCity, it works offline so you will not need an internet connection to use the article as a guide. It will show you right where you are on the map and guide you to each location with turn-by-turn directions (by foot, car or bike).

cheap sightseeing tour monaco

GPS navigation at your fingertips

Working offline is a genius solution for travellers always on the move because you can download any travel article from GPSmyCity free of charge, and then read it at your leisure without Wifi or having to rely on unreliable internet connections – at a cafeteria while enjoying a French pastry, on the beach, during airport stop overs, wherever (!).

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Working offline is great for travellers on the move

One of the biggest benefits of this app to me as a parent and juggling kid’s routines while travelling is that I no longer need to plan our family itinerary around set tour departure times because we can explore a destination at our own pace.  So, “Hello to an afternoon siesta for the kids, goodbye to racing around trying to squeeze in a destination’s highlights!”

Plus we save money because the app upgrade is a small travel expense compared to a family paying individual tickets to join a tour group for a guided tour.  It’s just like having a personal tour guide without the time restrictions!

Who will find these tours useful when visiting the French Riviera:

 – Families looking for tours that are not time-restricted

– Backpackers on a budget

– Tourists interested in history or local tips about a destination

– Cruise ship passengers who want a self-paced tour in Villefranche-sur-Mer or Monaco without the time restrictions or group numbers on organized shore excursions

– Tourists who visit the French Riviera and want to go to the market in Ventimiglia (Italy)

– People looking for advice about visiting Monaco on a budget

– Travellers who need offline maps or want to avoid roaming data charges

best french riviera tours

The French Riviera in your pocket – ** FREE UPGRADE **

 The ‘lite’ version of GPSmyCity is free and includes a city map, photos and attraction details that you can read, but for the tour map and turn-by-turn directions, all you do is pay a small fee to upgrade.

The upgrade option that includes GPS-navigation makes travelling on the French Riviera budget-friendly, convenient and easy.

As a bonus (and to introduce you to how user-friendly this app is), I am offering a FREE upgrade to my ‘Monaco on a Shoestring’ tour in the GPSmyCity directory for a limited time.

From today (Monday 5 September, 2016) and ending next week (Monday 12 September, 2016) you can grab your own tour of some of Monaco’s best sightseeing with a dose of local knowledge mixed in.

Monaco on a budget - find out local tips, places to visit

Monaco on a budget – find out local tips, places to visit

You can access GPS-guided travel articles two different ways:

  1. Click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version and start making plans to see these great locations in your own time and at your own pace.
  2. From the GPSmyCity app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available.

Other than my Monaco sightseeing tour, discover one of the most popular travel apps and see the rest of my travel articles featured on GPSmyCity…. You can find out how to make the most of your time seeing top sightseeing attractions with a few hidden spots, and where to get the best local cuisine!

Here are the links:

Ventimiglia:  A  slice of Italian life

ventimiglia market

Visiting the Ventimiglia market is a popular day trip from the French Riviera

Sightseeing in Villefranche-sur-Mer

things to do villefranche

Disclaimer: If you do upgrade one of my downloaded travel articles, I will receive a small commission. This helps me offset the time and costs of maintaining a travel blog for other travellers to enjoy the beautiful French Riviera.  Thanks to GPSmyCity for their assistance and support..…Merci et à bientôt! 

Image credits: Access Riviera, Pixabay, Deavita

How Brexit will affect tourism on the French Riviera

The big news of the past fortnight has been the outcome of the historic Brexit referendum that has cast huge uncertainty over economics, trade and politics.

Certainly tourism to the French Riviera will have a bumpy ride as the Brexit result settles and the great unknown becomes the known.

Whilst the public are happy to voice their opinion on social media, the referendum has split loyalties amongst friends, families and co-workers with many refusing to detail their vote and many small to medium businesses staying tight lipped with their comments on the result to avoid business backlash.

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I have written this post to provide information and it is skewed toward UK tourists who visit this region; whether you supported the ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ campaigns I hope this post gives food for thought beyond tabloid media and political opinion.

Currency

Currency fluctuations were always on the cards regardless of the referendum outcome as any major global event will cause the markets to change.

Niall Bates, Managing Director of Chic Gites – Stylish Apartment Rentals in the Heart of Cannes commented that, “The currency effect was felt immediately – euro denominated holidays are now around 10% more expensive to holiday makers than they were a week ago.”

In the days following the result, major British banks including Barclays stopped accepting stop loss orders confirming their fear at the similar chaos created by last year’s Swiss franc upheaval. Global foreign exchange providers including Travelex, Travel Money and Commonwealth Bank put a cap or stop on buying pounds stirling to prevent exchange mayhem.

The pound stirling has experienced a rough ride pre-Brexit over the past few years with industrial and manufacturing sectors in decline, uncertainty on financial markets because of China and the prospect of an interest rate hike setting the value on a decline since the lows at the end of 2014. The zero or reduced rate for certain goods and services could therefore change. There could be an expansion in the extent of zero-rating currently denied by the EU. Or there could even be a removal of reliefs.

European luxury brands have also taken a knock due to the depreciation of the stirling; the flagship luxury French Riviera stores located in Cannes, St Tropez and Monaco will be competing with the UK stores who are experiencing a surge in customers.

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Aviation

Brexit is likely to create a real headache for UK-based airlines particularly the low-cost carriers such as Easyjet, Ryanair, Monarch, and Jet2 that service Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.

The EU is made of individual member states/countries however it is treated as one customs area, treating members as a single state in the interests of free trade. This allows for airlines and operators based in EU-member nations to freely conduct business in and out of neighbouring EU-member countries without being subject to VAT (Value-Added Tax) which is fixed between 15%-25%.

Easyjet’s CEO Carolyn McCall stated that ‘Leaving the EU would have a material adverse effect on Easyjet’s financial conditions and results of operations’. For your Average Joe who plans to travel from the UK to France, this translates in the media to ‘higher airfares’ and ‘the end of cheap flights’.

What the airlines have omitted to tell passengers is the rulings that govern compensation if their flight is cancelled or delayed 3 hours+ (dependent on circumstances), fall under EU Passenger Regulations (EC Regulation 261/ 2004). With Brexit this will mean this law will no longer apply to UK travellers or will need to be renegotiated. Therefore, British parliament will be acting on behalf of travellers; ideally they would want to retain the same level of compensation or actually improve it so in the meantime the price of flights is dependent not only on aviation fuel costs plus the current EU legislation covering (anticipated) compensation claims.

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Likewise, private jet charter companies will see some flow-on – it is too soon to tell whether private flights between the regions may be subject to additional fees. Brexit has thrown uncertainty over whether or not UK-based aircraft operators will still be considered private use, along with questions of cabotage rights.

For those not familiar with cabotage rights, essentially they are open-skies deals that allow for an airline based in an EU-member nation to transport passengers within other EU nations for domestic air travel, typically short haul flights which are vital for business travel.

To provide some data, the growth in global demand for air travel has varied between 5.2% and 6.5% for the past 5 years (stat: IATA Economics) with European passenger volume sitting around 5% growth. Much has been bandied around in the media about the Single European Sky (SES) initiative and if the UK leaves the EU how they will be shut out of the EU aviation market and airfare prices will skyrocket for UK-EU flights.

The Single European Sky initiative was implemented by the EU to manage increasing air traffic and minimise costs of air traffic service provision; European air traffic management handles approximately 26,000 flights daily. The SES breaks down national boundaries of 67 airspace blocks into just nine – making it easier for air traffic controllers to guide aircraft.

By re-entering a single aviation market this will increase overheads for UK airlines as negotiations take place however to get around any restrictions, I expect EasyJet would seek an EU-based Air Operators Certificate (AOC) for its continental European operations, while the others could set up a UK-based AOC.

It should be noted, that EU membership is not a prerequisite for belonging to the Single European Sky initiative as many people have been led to believe. Norway, Switzerland, Tunisia, Albania and Egypt all observe this. For a comparison case study, consumers can look to Norwegian Air for some insight of a business model operating as a low-cost carrier servicing the EU from a country outside the EU – they are the third largest low-cost airline in the European zone and rank above Easyjet, Ryanair and WizzAir for on-time performance.

Accommodation

The effect of currency fluctuations will see UK travellers increase their efforts to seek accommodation discounts and specials on the French Riviera as the value of the stirling drops so it presents an opportunity for French Riviera-based travel companies to push deals to UK tourists, especially outside peak season. Look for more aggressive marketing on sites such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Lastminute.com, Expedia and Promovacances.

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The instability with the stirling will work in reverse for the UK immediately following the vote with U.S and Chinese travellers seeking out UK holidays.

Ctrip, China’s biggest OTA, has announced that the Brexit result has seen a 200% search increase on their app for UK holidays, so this is the perfect chance for off-spin marketing to capture these tourists who may then choose to extend their UK stay by heading over to French shores.

The UK, especially London, won’t fade as a top-ranking destination; in 2015 London was the top global city destination by international visitors and London Heathrow is the top foreign airport by U.S. passenger traffic (stat: Office of Travel & Tourism Industries)

Niall Bates, Managing Director of Chic Gites in Cannes continues with some insights, “ In the medium to longer term there is more uncertainty over the fate of the UK economy. If the UK does experience the predicted recession in coming years, we could experience a similar slowdown in conference attendance figures in Cannes as we did post the Credit Crunch in 2008. Although this would affect non-UK clients significantly less than in 2008, UK companies continue to represent a significant proportion of conference attendees in Cannes. However, as we experienced post 2008, the reduced expenses budgets resulted in increased demand for apartment rentals as companies looked to save money by choosing self-catering over hotel stays. So for our apartment rental business I would expect little if any affect in the short to medium term.”

This echoes my predictions as I expect to see a rise in the sharing economy due to self-catering potential as this means UK tourists will have less £ to spend on meals when on holiday here. Airbnb (who ranks Paris then London as the 2 cities with biggest listings outside of the U.S) and Homestay should expect continual enquiries. For disabled travellers, HandySwap will provide excellent options to cut travel costs with home exchanges.

Package holidays & Cruises

Brexit will influence the UK consumer’s decision to travel with destinations such as Cyprus, Malta and Ireland that rely greatly on UK tourism expecting to suffer a downturn in visitors.

On the upside, destinations closer to the UK such as Belgium, Spain and France can expect to increase marketing of package holidays and all-inclusive getaways to reduce the variable expenses at destination such as meals and fuel.

The U.S and U.K markets are dominant in cruise demand with the Mediterranean being the second most deployed destination after the Caribbean (stat: CLIA). Aside from potential changes to port and customs regulations, Brexit will influence cruise pricing for P & O and Cunard as well as Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited and Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings including provisioning costs for food and drinks on board that may filter through to the consumer.

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Eurostar

How will Brexit affect Eurostar? The most popular sectors between London and Paris, Lille and Brussels may be affected by new regulations for border control and fare prices are likely to fluctuate in the initial uncertainty.

  • If you are travelling from London itself to Paris or Brussels, book online at http://www.eurostar.com for the best deals. Friday and Sunday are peak times (and peak  prices!).  For spontaneous Eurostar passengers who don’t care what train they travel on between London and Paris/Brussels, Eurostar has special fares with a 7-day advance purchase (£25 instead of £45 oneway) on a new website live since May 2016. You can access the site signing in with Facebook: https://snap.eurostar

If you are based in the UK and intend to travel on the Eurostar to Paris, then onwards via train to the French Riviera there are a number of travel tips you can facilitate to reduce your total train fare:

  • If you are travelling from outside London to a western European destination including French Riviera stations and starting your journey at one of the 130+ UK train stations, www.loco2.com is a great starting point for booking all-in-one tickets that combine the domestic UK train sector with the continental train sector. Note: Eurostar bookings open 180 days ahead of travel while most domestic continental trains typically open 92 or up to 120 days ahead so bear this mind when trying to confirm trains.

I highly recommend you check current Eurostar tips online at The Man in Seat 61, he has in-depth and invaluable advice about booking Eurostar tickets and global train routes including the rest of Europe. Top Tip: His best tip in the web link above concerns booking online for ‘London International CIV’ and ‘London Eurostar CIV’ which are well-kept secrets for discounted fares between over 130+ UK stations and a special online destination that automatically adds a cheaper UK sector to Eurostar fares.

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The Auto industry, Self-drives & France

The UK Automotive industry supports 800,000 UK jobs from vehicle manufacturers to parts suppliers with Toyota, Land Rover and Nissan having plants based there. Aside from the manufacturing implications, with the Brexit decision and many UK tourists choosing to self-drive to France, this option is likely to reduce as crude oil is priced in dollars so as at today, the low stirling means UK petrol and diesel prices will increase at least in the short term. Ride-sharing services such as BlaBlaCar should capitalise on tourists looking to reduce travel costs.

Medical insurance while on the French Riviera

The UK’s inclusion in the EU means UK nationals can receive public medical treatment in the EU for reduced or no cost using their European Health Insurance Card under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.

With Brexit, this agreement must be renegotiated or all travellers will need to take out full private insurance to cover them in the event of any medical assistance being needed during their visit to the French Riviera.

Tourist Visas

Much has already been debated about the possibility of tourist visas for UK nationals to enter European Economic Area countries.

Many citizens of EU nations also enjoy the ability to cross borders without presenting a passport when travelling throughout Europe; because the United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Agreement, UK nationals still require a passport when entering France but enjoy the right to free movement throughout the rest of the European Economic Area once they enter.

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For Brits already living within France, it is unlikely that your residency will be affected. Asking existing residents and property owners to move or sell would be in breach of existing conventions, such as The European Convention on Human Rights (not to mention the colossal paperwork involved).

What will remain unchanged for UK tourists to the French Riviera?

The Brexit vote is not legally binding yet, the vote was just a referendum, one the UK government can simply ignore (granted this would be upsetting over half of the voters who opted to leave the EU). Until the government takes action to invoke Acticle 50, which will not be within two years, it does not mean the UK have officially left the EU.

If you are travelling to the French Riviera in 2016 and 2017, things will remain mostly unchanged:

– There will be no changes to passports as UK tourists will be free to move between the UK and EU as before the vote. This means you queue in your usual passport line at airports and you will not require visas.

– Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid until the UK officially leaves the EU.

– You will still be covered under EU law for compensation for flight delays and cancellations until the UK officially leaves the EU.

– You can still take cheap alcohol back to the UK from France so grab that bottle of French wine you love now.

The fact remains that the UK tourism market is vital to the economy of multiple EU countries, not just France. Countries outside of the EU such as Switzerland and Norway have been able to reach economic agreements with the EU in an effort to establish cooperative partnerships, and the UK will be aiming to negotiate similar terms as the Brexit debate settles as it will be beneficial to many to keep the tourism status quo.

Monaco Grand Prix 2016 : Last-Minute Tips

May is one of the busiest – and craziest – months for me with 2 major events keeping my email inbox full and social calendar marked.

If you visit the French Riviera during May, you may get the chance to attend either the recently finished Cannes Film Festival and/or Monaco Grand Prix with different atmospheres and experiences.

The Monaco Grand Prix 2016 is held from 26 May to 29 May, with the main race of 78 laps starting on Sunday at 2pm local time.

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Usually I have this guide posted online far in advance, however this year I have been inundated with work for Cannes Film Festival plus chickenpox has hit our household this week making life a bit more challenging!

If you’re reading this now, I hope you can grab some last-minute tips to help you get the most out of your visit this year or in the future.  Also, pop over to read my article on CityOut Monaco about ‘How to Visit Monaco Grand Prix on a shoestring‘.

Note: This guide features supplementary ‘Access Notes’ after many sections specifically giving information for persons with reduced mobility to enable them to enjoy Grand Prix. I hope you find this information useful and share it on social media.

Big deal, it’s just another Formula 1 race, right?

Wrong.  Monaco Grand Prix is THE most desired race by F1 drivers to win and a legendary motor race that brings a huge dose of glamour and atmosphere to one of the world’s smallest principalities.

Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world's most iconic motor races

Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world’s most iconic motor races

Whether you are on board a superyacht, watching from a balcony terrace or sitting on the hillside at Le Rocher, Monaco Grand Prix can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of your budget.

The circuit itself is on Monaco’s city streets, with elevation shifts and tight bends making driver’s skill a huge factor in negotiating the narrow and twisting roads without meeting the barriers.  They also have the addition of a stint through the Fairmont Tunnel which makes it difficult to adjust their eyes from darkness back to sunlight in around 7.5 seconds.

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Monaco Grand Prix 2016 Race Schedule

Every Monaco Grand Prix has 3 practice sessions that allow drivers to familiarize themselves with the circuit and for teams to set-up the cars for qualifying on Saturday and the main race.

Practice 1 and 2 were yesterday and Practice 3 is tomorrow at 11am, with Qualifying at 2pm tomorrow.  The Practice days are one option where spectators who want to experience some of the Grand Prix atmosphere can go along, minus the full race day price tag.

The 74th Monaco Grand Prix race starts at 2pm Sunday (Monaco local time).

Monaco Grand Prix 2016 Tickets

The beauty of Monaco Grand Prix is that if you can source tickets, you can buy tickets for a different Grandstand every day.

The cheapest race day tickets – which usually sell out – are General Admission tickets for Le Rocher (Secteur Rocher) which is the grassy hillside leading up to the Palais.

The best spots are in the centre and on the face of the hillside because once you get near the top your view is obscured by trees.  There are regulars that attend each year and camp out for prime spots.

Rocher tickets for Monaco Grand Prix - cheap but don't expect a clear view

Rocher tickets for Monaco Grand Prix – cheap but don’t expect a clear view

Secteur Rocher tickets are by no means luxurious – you’ll be camped out on the hillside for hours on end so wear comfy shoes, be prepared for all weather conditions, take a chair/padded seat and snacks.

Monaco Grand Prix layout (map: acm.mc)

Monaco Grand Prix layout (map: acm.mc)

Sector Z1, situated on the section between Nouvelle Chicane and Tabac corner is also good for those on a budget and trackside though standing room only. The upside is there are restaurants in this section.

Sector Z1 at Monaco Grand Prix - harbourside but without creature comforts

Sector Z1 at Monaco Grand Prix – harbourside but without creature comforts

Grandstand spectators mostly have good views of the circuit, though check in advance prior to buying your tickets because not all have big screen TV’s so you won’t get replays etc

Stands N, O and P are over the water facing the track and piscine and give a good view of that stretch – choose Stand O (the one in the middle) if you can afford it as its more panoramic. All 3 stands look onto big screen TVs.

Casino Square (Grandstand B) seats are the most expensive tickets and in my opinion over rated though you are sitting in an iconic spot and have big screen TV viewing.

At the end of each day, the race officials open the circuit to the public so you can walk on the actual tarmac (photo opportunities abound!).

For Grand Prix tickets:

Automobile Club of Monaco for tickets www.acm.mc

Yacht charters and hospitality packages www.bespokeyachtcharter.com

For a splurge :  Casino de Café de Paris has options for VIP access to the terrace at Café de Paris with set price menus, the prices are very reasonable for what is offered and much preferable to the Casino Grandstand in my opinion.

There are ticket booths that are open on race days for most Grandstands but you must get there early.

Access notes: ** Special note for spectators with reduced mobility ** There is a Monaco association that assists wheelchair-bound spectators specifically for Monaco-based events.

They have a designated viewing platform on Le Rocher (rue Philibert Florence) for Grand Prix as the Grandstands close to the circuit are inaccessible for persons who are wheelchair-bound.

Contact them a minimum of 48 hours prior to your arrival at the Grand Prix, there is an email link on their website home page, you must give evidence of your mobility to obtain free tickets.

If arriving by car, the security personnel at avenue de la Porte Neuve will give you access up the road only if you have a disabled sticker on your car. There is disabled carparking near to the platform on rue Philibert Florence.

Photos of the platform and more information is found on their website here: http://amhm.chez-alice.fr/Page/Nosevenements.htm  

Monaco Grand Prix Travel Information

  • For Monaco tourist information, head to the Official Government site www.visitmonaco.com
  • To look at train timetables (Note: ‘Gare’ is station; when entering a search the Monaco train station is named ‘Monaco-Monte-Carlo’) go to http://www.ter.sncf.com/paca

 

Rascasse corner (accessriviera.wordpress.com)

Rascasse corner (accessriviera.wordpress.com)

How to get to Monaco Grand Prix

My recommendation is to take the train as many roads are blocked for Grand Prix, and many vehicles have special permits to transport passengers to private events or the yachts.

If you choose to drive, be aware that parking anywhere near the circuit is non existent – your best option is to park at Fontvieille (Stade Louis II) and walk over.

Heliair Monaco offer helicopter transfers between Nice Airport and Monaco. The trip duration is around 7 minutes, cost €170 oneway (€280 return) per passenger which includes a shuttle at Monaco from the heliport to your accommodation. Note: The shuttle does not run on Sunday for the main race due to road restrictions.

Monaco is relatively compact but it is hilly. Don’t be put off though as it’s walkable, and the distance from the train station to the port and Grandstands is no more than 15-20 minutes walking from Monaco Monte Carlo train station and there are police directing the way so you won’t get lost.

Monaco Monte Carlo train station

Monaco Monte Carlo train station (Gare de Monaco) is modern with amenities including a newsagent selling newspapers, phone credit, cigarettes, snacks. You’ll also find toilet facilities, an information centre, caféterias and vending machines there.

Monaco Monte Carlo train station (Gare de Monaco)

Monaco Monte Carlo train station (Gare de Monaco)

My Top Tips:  If doing Monaco Grand Prix by train, buy a return ticket in advance at the station you leave from (e.g. Antibes or Nice) as the trains post-race are always busy and ticket queues horrendous. Use the toilet facilities at the train station, at restaurants in La Condamine or any chance before you enter your Grandstand because as much as you’ll hear that there are toilet facilities within the Grandstand areas they are sparsely located and can have huge queues.

Here is a layout of the Monaco Monte Carlo train station which is handy for the location of elevators, travelators and toilets http://www.garedemonaco.com/plan-dacces

Access notes: Access Plus offer free assistance to passengers at Monaco Monte Carlo train station with reduced mobility. You must give 48 hours notice, email them accessplus@sncf.fr or phone 0890 640 650 (local call when in France).

Wifi hotspots in Monaco

One would assume that free Wifi in a destination known for luxury would be easy, but those elusive free hotspots are harder to source than you realise.

Most hotels offer basic, slow service (slowness is on a par with watching the race and returning and its still downloading one email) or you have to fork out for an expensive room to get an internet package with some oomph.

If you’re searching for places in Monaco with Wifi,  here are some recommendations:

  • Auditorium Rainier III, boulevard Louis II
  • Bilig Café,  rue Princesse Caroline in La Condamine
  • Café de Paris, place du Casino – pricey for food and drinks (around €10 for a glass of house wine and €16 for a beer) but a great spot for people-watching
  • Grimaldi Forum, 10 avenue Princesse Grace
  • McDonald’s, 29 avenue Albert II

Where to eat and drink during Monaco Grand Prix

Contrary to it’s reputation, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find well-priced food and drinks in Monaco during Grand Prix.

There are lots of street vendors selling cheap snacks such as hot dogs, paninis, crepes and the like and you can even grab a beer for around €5.

Here are some of Access Riviera’s other suggestions:

Slammers, 6 rue Suffren Reymond

Small bar that’s really popular during Grand Prix, happy hour between 5pm-8pm and live music / street parties every day during Grand Prix. If you want a few beers before or after Grand Prix, head here.

Access notes: Inside is flat with ground-floor toilets however there are 2 steps from street level to the bar entrance.

Slammers Bar, Monaco

Slammers Bar, Monaco

Marché de la Condamine, Place d’Armes

For a quick bite to eat, head to the indoor covered market at Place d’Armes where you can grab some socca, fougasse or truffle pasta.

Access notes: Fully accessible.

Marché de la Condamine at Place d'Armes, Monaco

Marché de la Condamine at Place d’Armes, Monaco

Monte Carlo Bar, 1 avenue Prince Pierre

Situated right across from Place d’Armes, Monte Carlo Bar is perfect for pizza or pasta, not pretentious at all and in a top location for people-watching.

La Rascasse, 1 quai Antoine 1er

La Rascasse is well known due to the Rascasse corner on the Monaco circuit, but it’s one of the top places for a drink post-race. Happy hour starts from 5pm.

Expect live bands and DJ’s every day during Grand Prix and post-race entertainment that varies from fire shows to stilt walkers ; be warned it gets busy.

La Rascasse - famous bar for GP action

La Rascasse – famous bar for GP action

Stars ‘n’ Bars, 6 quai Antoine 1er

The portside stretch where Stars n Bars is located is a hive of activity during the Grand Prix.

It is also one of the places you are most likely to get a photo of the drivers as race teams are parked adjacent(though access to the trailers is fenced off).

Stars ‘n’ Bars is always busy during Grand Prix and they know their market – they have a brilliant outdoor terrace and upstairs lounge bar with views of the port, lots of sports memorabilia, a kids play area, and games arcade.

Food wise, the menu is expansive and includes everything from sushi, buffalo wings, salads to vegetarian and vegan-friendly options courtesy of The Clever Kitchen.

Access notes: Wheelchair accessible.

Stars 'n' Bars Monaco

Stars ‘n’ Bars Monaco

Is it possible to watch Monaco Grand Prix for free?

This is by far my number one internet search query my blog links to related to Grand Prix!

And, the answer is no and yes.

NO – If you want to sneak a peek up close to the race circuit you are out of luck – grandstand security is tight, fencing around the circuit is put in place well ahead of the event and views are non existent unless you have a ticket.

YES – If you’re fortunate enough to have hospitable friends with an apartment or yacht berth overlooking the race circuit, grovel as much as possible for a place on their balcony terrace or aft deck.   For everyone else without a purchased ticket, it is sometimes possible to watch a snippet of the race from Rampe Major (the Le Rocher ramp up to the Palais), or there are free public screens at Place d’Armes relaying live race action.

My Big Tip: If you’re not adverse to walking, I have previously watched the race for free from Club Bouliste du Rocher, a small restaurant situated above the port at the Fort Antoine gardens – to find it, walk from the Palace square along rue Basse, then rue Psse-Marie de Lorraine and you will see the pétanque pitch and restaurant on the corner of avenue des Pins and avenue de la Porte Neuve.

There is a small garden terrace and they set up beer kegs outside and sell pints for around €6.

Watch the Monaco Grand Prix for the price of a pint!

Watch the Monaco Grand Prix for the price of a pint!

Granted  you won’t be able to see much of the circuit but you’ll get a view of the cars coming out of the Fairmont Tunnel and heading to the chicanes before the piscine (swimming pool).  Take binoculars!

Accessible toilets are 1 minute away on avenue St Martin. Below are some photos taken from this location:

Where to watch Monaco Grand Prix for free? (accessriviera.wordpress.com)

Where to watch Monaco Grand Prix for free? (accessriviera.wordpress.com)

Monaco Grand Prix Atmosphere & Attractions

Some people hate it, some people love it but I find the atmosphere during Monaco Grand Prix something special.

La Condamine just in behind the port is the heart and soul of the Grand Prix action. This is where you will find bars and restaurants with tables spilling onto the pavement, and much of the atmosphere is centred here.

Rue Suffren Raymond has many tents selling race merchandise; you can pick up a cap for around €10 and t-shirt for about €15 unless you head for the official merchandise tents or shops where the prices quadruple.  Rue Princess Caroline also has restaurants, bars and souvenir stands.

Monaco Grand Prix race merchandise is everywhere

Monaco Grand Prix race merchandise is everywhere

Place d’Armes is a great place to check out during Grand Prix – there are big screen TV’s relaying the circuit, car simulators, entertainment, lots of bars and cafeterias around the square, the indoor Marché de la Condamine with food vendors and accessible toilets across the road.

Access notes: La Condamine is paved and mostly flat – other than crowds, you shouldn’t have any issues getting around. Avoid stairs at the port end of rue de Milo.

Unless you’re on board one of the yachts, walking the length of Monaco Port during race days is off-limits for the general public excluding quai Antoine 1er. You can also head over to the other side of the Rock, to see Fontvieille Port and there are lots of restaurants along the quay. Follow the sculpture path with over 100 sculptures from Fontvieille Park to the Princess Grace Rose Gardens which is a nice place to sit on benches beside the rose gardens.

Access notes: Accessible on paved surfaces.

ROSE-GARDEN

The Palais Square and Monaco Cathedral are 2 free attraction in Monaco-Ville.  The Cathedral is located on rue Colonel-Bellando-de-Castro, and is the burial place of the Princes of Monaco as well as holding the tombs of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.  One of Monaco’s most popular tourist attractions, the Monaco Oceanarium is closed during Grand Prix weekend.

Access notes: Families with baby strollers can head up to the Palace square via the Rampe Major (it’s a gradual uphill climb but the stairs are a large width so its manageable).

Rampe Major, Monaco

Rampe Major, Monaco

Access notes:  Wheelchair bound or tourists with reduced mobility can still visit Monaco-Ville by using the elevator from the carpark underneath the Monaco Oceanarium, the streets are paved and the Palace square is paved and flat. Bear in mind that the actual State Apartments are not accessible by wheelchair.

Monaco Grand Prix with Kids

Is Monaco Grand Prix doable with children?  Absolutely.  Children 6-15 years get free entry on the Thursday and a decent discount on the weekend.

Be prepared for crowds so if you have a baby stroller it will take you 3 times longer to get anywhere.  Also, be warned that toilet facilities are often crowded or at really sparse opportunities which isn’t good for toddlers toilet training!   Take snacks with you as the food on offer is mostly fast food (hot dogs, chips etc)

I would recommend smaller kids have ear muffs, even though Monaco isn’t as noisy as it used to be it can still be intense for little ears.  If you forget to take your own, you can buy ear muffs there.

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Grandstand L (Piscine Rainer III) is a good bet, but my favourite spot is Grandstand T which is excellent for seeing the cars come down the short straight (by the swimming pool) then slow right down to take the corner before zooming past Grandstand T towards the Rascasse corner.   Try to get seats higher up in the Grandstand as this stand is directly across from the pits so it is great for photo opportunities.  It is also close enough to escape to Stars n Bars if you need a break.

Grandstand T, good for families and opposite the pit lanes

Grandstand T, good for families and opposite the pit lanes

Grandstand K is also highly recommended to see the cars come out of the Fairmont tunnel and hit the piscine chicane and you get a wide view of the port.

General things to avoid

Not being prepared for all weather conditions – Monaco’s weather can change quickly. The Grandstands are not all covered, so you must prepare for hot sunshine and/or rain.  Take suncream, a hat and rain protection.

Partying till late if you’re not staying in Monaco – The atmosphere during Grand Prix is fantastic and many spectators hit the bars and restaurants after the races for a drink or two. However be aware that if you decide to stay for a drink to double check the train timetables – even though Grand Prix is one of the largest events in the region, the trains don’t run all night. Taxis are expensive on the French Riviera and a cab from Monaco to western destinations such as Nice or Antibes will set you back between €80-€150 depending on distance plus night time surcharges.

champagne

Enjoy the post-race parties but don’t forget to check the train schedules!

If you found these last-minute tips for Monaco Grand Prix 2016 useful please share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you!

Image credits: Amber Lounge, Artdevivreparmacha, Biletto, F1 Destinations, Visit Monaco, Senate GP, Stars n Bars, Grimaldi Forum, Palais Princier website, James Bond locations, Panoramio, Cornucopia Events, ExecFlyer