Seven Tips for a Cannes-tastic Festival Experience

photo credit: Robert Wheaton

photo credit: Robert Wheaton

Cannes Film Festival. What an experience. After non-stop screenings, celebrity sightings, red carpets, line-ups (oh, the line-ups) and lots of rain, my time here is finally coming to an end.

Cannes is a beautiful town and the Cannois lifestyle is definitely one of luxury and leisure.

Here are some things I’ve learned from being here:

1- For a 66-year-old event, the film festival could still be better organized. Allow for an extra day or two to figure out the logistics the best that you can.

2- Free movies! Once you receive your accreditation, there is no additional charge for the movies. Try to see as many as you have the energy to see, and check out the reviews ahead of time, to maximize your chances of seeing movies that are worthy of your time.

3- Wind, cold and rain – my initial visions of sandals and summer dresses were quickly squashed. Although there were the odd warm moments, make sure to pack some warm stuff, especially since the temperature drops very quickly here and you don’t want to freeze while waiting in lines. Make sure to pack an umbrella, too, since in many cases you’ll have to wait outdoors before being let into the theaters.

4- Nice and Monaco – these two areas are only a hop, skip and jump away from Cannes. Make some time, if you can, for a day trip to Nice and some evening gambling in Monaco. The train to  Nice is only 6 euros and from there you can hop on the bus to Monaco for one euro and enjoy a 45-minute bus ride up the coast. The trains from Monaco to Cannes are about 9 euros, but don’t run very late, so make sure you know the schedule.

5- Finding accommodations close to the Film Festival headquarters is the only way to go. Try to get as close to the Croisette strip as possible. Services like Airbnb and HomeAway are great and can work out to be less expensive than hotels. If you’re too far away from the strip, be prepared to be limited in your evening activities or to fork out hefty taxi fees.

6- Brush up on your French – not only will it make your overall interactions in Cannes a lot smoother, but many of the international films will only have French subtitles.

7- (And finally) Relax! As much as you’ll want to watch as many movies as possible, don’t forget to spend some time enjoying Cannes. You can walk along the strip, along the beach, try the many restaurants, or even people watch while lounging at one of the many cafés.

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