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FRANCE > Cannes

Getting Canny in Cannes

Jim Manyon

T/T #34
FreeStyle 1.17
Insight


Cannes is the place to be, the place to be seen. Cannes is the place of film festivals, awards, flash-flash! But Cannes itself is the biggest star on the French Riviera.


Have you got the star-quality to bask convincingly in Cannes? By being canny you could bask in the distant worship of adoring would-be fans. You only have to look rich, glamorous, tanned, wear cool shades, hang out at the right places, step on a few gang-planks, lean on a few expensive cars. Could be you could pick up a spouse as a result and then lead the life. Cannes is the place to be, the place to be seen. Cannes is the place of film festivals, awards, flash-flash! But Cannes itself is the biggest star on the French Riviera. Get canned in Cannes!

Cannes is, of course, best known for hosting the International Film Festival in May. And it is, of course, the not unsurprising haunt of stars, starlets, and film producers. Goodness, there's Arielle Dombasle. Exotic people are to be seen throughout the summer - rehearsing - and you could always mingle. Yachts and cruise ships float around, Porsches parade their booty around, but only the very latest models of Lamborghini or Ferrari attract serious attention. So if you're going to hire a car for your bit of flash, remember it's got to be the best. And if you can afford to look like you have this lifestyle then you will surely have it anyway. A cheaper option might be to hire a poodle, that ultimate accessory to drape across your handbag.

The centre of Cannes is located around the old port, and the famous Croisette boulevard and beach hug the shoreline round to the east. the Boulevard Jean Hibert runs along the coast to the west alongside some great sandy beaches.

Le Suquet, the old part of town, overlooks the port with the 12th-century Tour de Mt. Chevalier, ramparts and 12-16th-century Notre-Dame-de-l'Espérence church adding maturity and distinction. The hilly Le Suquet quarter has narrow streets leading up to fine views from the top. From the ancient ramparts in front of the church you can look across the city to the port and bay of the Cap de la Croisette, and west to the Gulf of La Napoule and the Massif de l'Esterel mountains.

You will know if you're there during the 2-week period allotted for the Film Festival. Apart from prices, the resort is transformed practically beyond recognition as 15,000 film producers, directors, journalists, paparazzi and, yes, even stars, crowd into town for their premieres and parties. Unless you're in this pack it's unlikely you'll be staying in town - unless you have a fat wallet and long-made plans.

Camera, lights, action, pretty girls with more skin than dress, less sense than dress sense, more kisses blown than by Michael Jackson, more reputations rise or are blown away than any other time of the media year, more red carpets than Buckingham Palace, more 'people in black' than a puppet theatre. Plus the occasional seriously shining and beautiful star (such as Sharon Stone, to the right). The air is full of scent and promise, including that of the local lavender, and more restaurants than you would believe. There are those with menus you cannot afford to open and those with simple food you can afford to eat. There are restaurants where you can't afford the food, only the ice in the drinks. And there is La Croisette, the place to just drink in the atmosphere or settle down at a table to a long and lazy lunch, all the better to be seen. Here you will get people staring at you, wondering where they saw you before, or in what film, but just look cool and nonchalant in your shades, smile briefly at their recognition to reassure them, and bask, just bask... You could try the Martinex, Majestic or Carlton.

If you want to slum it and keep some cash then go west, young man, to Le Suquet. There's the choice of paying to lie in rigid ranks with the beautiful, sardine-like bodies of Cannes or take the cheaper side sections; well, free, actually. But, of course, don't forget your image. It's nothing in the free patch.

Image? You care? Well eat at the Eden Roc. Rub tables with Nicole, Kate, Sharon, Clint or Arnie. And when you've done that, been there, got the T-shirt but little cash, head around the peninsula to Antibes where you can sit at a café table with a lingering bottle of rosé at relatively modest outlay. Or go a little farther to visit the Ephrussi de Rothschild villa and imagine what it is like to live the palatial life with a little more clarity. Or picnic on the peaceful Isles de Lerins after a short ferry ride from Vieux Port and then follow the Chemin de la Chasse to the southern shore and the delightful rocky inlets to enjoy your al-fresco lunch.

You must shop in Cannes, of course. But you could well drop before you shop when you checkout some of these prices. This is the place for chic and expensive. Pop along to Nice for serious shopping, or Antibes for a new yacht. You'll be relieved to hear, however, there is a local Rolls-Royce dealership. Find boutiques and gifts along Rue d'Antibes; oh, yes, and the movie theatres! Visit Boulevard de la Croisette for art galleries, jewelry stores and the most exclusive clothing shops; or to find a budget hotel if you don't mind slinking in.

Of course, you might just want to watch a film while you're there. But, be warned, even during the festival, there's an awful lot of dross inlaid between the occasional marvelous movie. Perhaps its best to just bask. Live the movie!

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