Awards season is upon us once more. The Hollywood greats don their best frocks and spiffiest suits and hit the red carpet in the hopes of picking up a Screen Actors Guild award, a BAFTA or a coveted Oscar. British stars like Olivia Coleman are getting in on the action too this year, with her Golden Globe win earlier this month for her incredible portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite.
This may give you a bit of inspiration – why not go looking for a bit of glitz, glamour and art yourself on your next holiday? If this lights your flashbulb, allow me to suggest one destination with the perfect mix of new-school cool and vintage opulence: Cannes, draped seductively across the French Riviera, hosts the world’s most prestigious film festival. This year it runs from 14 to 25 May.
See below for the must-see events and the top places to stay.
Aside from the Festival de Cannes, there’s plenty here year-round to interest the film buff. Cannes is a beautiful city in itself, and has been the backdrop for a surprising number of movies…
- From the site of the car chase in Goldeneye…
- …to L’Hotel Barrière Le Majestic in Femme Fatale and Ronin…
- …to perhaps the most famous setting of this Belle Époque treasure trove, the International Carlton Hotel from Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief.
Rumour has it that Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier here on set in 1955. Why not soak up a bit of that aristocratic heritage over a Kir Royale cocktail?
Top Tip: There’s a much Quentin Tarantino-themed street art here, as he was associated with the festival after the 1994 Palme d’Or was awarded to Pulp Fiction. Keep an eye out for murals of mysterious briefcases and iconic headshots of Jackson and Travolta, as well as Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega mid-twist.
Cannes’ Walk of Fame
Just like on Hollywood and Vine, the greats of the film world have been memorialised on the streets of this storied city. Stretching from the Tourism Office around to La Croisette, you’ll see many more obscure names on Cannes’ ‘Star-Studded Walk’ than on the Hollywood version.
Filmmaking luminaries from David Lynch to Akira Kurosawa have left a handprint in wet concrete, and Nicholson, Stallone, Streep and Foster are here as well. It’s a proper test for a cinephile to see how many they recognise.
Top Tip: This one definitely draws a crowd – so if you’re here for the festival, take advantage of the clement morning temperatures. If you get here early you can have the place to yourself.
The Festival Itself
This one’s definitely a bucket list activity. For two weeks in summer, the streets are thronged with everyone from A-listers to behind-the-scenes power players. Every hotel turns its conference suites into a cinema, and the industry’s current darlings get screen time.
You owe it to yourself to check out one of the city’s remaining independent cinemas while you’re here; they show a plethora of intriguing spectacles during festival season, as well as throughout the rest of the year.
Top Tip: For the only surviving cinema not to screen blockbusters or dub films into French, check out Les Arcades on Rue Félix Faure. Just don’t bring in any popcorn – they’re rather against anything that rustles, crunches and ruins the old-school ambience.
Where to Stay
Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes – Well obviously I was going to recommend this glorious example of film royalty. The history of the place speaks for itself. Not only that, the luxury and authenticity on show here are hard to match anywhere else in the Côte d’Azur. At the very least this hotel is a must-visit, but a must-stay too if you enjoy the finer things in life, including Mediterranean views, a 24-hour gym, a pool and a beachside sun terrace.
Okko Hotels Cannes Centre – For a more modern touch, this hotel is an excellent choice, and surprisingly quiet despite its central location. You’ll find a laidback vibe here but no relaxation on standards or missing amenities. It features a beautifully refined lounge and terrace, great food, a gym and one of the best locations in the city for shopping (it’s right beside La Croisette, with its Star-Studded Walk, and the boutiques on the Rue d’Antibes).
How to Get There
Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) is the area’s main transport hub, and is around 25km from the middle of Cannes. This destination is well-served from a variety of UK airports, with four airlines flying directly to NCE up to 76 times per week. It takes just two hours to get to this French city from London.
Once on the ground, I’d recommend a Shuttle Direct pre-booked transfer to keep things simple. The journey is just 30 minutes from door to door, getting you to your accommodation in real red-carpet style.
- UK to NCE Flight Time: 2 hours
- NCE to Cannes Distance: 25 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 30 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct has been helping travellers to their destinations around Europe and North Africa for over forty years, with help from some of the best local drivers and a keenly-priced, professional service. Wherever you’re going, let us get you there.