The glamorous Cannes Film Festival takes place in the French Riviera town every May and attracts people from all over the world, but is also one of the hardest events for tourists to even enter. If you are not a celebrity, featured filmmaker, producer, or extremely well-connected in Hollywood, chances are you will not get into most events.
I previously wrote articles about all the other wonderful, less tourist-y things you can do in Cannes instead of visiting the festival. I then thought that even though the other activities I recommended are really great, more off-the-beaten-path experiences, I should still give some advice on how to get into the famous film festival for those who really, really want to attend but are sadly not related to Steven Spielberg or Jennifer Lawrence.
So, if you want to get a taste of this unique event, here are some ways for travelers to crash the Cannes Film Festival.
Stay in the Right Hotel
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Book your Cannes hotel on La Croisette, or anywhere between La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes. Most celebrities will be staying in the hotels by the waterfront (when they are not lounging on their yachts), so you will get a good amount of celebrity sightings, and perhaps even be able to mingle with them a little at the hotel bars.
The best celebrity hotspot is probably the InterContinental Carlton Cannes, but you won’t have any trouble finding someone famous. During the festival, hundreds of paparazzi roam the streets and will gladly knock you over to get to a celebrity they have spotted within 400 feet. Be on the look out, they usually move in herds.
Enjoy the Cinema de la Plage
The festival coordinators always set up a movie screen right on the beach next to La Croisette, and screen films there after sunset. The films always have a unifying theme; the year I went, they were showing James Bond classics.
So set up a little picnic, or take your partner and enjoy a romantic night watching classic movies on the beach, along with the rest of the festival attendees. Make sure you line up early to get in, as seats fill up quickly and there is a limit to how many audience members they can seat.
Patience Will Get You a Ticket
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You may not have been personally invited to a film screening at the Cannes Film Festival, but the good news is that people who do get invited sometimes get a bunch of extra tickets they don’t need. So plenty of people will show up outside the Palais des Festivals (the festival headquarters) with signs stating the number of tickets they want and the screening they want to attend.
The Palais is walking distance from most hotels in Cannes, so you can get there quickly and easily. If you don’t mind waiting with a sign, and you have a good deal of patience, this tactic can get you into a fair amount of screenings (though perhaps not the most popular ones).
Also, it is absolutely illegal to buy or sell tickets to the screenings, so if people have extra tickets, they will give them away. Do NOT get a ticket from anyone charging you money, and definitely don’t get a ticket online, as it will probably be fake.
Stroll the Red Carpet
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If you get a ticket to a red carpet movie premiere using the above method, you get to walk the red carpet! The dress code is strictly black tie, so make sure you have your best formal wear with you on your trip. If you don’t, not to worry; there are plenty of designer shopping options on Rue d’Antibes and La Croisette.
Lastly, if you want to feel like a star regardless of how many events you get to attend, check out one of the many great film tours of Cannes. To truly feel like a star, follow it up with some delicious wine tasting in nearby Grasse.