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The Festival de Cannes

Discover the World’s Most Famous Film Festival in the Sunny South of France

Every May, all eyes turn to Cannes, as the world’s most famous film festival arrives in the iconic Palais des Festivals - for a twelve day celebration of cinema - along with an entourage of the who’s who in Hollywood and an army of paparazzi in tow! Read our guide to the history, highlights and ways to discover the Cannes Film Festival, located just ten minutes from Amarante Cannes.

A Brief History to Festival de Cannes

In September 1946, film stars and filmmakers from across the globe graced the once quaint fishing town of Cannes for the first time. But they weren’t here for the fishing, or indeed, even the famous French Riviera sun. No. They were here to discover the first instalment of a blossoming film festival - which had been born from the heady atmospheres that arose in Europe at the end of World War II. Introducing the Cannes Film Festival, which was about to set the world of cinema alight, with its liberal and inclusive approach to the art of filmmaking.

Now, over seventy years on, the importance of Festival de Cannes to cinema has only amplified. It was Cannes, after all, which introduced the world to the Italian Neo-Realists, the French Nouvelle Vague and the gritty Hollywood classics of the 1970s. It’s also where heavyweight directors like Hitchcock, Godard, Truffaut, Scorsese and Coppola got their big break!

But beyond being a mere hotbed of cinema, Cannes has also given the world no end of iconic, notorious and simply outrageous moments, which have supplemented the many movies. Think Brigitte Bardot parading along La Croisette in her famous bikinis, followed fifty years later by Sacha Baron Cohen doing the same in his garish mankini.

Another inevitability is that any which way you turn on this beautiful coastal resort, silver screen history abounds in all directions! From Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier meeting in 1955, to Scorsese and Tarantino winning controversial Palme d’Ors in 1976 and 1994 respectively. That’s not forgetting those beyond the realm of film who too have graced the festival, with unforgettable appearances by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1971 and  Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1987; in addition to the countless activists who have used the global glare on the festival to make their voices heard.

Your Cannes Film Festival Experience

It’s no secret that Cannes’ Film Festival is a highly exclusive affair. But that’s not to say you can’t surround yourself in some movie magic. One such event open to the public is the Directors’ Fortnight - where you can savour a selection of short films, feature films and documentaries, courtesy of the industry’s rising stars. So you may just see the next Sofia Coppola, Spike Lee, George Lucas or Ken Loach - who have all had feature films shown during the fortnight!

Another way to immerse yourself in the action is to head to Mace Plage: every evening home to a Cannes Classic, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of the beach, next to Palais des Festivals! What’s more, the event is completely free, with cosy chairs and blankets provided. Although attending early is recommended, if you want a good spot.

Which leads us on to the pinnacle of Festival de Cannes - the parties, which while many will remain a ticketed, highly exclusive affair, those in the know should check out the following haunts. One such spot where you can rub shoulders with celebrities while dancing into the small hours is Gotha Club - the biggest nightclub in Cannes, which resurrects for the film festival and stays open throughout summer! Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton are just a few familiar faces to appear at the club, which combines elegant interiors with pulsating music provided courtesy of international DJs. Another favourite of festival goers is Le Baoli: sunny eatery by day; chic, beachfront bar by night, boasting refined Asian-themed décor, which provides a temporary home for European royalty, yacht-owning billionaires and the Hollywood elite, during the course of the Cannes Film Festival.