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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Dating back to 1946, the prestigious, star-studded Cannes Film Festival not only awards the Palme d’Or – one of the most sought-after prizes in cinema – it also serves as the world’s biggest film market, attracting 10,000 agents, distributors, directors and producers, eager to show their wares.

For the general public, it’s a thrill just to be in Cannes during festival season – soaking up the excitement of glitzy red carpets and screenings all over town, movie-star spotting, and even the chance to see some films in competition.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
Frequency: annually
When: Mid-May
Duration: 11 days

Getting there & doing it

Cannes is packed during the festival. If you want to stay in town, book a hotel room or apartment months in advance, or be prepared to commute from neighbouring areas. Avoid the congested roads if possible and get in and out by train, instead of car or bus – local trains are rarely crowded. For star spotting, arrive early at the Palais de Cinema’s red carpet: if you seriously dress up and beg, a badge holder may even invite you inside. It does happen.

High-net-worth travel company On Point can arrange luxury trips to Cannes including VIP passes and access to screenings.

The big screenings are invitation-only, but there are a number of free and ticketed screenings during the festival. Free tickets for Critics’ Week films are available on a first-come-first-served, on-the-day basis at a tent next to the Miramar Hotel – arrive at least an hour before the start time to buy one.

Tickets for the independent Director’s Fortnight programme are cheap and sold in a tent by the JW Marriott hotel (all films are subtitled in English). Free screenings take place at the Cinéma de la Plage in front of the Hotel Majestic; arrive by 8pm for a beach chair to watch its ‘out of competition’ films (otherwise you can just bring your own beach towel).

When to do it

The festival runs for 11 days at the end of May each year.

Destination guides

2

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Cannes

Cote d'Azur, France

View of the beach and seafront in Cannes

Sister city of Hollywood and host of the famous film festival, Cannes, with its palm-lined La Croisette, golden beach and five star hotels oozes cinematic and pure Riviera glamour.

French Riviera

Cote d'Azur, France

View of boating marina and the town on hills behind

Money, glamour and bombshell looks: this beach-trimmed stretch of French coast offers decadent hotels, lounging in beach clubs, fine restaurants and world-class art.