The First Timer’s Guide to Cannes

Cannes Film Festival

Since this special time of the year is coming up, here it is again….

The only place in the world I bet where you will see people in beach wear, walking side by side with men in tuxedos, women in fabulous gowns, women and men barefoot holding their shoes, paparazzi and celebrities all on the same pavement at any given time of day.

I was lucky enough to go to Cannes part of the delegation representing Egyptian film makers in honor of the success of our revolution, and even luckier to have met some great people there,  and got a lot of work done as well!

I know this post will be more useful next year, a month before Cannes, but I thought why not jot it down here while it is still fresh in my mind.

So here goes, the stuff I wish I knew before I went to Cannes! I promise I will keep updating it throughout the year, to finally have a quick beginners guide to Cannes 🙂

– Change your money (if you are not using Euros in the first place) at the airport, at YOUR airport preferably, because they take 4% of total sum, doesn’t sound like a lot, but if its a large sum, then it’s a rip off!.

– The Croissette: The main street on overlooking the beach, where the major hotels, Palais, Casion and pavillions are.

Shopping: Dior, Prada, and the sorts.

Cafes: Cafe Roma, (crazy over worked waiters with unnecessary cowboy hats, but good food) right in front of the Casino, Mocca (overpriced and over rated food, will need reservations for dinner). A little closer to the port you will find Le Grand Cafe, great food, amazing pastries, and you will be able to connect to a free wireless network.

– Antibes: the parallel street where there are less extravagant shops: Ex, ZARA, Pimkie and the sorts.

– Meynadier: the closest street to call “local” shopping. Shoes, souvenirs, clothes, etc with reasonable prices from 5 Euros to 25 Euros. Also, an interesting shop selling souvenir Cannes shirts and memorabilia, along with some quite “scandelous” and what my mum would call “obscene” t-shirts, and what my brother would call “awesome shit”.

– Most cafes and restaurants stop serving food quite early either 12am, or 3am, supermarkets as well. Mcdonalds on the Croissette closes around 2am, so it is a good idea to stock up from the supermarket on munchies from early on.

– 24 hour restaurants: I don’t remember the names, but one in Antibes on your way to the police station near the port. Very crowded, but offer good hamburgers and desserts. Another Turkish/Lebanese tiny restaurant behind the Grand in one of the small alleys.

– There is a nice but overpriced Lebanese restaurant called Nour beside the Majestic, serving Shisha, and great lebanese food.

– La Pizza, at the end of the Croissette, is kind off moody on the quality. Everyone will say it is the best Pizza they ever had, but it usually is the case as a one time trial!

– One of the best steaks I had there was at Dauphine (Dolphin). The steak was juicy, the mushrooms were delicious, and the sea food platters were beautifully garnished with huge mangos! They also serve hug pots of Mussels, (I personally don’t eat) that seem to be orgasmic from the faces of people who were eating them.

– Brown Sugar, a little alley side cafe, (go left from Dior on the Croisette and turn the third right), which served the best chicken burger I had in my life! That is a challenge since all the chicken I had in Cannes tasted how I would imagine rubber to taste.


– The time you would need taxis the most, would be after a long night of partying, so if you try to wave a taxi at 3 or 4am, be sure they will try to scam you for atleast 30 Euros. One night a taxi took me literally on a 3 minute ride back to my apartment, and he made me pay 40 Euros. Personally I was so tired and have been walking barefoot for 15 minutes, my judgment was quite impaired, and I was jubilant to arrive. Best bet is to head into one of the hotels and ask the concierge to call a cab for you, and those will run by the meter, which is quite fair.

– If you want a driver to take you to the Nice airport or the train station, I was suggested a very reliable concierge company called RP, Jad the cute Italian looking driver, who take us to Nice for 60 Euros, and 10 extra for each extra person. (+33630291212)

– Accommodations: If you do not have the luxury to stay at one of the exquisite hotels on the Croissette: Majestic, Carlton, Grand, Martinez, Marriot and further down the port the Radisson, then be careful with your search for cheaper hotels who say they are walking distance from the main streets, but turn out REALLY far. If you can get an apartment on the Croissette, Antibes or even Meynadier, then you are lucky and you got a good deal. My contact was Lionel (+33621307497)

– I also found a small hotel at Lafayette for around 75 Euros per night with wireless connection. Will provide the details when I find their card!

– Night life: VIP room (blah), Nikki Beach (sometimes nice, sometimes blah, which is a nice beach in the morning), the terraces of the different hotels, the Radisson roof top (which doesn’t serve alcohol), other than that, you have to be smart enough to be able to snag a couple of invite only party passes.

The best parties are those organized by the different countries who accommodate the numerous pavillions. I was told that this years best were the: Brazilian party, Dubai Party and a select number of others. I personally loved the Egyptian Party, since it made me feel that I am back home. It was at Agora, a cute indoor place with beach access for a breath of fresh air and the smokers.

– If you want to take a shot at catching a glimpse of your favorite stars, start to camp infront of the Palais red carpet starting 4 pm. There you will find hords of paparazzi, fans and people of all ages holding little signs saying “Ticket to —- film SVP”.  Some of them actually do get tickets from people who cannot make it to the premiere, and they can’t just keep the ticket as a souvenir, they have to give it away, since it is scanned upon entry, and if no one uses these tickets, the owner will be penalized. Cannes is all about justice!



  1. Hi,

    For someone who has been to Cannes numerous times, both during festivals & events as well as for leisure, I found this article interesting, informative & entertaining.

    Funny that I keep reading what you write & never made the connection between your writings and seeing you in AROMA with Manawishi, Tamer & Hesham Salama.

    Keep up the good work & hope to keep reading what you write & finding as interesting as always.

    With your permission, I’ll share it on Facebook.

    All the best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s