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The Cannes Film Festival – a Rendezvous with Culture and Glamour

For twelve days, from 13 to 24 May, producers, film-makers and film stars come together in the city of Cannes to compete for the coveted Palme d’Or. The Cannes Festival is one of the most prestigious cinema festivals in the world. That is why, year after year, it draws great stars from the world of cinema, while millions of film enthusiasts the world over await the awards ceremony with baited breath.

Under the presidency of Louis Lumière, regarded as the father of cinema, the festival was first inaugurated on 1 September 1939, fatefully just one day before the outbreak of World War Two, which led to its cancellation until it was reinstated in 1946. The idea of the festival was to rival the Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the world. It was a way of expressing displeasure over the fact that the Italians had excluded some French gems from their festival, in favour of certain titles of a political and nationalistic character.

Showcase of the Famous

While the festival itself is for professionals, Cannes is inundated with hoards of film enthusiasts and onlookers eager to get a glimpse of their idols. If you’d like to see them all together, you’ll have to stake out a viewing spot during the opening ceremony at the entrance to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. The moment of greatest expectation is when the stars ascend the famous red carpet of 24 steps, comparable to the Oscar award-winning ceremony in Hollywood.

How to Enjoy the Festival

The major screenings are held in the Palais des Festivals and, as we intimated, they are generally reserved for professionals. You can, however, opt to view the open-air screenings, which are free of charge, in the Cinéma de la Plage, located on Plage Macé, where a film is shown every night as part of a themed programme. During the festival, Cannes throngs with art and culture and activities are staged all over the place. A week before it opens, the Cannes Festival website will be publishing its 2015 Official Selection of activities, which include master classes or film cycles, among other things.

What to Do in Cannes?

Cannes is a privileged city, located in the very heart of the French Riviera and just 27 kilometres from Nice airport. It is surrounded by picturesque villages, including Le Cannet, La Roquette-Sur-Siagne, Mougins and Vallauris, while the idyllic beaches of the French Riviera lie south of the city.

Discover the Old Town – Le Suquet

Set a top a hill lies the oldest quarter in Cannes, Le Suquet, a maze of alleyways and stairways running between the Riviera’s typical Provençal houses. This is a good area for having a meal as it is packed with bistros and restaurants, and also features one of the best views over the bay, the harbour and the Lérins Islands.

The Promenade de la Croisette

The Promenade de la Croisette is a palm-tree-lined esplanade that stretches for three kilometres, from Casino Palm Beach to the Palais des Festivals. Next to the palace is a promenade with Hollywood-style fame for the over 400 handprints it bears of such film stars as Charlie Chaplin, Julie Andrews, Sylvester Stallone, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minelli and Meryl Streep.

Take a Tour of its Paradisiacal Islands

The Lérins Islands lie within easy reach of Cannes harbour.  They comprise an archipelago which lies opposite the city’s bay and are made up of four islands, of which only two – Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat – are inhabited. The first of these is the most visited, with its pleasant, forested areas. Here stands the Fort Royal, where the Man in the Iron Mask was once held prisoner for over ten years. The life of this mysterious character was the subject of a film by Leonardo di Caprio.

Surround Yourself with Luxury – Visit the Grand Villas of Cannes

Wrap yourself in luxury with a visit to the Villa Rothschild in the district of Croix des Gardes. The villa, in neoclassical style with magnificent gardens, was once home to Lord Brougham. His influence over the nobility of the period prompted other residences to be built, turning Cannes into the prosperous city it is today. Another one worth visiting is the Villa Domergue, designed by Jean-Gabriel Domergue and inspired by Venetian palaces. Its gardens are adorned with statues of the owner’s wife.

Text by Scanner FM

Images by Pedro Szekely, Titem, Pietro Izzo, Pierre Le Bigot, Sam2907, Mathieu Lebreton

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