Outside of Hollywood, the world’s most famous movie destination has to be Cannes. Known to be jam-packed with celebs during the Cannes Film Festival (this year from 16 to 27 May), the gem of the Côte d’Azur also attracts plenty of beach lovers, fashionistas and epicureans with its kilometres of pristine coast, high-class shopping and fine dining.
Room with a view
Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Woody Allen, Morgan Freeman, Kate Moss and Elton John are among the galaxy of stars who have stayed at the Majestic Barrière. Facing the Palais des Festivals – ideal if you want to be at the heart of the festival action – the Majestic Barrière is the epitome of old-world glamour and luxury. Adorning the walls of this historic hotel is an impressive collection of over 1,000 black and white photographs of stars who have graced the red carpet at the festival, from Halle Berry and Sharon Stone to Robert De Niro and Francis Ford Coppola.
Set your luggage down at the Christian Dior penthouse, a favourite of Elton John’s. Everything in the 450sq metre apartment conveys the refined spirit of the French designer – from the dining room, with its stone and Hungarian herringbone parquet floor and the brilliant red cushions on the sofa in the lounge created by Christian Dior himself in 1955, to the dreamy walk-in closet in silvered wood worthy of the most fashionable designer wardrobe. The penthouse also comes with a private terrace and heated pool, a personal butler and a priceless view over the steps of the Palais des Festivals. Of course, spending the night in the lap of luxury does come with a fittingly heart-stopping price tag – a cool €30,000 (Dhs145,000)!
INFO: Rooms cost from €224 (Dhs1,000) in low season and from €585 (Dhs3,000) during the festival, Hôtel Majestic Barrière, 14 Boulevard de la Croisette; +33 (0) 4 92 987 700; www.lucienbarriere.com.
Shop tilL you drop
Lined with haute couture boutiques, such as Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, the Croisette is where A-listers come to spend serious dosh. But if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to Dolce & Gabbana, you can still hit the elegant Rue d’Antibes and splash out on the latest French threads at Le Comptoir des Cotonniers and Blanc Bleu – you might even run into Leonardo DiCaprio or Madonna who have shopped here.
INFO: Blanc Bleu, 102 Rue d’Antibes; +33 (0) 4 92 996 770; Le Comptoir des Cotonniers, 10 Rue d’Antibes; +33 (0) 4 92 991 429.
With over 300 bistros, restaurants and bars, Cannes is a haven for foodies and night owls. Follow in the footsteps of Gérard Depardieu, Sharon Stone and Kate Moss and dine at Fouquet’s Cannes, the younger sibling of the famous restaurant on the Champs Elysées in Paris. The one-Michelin-star Gault Millau restaurant cultivates the great French brasserie tradition with dishes such as oyster gratin with spinach in sparkling grape sauce; cod and truffle parcel with fried chanterelle mushrooms and spinach roots; and pan-fried calves’ livers. Delish!
INFO: €50 (Dhs250) per person, 10 Boulevard de la Croisette; +33 (0) 4 92 987 705; www.lucienbarriere.com.
Party like a star
The hottest place to cosy up to the stars – that is if you manage to get in – is Le Bâoli. Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz, Bruce Willis, Paris Hilton, Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino come here to party until the wee hours in the company of the world’s finest DJs such as Bob Sinclar and DJ Flash. Another celeb fave is Le Sparkling, a bar-restaurant-club where singer Mika was first spotted.
INFO: Le Bâoli, Port Canto, Boulevard de la Croisette; +33 (0) 4 93 430 443; www.lebaoli.com; Le Sparkling, 8 Rue Frères Pradignac; +33 (0) 4 93 397 121; www.sparklingforyou.com.
Lights, camera, action!
The swanky Mediterranean resort is not just the place where celebs, jetsetters and hordes of paps descend during the festival, it’s also where blockbusters are made. When you’re not schmoozing with the stars, book a Cannes cinema tour that will take you to the locations where To Catch a Thief, Golden Eye, and French Kiss were filmed. Then hop onto the ferry to Sainte Marguerite Island to solve the mystery of The Man in the Iron Mask and discover the setting of the eponymous film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
INFO: Cannes Cinema Tour, Palais des Festivals, beachside; +33 (0) 4 93 383 918; www.cannes-petit-train.com. €3.40 (Dhs15) Sainte Marguerite Island; +33 (0) 4 93 385 526.