Cannes Film Festival From The Outside Looking In

Visiting the Cannes Film Festival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but can also be totally overwhelming.

The small city normally looks like the opening sequence of Beauty and the Beast, but during the festival, it’s a loud, busy mix of Vegas and Hollywood right on the Cote d’Azur. The everyday lifestyle of older gentlemen playing bocce and teenagers hanging out outside the cafes is interrupted by a 24/7 crowd of culture fanatics and film power players, walking the street in full black tie evening wear right up until sunrise. Cell phones and cameras are everywhere and yachts take over the views of the croisette.

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2. The Festival de Cannes was founded in 1946.

Annemarie Dooling / Via Instagram: @travelinganna

Here, a homeowner sweeps her terrace amid movie posters and souvenir shops on the second day of the festival.

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3. Visitors and locals take a break in bleachers partitioned off between a bocce game and Boulevard de la Croisette, the main strip of Cannes separating beach from city.

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4. A carousel off Promenade de la Pantiero becomes a scooter parking lot during the festival.

Annemarie Dooling / Via Instagram: @travelinganna
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5. Police blockades up where Promenade de la Pantiero meets Boulevard de la Croisette allowing for only foot traffic to the Palais des Festivals.

Annemarie Dooling
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6. A view of the International Village, where power lunches and breakfast meetings shape the film industry.

Annemarie Dooling / Via Instagram: @travelinganna

And yachts. Lots and lots of yachts.

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7. Police block off a section of street for a peaceful entertainment workers protest.

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It wasn’t the first protest in Cannes this festival season.

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8. A man watches the rush of the city below, from a quiet perch near le Suquet, an area where you can still find outdoor cheese markets, closed-sized cafes and narrow winding roads, silent even during festival time.

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9. Finally, screening time comes around and barricades go up around the main theaters, like the grand Theatre Lumiere.

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Anyone with an invitation is allowed entrance beyond this gate to walk the red carpet and enter the screening.

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10. Outside of the theatre, visitors without invitations hold up signs asking for an extra ticket.

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The hopefuls usually need to be dressed in gowns or black tie, since they could gain entrance to the film and wouldn’t have enough time to go change clothes. The creativity of the outfits is one way to enhance your chances of scoring a free ticket.

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11. Blockades stop anyone without a ticket from entering the red carpet queue of the Lumiere.

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12. Amateur photographers wait behind the gates to take shots at film watchers exiting and entering the theaters.

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Surprise! They charge you.

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13. The Martinez is a celebrity favorite in Cannes, features one of the most expensive penthouses in Europe and hosts parties like the Stella Artois Draught Master Challenge. You’re not even allowed access to the lobby unless you’re a guest of the hotel.

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It isn’t unusual to see large-scale advertisements on gorgeous properties across Cannes during the festival.

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14. An empty Boulevard de la Croisette clears out after a screening ends.

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15. The red carpet of the Lumiere is completely empty after a screening.

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16. Beyond the festival, the village is still quiet and fairytale-like.

Annemarie Dooling / Via Instagram: @travelinganna
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17. Dogs enjoy a moment of play just across from the pomp and circumstance.

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18. Bocce games still continue in the shadow of festival tents and yachts.

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19. And French teens take over a sitting area meant for visitors outside of the International Village.

Annemarie Dooling / Via Instagram: @travelinganna
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20. Overall the experience is quite surreal.

Annemarie Dooling / Via Instagram: @travelinganna

A bientôt, Cannes!

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