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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.

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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.


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.


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

Annemarie Dooling

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

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

Annemarie Dooling

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.

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.

Annemarie Dooling

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


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