It’s American-centric this year as the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival heats up in France tomorrow with comedies such as Sasha Baron Cohen’s politically incorrect vision of the Arab Spring, The Dictator, vying for its version of an Academy Award: a Palm d’Or (golden palm for those language-challenged souls). The glitzy, glamorous and ultra-exclusive screening fest is known just as much as the place to ratchet up the excitement for a new film as it is a spot for Hollywood’s A-list to mix, mingle and get completely wasted away from prying eyes. Situated in what we’d describe as the nicest protest-free part of France, Provence, there’s a hell of a lot more to do than chill out watching movies all day. If you’re a gluttonous fan of all things fast, fattening and alcoholic, then the French Riviera is the place for you.
We’ve put together the classiest ways to celebrate in the South this year, though whether or not you can swindle your way into a screening theater is up to you. If you get thrown out, don’t blame it on us!
SCORE AN INVITE
Cannes has always been a place to rub elbows with your fellow celebs in couture, attending charity gala’s where you can promote a cause by paying a ticket price more or less equal to the cost of what you are wearing.While indulging in whatever shenanigans these over-the-top luxury brands who sponsor the events offer you, make sure to remember you’re doing the charity a service by attending.
If you’re still tempted, here are the top places to crash during the festival. We’d suggest forking out the cash for a D-Lifestyle membership which will take care of all the arrangements.
“Carnival in Cannes” Armani Gala (May 18)
Where: Festival Agora
In support of: Haitian Relief Organization, Artists for Peace and Happy Hearts Fund
Gucci Gala (May 19)
Where: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes
In support of: Restoration of Sergio Leone’s classic Once Upon A Time in America
Cinema Against AIDS (May 24) www.amfar.org
Where: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes
In Support of: amfAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research
Cost: Reportedly $4000 (You can buy by emailing here)
GO YOUR OWN WAY
While Cannes is a cool city to explore with its luxury golden beaches, it’s not the only cool place to check out in the area. Provence has long been known as a destination both historical and fictional for adventure, passion and, yes, romance. We’d suggest you grab a sporty vehicle and test out the winding roads that lead from the striking Alps of the northeast to the rolling hills that lead to Spain. We’d prefer a convertible, to be honest, but anything with at least 150 horses should keep you from embarrassing yourself stalling up some of those more enduring climbs.
Here are a couple places worth checking out in this neck of the woods:
This picturesque regional capital is home to approximately 1.42 million citizens, second only to Paris in population. Known for its long history as a port town linking France with its previous colonies in North Africa, this dynamic city has been designated next year’s European Capital of Culture.
Best Reason to Visit: Château d'If, the legendary island prison featured in Alexandre Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo.
A small bay-hidden commune east of Marseille in Bouches-du-Rhone, Cassis is a perfect hideout from the crowds you’ll encounter in pretty much any other Mediterranean city. From the amazing food and regional wine selection (see below), you won’t regret “wasting” a day in this hot spot.
Best Reason to Visit: Calanques, small enclosed inlets located around the city limits where you can find clear green-blue waters and private secluded beaches…don’t have too much fun now!
If you need one reason to visit the Mediterranean coast this year, then let it be the food. Succulent seafood fished fresh each day is paired with a lip-smacking wine selection and all the soft cheese you can eat. The wines of the Alpes-Provence region are traditionally strongest in the Blanche and Rose departments, and one can never go wrong with the local sparkling wines (or cheat and drink the quality Champagne from up north!)
Here are a couple tried-and-tested favorites you must consume while in the area:
What do you get when you load several kilograms of seafood into a pot, including sea urchin, scorpion fish and some John Dory? Bouillabaisse! This heavily traditional Provencal stew combines the best of the sea and land together in one big melting pot of flavor, seasoned with fresh saffron and heaps of garlic; you may lose the romance department for the moment, but it’s worth it to have this dish fresh.
In the days of the Roman occupation of Europe, soldiers were paid not in cash but in flowing golden wine. That being said, no trip to the French Riviera would be complete without a tour showcasing the award-winning vineyards and the proud citizens who bring us this foundation of our devilish longtime obsession. While at first we’d say the drive would be nice to check out these destinations of excessive alcoholic desire, we would rather be chauffeured than spoil our fairly untarnished driving-under-the-influence record. Book a tour! www.provencewinetours.com/