by Melinda Gallo

Cannes Film Festival

When we were told of our French conference, I hadn't realized that the Cannes Film Festival would be held at the same time. It's not something that I generally keep track of. I know when it's going on when it's in the news. I was thinking of staying in Cannes instead of Nice, but I decided against it when I couldn't find any nice rooms there.

Living in Florence :: Cannes Film Festival

This morning, we had croissants and café crême at a wonderful bakery near our apartment. As we sat outside on the covered patio area, we decided to go to Cannes for the day. Our logic was that most people would be working today and there'd be fewer tourists. We were so wrong.

We arrived at the Nice train station and had to wait in line over 20 minutes to get tickets, which were 11 Euros each roundtrip. Policemen at the entries were checking our tickets before we could proceed to the track.

When we got off at the Cannes train station, there was a big map that showed how to get to the "Palais des Festivals" where the film festival is held and the old port. We were impressed with the red carpet staircase, which was completely empty. We saw a few paparazzi with their cameras and huge lenses walking around the streets, but they seemed to be just wandering. We spotted a lot of people with film festival badges hanging around their necks, but they didn't look familiar.

I took a few pictures of the "Palais des Festivals," but I would've liked to have had a picture of someone interesting who was attending the festival this year.

We headed for the tourist information center, which was incredibly posh. I almost felt like we were underdressed inside. I asked the woman where we could find restaurants along the water. I did ask if there was any chance we could see any films, but she said that only the "Cinéma de la plage" has tickets to see one film of their choice a day, but the time was too late for us. Besides, we had never heard of the film that they were allowing people to see today. We were hoping for "The Da Vinci Code," but that was a definite pipe dream.

She indicated where multiple restaurants were grouped together. We walked down the street that goes along the coast and looked at each menu that was posted outside. We weren't impressed with the interiors and the outside seating seemed cramped.

When we got to the light, I looked across to the water and saw a menu posted on a low wall. We walked across the street to see restaurants that were built on the beach and below the street level by a few feet.

We walked down the stairs to the second one we saw because it looked really nice. I asked the woman if we could sit in the shade an we were seated in a nicely aerated terrace a few feet from the beach where sunbathers were enjoying the wonderful weather.

As we ate, we looked out onto the beach and heard the waves crashing lightly against the sand. We wished we had brought our swimsuits so that we could sit on the fluffy pillows that were on top of the chaise lounges. One man must have forgotten his swimsuit as well because he was lying out on the private beach in his underwear.

We enjoyed our meal by taking our time and watching the Mediterranean sea. All we could think of was, wouldn't it be nice to live along the water?

After lunch, we walked back along the beach in the sun and went back to the tourist information center. This time we asked where the good shopping was. We were directed to two parallel streets and went down one and then back down the other. After a few hours of looking, we decided to head back to Nice.

We couldn't get on the first train to Nice because it was a TGV (train à grande vitesse). So, we stood there exhausted waiting for the putt-putt train to arrive.

We were exhausted from our day in Cannes. We walked to Monoprix (supermarket) near our apartment to get a few things. I found some Mexican spices that I can't find back in Italy, so I bought that. For dinner, we got Chinese take-away. Dave was tempted by Kentucky Fried Chicken since we don't have that in Italy, but he ate more Chinese food.

For our first real day in Nice, we spent it in Cannes. I didn't expect Cannes to be that big and congested. I used to think Florence had a lot of shopping, but Cannes definitely surpassed Florence. We were also disappointed that nothing was going on in the afternoon at the film festival, but we did watch a few things on TV.

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