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Inside Cannes 2012: A Top 10 Survivor’s Guide

By no means do I consider myself a seasoned pro when it comes to the Cannes Film Festival, but going into my sixth edition, I’ve set out a flight path that works miraculously well and gets me into the second Sunday’s rerun day of the films in the Main Comp without the major fatigue factor. One of the biggest misconceptions is that a journalist can somehow cover the Main Comp and the three sidebars and top off the evening with one party invite over another. Truth be told, you could live it up if that’s your cup of champagne, but for me, Cannes is about soaking up what’s on screen, pacing yourself (five film days are rare and so are back to back party nights) and taking the proper measures to remain alert while fighting off fatigue.

Survivor's Guide to Cannes Film Festival

1. Croisette Beach
Prior to the fest, I like to settle in from the jetlag, rest and eat well. First stop if the weather permits it, is the public beach nearby the Pavilions. While some would say that the key perk is that it is topless, but the strip that is free to the public is a great place for people watching, sun-bathing and picking up some vitamin D after a brutal winter back at home. In the evening, it turns into a drive-in theater without cars – this year the focus is on Bond, James Bond (happy 50th!).

Survivor's Guide to Cannes Film Festival

2. Restaurant Le Riad – 6 Impasse Florian
Nestled between in what I consider the center portion of the town between Rue Antibes and the Croisette, this charming little restaurant makes a mean couscous and is served up by friendly staff. When I get fed up of eating birdfood, I’ll visit this not-to-pricey, laid back, great veggie option away at least twice during the fest – once during week one and on the final goodbye dinner among friends Saturday of week 2. Last year they had a miniature canine mixed breed mascot greeting the patrons. Celeb sightings: Martha Marcy May Marlene crew.

Survivor's Guide to Cannes Film Festival

3. Orange Wifi Cafe
Sure, on the rare occasion you need to fight for a plug outlet or even a seat, but this sweet spot located on the press conference floor of the Palais is where plenty of in-between screenings writing get done. I appreciate the breezy, well lite backdrop (natural sunlight or the most ideal night lights in the p.m.) away from irritating sounds of sound enemy number one: the moped.

4. Le Marché du Film – Bottom floor of the Palais
There is the market that serves up fresh veggies and fruits, and then there is the professionals that work at the Le Marché du Film / Cannes market in the Palais below that remind us that the film industry has all types of films with funny promotional art. The B-movie stuff is side by side with the Short Film Corner and the items that catch my attention are the auteur filmmakers from all over the globe. Along with the scent of fresh newsprint, I like some of the nooks and crannies I’ve found when I need some alone time to get some writing or reading done.

5. Espace Miramar
I pretty much like all the screening venues at the Cannes Film Festival – but the Miramar cinema, where all the International Critics Week screenings are shown is the most chaotic venue that I know of on the fest circuit. In previous years, the unexpected extra waiting time prior to a screening would completely sabotage my tightly fitted schedule and the uncertainty of not knowing if you’ll get in can piss a few off, but now I know better: the disorganized sidebar comes with the assured feeling that you’ll get to have the Croisette’s most intimate moments – bringing cinephiles closer to the creative folk. I plan at least one trip out each year because of its uniqueness.

6. JW Marriott
Formerly known as Noga Hilton, Palais Stéphanie and now going by JW Marriott Cannes, this place houses the air-conditioned screenings of the Directors’ Fortnight (trust me on a typical hot summer day, this is the place to be), it holds perhaps the best view for an interview space (I did my Cannes Blue Valentine interview with Derek Cianfrance there a couple of years back) and if you have been living on a tight budget for two weeks means when I want to really live life large and want to add some thrills to the end portion of my trip to Cannes. Regardless if you’re into roulette, black jack or poker, I like to make a quick stop thinking I’m hitting one of Monte-Carlo’s grand casinos and get into a Wesley Snipes’ Passenger 57 type mood where I “Always bet on black“.

Survivor's Guide to Cannes Film Festival

7. Monoprix
This routine sort of reminds me of when I hit Albertsons Grocery store before the madness of Sundance. This one stop, two-level shopping experience is where I stock up on the essentials.

8. Restaurant Aux Délices Arméniens – 6 place gambetta
This hole in the wall/regular Kebab stand serves up the best Falafel sandwiches with the option of throwing in some fries into the mix. It’s my go to, no brainer fastfood option.

9. Place Gambetta
The “Marché” as I know it is where I pick up my essential vitamins for the fest. I’m not sure what the official hours are, but vendors sell just about everything in the morning due hours and pack up just a little after when the sun starts to burn. I focus on fresh, in season fruit.

10. L’Art du Pain Boulangerie Patisserie – Rue Jean Jaures
Word of advice: the best way to get rid of your small denomination euros and in the same token, fill yourself with empty calories is by finding a great bakery. While my hot water is boiling I’ll make a quick trip to this place for fresh, delicious baguette bread which stands no chance of remaining intact before I come back to the apartment. Celeb sighting: Jane Campion.


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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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