Cannes Film Festival: how to get to screenings, what to see and where to live

Cannes Film Festival: how to get to screenings, what to see and where to live

Cannes is a small resort town on the Cote d’Azur, which became famous in the fall of 1946, when the first international film festival was held here. Since 1952 it has been held in May. For 20 days, the city is transformed – world-famous film directors choose the best films, thousands of fans wait for celebrities to appear on the red carpet, and film lovers and journalists rush from one screening to another.

All main events take place on the main street of the city – the Croisette; The Palace of Festivals and Congresses is located there. With the arrival of the festival, the Palace, which on ordinary days looks more like an office center, is transformed: a red carpet is laid out on the steps, a huge festival poster adorns the wall.

Unfortunately, the Cannes Film Festival is for the press and film industry professionals, and to get to a screening, party or conference you need a pass, which is difficult to obtain. However, there are ways to watch films from the competition program, see the stars, and even get accreditation, and today we will share them.

How to obtain accreditation?

Cannes Film Festival: how to get to screenings, what to see and where to live

Photo: @festivaldecannes/

The Cannes Festival is a professional festival; entry to all official events requires badges, which require accreditation to obtain. There are several categories of accreditation with different access – for the press, festival guests, film market participants and film lovers. If you have nothing to do with the press and film industry, then the only way to get to the festival is to get cinephile accreditation.

Every year the directorate allocates from 4 to 6 thousand tickets for people who are not involved in film production. Most film lovers with this type of accreditation are French and Western European, perhaps because people from other countries simply do not know how to apply for accreditation. Although the process is quite simple – you need to be a member of a cinema club or have an annual cinema subscription, register on the website and submit documents on time.

To submit an application, you must register on the festival website ( within one month (in 2018 this was the period from March 1 to April 1) and send the following documents: letter of motivation in English or French, copy of passport, copy of cinema club membership card/annual subscription + link to the website of the cinema club or cinema chain. To increase your chances of success, you should submit your application as early as possible.

How to attend shows and interesting events without accreditation?

Cannes Film Festival: how to get to screenings, what to see and where to live

Photo: @wvs/

— The most radical way to get to closed screenings is to come a couple of hours before the start with a sign that says “I’ll buy an invitation ticket.” Oddly enough, very often this method works. The main disadvantage is that you will have to wait under the scorching sun for these couple of hours.

— There is another, simpler, more convenient and completely free way to watch a movie during the festival – go to evening screenings on Macé Beach as part of the Cinéma de la Plage program. Every day at 21:30, films from the golden collection of the Cannes Film Festival are shown on a huge (24 meters long and 6 meters high) screen on the beach. Admission is free, but it is better to reserve a seat an hour before the show.

— Buy ​​a ticket to a film from the independent director’s section “La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs”, consisting of excellent short films and documentaries. Tickets for these are sold at the kiosk to the right of the JW Marriott Cannes hotel. Look for the window where it says billets and Quinzaine, come early and you can buy a ticket for about 10 euros.

— You can watch the live broadcast of the ceremony on large screens installed on the Croisette. All screens belong to different TV channels, some of them (for example, belonging to the Canal + channel),

gather more viewers, but we advise you to choose a screen based on the convenience of its location, and not on the number of audience.

— The red carpet is still the best place to see celebrities, but it requires unlimited patience, water and food. The red carpet is already crowded with fans several hours before the stars arrive, so if you want a good seat, arrive early, wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget to wear a hat. You can also take a seat at the rear exit of the Palace on the east side – this is where celebrities come out.

Practical advice

Cannes Film Festival: how to get to screenings, what to see and where to live

Photo: Herve Fabre

Queues. Whether you have accreditation or not, be prepared to stand in line for hours. In Cannes the weather is unpredictable – it can be +30°C, or it can rain. Therefore, always wear comfortable shoes, take an umbrella and a hat, as well as water and food – there are few supermarkets in the center, and prices in restaurants are unreasonably high.

Housing. The rich and famous usually stay at the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez, InterContinental Carlton or JW Marriott, while those who want to avoid intrusive attention to their person choose the legendary Cap-Eden Roc in neighboring Antibes. The latter, by the way, hosts all the coolest private parties during the festival.

If you want to save money, it is better to book a hotel or apartment in Cannes several months in advance. Cannes is a town with 74,000 inhabitants, where 200,000 people come during the festival, so housing is difficult to find and it will cost 2-4 times higher than in the off-season. Also keep in mind that hotels in the suburbs or in neighboring cities are cheaper, and you can get to Cannes by train or bus.

Information. For plans, schedules of all activities and transport, go to the Tourist Office (Office de tourisme, 1 boulevard de la Croisette, 06403 Cannes),

which is open from 9 to 19 every day. To avoid queues, it is better to come in the morning.

Parking. Cannes is a small city that can be explored on foot. During the festival, finding parking in the city is difficult and expensive – an hour of parking costs about 4 euros, 8 hours – more than 20, 12 – about 30 euros. If you want to save money, leave your car in the suburb of Cannes La Bocca, there are 7 free parking lots.

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