While the Met Gala, Anna Wintour’s annual night at the museum, pulls an undeniably high-octane crowd, it’s merely the prelude to the real red carpet event everyone lusts after come May — the steps of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, which for more than six decades has been graced by the crème de la crème of international film stars in town for the Cannes Film Festival. From Brigitte Bardot and Alain Delon to Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman, they’ve all walked the walk.
In honor of the Fellini-esque festival’s official commencement this week — to the jazzy tune of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, no less — here is a rundown of absolute must-see’s while in the glittering Côte d’Azur… besides the actual films, of course.
STAY: InterContinental Carlton Cannes
The Carlton is an iconic property occupying prime real estate right in the heart of the Croisette. In the afternoon, its Carlton Beach Restaurant is swarming with stars snacking on brightly hued macarons. I love the “Celebrity Suites” named after silver-screen icons, with the jewel in the crown being the sumptuous and regal Grace Kelly Suite.
EAT: Chez Tetou
A favorite spot of Brad and Angelina’s, this cozy beach shack-turned-bistro may seem casual upon first glance, but don’t get too comfortable: menu favorites like the bouillabaisse are veritable gourmet fare with the prices to match. Cash only, s’il vous plaît.
PLAY: Mouton Cadet Wine Bar
An airy wine bar atop the Festival Palace that offers respite from Cannes’s chaos, even though at times all the wheeling and dealing may resemble an episode of HBO’s “Entourage.” Enjoy a glass of vino and brace yourself to hear some serious producer-speak.
SHOP: De Fursac
The Cannes outpost of this tony men’s retailer opened earlier this year. Definitely where to go when you’re in need for the perfect pocket square or bespoke suit accessory. You’ll look like Ryan Gosling in no time.
DO: Île Saint-Honorat
Take a boat ride to this enchanted isle, part of the Lérins Islands and about a mile offshore from Cannes. A unique feature: the island has been home to and completely inhabited by industrious Cistercian monks since the 5th century — they’ve even become experts in wine-making. Be sure to indulge in the most scenic lunch of your life at La Tonnelle Restaurant, a naturally stunning environment that seems worlds away from the smokes and mirrors of Hollywood.