May is a very busy month on the French Riviera with two huge events taking place, the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix! Both events bring huge crowds to the Côte d’Azur and make the month of May one of the most exciting times to be in Monaco and the south of France!
Cannes Film Festival – 13-24 May 2015
The Cannes Film Festival needs very little introduction as the world’s most high profile film festival. From LA to Shanghai, when people think of Cannes, they think of the Cannes Film Festival. Every May, the world of cinema comes to Cannes. Actors, producers, directors and distributors descend on the French Riviera in their thousands for 11 days of screenings, competition and parties. The Cannes Film Festival has its origins in the 1930s. France is a nation with a great cinematic heritage and was looking to host a film festival to rival the renowned Venice Film Festival in Italy. The first Cannes Film Festival was held in 1946 with the introduction of the Palme d’Or award in 1955. From humble beginnings, the event has grown to become the world’s preeminent film festival. In 1983, the Palais des Festivals was constructed on the Croisette next to Cannes Port to host the event, which had outgrown its previous home. This rather brutal building known as “the bunker” is loved by some and loathed by others, but the building and its red carpeted steps have become legendary and for many it is the defining image of Cannes.
Cannes is an industry event and as such not really open to members of the public. The screenings are reserved for those in the film business and journalists, but Cannes or Bust lets you into various secrets as to how you too could enjoy a film or two at Cannes. The hotels in Cannes are booked up years in advance by companies in the film business and restaurants are often closed for private parties. But this doesn’t mean that Cannes is not a great place for members of the public to come during the Film Festival. If you’re looking for a bit spring sunshine and the chance to glimpse a star or two, a day in Cannes during the Film Festival can be enormous fun! Anyone can come and have a glass of champagne or two on the Croisette and do some serious star spotting. And you never know, if you meet the right people, you may even get invited to a party or two! The nightlife in Cannes during the Film Festival is also fantastic, and for the most part, open to all. A walk around the Port of Cannes to look at all the fabulously glamorous yachts on charter is also an experience!
Cannes Film Festival has played a very important role in the success of the town as an international year-round destination, both for holiday makers and for business travellers. The facilities and infrastructure that have been developed for the festival have allowed Cannes to establish itself as a major player for international trade shows such as the MIPIM real estate event in March, the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June and many other very important events. Because of this, Cannes is not just another French Riviera resort that is packed to the gunnels in July and August and dead the rest of the year. Cannes is very much alive year round!
Monaco Grand Prix – 21-24 May 2015
The Monaco Grand Prix ties in perfectly with the Cannes Film Festival with the race taking place on the last day of the Film Festival, meaning that all the stars can helicopter over from Cannes just in time for the race! After all it is the glamour and famous faces that make the Monaco Grand Prix so much more than just another motor race! Monaco is the original street circuit and for many, it is the highlight of the F1 calendar, the “jewel in the crown” as it were. Run since 1929, the experience of seeing driver and machine on the limit around the streets of the Principality is something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime. Whether you’re interested in motor racing or not, the Monaco Grand Prix is a huge occasion. As the event is run on a street circuit, this opens up a lot of viewing opportunities beyond the usual grandstand seats found at every other motor race on traditional circuits. The race can be watched from apartment terraces, hotels and restaurants and of course yachts. Some exceptional vantage points include La Rascasse bar and restaurant on the corner of the same name, the Hotel Miramar on the Port of Monaco, where guests have a view of a huge part of the circuit and the elegant Cafe de Paris where you can watch the cars dance across Monaco’s legendary Casino Square!
But the ultimate way to watch the Monaco Grand Prix in style has to be to do so from the deck of a luxury yacht! The Port of Monaco is slap-bang in the middle of the Monaco circuit with nearly 40% of the track running around the harbour. Yachts can berth on key parts of the track including Piscine, Tabac Corner, Quai des Etats Unis and the Nouvelle Chicane. No other motor racing experience comes close to watching the Monaco Grand Prix from the deck of a yacht, glass of champagne in hand! The fact that the Monaco Grand Prix is centred around the port is in many ways the reason this is such a special race. The port is very much the heart and soul of Monaco, with events and parties taking place on the lavish yachts all weekend! This is so much more than just a motor race, “it’s Monaco Baby!”.