Why everyone can at Cannes
When I first went I had no idea it was such a big deal. I had been to big London premiers the BAFTA awards and even the Berlin Film Festival with the Rolling Stones.
I had been dazzled and frazzled by hundreds of paparazzi, by Tom Cruise calling teenage fans' mums and Sylvester Stallone high fiving everyone at the Rocky after party. I thought Cannes would never compete. A sleepy South France seaside resort meets Hollywood? How wrong I was!
It’s like a never ending premiere - days of glitz glamour and sparkle. For a start everywhere is a red carpet - the pavements are lined with red - and everyone thinks they are a star.
Canny photographers pretend to pap you and then sell your photo back to you. Private planes, helicopters, yachts and limos are the norm.
The beach front is lined with the most sumptuous restaurants - lunch is nothing without a couple of rose, oysters and lobster. As for the red carpet - it’s more of a red staircase to stardom...you montez les marches or walking up the steps.
Like you’re touching heaven. It’s the buzziest feeling ever - cameras flashing, a pumping dance track (usually David Guetta) as you climb the stairs and wall to wall glitterati. This year kicked off with Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris film and the beautiful Marion Cotillard.
Next up Pirates with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. I have seen Johnny D and his bijou wife Vanessa Paradis at a couple of parties. Not only are they both absolutely gorgeous but also totally loved up. It’s a rare thing to see a celeb couple cuddling and kissing.
Everyone usually congregates at the Carlton hotel during the festival. Literally everyone. The foyer is a mish mash of fans that slipped through security VIP escorts on the prowl, stressed producers and the power house film companies.
Stars some time stay but the crème de la crème stay at Eden Roc. The American dream of hotels that welcomed Marilyn in years gone by.
I felt like Carrie Bradshaw when she slipped over in Dior.
This year we met with a top agent - me wearing less skittish heels - the coolest dude who has the biggest address book in Hollywood. We sipped lattes and the likes of Kirsten Dunst walked past. Looking prettily normal.
The parties are insanely opulent - villas are filled with top DJs and bands that fly in for VVVIP after parties. It can get a bit OTT.
One very wealthy chap was reported to have spent one hundred thousand over lunch - and left the waiters a ten grand tip! But the great thing about Cannes is that it is fun for everyone.
Day trippers come in to get a snap of themselves on the red carpet and soak the vibes as they eat Mr. whippy ice cream or the French equivalent. This year the Croisette was particularly colourful.
One chap had actually dressed his dog as a film director. Teens hang outside the big hotels trying to look like the next Megan Fox or Shia leBoeuf. The big deals are done - who will make the next Terminator - and small ones as new kid on block writers pitch their script ideas to production companies.
Then there is the odd dodgy deal. I was fascinated by one particular Hugh Heffner type who had taken residence at the hotel bar surrounded by girls. A few hours later he was still there with a different gaggle of girls.
White trainers, silky trousers and gold rimmed sunglasses. He looked like a porn director. Or maybe a veteran star. Either way he was cashing in on the movie frenzy and the girls were batting their eyelids like newly discovered starlets.
It truly feels like anything is possible during the festival de Cannes. Everyone comes away a little shinier after rubbing alongside so many stars.
And the party mania doesn’t stop - one month later the advertising world descends on Cannes for the Lions awards. Less chic more rowdy - but still heaps of fun.
Last year the Black Eyed Peas were reported to have made a last minute appearance. Let’s see who rocks up this year...