By Sarah Kerrigan
Last year, about a month before the Cannes Lions Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, two of the executives that I support informed me they’d be going to Cannes, and asked me to sort flights, transfers, accommodation, restaurant reservations and all the rest of it. Standard request, you may think – a core part of the EA role, sure! But there’s nothing like that sinking feeling of a last-minute request, of knowing that it’s going to be busy, and that people going to a Cannes festival tend to book their flights and hotels many months in advance.
So, for anyone planning a Cannes trip this year, here’s a ‘how to’ guide, and a list of resources to help you along the way.
Cannes hosts international festivals all year round. The festivals are a celebration, a business networking occasion, and a hedonistic, rose-quaffing, whirlwind of a week for anyone who’s anyone in a given industry, punctuated by opening and closing night galas.
You can find a full calendar of events and trade show here:
Situated in the south of France, on the French Riviera, Cannes is a popular destination for business and leisure travellers alike, with stunning beaches, and warm weather, it is also popular amongst wealthy yacht-owners, and hedonists, living the high-life in Cannes.
With many festivals being hosted at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the convention centre is a central hub for all attendees, with demands for proximity and good transport links to the Palais a key requirement for Cannes travellers.
As you might imagine for international events taking place in a small French city of 75,000 inhabitants, hotels are in high demand, with many being block booked by the organisers for delegates from around the world.
Visitors are typically looking for a base in the heart of the action, to minimise the need for taxis and to reduce travel time between events, so look for accommodation within walking distance of the Palais and the Promenade de la Croisette (sometimes called Boulevard de la Croisette).
The beating heart of Cannes, La Croisette is an attractive two-kilometre stretch – a bustling, noisy hubbub, home not only to the convention centre, but also restaurants, hotels, shops, and of course, the beach. You may do well to find lodgings off La Croisette to ensure a quieter night and a better chance of a good night’s sleep.
Air conditioning is a must in Cannes during the summer, where daily temperatures are regularly around the high twenties (Celsius)/low seventies (Fahrenheit) – though it can feel much hotter when you’re rushing around!
It can be convenient to share an apartment if colleagues are travelling together. Not only can it be cheaper than individual hotel rooms, but there’s also a greater stock of them than hotel rooms, especially if you’re booking last minute.
(When I booked last year, there wasn’t a half-decent hotel available within a five-mile radius of the Palais, and what was left tended to be rooms in guest houses with shared bathrooms, and no AC – plus they were out of town.)
Be sure to book ensuite rooms, or at the very least, make sure travellers have their own bathrooms. Spending all day working together and then sharing an apartment makes it vital to provide them with some privacy and their own space.
Note also that it’s hard to find USB charging ports. Even the top hotels along the Croisette don’t seem to have USB ports in the rooms – so I would recommend that your executive comes well prepared with an ample number of converters.
Before booking any accommodation, check if your executive has been invited by a client, to attend a panel session, or to be a judge on one of the juries. They might have a block booking of rooms and have one put aside for your exec.
The main international hotel chains in the city will sell out quickly and months in advance. Hotels may even withhold rooms from sale for key festival dates to accommodate the ensuing madness. If you can’t get one, don’t panic! The following apartment providers offer accommodation to a high standard and has apartments for solo travellers and groups of different sizes.
Born to Host Properties
21 rue Félix Faure, 06400 Cannes – France
Tel : +33 (0)4 93 99 53 20 www.borntohostproperties.com
Operating in Cannes since 2008, Born To Host has a good selection of quality, well-located apartments – even when booking last minute. Email them to enquire and they’ll send you a list of available apartments, with detailed links to explore them further.
Note that they add 3% to the list price for insurance.
Cannes rentals & services
+33 (0)6 22 01 56 01
A tried and tested option for a good quality accommodation. Contact Delphine for the latest availability.
Online travel agents (OTAs)
Of course, there are the usual online travel agents such as Booking.com, Airbnb, Hotels.com – and many more – which are always worth checking too. I did find the supply to be very limited when booking last-minute for Cannes Lions last year yet Born To Host and Cannes Rentals (discussed above) had a much better offering.
There are lots of restaurants that line up along the beach during the warmer months, which is especially nice if you want to escape the Palais for a business lunch overlooking the water. One of the best ones is The Carlton Beach restaurant which is right out front of the famous Carlton Hotel and is about a ten-minute walk from the Palais.
The main strip along the beach may be the best known for its restaurants, but the old town of Cannes is only a fifteen-to-twenty-minute walk away, where you’ll find cobblestone streets winding up a hill, with cute, smaller restaurants, and more of an authentic European atmosphere. La Mirabelle is one of the best restaurants in this area.
It is also worth noting that prices everywhere are extremely expensive, especially when there’s a festival on.
If your boss wants to impress a big client with a swanky lunch, Cannes is very close to some other great places that are within a taxi ride away. For example, Monaco is only an hour’s drive away; the historical seaside village of Eze is about forty minutes, and there is the fantastic La Colombe D’Or restaurant (www.la-colombe-dor.com) in the stunning, walled Saint-Paul de Vence where famous artists such as Picasso & Matisse donated original paintings, which are hanging on the walls. Not to mention all the other great seaside places along the Côte d’Azur.
I’ve curated a list of tried and tested Cannes restaurants, suitable for a range of occasions from casual client lunches to elaborate evening occasions.
Noisette https://cannesnoisette.wixsite.com/lepri – Italian
Da Laura https://www.facebook.com/pages/Da-Laura/135144399868111 – Italian
Mome https://lamomecannes.com/en/home/ – Mediterranean cuisine and cocktail bar
Meat https://meatcannes.fr/ – steak
Lucky You http://luckyoucannes.com/ – steak and seafood
Table 22 https://www.restaurantmantel.com/index.php/en/ – French, Italian, Mediterranean
Le Vesuvio (turns into the cult Gutter Bar late night) http://vesuvio-cannes.com/ – pizza, Italian. One of the more reasonable and inexpensive restaurants – but it is worth noting they don’t take American Express.
Aux P’tit Anges https://auxptitsanges.eatbu.com/?lang=en – French
Caveau 30 https://www.lecaveau30.fr/ – French
Astoux et Brun https://en.astouxbrun.com/ – seafood
L’Assiette Provencal https://l-assiette-provencale-cannes.eatbu.com/?lang=en – French
Parthenopi https://www.parthenopicannes.com/ – Greek
Le Cabanon https://www.lecabanoncannes.com/ – French
La Brocherie https://www.restaurantlabrocherie.com/ – seafood
Le Baoli https://baolicannes.com/en/ – Mediterranean, Asian fusion
La Palme D’or https://www.lapalmedor-restaurant.fr/?src=corp_lclb_gmb_seo_lapalmedor – Michelin star, French
La Guerite https://cannes.restaurantlaguerite.com/ – Mediterranean, Greek
La Cave https://www.lacavecannes.com/ – meat, French
Le Roof https://fiveseashotel.com/le-roof-five-seas-hotel – French
The Carton Beach Club https://carltoncannes-thebeachclub.com – French
Flights are busy and sell out quickly during festival season, so book as soon as you can, especially if you want to travel at peak times. Where flights are available, expect to pay peak prices! The closest airport is Nice (NCE), which is around thirty minutes from Cannes by taxi.
Nice is also well-served by trains, so if flights are busy or expensive, consider connecting to Cannes by train. Marseille (MRS) and Genoa (GOA) airports are both within a reasonable distance by train.
Given how busy it is during the festival season, it is worth pre-booking your airport transfers. Note also that Ubers are hard to come by during events, so it’s always worth booking ahead where you can.
I have first-hand experience of Class Drivers www.classdrivers.fr (+33(0)6 84 70 41 95, firstname.lastname@example.org) who responded promptly and were able to accommodate last-minute and late-night changes to bookings.
If your executive wants to travel in style, there is also an Uber helicopter option from Nice airport to Cannes. Or for the more economically minded, they could take the train from Nice airport. The train station in Cannes is a short and pleasant walk to the centre of town, so it’s a good option if they are staying centrally.
Below is a further list of local taxi companies that I sourced prior to my executive’s trip to Cannes. Please note, I have not tried and tested the below but pulled together a list from Google, so my executive at least had some numbers to try in the event they are struggling to find a taxi.
• JJ Cannes Services +33 6 16 599 577
• Riviera Secrets +33 6 12 83 19 78
• Brosio Transcompany +33 6 12 15 48 27
• TEMPO Events + 33 9 53 72 91 20
• LUXURY GUEST Limousines & Services +33 4 93 30 24 91
• Chauffeur 06 +33 6 68 15 84 97
• Azur Limousines +33 (0)4 22 23 52 12 and +33 (0)7 68 68 34 59
• Ronda Tour +33 6 59 72 03 06
• Azur VTC +33 6 48 28 98 15
• Taxi Cannes +33 6 05 76 16 80
•Taxi Cab Riviera+33 6 04 64 60 92
• SF Cars VTC Cannes – Private chauffeurs +33 6 30 36 74 14
• TAXI-H24 +33 7 68 20 10 48
• Cannes Limo Service +33 4 65 84 83 31
• Private Cannes Driver +33 7 63 97 25 48
• Fidelity Transfert +33 7 60 58 08 39
• Dixi VTC cannes +33 7 60 58 08 39
Lastly, you’ll need to sort out a ticket/pass for the relevant festival. Consider what perks each pass offers – from reduced queueing, access to events and complimentary refreshments, make sure you buy the right pass for your exec.
You can find more details on the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès website: https://www.palaisdesfestivals.com/
I hope this helps you plan your trip. Let me know if you have any additions!
Sarah Kerrigan is Executive Assistant at Ketchum UK and also runs her own Virtual Assistant business at www.admin.land. She has over fifteen years of experience in providing administrative support within a diverse range of industries including fashion and footwear, drinks, and PR. Outside of work, Sarah is a keen traveller and author of The Travel Secret: How to plan your big trip and see the world.