Cannes is a rollercoaster. To the uninitiated, a week on the French Riviera with the world’s greatest advertising talent sounds like a dream vacation. But veterans know it’s no holiday: amid the parties and sun loungers, this is the world of serious business, big deals and massive hangovers.
Luckily, the Honeycomb team includes some of the industry’s most hardened Cannes experts. So along with a few friends, we’ve compiled a handy map
(and an even handier Google Maps version)
and survival guide to the festival: hints, hacks and insider’s tips to getting the most out of the week.
1. Take the scenic route
Be savvy, and save on transport advises Frank Lakebrink, Honeycomb’s Head of Europe.
Instead of blowing the budget on a cab (or a helicopter!), take the train (36 minutes, approx €6) to Cannes from Nice St-Augustin station, just a ten minute walk from terminal 1. The trains are double decker, so enjoy Riviera views from the top deck en route. Alternatively take the Airport Express Bus 210, from Terminal 1 or 2 direct to Cannes (open returns approx €33pp, €66 for a group of four). It stops at Paul Doumer (AKA Holiday Inn), Place Vauban, and Cannes-Hôtel de Ville.
2. Forgot your swimmers or your toothpaste?
Don’t panic, says Honeycomb’s New Business Director, Dan Hearn
A mere three minutes’ walk northeast of the Palais, you’ll find Monoprix (9 Rue du Maréchal Foch, 06400 Cannes, 8.30am-8.30pm Mon — Sat, 9am-1pm Sun), where you can source all the essentials you didn’t leave room for in your carry-on. It also boasts some of the best ‘grab and go’ food from their bakery section. Don’t be in too much of a hurry though, its check-outs can be maddeningly slow.
3. Don’t be bankrupted by your basic nutritional needs
Venture inland to find palatable prices, advises Beeline’s Lorna Harrison.
There are, believe it or not, actual supermarkets in Cannes. Between the Old Port and the Palais lies Carrefour (6 Rue Meynadier, 06400 Cannes, 8.30am-8.30pm Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm Sunday). It’s a bit like the Tardis: the modest doorway is easily missed, but the shop opens out inside and can cater for most needs. Even better, stock up on cheese and fresh food at the market: Marché Forville on Rue Félix Faure is foodie heaven. If you’re eating out, the further you get from La Croisette, the less painful your meal will be in the wallet department. Head towards the station (try Rue Hoche and Rue Latour Maubourg for good value lunches). If you’re brave enough to cross the “Voie Rapide” (dual carriageway) you’ll discover a whole world of affordable eateries.
4. Don’t be taken for a ride
Don’t use local taxi firms — they’ll be booked up and astronomically priced. Download Uber before you go and skip the queues outside the Gutter Bar. If a car doesn’t suit your fancy Riviera tastes, Uber also offer a helicopter service in Cannes — just select the Ubercopter option on the Uber app.
5. Crazy for couture?
Snap up French fashion at a fraction of normal prices, suggests Jill Fear, Talent Development Consultant.
Past the myriad of beautiful shops in the Rue d’Antibes, and behind the designer stores of the Croisette it’s worth treasure hunting in Cannes’ vintage and second-hand boutiques for fashion, jewellery and accessories. Try Contrepartie (Angle Rond-point Duboys d’Angers, Rue de Lérins, 06400 Cannes) and Depolux (6 Rue Victor Cousin, 06400 Cannes). If you have a couple of hours to spend in Nice, the vintage jewel of the region has to be Caprice (12 rue Droite, 06300 Nice). Its couture on the ground floor is incredible but don’t miss out on the Aladdin’s Cave in the basement.
6. Chill out out with the real artists
Leave the city for true inspiration, advises Honeycomb’s Chairman, Michael Bungey
Not strictly in Cannes, but well worth the trip out of the city, Colombe D’Or is located less than an hour’s drive away in the lovely town of Saint-Paul de Vence. Expect incredible views and impressive company (as well as the great and good of the advertising world, you’ll be sharing the dining room with Matisse and Picasso). Leave yourself time for a post-prandial wander through the grounds.
7. Plan ahead to get wristbands to the best parties
Work your network, says Honeycomb’s Product Evangelist Ben Smith.
The MassiveMusic Media Monks, Rushes, Bodymovin’ and Shots parties are staples in the Cannes calendar. But if your name’s not on the list, well, you know the drill. If you can’t get your hands on wristbands, look for the Honeycomb crew. We know people who know people…
8. If it’s 2am and you’ve lost your party
There’s only one place they’ll be, advises Alex Heighes, Honeycomb’s Client Services Director.
They’re in the Gutter bar. Everyone is in the Gutter Bar.
9. Don’t get caught short
Find the finest facilities, says Hayley Mills from Beeline
The best toilets are in the Carleton Hotel, followed closely by those in the Martinez. This year non-delegates must register (for free) with the festival to enter these hotels before 6pm. Do it here.
10. Don’t have a heart attack over the bar bill
Be strategic, advises Thorsten Rosam, Honeycomb’s Director of Sales
The prices of drinks on La Croisette can be truly staggering. But it is possible to find reasonably priced refreshments, if you know where to look. There are plenty of happy hours (don’t miss free rosé and beer from 4–6pm every day at LBB Beach). Once you’ve exhausted those, head up towards the station to the smaller local bars which won’t break the bank. Rumour has it that if your French is good enough, it is possible to negotiate with the Martinez’ bar staff. Of course, an expensive drink in a posh hotel does mean you could bump into the industry’s biggest names, which could pay off in the long term!
11. Don’t forget your 5-a-day
You can’t survive on rosé alone, says Anna Grange-Carpenter, Honeycomb’s Sky Account Manager
Feel like you haven’t eaten veg in weeks? Head to le Maschou. With an enormous entree basket of raw veg to gnaw on before gorging your fill on Canne’s best steak, Le Maschou is the place to go for a hit of vitamins and traditional Riviera decor.
13. Find some calm amid the chaos of La Croisette
Hit the beach, says Honeycomb’s Client Services Director, Alex Heighes.
There really is no better place to seek refuge from the frenzy of the festival than the LBB beach — and I’m not just saying that because we’re sponsoring it this year. They’ve got loungers, umbrellas, a very well stocked bar, and a massage tent, and it’s situated at the very best bit of the beach. It’s also the perfect place to organise a meeting (we’re really going overboard with our meeting space this year). Get in touch and we’ll get your name on the door.
12. Give yourself a break
Remember the rest of the Riviera, says Dafydd Upsdell, Executive Producer at MPC.
Cannes is brilliant but there will come a time when you just need a few hours peace and quiet. Luckily there are a couple of beautiful islands just a boat ride away. Catch a lift to the island of St Marguerite from the Quai Laubeuf (€13 return). In just 15 minutes, you’ll be exploring a beautiful mediterranean paradise and in a few hours you’ll be revived enough to voyage back and hit the festival with a vengeance. The water is crystal clear and perfect for a swim anytime of day but one word of warning: mind the jellyfish!
14. Get onto a yacht
It’s where the real deals happen, says James Carpenter, CEO of Honeycomb
The hottest tip of all. Come meet me at the LBB beach and I’ll see what I can do.
Honeycomb is the smarter way to do ad deliveries (and festivals). Check us out at www.honeycomb.tv or at the LBB Beach throughout Cannes Lions.