Cannes Film Festival: A Special Visit

Le Palais des Festivals et des Congres is better known as the site of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival, and it is only open to the public for attending events (400 per year).  I had the chance to be part of a private guided tour of the building and a chance to sit in the theater where the stars sit for the film festival & walk on the stage – oh, la la!

Some interesting facts:

  • the triangular building consists of 9 floors, two of which are underground with 950 parking spaces; each triangular floor is 1400 m2
  • the total space size is 80,000 m2 & was inagurated in 1982
  • the original casino (see photo gallery) was too small and torn down in 1978 to build a site more modern and harmonious to help highlight the city
  • the building is 20% privately owned and 80% by the city
  • In the smaller Theatre Debussy, with 1068 seats, the wood panels on the walls are made of “bois de poirier” (wood from pear trees) which provides such special acoustics that no microphone is needed on stage
  • the “tapis rouge” (red carpet) that the stars walk up on consists of 24 steps and during the festival is changed (560 m2 middle section only) two times per day
  • otherwise, there are red LED lights in the steps, creating a faux red carpet
  • the film festival is the 3rd largest media event worldwide, behind the Olympics and World Cup
  • there was no film festival in 1948 and 1958 due to lack of sponsor funds and it was stopped mid-way in 1968 out of respect for the demonstrations taking place in Paris
  • there are 8-12 people on the film festival jury, who must view each film at least once and sign as proof – there are around 90 films entered in the competition
  • the goal of the film festival is to help promote unknown films that have not yet been seen by the public
  • there is a special row of seats in the main theater for the actors who are in the film being shown to sit
  • the flat screen is 18 x 10m and is the largest in Europe
  • the sound comes from behind the screen which is perforated to allow sound to pass through – there are “grandes oreilles” who are sound specialists to test the sound in case of needing any adjustments (like “les nez” perfume specialists but for sound)
  • films are sub-titled in French and English only
  • it costs 9,000 Euros to rent the film theater

Who is the largest sponsor for the Cannes Film Festival?  (guess in comments box)

Do you know these stars ?

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PHOTOS: (some photos courtesy of Jean Mellinger)

 

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The view on the ride home on the train was splendid as well!

sunset from the train

sunset from the train

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Vaux-le-Vicomte (Part 2 of 3): Journée Grand Siecle

With train and hotel reservations already confirmed, I had been watching the forecast for weeks before this picnic-in-the-garden, en costume of the 17th/18th centuries event, as it is held outdoors and can be cancelled up to the day before – the event had reportedly been postponed twice the year before due to inclement weather.  The forecast for THE day called for rain, then cloudy, then sun, then light rain, then cloudy, and so on.  Quelle chance!  It turned out to be a warm, mostly sunny day, and I even avoided getting sunburned by having a parasol (vs. an umbrella) in hand.

A lot of visitors and families with children rented costumes from the on-site vendor, Autour d’un Soir, located in Cannes and from whom we had previously reserved ours.  There were attendees who had uniquely hand-made their costume – an amazing site to take in all the colors, luscious fabrics, and designs.  We enjoyed riding in une caleche (horsedrawn carriage), watching a baroque dance presentation, and our eating our petit pique-nique in the garden. Photos were being taken in paparazzi fashion, as costumed participants strolled through the château gardens – a luxurious day to be swept back in time – through the surroundings, the baroque ambiance, and royal pomp & circumstance! (video below)

 

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Café Bianco & New friends

One great thing gained from blogging is a sense of community, and so it was that I met up with blogger and author, Lynn McBride of Southern Fried French, for an apero during her stay near Nice.  It was such a delightful evening that I ended up eating dinner with her and her husband and their friends from the U.S.

We shared stories, tips about our blogs, self-publishing woes, & ongoing marketing of our individual books (see photo/link below), over a nice dinner accompanied, of course, with un bon verre de vin.

Café Bianco (9 Rue Chauvain) was the perfect setting for establishing comraderie and new friendships, and not far from the center of Old Town. A nice evening with nice people and new friends in Nice!

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Be sure to also check out Lynn’s book, available on Amazon HERELynn's book

The France Show in London

I recently attended The France Show, held annually in London – an exhibition of all things French: flavors of wines and foods, language, iconic products, cancan dancers (video below), travel options, regions of France, properties in France, financial experts, and much more!

Bien sûr, there was an accordian player playing iconic French songs, a boules court, and a huge variety of exhibition stands to visit. Seminars to attend included wine theaters, language presentations, property and tax information, and cooking demonstrations by a Michelin-starred chef.

As I walked around looking at the various culturally-iconic stands, I felt pride and gratitude for living in France, realizing nonetheless that nowhere is perfect.

I also saw the city’s main attractions from the top of a double-decker bus (what else?) and experienced dining in the local pubs, with menu items of “bangers and mash” and “bubble and squeak” (yes, I had to ask too!)

Attending The France Show and enjoying the English atmosphere of London was truly a “Franglish” weekend!

PUB DECO:

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CANCAN VIDEO:

A Nice Visit to Nice

A friend from the U.S., who I hadn’t seen in about six years, recently visited Nice and also visited me. It was great catching up on the latest news of recent life events – wow, life can be hectic & challenging in a short period of time!

Before we started chatting, though, he said to me “You look great – and happy – it exudes from you!”  A nice compliment indeed, and I instantly realized that well….yes, I AM happy. Not that I take it for granted, but I guess I had stopped thinking about it on a conscious level.

What IS it exactly that he saw (other than my happiness about seeing him)? What IS that soulful, bliss that we all seem to search for?  Is happiness an elusive solitary desire OR is it achieved by design?

QUOTES:

“I believe that we are who we choose to be. Nobody’s going to come and save you, you’ve got to save yourself. Nobody’s going to give you anything. You’ve got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except for you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don’t get it. So don’t give up on your dreams. Stand up and make them happen. You have to dream hard, wish big, and chase after your goals, because no one else is going to do it for you. And even if things don’t work out, you’ll always be able to say you tried.”  (Unknown)

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life, think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” (Swami Vivekananda)

“Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” (Bruce Lee)

INSPIRATIONAL READING TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM:

Photos – Costume “Bal des Favorites”

As followup to my video post of the costume ball:

The vibrant colors, rich textures, and varied styles of costumes were stunningly beautiful and a sight to behold!  Some of the attendees were ‘pros’ at these kind of events and had even made their own dresses and menswear !

So, that got me thinking, although I haven’t sewn in a very long time, maybe I could make a gown for myself.  I would have to use a borrowed sewing machine, and I’m not sure I can really do this, but if so, what color brocade fabric would you suggest ?

A 1680 -1780 Costume “Bal des Favorites”

Le Bal:

Held in the Hotel de France (l’ancien hôtel de Jean Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Saint Pouange et de Villacerf) in their “Galerie des Glaces” reception room, the period costume ball began with each person/couple’s entrance into the ballroom being announced by an “aboyeur,” then walking under an archway of swords into the room.

The music playing was period music by Lully for the evening’s festivities, accompanied by a dance instructor giving verbal instructions on how to do the various period dances, including the farandole. We even did the line dance “Madison” (equivalent to the Electric Slide) to period music, but with more graceful foot movements, of course.  There were period dance demonstrations and a sword fight presentation to entertain the 100 or so attendees (age range was 20’s to 70’s).

It truly felt like a Cinderella moment, as I was transported back in time and history – via dress, manners, dance, and etiquette – I didn’t want the evening to ever end.  Starting at midnight, the music changed to modern (Prince, Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke), and it was fun, but somewhat strange, to dance in costume to rock/techno beats – and of course, Cinderella had to eventually leave the ball.

The following day, about 28 of the attendees (all in costume) visited the Conciergerie, then walked by the Louvre pyramid on our way to have lunch. Walking through Paris in costume was also a wonderful experience, as passersby and drivers looked and commented. This time, I felt like a star being ‘chased’ by paparazzi, as 15-20 photo takers at a time clicked away when we posed as a group every 5 minutes. Everywhere we went, people had a big smile as we approached, some commenting and/or asking questions, and of course, also posing with us for photos.

(3 dance videos & 1 sword fight video)

(Costume photo gallery to follow in a separate post)