Every time I write Cannes tips, I start with this one, and I’m gonna do it again:
Tip #1: arrive early.
I know, it can be difficult to book the time off, or to afford the extra night’s stay in an already expensive place, but if you’re traveling to a film fest or market across multiple time zones, or going to a new (large) festival or market for the first time, and can afford the time/money to arrive a day early, do it.
Arriving early allows you to catch up on some sleep and adjust your internal clock, but even more importantly, it gives you a chance to do a walkabout, get the lay of the land before it gets crowded and hectic, and map out your days in peace.
Cannes is small and relatively easy to navigate, but getting your bearings before there are (literally) 10,000 assorted schmoozers jostling you for elbow room along the Croisette is a big bonus.
This year, we arrived early because we had no idea how travel and jet lag would affect our bébé, and we wanted to give ourselves a chance to deal with potential pandemonium before things got busy.
Tip #2: don’t adjust your baby for jet lag (much).
This tip only applies if you’re coming from North America to Europe – or Europe to Asia, or anywhere that’s a few (but not too many) hours east of where you started.
Our BB goes to bed between 6 and 7pm at home. Here, that’s midnight or 1am. We decided to make his bedtime while we’re in Cannes roughly 11pm-midnight. That’s only one hour of ‘adjustment’ for him and it allows us to go out in the evenings without risking a cranky, over-tired mess. Europeans eat dinner late[r than Americans], so being able to bring lil Bean out to a 9pm gathering is great. Especially since everyone wants to meet him!
We successfully got through day one and even managed to take him out to our favourite pizza place, Papa Nino’s. He loved the pizza. Obvs.
Day two was a equally easy-peasy, and we met up with friends for a leisurely dinner at Grandmother’s Wheelbarrow, another favourite restaurant that I highly recommend you check out if you’re in Cannes and a) have the time for a meal that will take a couple of hours, and b) have people to eat with who you want to chat with for a couple of hours.
By the time Wednesday May 17th – aka the first official day of the market – was upon us (day three of our stay), I was feeling pretty confident that we’d somehow outsmarted jet lag and had the world’s most resilient, easygoing baby.
Tip #3: don’t be cocky about your ability to outsmart jet lag.
Wednesday was very hot and sunny – a day that we really should have spent going to the beach, but instead spent strolling around the centre of town saying hi to people and showing our colleague/friend/roommate/occasional nanny Tim Reis around the Palais.
We investigated the new ticketing system (much easier to navigate than the old one) and snagged two tickets to the new Bong Joon Ho. It’s at 8:30am on Friday, so Colin and Tim will go and I’ll stay at home with the bean. Saddling Tim with early morning baby duty seems a bit cruel. I’m angling to go to the new Yórgos Lánthimos in a few days, anyway.
We had some croque monsieurs in the sunshine, bébé munched on dad’s festival badge, and somehow in the hubbub we stayed out too long and ended up skipping one of his naps.
No big deal, we thought!
In the eve, we left him in Tim’s care so that we could attend a cocktail we’d been invited to, and then came home for rosé in the back yard with some good friends.
When we got home, we put BB down for the night and settled into the garden for rosé and catching up with old pals. I went to bed shortly after midnight thinking it would be an easy night. And it was, until 4am rolled around and tired ol’ mom and dad had to party with the tiny, yelling muffin for two hours before he finally conked out again around 6:15am.
Maybe he got a little overstimulated, or a little dehydrated, or a little too much sun (don’t worry, he was covered and sunscreened up all day, with sippy cup in hand). Who knows. He’s a tiny guy and he’s gone through a lot of big changes and adventures over the past few days. When he did finally fall asleep again, he was sprawled sideways across our bed, and we didn’t have the heart to move him so we all snuggled down together for a morning snooze. It’s amazing how much space such a tiny human can take up. It’s amazing how little sleep an adult can learn to survive on when the cause of their sleeplessness is so cute.
One market/festival day down, eight to go.
Movie count: 0
Meeting count: 0
Dinners/parties/gatherings over rosé count: 4