Where is Cannes Film Festival? Movie festival location, how to visit from UK - can the public go to screenings

Johnny Depp and Maïwenn attend the Jeanne du Barry photocall at the 2023 Cannes film festival (Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images)Johnny Depp and Maïwenn attend the Jeanne du Barry photocall at the 2023 Cannes film festival (Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images)
Johnny Depp and Maïwenn attend the Jeanne du Barry photocall at the 2023 Cannes film festival (Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The iconic film festival has been an annual event since 1946

On the first day of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, Johnny Depp returned to the world of international cinema. The Hollywood actor plays King Louis XV in the historical drama Jeanne Du Barry alongside French actress Maiwenn, Pierre Richard and Benjamin Lavernhe.

Before the film's premiere screening, which launched the two-week festival, Depp posed for pictures on the red carpet with his fellow cast members. The project is his first major onscreen appearance since his prominent defamation case with his ex-wife Amber Heard last year.

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New works by Wes Anderson, Alice Rohrwacher, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Todd Haynes, and Wim Wenders, will compete for the Palme d'Or, the festival's most coveted award. A record number of female-directed films make up the field at this year's festival.

After a scaled-down 2021 event and a comeback festival in 2022, this year’s Cannes finds the festival back on level ground and its organisers triumphant that their mission, celebrating the best in world cinema as an inherently theatrical experience, has persevered.

What is the Cannes Film Festival?

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious and renowned international film festivals held annually in Cannes, France. It is considered one of the most important events in the film industry, where filmmakers from around the world showcase their work to a global audience.

The festival is organised into different sections and categories, each with its own judging process. The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the festival, given to the best film in the Official Competition section, selected by a jury composed of prominent filmmakers, actors and industry professionals.

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Several famous films have premiered and won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, including Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction and Taxi Driver, and in more recent years, the Best Picture winning Parasite.

The festival was originally conceived in 1939, but its inaugural edition had to be postponed due to World War II. It was finally held in September 1946 as the "Festival du Film de Cannes" and has since become an annual event, usually taking place in May.

Where is it held?

The official poster of the 76th Cannes Film Festival featuring a photograph of actress Catherine Deneuve on the facade of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes (Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)The official poster of the 76th Cannes Film Festival featuring a photograph of actress Catherine Deneuve on the facade of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes (Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)
The official poster of the 76th Cannes Film Festival featuring a photograph of actress Catherine Deneuve on the facade of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes (Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images) | Getty Images

The Cannes Film Festival is held in the city of Cannes, located on the French Riviera in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France.

The festival takes place at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, a prominent convention centre situated on the Boulevard de la Croisette, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The Palais des Festivals is the main venue for film screenings, press conferences, and the prestigious award ceremonies that are held during the festival.

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Even when not hosting the festival, Cannes is a renowned resort town known for its beautiful beaches, luxury hotels and vibrant atmosphere, and serves as a glamorous backdrop for the festival, attracting filmmakers, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts from around the world.

Can members of the public attend Cannes film screenings?

Members of the general public cannot attend most of the film screenings at the Cannes Film Festival, which primarily caters to industry professionals, filmmakers, press, and invited guests. The screenings during the festival are generally reserved for accredited individuals who have obtained passes, badges or specific invitations.

But the festival does have certain public screenings and events that are open to local residents and visitors. These screenings are often held at outdoor venues or special locations within the city, providing an opportunity for the public to engage with the festival atmosphere.

Of course, most of the films that premiere at Cannes do eventually receive public releases in cinemas or via other distribution means like streaming, so you will get a chance to watch them in the future - just maybe not while rubbing shoulders with the stars!

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What's the best way to get there from the UK?

When travelling from the UK to Cannes, there are multiple options available, but the most convenient way to reach Cannes is by flying.

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE) is the closest major airport to Cannes, located approximately 27 kilometres (17 miles) away. Many airlines offer direct flights from various UK airports to Nice from which you can easily reach Cannes by taking a taxi, private transfer or a shuttle bus.

Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) is another option, which though located much further from Cannes (around 190 kilometres or 118 miles, offers a broader range of flight options from the UK. From Marseille Airport, you can take a train or a combination of train and bus to reach Cannes.

If you prefer a scenic and leisurely journey, travelling by train is a great option, although it will involve multiple transfers. Eurostar operates high-speed trains from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord, a journey which takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes.

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From Paris Gare de Lyon, there are several daily high-speed TGV trains to Nice Ville station. This journey takes approximately 5 - 6 hours, depending on the train. Make sure to check the schedules and book your tickets in advance. Once you arrive at Nice Ville station, you can catch a regional train (TER) to Cannes. The journey from Nice to Cannes takes around 30 -- 40 minutes.

From our sister title PeopleWorld: A brief history of the Cannes Film Festival

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