Cannes: My Cannes essentials

What to pack? Four experts unzip their suitcases and reveal their secrets for a successful trip.


Ahhh. The Cote d'Azur. Wonderful. A perfectly chilled bottle of Domaine Ott (rose, of course) and a plate of crudites await.

As I saunter along La Croisette swinging my Anna Hindstep "I'm NOT A Cannes Virgin" bag, I'm struck by a rather self-congratulatory feeling for packing so cleverly this year. This is my 14th Cannes, so I feel I'm really getting the hang of it. It's June, it's warming up and boy do those easyJet napkins come in handy. Poodle poo. Yuk! I've been practising my air-kissing for a month now, and the team in the GG offices are just about fed up with me - but, you know what they say: practice really does make perfect. Travel light is my mantra, and my Amex is about as light as it gets. The shops here are great. They get better every year. I've done the "body in Cannes - luggage in Taiwan" experience, so it really does pay to be economic with the packing.

Three necessaries. A two-inch thick wedge of business cards - after all, we're not here for the view, are we? Non-slip wedges for over-varnished decks. And Kojo, a Great Guns producer, top party boy and the best wing-man in the business.

Then, factor 15 to keep the tattoos protected and moist. Always a good idea. And at least five changes of sunglasses, including the new Tom Ford Fionas.

But ... the most essential "Cannes essential" of all - 10 per cent stamina, 89 per cent self-belief and 1 per cent knowledge. You know you'll be going home in a few days. It's great ... Oh my God! Hang on, that's whatshisname in shorts and a tight T-shirt. He's put on so much weight. "Daaahling, over here ... Mwaah, mwaah ... You're looking absolutely fabulous."


Cash. Let's face it, Cannes is ruinously expensive, especially if you're going to pretend to be Howard Draft for a day at the Eden Roc. It's the only place I know where you and the missus can start in the morning with EUR500 in your pocket and still have to borrow money off the agency's head of TV to pay for lunch. Heads of TV always have wads of cash, and this is why. (Obviously, the Hotel du Cap doesn't take anything as vulgar as credit cards.)

Stamina. Loads of it. Apart from the parties on the beach, the parties in the hills and the drinks on the Carlton Terrace, there is, centrally, gloriously and nightly, the Gutter Bar, or 72 La Croisette, to give it its never-used proper name. It's incredibly uncool to get there before 2am (only Germans do this). It's the only bar in the world where you get progressively more sober, because it's nearly impossible to get served. And due to a strange fault in the space/time continuum, the only place on Earth where, ten seconds after you get there, the sun comes up (quite often illuminating a comatose Johnny Hornby).

Bandwidth. This sounds a bit mealy mouthed and is not just written for my boss, Richard Pinder, in case he thinks I'm a completely hedonistic flake. Honestly. There are fabulous things on offer: people to meet and listen to, ads to see, ways of communicating that have not yet been dreamed of, debates to get involved in - and you need to be in some sort of fit state to absorb at least part of it. Must try it this year ...


Cannes is not the sort of place to go to unprepared. If you are reading this and haven't booked a hotel sur La Croissette, you may as well resign yourself to the fact that you are staying in a villa an hour's cab ride away. Or sleeping on my floor (pack a pillow).

If, like me, you hate waiting for luggage at French airports, you'll be taking a cabin bag, no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. In your limited space, leave enough room to bring back a Lion. Not only is this good positive thinking, but airport security officials love spotting Lions coming through the X-ray, giving you a second chance to bask in glory amid fellow media passengers.

First into my suitcase is a stash of DDB party tickets. The DDB party is widely regarded as one of the best in town. These are like gold dust, so I should be able to trade them for other parties. Don't tell Pat Sloan or Bob Scarpelli.

Take sunblock for a day out on someone else's yacht. A red nose is difficult to disguise for a week.

Definitely take beachwear, otherwise you'll end up splashing EUR200 in Hermes. Or don't, and go skinny-dipping instead at 4am after a stint at the Gutter Bar. This is best avoided with anyone you work with or might ever want to work with.

Finally, take a spare memory card for videoing with your camera phone. Last year, I ended up in a transsexual cabaret bar with Bono! Enjoy.


My top tip is to FedEx clothes ahead, so you can waltz right through baggage reclaim and straight on to the helicopter with nothing more than a Smythson Capri travel bag and a handsome CEO to hold your hand.

Bottle of Lancaster sun lotion SPF 15/30 for the face - guaranteed not to let you go British lobster red.

Compeed gel plasters applied pre/post blisters. Girls, give the feet a rest. Do those long walks down La Croisette in this season's must-have Marc Jacobs flip-flops, saving the Manolo Blahniks for the entrance. Or get the lovely Hatchuel boys to send a driver.

Beach bag - not a plastic one. Marc Jacobs does some nice ones, as does Viv Westwood. They're also very useful for bringing back your Lions.

Tom Ford sunnies, suitably de rigueur for boys and girls.

Sim card programmed with VIP numbers, ie. the maitre d' at the Eden Roc, Jean Roch at VIP, Eric at Nikki Beach, Cristoff at Baoli.

Then, thus armed, my recommendations for how to deploy them: Friday lunch at La Colombe d'Or with the Mellors family (the best hosts in town), while spying on the Rushes party. It's also time for one of the most glamorous institutions - the Amber Music lunch at the fabulous Carlton Beach restaurant. Saturday: one of the best-kept secrets - the ex-ad-lad-turned-movie-mogul Marcus Vinton's sunseeker trip to Club 55 in St Tropez, and a crudite platter big enough to sail back to Cannes on.

Or, spend the morning swimming in the most beautiful infinity pool at the Eden Roc. A leisurely buffet lunch, then a quick snooze, before a Bellini while the sun goes down. Then it's show time - the Gala awards and best frock time. Just think, only two weeks ago, Brad and Angelina were standing in exactly the same spot ...