Cannes Lions

Ad Age Takes the 'How to Cannes' Tour

Handy Guide Offers Tips From Where to Drink to Where Not to Eat

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How to Cannes tour guide Liz Moseley
How to Cannes tour guide Liz Moseley Credit: Chris Pollack

So you're a grizzled Lions hunter who has been to many International Festivals of Creativity. You know all the tricks and tips. But what if you are a first timer? Luckily, you have Liz Moseley.

Ms. Moseley is one of the "How to Cannes" guides conducting tours given at the Palais several times a day. Ad Age tagged along and learned lots of good information, and not just how to get around the 35,000-square foot facility. She offered the dirt on the best parties (Young Lions, but you have to be under 30); how early to get to a session (for hot ones, try and go to the one before and don't leave your seat); and the worst bathroom (on the lower level near bag pickup -- "Do not use that one, go upstairs," she advises.)

Our tour had about 25 people, which visited every floor of the Palais. Ms. Moseley explained that there were eight checkpoints and security bag checks and how to get WiFi by using your delegate number. "You will get lost" in the Palais, she said, and most likely that will happen on Level 3, though she didn't specify why. Oh, and here's a tip: There is no Level 2.

While many people tend to gravitate toward the big, celebrity sessions in the Lumiere or Debussy Theaters, Ms. Moseley said a lot of the best are actually the smaller, interactive forums. And if you get locked out of a big session, as happened with people crowding in to see Kim Kardashian last year, there is an overflow room with a livestream on Level 5.

A lot of her other advice was very practical about where to go and what to do to get the real Cannes experience. Among her tips:

The Carlton Hotel is the halfway point between the Festival's two poles, the Palais and the Martinez Hotel. "This is where all the big dogs hang out at night," she said. "But if you are not into a 25 euro gin and tonic, you can go where the rest of us go -- the Gutter Bar." The Gutter Bar -- official name Croisette 72 -- is across the street from the Martinez. She said part of the Croisette is closed off at night to allow Gutter Bar drinkers to spill into the street.

Want free merch or ice cream? Check out the cabanas on the beach, but be prepared. "You'll have to listen to someone talk about their ad techology."

To look really clever "without trying too hard," Ms. Moesley suggests attending the Sundowners on the beach where creative execs sum up the day.

The hottest party is the aforementioned Young Lions and the most sedate is the Lions Health bash. Maybe they drink less to save their livers?

For food, you can try the Palais Cafe, but it isn't exactly gourmand, she said. However, it does have salads "if you can't face another baguette." For dinners, she said to try heading up into the hills for excellent restaurants with lower-than-Croisette prices.

And, of course, there is the work. Remember the work? The lower level showcases all the entries and those shortlisted for a win.

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