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Insider: Cannes

Marie Hennechart

Photo: Marie Hennechart

Film-Buff Buys
La Croisette is lined with luxury boutiques (Dior, Chanel, Bulgari, Escada), while the Rue d'Antibes is home to a thousand high-end shoe stores. Here are a few alternatives. Chocolaterie Schies 125 Rue d'Antibes; 33-4/93-39-01-03. At festival time, this venerable, family-run confiseur shapes its fine chocolate into film reels and movie cameras. Ciné-Folie 14 Rue des Frères Pradignac; 33-4/93-39-22-99. The only year-round bookstore in Cannes devoted entirely to cinema, including vintage film stills and movie posters. (During the festival, private dealers of movie memorabilia also rent temporary quarters; look for signs.) Maison Janine 27 La Croisette; 33-4/93-39-11-95. The most prestigious of innumerable swimsuit emporiums and bikini shops.

Starry Nights
Bar des Stars Hôtel Majestic Barrière, 14 La Croisette; 33-4/92-98-77-00. Ground zero for deal-making. The scarlet décor, a confused Art Deco Orientalist fantasy, fades into the background amid the frenetic crush of producers, directors, stars, publicists, journalists, and wannabes. Carlton Casino Club Seventh Floor, Hôtel Carlton, 58 La Croisette; 33-4/92-99-51-00. Frequented more by traveling sheikhs than by movie stars, this secluded salon offers a luxurious alternative to the Casino Croisette in the Palais des Festivals. Immaculately coiffed croupières stand ready to receive you at the gaming tables. Petit Majestic 6 Rue Tony Allard; 33-4/93-39-94-92. At festival time, this unassuming corner bar spills out into the streets with indie and would-be producers, stars, and directors. If your ship hasn't come in yet, this is where to wait for it. Zanzibar 85 Rue Félix Faure; 33-4/93-39-30-75. Dark wood paneling, friendly management, and a discreet, hushed ambience make this centrally located gay bar welcoming for everyone. Open all night; at dawn, the transvestites stumble home.

At The Movies
Christened "the Bunker" when it opened in 1983, this five-story concrete monolith replaced the old Palais des Festivals. Housing a dozen movie theaters, innumerable conference rooms, cafés, offices, mailboxes for thousands of journalists, and an endless warren of basement rooms where you can rent a popcorn machine or buy the latest Hong Kong action drama, the Palais is a cinematic universe. "Once you enter," a security guard warns, "you don't come out." Unless you're famous or a friend of the mayor, getting tickets to official screenings is virtually impossible, but any time other than festival time, you can tour the Bunker (33-4/93-39-24-53).

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