Cannes travel tips from the pros

June 12, 2012  |  Rupal Parekh for Advertising Age  |  Comments

Ad Age has assembled a “rough guide” to surviving (and enjoying) the 2012 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Need a slice of pizza after a week of steak tartare? What’s the best cycling route through town? Execs who’ve long attended the annual ad fest offer their best advice.

Since you are an avid cyclist who rides every morning – even at Cannes – what route would you suggest to those who bring or rent a bike?
Every morning, I’d be the first down for breakfast, making it feasible to leave the Carlton hotel in light traffic and head south, keeping the Mediterranean on my left. Warning: getting out of town is a little hectic, but once you’re out, it’s staggeringly beautiful – with rolling hills, little towns, beaches, polite cars and, if you’re lucky, some local riders to pace you. It’s 40 kilometers to Saint Raphaél: turn around there and keep the sea on your right, and you’re home free.”
– RICH SILVERSTEIN, co-chairman and creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

If you have a boat at Cannes, where should you sail for lunch?
If you have your own boat, or better still are renting someone else’s, then the best thing you can do is to make the 75-minute journey toward St-Tropez and have lunch at Club 55. This venerable institution is a delightful mix of the famous and the local in a low-key but perfectly judged beachside setting.
– RICHARD PINDER, boat owner and former chief operating officer at Publicis Worldwide

Give us a few tips for navigating the infamous Gutter Bar, the ad industry’s nickname for 72 Croisette, the crowded bar next to the Martinez Hotel.
To rise above the broken glass, platform shoes are the footwear of choice. Circuit train several weeks prior to be nimble enough to outmaneuver the socially awkward and execute a graceful exit. Spills and sweaty huggers are a guarantee, so avoid dry clean-only garments.

As the busiest guy at Cannes during the festival, where do you go to relax?
I will go down to the Carlton Beach [restaurant] on the Sunday after the festival is over, with a few of the team, and we will have the longest, laziest lunch imaginable, staring at the sea, talking once every 15 minutes or so, and just… recovering.
– PHILIP THOMAS, CEO, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

What are your favorite restaurants that most Cannes goers don’t know about?
In Cannes, I like one for the locals called Le Tantra (Asian-inspired, between La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes). And 20 minutes from Cannes, close to Mougins, I like a restaurant called Le Manoir de L’Etang (great views, affordable prices and a chance of relaxing for a while from Cannes madness). I also recommend, maybe the most expensive one, La Palme d’Or at the Martinez Hotel (but only if you win a Grand Prix!!!!).
– PABLO DEL CAMPO, CEO, Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saattchi, Buenos Aires

What’s your advice for striking the right balance between work meetings and enjoying the nightlife? How can you pace yourself so that you don’t have a weeklong hangover?
I am from Aix-en-Provence. In the south, everyone says that the secret lies in a sneaky siesta after lunch – that changes everything! Unfortunately, in practice that’s a little tricky with bosses and clients around. So the best solution: Try to be in bed by 1 a.m. and most importantly, avoid BAD ROSÉ!
– STÉPHANE XIBERRAS, creative director and president of BETC, Paris

It’s hard to imagine the food in France could ever get tiresome, but in Cannes, it can – so La Pizza is a popular hangout for its yummy pies. What’s the best thing on the menu?
La Pizza is all about aubergine pizza at 2 a.m. And sidewalk tables. Less than 40 miles from Italy, I think La Pizza is one of the few places in town with good pizza. I usually hold off visiting until Wednesday after the Cyber Lion has been awarded. Debates are getting lively by then – good conversations with everyone from CMOs to CEOs and ,even more importantly, the craftsmen and craftswomen who help create some really beautiful work.
– GREG DINOTO, chief creative officer at Deutsch, New York

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