Preparations have been underway for months. The red carpet has been laid on the steps of the Palais des Festivals and every hotel in a 10 mile radius is full to bursting with filmmakers, actors, buyers, publicists and journalists. Tonight marks the start of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, and I'll be on the ground for Cinematical for the next twelve days of screenings, parties and press launches.

But where to begin? As one of the film world's biggest events, Cannes can be a pretty daunting experience. Thousands of people, hundreds of things to do at any one time and plenty of opportunity to pick the wrong one - if you don't know your way around you'll quickly be out of your depth.

So what are the five things you should absolutely make sure you've got a grasp of before you head out onto the Croisette?

5) Know the Hotels - What doesn't happen in the Palais or on the beach happens in one of a number of Cannes' most exclusive hotels, mostly along the Croisette. Right across from the Palais is the Majestic Barriere. It's popular with the market crowd but is best known for its bar where celebrity spottings are all but inevitable. Then there's the Carlton, which becomes shrouded by large-scale movie posters and impressive ad displays. Inside it's packed to the rafters with sales companies and publicity offices.

Further down is the Martinez, which seems to host the majority of Cannes' A-List guests, and crowds regularly gather outside its entrance to get a glimpse of its occupants. But as star-spotting goes, isn't a patch on the Hotel Du Cap (pictured), about 20 minutes out of town, where the biggest stars live in absolute luxury. So old-school that it only accepted cash until a few years ago, its grounds are some of the most secure in the Cote d'Azur and ensure its guests are kept far from intrusive camera lenses.
categories Cinematical