|The international village at the Cannes Film Festival.|
People were already waiting patiently - filling the five tiers of hard wooden seats opposite the main entrance at 11am in the bright May sunshine (and through a couple of sudden showers!), their sandwiches and cameras at their sides.
Photographers had already bagged their spot with dangerous looking tripods and hefty boxes of equipment - and the festivities were not due to start for another seven or eight hours!
But, like meandering through Hollywood (although there you have to meander with a vehicle), it is fun picking out the stars' hand prints in the pavement, gathering information on the latest films that have been nominated, or checking out the giant launches in the harbour while sitting at an outdoor café along La Croisette enjoying the delicious wines of the region.
|Plenty of weird street performers among the crowds.|
There is always something happening on the streets - street performers, musicians, protest marches, giant multi-coloured bubbles wobbling precariously as people pass, street vendors and so much more - so it can be great fun to stop and watch the action.
But the sea-level crowds, the noise and traffic, drove us higher into Cannes old town on the promontory at the western end of the bay.
It is cooler up there, catching the sea breeze, with less traffic and fewer people.
It is also very much worth a wander, particularly through the narrow streets on the slopes of the hill below where tiny boutiques are tucked in alongside equally small restaurants set at rakish angles, which serve every delicacy of the Mediterranean.
|A steep climb, but well worth the view.|
But don't forget to take an umbrella - the festival often blows up a storm.