Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We'll always have Cannes...

As some of you readers may know, Cannes holds a special place in my heart. It's the first place I lived in France (as a student back in 1993), the place where I met and fell in love with the Duke, and the place where I shed so many of my smalltown American ideologies. I may have been a fish out of water with no gold shoes, but Cannes was an amazing eye-opener for me, in so many ways.

With 2000 dollars worth of French francs in my pocket, having just cut off all of my hair (think Jane Mancini in Melrose Place), I was ready to take on the world, starting with France. I wasn't prepared for the yachts, the glitz, or the other European students wearing Gucci and arriving on their private jets.

Oh the naïveté, but it didn't matter, I was in France, people!

Had I really known what Cannes was like before I left, I probably would have chosen Grenoble, which was the other option. Somehow I missed the part in the guidebook that said it was the playground of the rich and famous, and so I set off to study, in my own clueless, Beverly Hillbilly fashion.

Between the beach, the bars, the wine-tastings, and the flirting with the waiters at the Carlton after hours, there wasn't much studying going on. Although I'm sure that the education I got out of the classroom was worth every penny of my hard-earned scholarship.

There are certain memories that stand out in high definition- walking home along the port at 5am and hearing the news from one of the yacht's radios that Kurt Cobain had just died, tasting ravioli so beautiful I thought I would die at a little restaurant called Chez Max, and walking up the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on the Duke's arm.

One of the 'perks' of studying at the International College de Cannes was that we all got passes to the Film Festival, which allowed us access to as many films as we wanted to see, and the chance to walk up the red carpet. Formal dress required, of course. I die in shame with embarrassement now, thinking about it, but at the time, for just that 5 minutes, I felt the love of my adoring fans....

So, every year around this time, when they release the new film festival poster and are about ready to release the official selection of this year's films (on April 15), I get a little nostalgic. While a year in Cannes was enough for this hick from the sticks, I love remembering how back then, even I felt like a rock star. What more could a girl ask for on her first year abroad?

17 comments:

meredith said...

Hey, I moved to Cannes in 1994 and I lived right by the International college (up behind the bibliothèque). Who knows, maybe we crossed paths way back then...I ended up going to the Lycée Jules Ferry for a BTS...

The Duchess said...

No way! That's too funny. If you ever hung out at the Cristol Bar or the Swan Bar, then chances are we did cross paths. I was with the loud American girl group!:-) It's changed so much, the Swan bar is gone and there are 2 Irish pubs in the centre now. How did you end up there?

Cannes news said...

Cannes is many things to many people. It's not a town that is big on nostalgia, so expect favourite places to disappear.

How's your French these days? Tu n'as pas tout oublié, j'espère?

The Duchess said...

Hi CN- I know! Both Chez Max and the infamous Swan Bar are now gone. But I'm sure they've been replaced with equally good places, it would be hard to exist if they were crap places.
My French...well, after living in France for more than 10 years, probably not as good as it should be! But I manage....:-)

Cannes News said...

Oops! I missed the bit about you living again in France. Speed-reading=fail!

Michael

The Duchess said...

No worries, Michael!:-)

Kimberly said...

I had a similar experience once at the Sagamore Hotel on South Beach-Miami. I was staying there for work. It was a Friday night and there was a long line to get in- it was one of the hot places to be. Since I was a guest, I walked right up to the red rope and was let in. I had been out on the beach working on a photo shoot (not as a model but as the art director) and I certainly did not look like I belonged. For that moment, I felt like an A-list celebrity. It was great!!!

I really enjoy reading your blog!

carol b said...

I LOVE seeing that picture of you and the Duke...just gorgeous!

The Duchess said...

Hi Kimberly- Sounds like you were a rock star for 5 minutes too! Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Carol- Happy Birthday! That photo is so embarrassing, but great memories! x

daniela rota nodari said...

Bonne soire,
j'adore ton blog!!
J'aime beaucoup Cannes et toute la Cote d'Azur!!!
Bisous

Daniela "DREAM SHABBY CHIC" MILANO

The Duchess said...

Grazie Daniela!:-)

meredith said...

My husband got transferred there in 1994...but he's why I'm in France. I met him on a beach and followed him back to France. First to Fountainebleau, then to Cannes.

The Duchess said...

Meredith- bet that was a bit of a change for you, Fountainebleau then Cannes. Both nice in their own ways I suppose!

BonjourRomance said...

Just wanted to stop by and thank you for your visit and following along. Enjoying going through all your posts, you have a great writing style.
Mimi

The Duchess said...

Thanks Mimi! Love your site, so many beautiful photos!

Julie said...

I just happened upon your blog as I was "googling" to see if Chez Max was still around. A friend that I met in '93 at the Int'l College des Cannes is going back and we were wondering! How funny is that!? Sorry to hear that it's gone, but happy to find YOU!

The Duchess said...

Hi Julie,
How random, but cool! Glad you found me too!:-) The raviolis at Chez Max were soooo good. Shame they closed, but Cannes has changed so much since the early 90's... there's now an Irish pub on the harbour with wifi. Definitely glad that wasn't there when I was!