The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Anecdotes from Cannes

We have a friend who works in distribution and promotion of French films around the world.  Every year he comes to the Cannes Film Festival and every year he tries to get us tickets for a black tie, red carpet première.  Here's the story of our first time.

The said friend, J-C, rang at 5pm (on a school night) to say he had two tickets for a film at 11pm and could we go?  We'd have to be there by 9pm to have the whole experience so I had about 3 hours to find a babysitter, feed the kids, supervise homework and transform myself from gîte-running, winter-fuzzy mum to something approaching bare-legged red-carpet glamour.  Not easy!

red carpetThe gîte had only been functional for a month and as luck would have it I'd lent my hairdryer to the guests as I hadn't got around to buying one for the apartment yet.  No hairdryer meant seriously bad hair on an evening when it really mattered.  But I rose to the challenge, this was an opportunity not to be missed particularly not for the sake of a hairdryer.  J-F's dinner jacket, tailor made in Hanoi for our wedding 13 years before smelt a little musty and pinched a little at the waist but this wasn't going to stop us either.  We made it, arriving in time for a drink with J-C and for J-F to borrow his bow tie, and we walked up the red carpet with the papparazzi's flash bulbs popping away.  We milked the occasion; we posed, we smiled (make that beamed), we took our own photos, we took as long as we could and I didn't trip in my heels!  On a monté les marches!

The seats in the auditorium were super comfy and J-F slept throughout the film.  But it wasn't about the film for us, it was about the red carpet - les marches - it was a truly glamorous occasion.

cannes 2010Less glamorous was my experience of hosting a film producer at Lou Messugo who was participating at the Festival. V came from the Ukraine. He didn't speak a word of French and barely any English. The Russian I learnt for a year 25 years ago wasn't exactly flowing either! He had a handful of nouns and with his direct style of speech there were a few cultural misunderstandings particularly in his interpretation of "self-catering". “Food” he said, demanding meals. “You clean” he said pointing to the muddy footprints he had trodden throughout the gîte. Every night he sat out on the terrace drinking what we thought was vodka but it turned out to be Calvados. This classic French spirit was made for export to Germany (the label was in German) bought in Kiev airport (deduced from the price sticker) and being drunk back in France. What a convoluted route this particular bottle had taken and how it would have been about half the price in the local supermarket made us laugh!

V used every single utensil in the kitchen, every glass, every plate, all the cutlery and didn’t wash up a thing. When he left I found 5 days’ worth of dishes covering every surface, not even the leftovers were scraped into the bin. There was a very ripe camembert oozing out of its box onto the table and bowls of pasta, omelettes and salads heaving in the heat. But possibly the most impressive thing was that he’d used up a whole salt cellar that was new and full for his arrival!

We could barely communicate and let’s face it his house-keeping skills left a lot to be desired but he makes a good story and we’ve dined out on him for over a year now, he’s made us laugh and I love that I’ve hosted a Ukrainian film producer. He clearly enjoyed his stay and took loads of photos of us with the infamous last words “Facebook” (said with a thick Ukrainian accent!)

I wonder if J-C will get us tickets again one day?  I'm on standby each May!  And from what I've seen on Facebook the film V was trying to get financing for is screening at a prestigious festival this year.  I'm delighted for him! 

Have you ever been on a red carpet or to a similarly glamorous event?  I'd love to hear your stories.


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Lou Messugo
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  • Guest
    Sally Saturday, 04 June 2016

    I LOVE celebrity gossip - and I read that Julia Roberts had bare feet at Cannes this year, so maybe you could try that next time ;). As always, a great read and jealousy-inducing because of the south of France lifestyle.

  • Guest
    Girl Gone Gallic Friday, 03 June 2016

    Lol! You are a good sport to see the good in a challenging guest! I have yet to go to the Cannes Film's just not drawing me. Too many crowds and not much too see is how I'm seeing it - am I wrong? Should I have made the effort? Should GGG brave the crowds???

  • Guest
    Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels Friday, 03 June 2016

    what a guest! so cool that you attended the film festival!:)

  • Guest
    Jill Friday, 03 June 2016

    There is something about the festival, maybe just the fact that it's about film (mostly make-believe) that makes me feel so imaginative... I love hearing your story and am I'm glad you went out on a school night so you could tell it!

  • Guest
    Christy Thursday, 02 June 2016

    This is wild, Phoebe!! That guy is one of the reasons I'm stalling to really jump on board with the whole hosting a rental thing (never mind the money doesn't exist yet...)! Love a flashy star-studded evening. :)

  • Phoebe
    Phoebe Thursday, 02 June 2016

    What fascinating story! Running a gite must put you in the path of some very interesting guests, but hostig a Cannes director? Amazing!

  • Guest
    honest mum Tuesday, 02 December 2014

    Fab post, I attend the film festival when I can too, it's my favourite for the film selection and of course the parties. I wasn't there that year as I was pregnant and couldn't fly, we might have bumped into each other! Fab post! #allaboutyou

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 03 December 2014

    Thanks Honest Mum, it would have been fun to meet, maybe next time.

  • Guest
    Mama and More aka Zaz Monday, 01 December 2014

    Absolutely brilliant story! Loved this, and kudos to you for rising to the occasion and not chickening out of going on short notice, I like your style! My husband works in film, so goes to Cannes every year (for the last 15!), so I've been lucky enough to go to a few red carpet dos, in Cannes and elsewhere too. Nothing like getting glammed up is there?! Thanks so much for linking to #allaboutyou, tweeted and pinned! Hope you can join in again tomorrow xx

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 03 December 2014

    Thanks Zaz, it's really out of my comfort zone but it definitely was fun.

  • Guest
    Delia @ Blog Formatting Thursday, 23 May 2013

    Oh, how fun, looks like you had a great time, Phoebe! And not tripping on your high heels, LOL! I never wear, that's why I laugh...

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 23 May 2013

    It was fun Delia, you're right! I hate heels too, but a girl can't go up the red carpet in flats now can she?

  • Rosie @ Children Friendly Holidays
    Rosie @ Children Friendly Holidays Friday, 17 May 2013

    Have you got your hair-dryer at the ready?

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 22 May 2013

    Rosie, the gîte is much more established now, with it's OWN hairdryer! This should never need to happen again!

  • Guest
    Catherine. Wednesday, 19 September 2012

    phoebe the star!!!!

  • Guest
    Chiristine French Saturday, 09 June 2012

    It should have been me!

  • Corinnaklaentschi
    Corinnaklaentschi Wednesday, 23 May 2012

    Rubbing shoulders with the stars!

  • reellio
    reellio Monday, 21 May 2012

    Excellent - how brilliant that you could go from domestic [almost-]goddess to A-lister (ish) in such a short turnaround! Guess that's what the South of France is all about (sigh, from London). Let's hope V doesn't read your blog!! Or, if he does, maybe it'll spur him to wash up.....

  • Mags
    Mags Wednesday, 16 May 2012

    Brilliant! So funny.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 17 May 2013


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