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A Celebrity Hairstylist’s Secret Guide to Cannes

Marcus Francis has been going to Cannes for 10 years. Here are his best spots.

By: Marcus Francis

This trip marked my tenth year of coming to Cannes as a hairstylist for my celebrity clients attending the iconic film festival. And each year I’ve discovered something incredibly special as one of my favorite spots after finding a moment to catch my breath and normalize my blood sugar. As a hairstylist working with high-profile beauties like Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, and Bryce Dallas Howard, I’ve learned a lot about the great little gems in a town one could easily miss. For example, one year I was working with Julianne Moore for over a week, and goodies in my kit were running low, so trust that those famous French pharmacies came in to save the day. Shopping for French beauty to be EXACTLY what they say is true—it’s incredible!

And while Cannes is considered the epitome of glamour, where stars come to play on the Mediterranean in a seaside town that boasts a lavish, untouchable lifestyle, the truth is it’s not so untouchable anymore. With how social media and the internet have broken down that wall of smoke and mirrors, it became a more relatable place and attainable stop for a holiday in the South of France. Beyond the Croisette (think part Sunset Strip, part Highline) are narrow roads of shops and restaurants that sway between charming and touristy.

But like any new city (especially one that has thousands flock to it from around the world to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity), it’s easy to not know what isn’t a tourist trap or, out of sheer low blood sugar, make a dining decision you’ll soon regret. Take the leap of faith and turn down a street with less people to find a little gem to come back to every visit.

Da Laura is on a lively corner on a street with amazing people-watching. Incredible for lunch or dinner, with plenty of French and Italian dishes (not to mention desserts that deserve more than “just a taste”).

International foodies know know about Bobo Bistro and its eclectic menu. From the best burrito to artichoke arugula salad, cod to filet mignon. An extensive wine list offered will make your dinner turn into the one-stop dining social spot for the night.

Cafe creme, omelette, tartine avocado, gluten-free pasta options...B.L.D. options galore! Find La Casa di Nonna for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s cozy ambiance inside, while a buzz of French energy passing by is outside.

It doesn’t look like anything flashy, but the Middle Eastern cuisine at Al Charq is the right amount of lively, but not sceney (thank goodness!). It’s tucked away just a few blocks away from the bustle, where you’ll find authentic, flavorful, large portions. You’ll forget that reputation that portions in Europe are not large when you dine at this secret spot.

The pharmacies in France are notably unique. It’s as if one found their way to the land of Oz, making everything sparkle with allure and absolute need. One that is particularly swoon-worthy is Pharmacie Anglo Francaise, because let’s face it...there are too many eye creams, makeup removers, body lotions, and potions to make you reconsider spending money on sandals or a splurge at a big dinner. Three words: totally worth it.

Sure, you can find a pain au chocolat anywhere in Cannes that’ll make you forget the one you recently had in the States. Sorry, but desserts are not just desserts in France. It’s an art and experience that (even as a fitness freak myself) is something totally necessary to partake in. This patisserie is definitely one to stroll into and wait patiently amongst the locals.

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