For any film buff, a holiday that can entail good cinema would seem like the perfect vacation. We’re not talking about a staycation in your basement binge-watching all your favourite movies but heading out to some incredible locations that offer the ultimate in R&R along with the possibility of rubbing shoulders with Hollywood A-listers.
Going to a film festival, especially in a beautiful location, is a swell way to mix tourism and culture. Schedule the number of films you want to see in a day and take the rest of the time out for sightseeing, eating local cuisine and having a blast.
Each year, the film, fashion and tourism industries wait with baited breath for Cannes International Film Festival, a mega event that sees the entire world’s eyes and ears converge on the balmy coastline of this glamorous town on the French Riviera. It’s unthinkable to not have this destination on your festival trail if you consider yourself a movie buff or a fashion fanatic. And if the silver screen or the red carpet are not your scene, there’s much to see, shop, indulge in and experience in this stylish haven.
From its nearly 70-year history to its legacy of being a place where films and filmmakers are ‘discovered’, there is perhaps no more prestigious film event than Cannes.
The town is the quintessential high-end relaxation zone, but amides its parties and super yachts, there’s a lot to be done for the budget traveller as well.
Although you can visit a few museums and see some pretty architecture, the main tourist attraction is enjoying life at a leisurely pace. Do this on the beaches, nearby islands, the cafés, the boutiques along Rue Meynadier and Rue d’Antibes, and the casinos.
As you walk among the couture shops and palaces of La Croisette, the wealth and glamour of it all cannot fail to impress. If the town’s hedonistic air doesn’t seduce you, there’s enough natural beauty to make the trip worthwhile: the harbour, the bay, the clutch of islands off the coast and the old quarter, Le Suquet, all spring into life on a sunny day.
Sundance is to America what Cannes is to France – that is, the country’s most prominent film festival and, all the Hollywood glamour aside, it’s one cinema-centric event that anyone interested in motion pictures holds in extremely high regard. What began in the late 1970s as a tiny showcase for independent filmmakers, has turned into an 11-day mountain extravaganza, led by Robert Redford. The festival’s focus is still on filmmaking, especially independent cinema. Even amidst all the Hollywood deal-making and corporate sponsorship, there’s no better place to check out some of what will surely be next year’s most anticipated movies.
When not in the theatres, the ski town engages you with some of the most incredible slopes. Bring your gear, purchase a lift ticket for half a day and enjoy some of the greatest snow on Earth before or after your film. If skiing and snowboarding isn’t your thing, take a ride on a dogsled or tube at Gorgoza Park.
Do visit Atticus Coffee, Book and Teahouse, a funky little café-bookstore and the perfect place to sip strong coffee or more than 70 loose-leaf teas. Another popular joint is Ciseros, which up top looks like a modest little Italian restaurant but transforms into a nightclub as you go downstairs where you’re likely to find a festival after-party in progress.
In addition to this you can go for a spa treatment or fly fishing or participate in arts and crafts workshops such as the ones offered at Sundance Arts Studios.
Simply put, this North American city is a lot of fun for both the residents and visitors. Its thrusting skyscrapers downtown reflect the city’s status as Canada’s financial hub. The big city starts bustling with excitement during the famous Toronto International Film Festival when a host of Hollywood and international cinema big wigs descend to showcase the year’s best work. Considered the last hurrah for the film industry before the stress of awards season sets in; many films that premier here end up becoming the front runners at all the major award shows that follow.
Apart from celebrity spotting during the festival, the city offers a plethora of activities that’ll keep the tourist, reveller and explorer in you engaged at all times. With classy restaurants and top-notch theatre, opera, museums and art galleries, there is plenty to see and do. The efficient and well-priced transport system makes getting around really easy in the city.
And a short drive away is Canadian Niagara Falls, which many claim is a far better view than the American side. North of the city, lies ‘Cottage Country’ with its lakes and log cabins.
The city’s cultural scene hums with nightly shows of theatre, ballet and live music at it’s numerous of pubs. Some of the must-visit sites include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum and the quirky Bata Museum, dedicated to all things shoes. Have fun in the Distillery District, shop for funky fashion along Queen Street West and munch your way round Kensington Market and St Lawrence Market.