Cannes: Got a Couple of Days After the Fest? Here's How to Spend Them While in Europe

Mirco Toffolo/Courtesy of JW Mariott Venice Resort & Spa
The pool at the JW Marriott overlooks Venice and its canals from the hotel’s private island, Isola delle Rose, about a 20-minute boat ride from the Piazza San Marco. The resort launched quietly in March, well ahead of its scheduled grand opening (June 24).

You've already done the big flight, so why not try to stay a spell as three of Europe's cultural marquee events occur right after in Venice, Milan and Paris.

This story first appeared in the May 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Art Appreciation: Venice Biennale

By air (from Nice): 1 hour
By car: 6 hours

This story first appeared in the May 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Art Appreciation: Venice Biennale

By air (from Nice): 1 hour
By car: 6 hours

This year's Biennale, the citywide exhibition that lures hundreds of thousands of art lovers to the canal city, is likely to be more headline-grabbing than ever, thanks to helmer Okwui Enwezor's fondness for political agitprop. Serious collectors increasingly are skipping its party-saturated preview days (starting May 6; the public exhibition runs from May 9 to Nov. 22) and visiting when it's easier to get around, from the main sites in the Arsenale and the Giardini to satellite shows dotting the lagoon. "Don't try to see it all in one day," advises UTA Fine Arts head Joshua Roth. "And take the vaporetto [water taxi] unless you want to get lost." Writer-producer Maria Arena Bell suggests hiring a private boat. "It's expensive but worth it — you can see everything on every far-flung island."


The Artiglierie, which dates from 1560, is one of several venues at the Arsenale, the primary site for Biennale exhibitions.

A new JW Marriott (Isola delle Rose; doubles from $430) is housed on its own private island amid 40 acres of gardens, with a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city, but the Aman's central location, in 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli on the Grand Canal, is unbeatable (Calle Tiepolo, 1364; doubles from $1,000) — George Clooney spent his wedding night in the Tiepolo suite, with frescoes by its namesake, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

The rooftop terrace of Hotel Danieli (Sestiere Castello, 4196), where Bernardo Bertolucci recently threw a party, is the ideal power-lunching spot — though don't dismiss the rustic fare at nearby Trattoria alla Rivetta (Castello 4265, Ponte San Provolo), a restaurant with red-checkered tablecloths that fills up at midday with off-duty gondoliers sampling the local staple, bigoli in salsa (thick spaghetti in anchovy sauce). For dinner, dine alfresco on the lagoon's edge at Cip's, inside the Belmond Hotel Cipriani (Giudecca 10), which has welcomed Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson. Start with one of the cocktails longtime regular Clooney devised with his head bartender pal, like Nina's Passion (named for Clooney's mom).

 

 

Global Food Fest: Expo Milano

By air: 1 hour
By car: 4 hours

Italy's edition of the world expo (now through Oct. 31) has an apt theme: food. Milan's fair — officially, and somewhat clumsily, titled "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" — is a celebration of food from 145 countries, with a focus on sustainability and reducing hunger.

One likely standout is the dazzling British pavilion by artist Wolfgang Buttress: The tornado-shaped building has a live soundscape piped in from a working bee colony in Nottingham, England. The garden at the USA pavilion showcases more than 40 edible plants, but the greenery is purely ornamental, so book for supper at the James Beard American Restaurant on the roof of Seven Stars Galleria (via Silvio Pellico, 8), and stem pangs of homesickness with regionally themed cuisine from such American chefs as Tom Colicchio and Rick Bayless.


Caffe Parigi in the Palazzo Parigi hotel, which opened in late 2013 after a five-year renovation — led by French architect Pierre Yves Rochon — of the 17th century Palazzo Cramer.

The surfeit of food on site will not go wasted: Leftovers will be shuttled each day to the Refettorio Ambrosiano, a soup kitchen where Momofuku's David Chang, Rene Redzepi (of Copenhagen's Noma) and other top chefs have volunteered to man the kitchens through the end of May.

The city's hottest hotel is the brand-new Palazzo Parigi (corso di Porta Nuova, 1; rooms from $500) in Brera, Milan's answer to New York's West Village or London's Notting Hill. It took five years to turn the 17th century Palazzo Cramer into this five-star, 98-room hotel. Lush interiors, heavy on Murano glass chandeliers, are a nod to the nearby opera house La Scala.

It's a pity Milan's Mandarin Oriental (via Andegari, 9; doubles from $780) doesn't start accepting guests until July 1, with its prime location (just one block off shopping drag via Montenapoleone) and 9,500-square-foot spa. Until then, the best option is the city's ground zero for glamour, Principe di Savoia (Piazza della Repubblica, 17; rooms from $350), a favorite of Matthew McConaughey and Francis Ford Coppola, whose daughter Sofia used it as a location for her film Somewhere.


The Children’s Park at Expo Milano, Italy’s four-month celebration of global food.

Pre-dinner, make like a Milanese by sipping an aperitivo and nib­bling stuzzichini or bar snacks at Ceresio 7 (10, via Ceresio, 2), the bar-restaurant and rooftop pool owned by the DSquared2 twins, Dean and Dan Caten, at their Italian HQ. Luke Evans and Emily Ratajkowski have lounged amid the dramatic decor (scarlet lacquer tables, contrasting blue chairs), bested only by the views at sunset. Sip the house cocktail, a Ceresio Spritz (sparkling wine and soda spiked with blood-orange Solerno liqueur).

Proof that fashion folks really do eat, at least in Italy, comes at the nearby spot owned by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Martini (corso Venezia, 15) serves up a vermouth-accented risotto, as well as classic Sicilian cannoli, and attracts the likes of Monica Bellucci and Scarlett Johansson.

Finish the evening at the speakeasy 1930 (via Macedonio Melloni, 52), a cocktail joint hidden behind a nondescript bar. To get in you'll have to stop first at MagCafe (Ripa di Porta Ticinese) for directions and an invitation.

 

 

Tennis Tour: French Open

By air: 1½ hours
By car: 9 hours

For talent manager Steven Siebert, a self-described tennis obsessive, the French Open (May 24 to June 7) is a favorite among Grand Slam tournaments. He recommends booking courtside loge seats at Roland Garros' older courts, like centerpiece Philippe-Chatrier, where seating further from the red clay can feel cramped. "It also means you can access Club des Loges, a private dining facility within [secondary court] Suzanne-Lenglen," he says. "It's expensive, but a fine lunch with champagne ahead of the men's final? That's what life is all about." Producer Robert Kaplan also ranks the Open above other tournaments. "You can really see the strategy and different types of shots — best of all, though, after the matches, you go back to Paris!"


The Peninsula Paris opened in August after a six-year renovation of the onetime Villa Hotel Majestic, with many of the building’s original 19th century Haussmann details restored — in contrast to the modern glass and steel canopy shielding the main entrance and terrace restaurant.

There, the 154-room, Belle Epoque Plaza Athenee (25 avenue Montaigne; rooms from $1,200) has just reopened after a 10-month closure for expansion. A longtime favorite of the fashion world, it was spotlighted in The Devil Wears Prada. Siebert glimpsed Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase strolling through the lobby of the Hotel Fouquet's Barriere (46 avenue George V; rooms from $760) when he stayed there during the Open. The hippest new hotel in town is undoubtedly Le Grand Pigalle (29 rue Victor Masse; rooms from $250). A few blocks south of newly trendy Pigalle, it's popular with execs from Warner Bros. and Canal Plus.

The Peninsula Paris (19 avenue Kleber; rooms from $900) opened in August after a $580 million makeover of the onetime Villa Hotel Majestic (where George Gershwin wrote An American in Paris). At its restaurant, L'Oiseau Blanc, named for a famous plane lost in the early days of French aviation, ask for table 17 or 25 for the best views of the Eiffel Tower. Kaplan's wife, writer Marilyn Black, raves about a trip to L'Ami Louis (32 rue du Vertbois), a retro bistro near Les Halles: "A chef friend told me about it — I love the chicken there." She isn't alone — Woody Allen has been spotted several times at one of its pink-clothed tables. Indulge in three-star Michelin dining at the new Alleno Paris (8 avenue Dutuit); namesake chef Yannick Alleno recently returned to the city after a stint at Cheval Blanc in Courchevel. Expect unusual creations like smoked-eel souffle with a watercress reduction.


Center court at Roland Garros, the site of the French Open since 1928.

Offset some of that gourmet indulgence via some on-court action of your own with former Swedish world No. 1 Mats Wilander, who will bring his pop-up tennis academy, Wilander on Wheels, to Paris during the tournament.

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The Other Du Cap in Cote D'azur

In the hothouse of Cannes, any reference to "the du Cap" presumes the elegant, celebrity-stocked Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in neighboring Antibes. But Cote d'Azur connoisseurs know there's an equally storied luxury lodging on another rocky peninsula, this one on the far side of Nice — about an hour's drive from Cannes. That would be the five-star Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, owned by billionaire Leonard Blavatnik (another of his playthings: Warner Music). The 17-acre resort (rooms from $480) has been a favorite of guests from Chaplin and Churchill to Picasso and Sinatra. Its new manager, as of May 8, is the Four Seasons, which has only one other French property: the Hotel George V in Paris.

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