Vini, Vidi, Venti: Starbucks Conquers Cannes

Gary Baum

The American coffee company debuts just in time for the French film festival.

The South of France is finally civilized. A local branch of America’s dominant premium coffee purveyor Starbucks quietly bowed in a new commercial development abutting Cannes’ train station on April 27, two weeks ahead of the annual film festival, which kicks off Wednesday.

Well, almost civilized. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter earlier today for half-and-half, a barista replied, “We don’t know what that is.”

A lack of American-style coffee — with its huge sizes (venti, s’il vous plait!), myriad syrups and iced options, all available to go — has long been bemoaned along the Croisette by industry players who aren’t used to working without their often several-cups-a-day fix. Indeed, they’ve been stuck ordering their caffeine from the French the way the French prefer it served: in thimble-sized glasses and ceramic cups, which don’t travel.

The menu is similar to that of its U.S. sibling locations, from honey blossom macchiatos to mango passion Frappuccinos, although croque monsieurs are served, too. Free Wi-Fi is offered. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Cannes location is part of a $40 million expansion and modernization of the train station, which also includes the new Okko Hotel. Starbucks follows another American culinary player, Steak ‘n Shake, onto the local scene. One of the most popular restaurants in town, meanwhile, is a Manhattan-themed brasserie near the Palais called New York New York. It replaced the former Hard Rock Cafe.