The Map: Silver screen and sunscreen

The map Next week sees the annual orgy of self-promotion that is the Cannes Film Festival. Matthew Sweet provides our guide to the Cannes do's and don'ts

"Darling, how are you? I haven't seen you since ... Well, since last Cannes!" Get practising now, because if you want to join the hordes of hacks, liggers and wannabes at the palm-fringed Riviera resort of Cannes during the annual Film Festival, you haven't got much time. Accreditation is free, but you should have applied before 4 March. So your best bet at this stage is to call or fax as politely as possible. You can register on arrival, but you must take several passport photos, business cards and a company letterhead. Anything will do, so just knock it up on your PC. There's an excellent chance of getting a cheap flight to Nice with EasyJet, and if it's good enough for David Ginola and Frank Bough (who were both on my flight last time I was there, darling) then it's good enough for you. See you on the Carlton terrace for cocktails at six. We could pop out for oysters with Liz and Hugh, and then go on to the James Bond party ...

Le Petit Majestic Where the British hacks hang out. Take pity and buy one of them a drink. You might be lucky and pick up a story about a Hollywood star that's far too libellous to print. Heard the one about Robert de Niro, the French judge and the call girls? Hang on, that did get printed ...

Palais des Festivals A huge exhibition complex, and the heart of the Festival. Screenings are held here in the Grand Auditorium and the Theatre Claude Debussy. On the schedule this year are Peter Greenaway's new film, 8* Women, Tim Robbins' The Cradle Will Rock, Kevin Smith's Dogma, and Le Lettre, the latest from nonagenarian Portuguese director Manuel de Oliveira. The world's journos are housed in a nightclub on the first floor, and their little postboxes are handily nearby - all hacks pray they've been obsequious enough to earn a party invite in their pigeonhole. Usually it's just press releases for films you'd never want to see.

Planet Hollywood Garish publicity events take place here, but don't have much to do with films at the Festival. Last year Bruce Willis (who part-owns this worldwide chain of bar-restaurants) turned up to sing with the Blues Brothers. And his business partner Sylvester Stallone will probably pop in for a burger at some point during the fortnight.

Hotel Majestic This is where the Cannes jurors are billeted. Last year they included Winona Ryder and Sigourney Weaver. This year's list features David Cronenberg, Holly Hunter and Jeff Goldblum. So if you want to gawp at them, wait in the driveway 10 minutes before a screening is due to start at the Palais over the road. Unless they dig an underground tunnel with their complementary hotel melon-spoons, they'll never escape you.

Noga Hilton A nasty, angular construction that wouldn't win any prizes for architectural brilliance. But around the hideous fountain in the lobby there are huge piles of the day's newspapers from all across the world, plus stacks of Festival literature. And the staff are too polite to stop interlopers making off with them in armfuls.

La Croisette The beachside highway of Cannes is the place to chase Madonna in her jogging bottoms and observe some of the Festival's battier publicity-seekers. If you're into men in animal costumes or women with pneumatic breasts, this is the place. And if you can find one that isn't occupied by a deep-tanned, poodle-wielding septuagenarian, there are cute little chairs where you can sleep off the results of last night's blagging.

Beach restaurants There's little chance of getting dinner in one of these lobster-laden establishments during the Festival. They're invariably hired by film companies for parties, so you'll probably have to content yourself with celeb-spotting from the street, whence you can peer down on all the bald patches and diamond earrings glittering in the Mediterranean dusk. This year, you have an excellent chance of seeing Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta Jones, Julia Ormond, Ralph Fiennes, Susan Sarandon, John Cusack, Vanessa Redgrave and Emily Watson. The first round's on them.

The Carlton International Big deals don't get done in the pavilions of the Riviera Village or in the bowels of the Palais. They happen inside hotels, where major film companies hole up for the duration. The napkins of the Carlton International are invaluable for those last-minute billion- dollar calculations.

Harbour The porno business has its own yacht moored here, where the Porn D'Or ceremony is held. It also operates as a base camp for the legions of big-chested women sent tottering up and down La Croisette by skinflick producers in the hope of attracting the attention of the world's photographers. (It usually works.) Slightly more upmarket is the Soho House boat, a waterborne version of the self-consciously trendy private club on Greek Street, London W1. Gatecrashing here is your best chance of sharing a special moment with Ewan McGregor, Rufus Sewell or Jude Law.

Hotel du Cap (down the coast in Cap d'Antibes) Home to the real celebs - the ones likely to get mugged by snappers if they venture unprotected into town. Take a taxi to the Cap d'Antibes and hang out in the cocktail bar to spot Liz and Hugh or Kate and Johnny sharing a low-cal Evian water.

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