I went to La Baoli, the lavish Cannes bar where celebrities love to party, and I've never felt more out of place
The entrance to La Bâoli. La Bâoli
I was in Cannes to cover this year's Cannes Film Festival for insiders.
There I checked out some of the hottest places celebrities love to go to, including La Bâoli.
The bar is beautiful but felt too prestigious for someone like me who is used to low-key places.
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Cannes is one of the chicest cities in Europe, and celebrities flock to the coastal city in southern France every year for the famous film festival that shares its name.
There, the stars stay in some of the largest and most luxurious hotels, including Le Majestic at Hotel Barrière and its $ 9,600 suite per night. But even celebrities visiting Cannes may want more than most to take a break from the endless events of the festival.
I visited one of these places, the famous La Bâoli bar, which is often visited by celebrities during the festival to relax, hang out and party.
I got a tour of La Bâoli. Jacob Sarkisian
La Bâoli is just a 12-minute drive from the Palais des Festivals, which makes it an ideal destination
While the Palais des Festivals is busy from morning to evening during the world-famous event, La Bâoli is a 12-minute drive (or around 25 minutes' walk) from the main action of the Cannes Film Festival.
The Palais des Festivals can be seen from La Bâoli. Jacob Sarkisian
This location immediately gives it an exclusive, private atmosphere. There are plenty of bars and restaurants right by the Palais des Festivals, but when you're headed to this relatively remote area of Cannes, a visit to La Bâoli becomes a special occasion.
The restaurant was upscale and carnival-like
As soon as you get closer to the beautifully lit bar, it becomes clear that this is a high-end joint. There is a strict, fancy dress code that only allows certain shoes - I wore white Nike sneakers, but I was told that people who wear sneakers that are too athletic are not allowed. All other items of clothing must look chic.
La Bâolis restaurant. La Bâoli
The restaurant on the ground floor, which serves a first-class menu of Mediterranean and Asian fusion cuisine, already had a party atmosphere, although the club was not yet open.
The restaurant is a mix of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. La Bâoli
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to try the delicious looking food. La Bâoli
A DJ playing music inspired the guests to get up from their seats, pause their meals and dance between the tables, suggesting a carnival atmosphere that Antoine Brière, head of communications and marketing, told me their club was inviting.
Brière said having the film festival, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in July instead of the usual month of May had proven challenging. The new dates clashed with summer vacationers who are usually the posh bar's biggest customers.
The club is still capacity limited, but it's clear that this is a place that attracts high profile guests
While the club restrictions mean that the capacity is limited to 75%, I have been told that La Bâoli is still doing everything for its guests, turning part of the restaurant on the ground floor into a lively and spacious club with various DJs playing sets. Some up and coming household names that will be performing include DJs Blond: ish and Jon Rocca.
La Bâoli has a DJ in the restaurant and in the club. Jacob Sarkisian
I already felt out of place. Thanks to the pandemic, I haven't been to a proper bar or club for well over a year and have gotten used to tables with a maximum of six people in the English pubs that I frequent in my hometown of Crawley just outside London.
So that was a big step up. While I loved watching the world return to normal and spent some livelier nights, I couldn't help but feel out of place. The guests were dressed in designer clothes and all looked very comfortable and relaxed.
The La Bâoli club must not be fully open yet. La Bâoli
However, I am not used to visiting such exclusive and exclusive venues, even before the pandemic, so I felt clearly out of place and as if I was standing out - despite the friendly, happy and cheerful atmosphere.
The rooftop bar had a more relaxed feel, but an equally luxurious setting?
However, the rooftop bar was way more of my vibe. Brière told me that the bar called Cloud Nine always has a "more relaxed, laid-back" feel than it was downstairs, and that was clear even though the luxurious surroundings still exuded cost and extravagance.
Brière told me that they often host private events on the rooftop bar for various celebrities visiting Cannes and once hosted a party for Leonardo DiCaprio and his famous friends.
I got The Smoking Buddha cocktail. Jacob Sarkisian
Unfortunately, I didn't see Leo or any other celebs during my brief visit to La Bâoli, but it's definitely the kind of venue to see with A-listeners.
The COVID-19 restrictions weren't too bad for La Bâoli. The venue is closed from October to March anyway, even during non-COVID times, as it is a seasonal venue. Brière said it just isn't worth being open during these months.
But it is not the Cannes Film Festival that brings them their biggest business, unlike the Hotel Le Majestic.
La Bâoli is clearly a place for top-class guests. La Bâoli
Instead, Brière said a real estate conference in March and an exclusive boat show in October were their big business hours.
"The real estate [conference] only lasts four days, but there are a lot of people and they eat so much, drink so much," Brière said, describing the kind of money-laden customers who would inject the money. Great places like La Bâoli. "It is very important for us."
But I'm definitely not one of those customers and it would take a while to get used to such an exclusive environment. La Bâoli is undoubtedly a delight and a beautiful place to have a drink while looking at the rest of Cannes - but for now I can only stick to my simple pubs in England.
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