Working the Riviera
Welcome to the Riviera.
This week I have been mostly mooching around the Cannes waterfront. Unfortunately this was not a pleasure cruise and the amount of the waterfront I've seen is very limited.
Every year the duty free industry descends on Cannes for it's biggest show. This was my first trip to the exhibition. I spent most of my time jumping from stand to stand, meeting to meeting and, yes, cocktail party to cocktail party.
Duty free industry events, as one fellow journo pointed out, run on the "four Cs": coffee, chocolate, cocktails and canapes.
Since arriving here I have managed to be at two beachfront cocktail receptions, a Furla fashion launch, a whisky launch at a Riviera villa and a string of cocktail parties and press conferences.
The Furla event was excellent, a dimly-lit room with newly-released bags hanging from the ceiling and presented on table surrounded by models. Handbags are not an area I can claim to have a huge knowledge of, but my first visit to a fashion show was quite the experience.
Business meetings don't give much opportunity to indulge the joys of the French Riviera and I did walk past streams of people browsing the high-end boutiques, but I got my own flavour with a morning coffee from the seafront kiosks before heading into the event.
Among the top parties of the event was the William Grant launch for its experimental range. You could create your own whisky blend from ingredients on offer, which were then speed fermented using nitrous oxide. My personal blend of raspberry, blackberry, ginger and chilli was, in a word, terrible. However, the IPA whisky Old Fashioned was incredible.
With long days of meetings followed by late nights of parties, it was a hectic week. But I will be back. I mean, how could you not?