When I arrived yesterday, battling throngs of people just to make it to the famous Palais des Festivals to pick up my press pass, this "Cannes virgin" could not believe her eyes.
Thousands of people congest the streets; Some are discussing production deals on their phone, some are begging for tickets to that night's big screening, and some are just hoping to be seen.
Sadly, I had the misfortune of being delayed by almost four hours in my journey here and missed the press screening of "Moonrise Kingdom," but in Cannes, there is never a dull moment, and soon I was swept into mob of people crowding the famous steps of the Palais.
The red steps and carpet are as iconic in Cannes as the water and sand, maybe even more so, and they definitely do not disappoint.
Television crews and cameramen, squeezed into French rental tuxes, lined the "tapis rouge," or red carpet, while the Beach Boys and Smokey Robinson blasted from speakers. The crowd, which I do not expect to dissipate, was massive and in good spirits for the opening ceremony, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars that were scheduled to make an appearance.
While jury member, Diane Kruger, definitely won a spot on every fashion magazine's best dressed list, the two standout red carpet performances went to Alec Baldwin and Bill Murray.
After charming the crowd with nothing more than a smile and the fact that he was Alec Baldwin, Baldwin carried his girlfriend up the festival steps before waving to the mass of cheering people. Murray, on the other hand, chose to jam out (bopping his head and doing little dances) to the music, being blared as he wondered down the red carpet with the rest of the cast of Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," the festival's opening movie.
Most of the cast of the film was present last night for the inaugural moment of the festival including, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman. Other famous faces included the jury led by president Nanni Moretti, who said at a press conference earlier in the day that he misses the old days when jury meetings were closer to papal conclaves.
"There were two remaining taboos in the world - the silence after the awards and the conclave," Moretti said to a room full of journalists. "Now it's just the conclave."
With more screenings, press conferences, interviews and master classes than I can count before the final "after-the-awards" press conference, the next two weeks promise to be jam packed with gossip, advice, and superfluous descriptions of the breath-taking views. Check out my daily reports on BackStage.com and follow @BackStageCast on Twitter for live updates.