Videos. Where does the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival come from?

The famous Palme d’Or has only been awarded since 1955. From 1946, the date the Festival was created, to 1954, the Cannes Festival Jury awarded a “Grand Prix du Festival International du Film” to the best director. The winners of this Grand Prize were then presented with a work by a popular contemporary artist.

It is borrowed from the coat of arms of Cannes

The symbol of the palm has nothing to do with Antiquity, a period of history when a palm was awarded to the winners of sporting competitions or circus games. Nor with the hundreds of palm trees that stand today in the bay of Cannes. Born on the initiative of Robert Favre Le Bret, then General Delegate, the Palme d’Or is quite simply borrowed from the city’s coat of arms – the Venice Festival had its Lion, and that of Berlin, its Bear. And it refers to a legendary episode in the city’s history.

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The palm tree of Saint-Honorat

Lérins Abbey and the fortified monastery on the island of Saint-Honorat.


In the 11th century, the lands of Cannes were given to the Saint-Honorat Abbey, located on an island in the Lérins archipelago. At the beginning of the 5th century, Saint Honorat decided to settle on this island, but the place was infested with snakes. By the force of his prayer, he had killed them and immense waves had covered the island to cleanse it. To avoid being swept away by the waves too, Honorat had climbed into a palm tree. It is this episode that the palm of the seaside resort’s coat of arms symbolizes.

Jean Cocteau is a stranger to his history

Legend has it that it was Jean Cocteau who imagined its long, tapered shape. In fact, in 1954, the Festival’s Board of Directors invited several jewelers to present their designs and that of jewelry designer Suzanne Lazon was selected. A trophy was made based on his drawing, the lower end of the bevelled stem forms a heart and the base is a terracotta sculpture of Sébastien.

The first Palme rewards a romantic comedy

The first film to win it, in 1955, was a romantic comedy, “Marty”, by Delbert Mann. From 1964 to 1974, the Palme eclipsed and the Festival temporarily returned to the Grand Prix formula.

Enduring symbol of the Cannes Festival since 1975

Honored in 1975, the Palme d’Or has become the enduring symbol of the Cannes Film Festival. The last prize announced during the Palmarès, it is awarded each year to the director of the best feature film in the Official Competition, presented in a full-skin red morocco case, padded with white suede.

It was the jeweler Chopard who modernized it

In 1998, Theo Angelopoulos was the first to win the Palme d’Or as we know it today for his film “Forever and a Day”. Modernized under the presidency of Pierre Viot by Caroline Scheufele, co-president of the Swiss watchmaker-jeweler Chopard which provides the trophy each year free of charge, in 18 carat gold, it is cast by hand in a wax mold, then fixed on a unique cushion of emerald cut diamond shaped crystal. It is now presented in a blue morocco case.

Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival.

Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival.


An ethical Palme d’Or

70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival: the diamonds for the 57th Palme d'Or, won by Swedish director Ruben Östlund for the film

70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival: the diamonds for the 57th Palme d’Or, won by Swedish director Ruben Östlund for the film “The Square”, come from a supplier certified ethical by the Responsible Jewelery Council.


On the occasion of the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the trophy is specially designed for a “frosted” effect. The Palme d’Or is exceptionally encrusted with 167 diamonds “like stardust on its foliage and its stem”.



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