06/03/2012 AT 11:00 AM EDT
You don't need to be on the red carpet to cause a sensation in Cannes.
Milla Jovovich was the talk of the Hotel Martinez when she posed for PEOPLE
on the steps of the luxury hotel's spiral staircase.
Built in 1929, the Martinez is one of the palatial hotels lining the Croisette, the famous waterfront promenade in Cannes.
The actress, 36, was at the film festival last week as an ambassador for L'Oréal and to attend the gala benefit for the AIDS research charity amFAR.
So what does one pack to come to the world's most glamorous film festival? "The highest heels, no trainers, the crazy dresses," said Jovovich. "If you can go to the supermarket, it shouldn't be here."
For more of PEOPLE's exclusive, eight-page Cannes photo portfolio – including shots of Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt and Heidi Klum kicking back on the glamorous French Riviera – pick up new issue, on newsstands now