June 07, 1999 12:00 PM

Sure, it has sun, sea and bubbly galore—but there are those who will tell you that the Cannes International Film Festival isn’t just brioches and bikinis. Some of the stars who turned out for this year’s 12-day extravaganza, for example, actually had to spend time hustling rather than hobnobbing. “It’s work,” sighs actress Heather Graham, on hand to promote her new film, Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Shagged Me. “Every day you have a press junket and a premiere.” And talk about stress. “All these women are 10 feet tall and weigh three pounds, and they’re dressed by the designers themselves. It’s way, way pressure,” moans Melissa Rivers, in town for the E! channel.

Still, a starry-eyed few did manage to enjoy the 52nd annual bash. “I saw Catherine Deneuve arrive on TV, and I’m freaked out that I’m here too,”Entrapment’s Catherine Zeta-Jones told reporters. Frasier’s Peri Gilpin, who bunked with fiancé Christian Vincent at the ultrachic Hôtel du Cap, declared the Riviera “glamorous and sooo romantic. Christian and I were so uncool—we walked into our hotel room and just started screaming.”

Salma Hayek knows the feeling. At an auction hosted by Elizabeth Taylor to raise money for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein said he would bid $50,000 if Hayek would teach Ben Affleck, with whom she costars in Dogma, to do the samba. “Can you believe they did that to me?” says Hayek. “I was only worried about not falling down.”

By the final day, May 23, the high living had taken its toll. “I’ve developed this champagne habit, and it’s bad for my health,” said Graham, laughing. Count on it, though: They’ll be back. After all, as Julianne Moore, star of An Ideal Husband, put it, “Every once in a while, wearing a borrowed diamond necklace is fun.”

Kim Hubbard

Joanna Blonska, Steven Cojocaru, Liz Corcoran and Natasha Stoynoff in Cannes

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