HOTTER THAN JULY IN JUAN LES PINS THIS SUMMER
So much more than just a beach destination you could be jazzing it up at the Jazz a Juan festival this year.
The ideal July holiday destination this year is just 30 minutes from Nice International airport, at Juan Les Pins, where sun lovers and partygoers have been flocking for decades but what I love about Juan les Pins is the bite- sized nature of it all ,it almost seems to function like a village.
Why particularly “hot” this July? Well because Stevie Wonder will be heading the bill with a one night concert and the rest of the line up is pretty impressive too .
You can book tickets to this year’s festival at the Tourist office which will entitle you to an invitation to the Bastille day on the14th as well ,when Preservation Hall from New Orleans will be playing but you dont have to splash out you could just chill out in the Pinede Gould Park behind the main concert area with a bottle of French wine or on the beach ..for free .
What I really appreciate about Juan s jazz festival is that you can get a real concert experience without the massive crowds and in recent years I ve seen Sting, Tom Jones and The Temptations -all in ideal conditions.
There are the private beaches, Les Pirates, Belles Rives and Les Ambassadeurs are among my favourites but there are a few public beaches hidden away opposite the Pinede that are free at the beginning of the season the sea is still crystal clear and early birds definately get the best of the beach experience.
Afternoon and Evening Entertainment.
Try Belles Rives for afternoon tea or cocktails , this was The Fitzgerald s haunt and boasts glorious sea views with a Gatsby atmosphere thanks to the decor and photos Scott around the bar area.
Early evening and things start hotting up with live bands at The Crystal, or the latest New Orleans bar opposite the Pinede park. There are street bands playing throughout the whole of the Jazz Festival some directly from New Orleans. Late at night the Pam Pam is the place, along with the Crystal for huge cocktails and even bigger ice creams. There s a casino, nightclubs and centrally placed discotheques all these gave Juan les Pins its claim to fame in the 60s.
As in any French seaside resort ,eating out is never problem but I would recommend , Festival de La Mer or a seafood pizza at Le Cancan. Try the Port des Pecheurs to check out the day s catch to cook yourself.
Getting around the rest of the Riviera from here could nt be easier , you can spend a whole Summer here and never bother about a car, the SNCF train station gets you to Cannes in 8 minutes or Nice in 15 minutes or further afield one of the reasons why Picasso loved the resort so much.
Where to stay ?
There are a few chain hotels including two Best Westerns in Juan les Pins one near the station and one nearer to the Pinede, but if you prefer a more traditional hotel I d recommend the Juana, but that s just one of many.
Don t forget to take your copy of “Tender is the Night”, to read on the beach and more importantly don t forget to salute Sidney Bechet s statue as you walk past , after all , he was the one who started it all.
J Bowell is a freelance travel journalist, LSJ.
Juan les pins jazz festivals