At the beating heart of the Côte d’Azur, Antibes-Juan-les-Pins is a must-see Mediterranean maritime paradise.
Built on Greek and Roman origins, characterised by lofty ramparts, its ports include yachting mecca Port Vauban (pictured), sandy shores of chic Cap d’Antibes and heady delights of effervescent Juan-les-Pins.
The resort’s incomparable charm has long delighted visitors as illustrious as painter par excellence Picasso, whose bright works reflected the white light and lore of this land. Indeed, as his museum (pictured) attests, the area revived the oft-troubled master’s spirits. And it will yours.
Nature reigns supreme amid surroundings that boast vast natural parks, rolling golf courses and sparkling streams while surrounding villages Biot and Valbonneare are architecturally rich subject matter for any artist’s canvas. If it’s good enough for Pablo!
Fishermen’s coves, yachtsmen’s wharves and provençal markets all jostle for visitors’ attentions when jazz mecca’s hundred year-old pine grove falls silent.
UK holiday-makers of a certain age will hear the strains of Peter Sarstedt’s 1969 pop chart topper Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? who suggested “when you go on your summer vacation, you go to Juan-les-Pins” - an even suntan-friendly “carefully designed topless swimsuit” is, au naturel, an optional extra.
How to get there:
Northern airports offer a range of low cost flights to Nice Côte d’Azu, France’s foremost international airport outside of Paris. An annual 10 million passengers converge on a site that each summer links over 100 direct destinations in 32 countries with 55 scheduled airlines. Ideally located in the heart of Alpes Maritimes, the continental travel hub serves as a splendid gateway to Nice, equidistant between Cannes and Monaco, offering easy access to Antibes.
It is, to quote Le Monde, “a reference in living music”. So head to Antibes ... and headlong into all that jazz!
Antibes and all that jazz
Those who love music and views should make the short trip to Europe’s longest running Jazz Fest.
Lovers of life, and indeed just lovers, will also find much to admire amid the magic of Pinède Gould.
Sunny climes are guaranteed for an annual outdoor celebration that last year played host to the likes of Stevie Wonder, when weather was appropriately “hotter than July” with a mercury-melting 27°C top temperature music to the ears of any sun-starved Brit.
The sea-side venue has also always been edgy in terms of performances. Although a fully-fledged International Jazz Festivals Organization member, and an integral component of Riviera cultural heritage, it has since its 1960 advent proved influential in progressively pushing the boundaries and all the buttons of the genre.
And a living laboratory ‘twixt sand and stars of free fringe concerts whose watchword is diversity.
Effortlessly elitist yet popular, traditional and contemporary, its programme has long presented all forms of the musical movement from swing to soul, be-bop to gospel, rock to funk.
But, regardless of the musical milieu, quality is at the “roots” of its intuitive evolution of what was launched as revolutionary tribute to a lover of the locale and the sounds.
Charles Mingus, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz number among greats who have graced the stage.
Coming 55th anniversary is no exception as the showcase of excellence more than ever opens its doors and finely-tuned ears to legendary leaders in their field.
A favourite son Al Jarreau returns in style as well as the likes of luminaries Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Lionel Richie.
Class acts full programme:
Friday July 10 Vadel, Charles Pasi, Carlos Santana
Saturday 11 July : Gogo Penguin, Tigran Hamasyan, Avishai Cohen’s New York Division
Sunday 12 July : Herbie hancock & Chick Corea
Monday 13 July: Best of the Fringe Street Music
Tuesday 14 July: JZ Quartet featuring Coco Zhao, Sarah McKenziw, Pink Turtle
Wednesday 15 July: Rhiannon Giddens, Snarky Puppy, Zappa Plays Zappa
Thursday 16 July : Thomas Enhco, Lionel Richie
Friday 17 July: Al Jarreau, Melody Gardot
Saturday 18 July: Kenny Garrett Quintet, Marcus Miller, Ibrahim Maalouf
Sunday July 19: American Gospel ecumenical celebration
Just the ticket:
Over the counter at Tourism & Convention Bureau Antibes, 42 Avenue Robert Soleau, 06600 Antibes Juan-les-Pins, 60 Chemin des Sables, 06160 Juan-les-Pins, from 9am - 6.30pm. New Gold Zone passes provide VIP entrance then special front of stage access with designated ushers and cushioned seats affording unimpeded views.