InspireLiz LordWhat's On Provence & Cote d'Azur

The French Riviera and All that Summer Jazz

French Riviera Jazz Tunes

Summer on the French Riviera and in the Alpes-Maritimes (department #06) residents are really spoilt by the choice of low cost, or free, fabulous assaults on the eyes and ears.

The Nice Jazz Festival 2018 with its 70th edition, promised a rich programme, which I am sure did not disappoint.  As a Côte d’Azur resident, with evenings free, and lots of energy, I’d go every evening – the pass for a week is just €135 (2018 prices) – for top-quality performers, intimate venues, and seven nights of heavenly music.

The venue in Nice is the gardens just beyond the Ruhl Casino – within which, there is a small amphitheatre (Théatre de Verdure) with plastic chairs on the terraces, and a small gig area (Scène Masséna).  Every night, from 19.30h to well after midnight, there are six acts, with a wide scope of styles – and not just jazz – with a big or a small “J”.  On location, there is a selection of local food and (expensive) drinks.  With plenty of space, the venue is ideal for families.

French Riviera Summer Jazz Nice

Attracted by the incredibly talented “hulk” of Rag’n Bone Man, there was also much promise on the last night of the event – classic jazz, modern jazz, African jazz, Denver rockers, vintage Belgian techno stars, and the “big shed”, there was much to offer.

However, due to unexpected ill health, our original draw (Rag’n Bone Man) was not there, but his place was taken by the rather astonishing LP.

The finale, after all, was the said Belgian keyboard thrashers, which was so loud and monotonous, that certain of the audience left (including the writer!), for fear of organ vibration damage…at the very least.  Imagine – Kraftwerk (who is old enough?) – on speed – neither one thing nor another – and am sure that most of the residents of Nice central were very aware of the racket.

For €40 – and with an open mind – the Nice Jazz Festival is a fantastic night out.

If you wish to combine some culture with the delights of the Mercantour National Park – just an hour to the North at Space-Between you can achieve the best of all worlds! We offer self-catered holiday rentals, guided hiking, horseback riding and lots of advice for enjoying this stunning natural park.

French Riviera Summer Jazz Nice

Top Tips for Nice Jazz Festival

Be prepared for cancellations and/or programme time changes.

Take a fold-up chair, or cushion, and an umbrella.

If you have a 50cl plastic beaker from a previous event take it. The drinks onsite are expensive – a “small” wine is 25cl – enough really!  The security checks just take the tops off plastic water bottles you might wish to take with you.

Book your accommodation in Nice early, and be prepared to experience the hedonism on the beach (50 workers every day to clear 3 tonnes of rubbish at 5 a.m.) – and the sad sight of refugees sleeping soundly.  The Port in Nice has super yachts but also the charming sight of pointus– as pictured!

Nice France Port Boats pointus

Recommended eating in Nice

Le Socrate
Lebanese cuisine, tasty great value platters. Open all day.
2 Rue de Suisse, 06000, Nice
Tel: +33 (0)4 93 82 24 72
Open every day – all day from 12h – 23h

Pan Bagnat Nice Food Foodies Food Tour Nice Cote d'Azur

A Buteghinna
Perched on the edge of Vieux Nice, this weekday lunch spot remains popular with locals, some of whom eat here daily. Sophie, the chef, cooks the rest-tasting traditional niçoise dishes: soupe au pistou (vegetable soup with pistou sauce), salade niçoise, petits farcis (stuffed vegetables), ratatouille, and her colleagues welcome you with warmth and enthusiasm that never wane.
11 rue du marché
06300 Vieux Nice
Tel: +33 (0)4 93 92 28 22
Monday – Saturday 9-18:30h
Closed Sundays

Any lover of the Mediterranean must visit this delightful place tucked away in the alleys of Vieux Nice, the old town. Nadim, the gregarious owner, is a true Mediterranean soul.
8 Bis rue du Collet
06300, Vieux Nice
Tel: +33 (0)4 93 13 06 45
Tuesday – Saturday for lunch only

For other dining suggestions please read: a Foodie’s new Favorites Restaurants in Nice and Exploring Food Favorites in Old Town Nice.

Music for the ears

More Festivals on the Côte d’Azur

Jazz à Juan. Since 1960, musicians perform in July on the shores of the Mediterranean. Perhaps it makes sense that Juan les Pins, a sister city to New Orleans, Louisiana, has its own rich history based on this genre of music.

Nuits du Sud in Vence musical evenings started in 1998. The festival fills the town with a lively mix of music for 11 nights. For the last decade, prior to the start of the Nuit du Sud, there is a contest for the best new talent as judged by a jury and also the popular choice.

Les Soirees Estivales includes over 400 free performances throughout the Alpes Maritimes.

Image credits: Jazz Festival and pointus photos provided by and published with the permission of spacebetween.

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Liz Lord

Liz Lord

Liz Lord and her husband Mel Jones have been living in the Mercantour National Park for the past 15 years.

Most people would already be saying “where?”, but in fact the Mercantour remains a delightfully unknown area straddling the Franco-Italian border, in the Alpes-Maritimes. Liz and Mel live just an hour North of Nice – so can enjoy the best of best worlds, their life concentrated in their home in Berthemont les Bains, yet being able to enjoy the hubbub on the coast when the need for culture arises.

Choosing to decamp from the UK (and their “normal” corporate lives!) after a chance encounter with their current home in 2001, they now earn their living by renting out their two gites and offering walking and adventure holidays at Space Between.

With the experience of ex-pat life, setting up a small business in France, house renovation, and land and horse management!, with a keen interest in food and wine and travel, Liz has much to contribute for those interested in a new life in France or with a zest to dip their toe in the water on holiday.

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