Activities – CANNES (Nuit Musicales du Suquet 2012)

Nuits Musicales du Suquet which runs from 23-28 July 2012 is a major musical event in Cannes and a key summer concert for lovers of classical music.  The open-air concerts are held in the old quarter of Suquet in Cannes in the courtyard of the Musée de la Castre, and the square in front of the lovely Notre-Dame d’Espérance Church.

It is a magical setting where the stone remperts and walls are lit up, and that enchanting Riviera light fades to dusk as the sound of a classical pianist or violinist pierces the warm evening.  My tip would be to enjoy a leisurely meal alfresco at one of the restaurants on rue St Antoine, then meander up the hill to the church and some of the best views across Cannes at sunset.

In the unlikely event of rain, the concerts will move to the Palais des Festivals near the Cannes port.  Please note, whilst the Palais is accessible, the open-air concerts in the Suquet quarter are not very accessible for wheelchair users due to steep and cobbled streets.

Tickets can be purchased onsite from 8pm on the day of the concerts, or in advance from the Tourist Office at the Palais des Festivals.


Sightseeing – Cannes Fireworks 2012

Who doesn’t love fireworks?  I was in Sydney for the year 2000 New Years celebrations at the turn of the new millenium – the firework display that night remains one of my favourite memories.

If you are lucky enough to be on the French Riviera during summer you can experience many choreographed firework displays to world music.

The Cannes fireworks festival is held annually over the Bay of Cannes ( Baie de Cannes), and is a competition between countries where fireworks must be set to music for a minimum of 25 minutes.  There is a loose theme, and the judges score based on the correlation between the theme, pyrotechnic display and musical soundtrack.

All displays commence at 10.30pm.

Last Saturday’s display for Italy was postponed 2 days due to high winds, but the remaining schedule for the Cannes fireworks festival is:

21 July – China (theme: Dragon in the sky)

29 July – Spain (theme: A Mediterranean cruise)

07 Aug – France (theme: Our earth)

15 Aug – Germany (theme: Classic pyro-symphony)

24 Aug – England replaces Argentina (theme: to be confirmed)

My pick would be for China to take out the competition, the Chinese really do know their fireworks and create amazing displays all over the world!

Sightseeing – Road trip playlist

This weekend my partner and I are heading to Castellane for 2 days camping, kayaking and outdoor activities.  I like traveling – whether I am the driver or the passenger, getting to the destination can be as enjoyable as arriving at the destination.

As we will not be traveling with our son (thanks to his grandmother babysitting him while we are away), our music tastes for the journey will be extended beyond child-friendly CD’s and catchy songs involving ‘A, B, C’s’ or ‘Name that animal’.  Here is my playlist compilation of road trip songs that I like for various reasons (in no particular order):

  • You and Me song – The Wannadies
  • Scar tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Canned heat – Jamiroquai
  • Just like heaven – The Cure
  • Get a move on – Mr Scruff
  • Your Song – Elton John
  • Free fallin’ – Tom Petty
  • Here’s where the story ends – The Sundays
  • Superstylin’ – Groove Armada
  • Arizona – Kings of Leon
  • Sunshine – P. Digss and Drumagick
  • Luna – Smashing Pumpkins
  • Born slippy – Underworld
  • Every day is a winding road – Sheryl Crow
  • So true – The Black Seeds
  • Starlight – Muse
  • Last request – Paolo Nutini
  • Dakota – Stereophonics
  • Love is a losing game – Amy Winehouse
  • Brazilian hipster – Fort Knox Five
  • You’ve got the love – Florence and the Machine

I would love to hear from anyone what you would include on your road trip playlist!

Happy traveling!

Eat and drink – HIGH CHAIRS (or lack thereof)

The other evening we were searching for a restaurant that had a high chair for our son to use during dinner.

We asked 3 restaurants and not one of them had a baby high chair for patrons to use!  Surely, we weren’t the only family to want to dine out and require a high chair for our baby to sit in safety?   One restaurant even suggested using 2 cushions on an adult chair (not practical for a wriggly boy prone to running away to explore!).

How difficult is it for restaurants to provide a simple comfort for families to enjoy a meal together?  especially when they usually stack the restaurant tables and chairs at the end of the evening, surely a high chair can be stored similarly and not take up more space than one chair?

Something to think about….


Activities – MONACO (Monaco Herculis Athletics 2012)

I have always followed athletics coverage on television, my favourite’s being the 100 metre sprints and the high jump.  Leading up to the Olympics the French Riviera is hosting the annual Monaco Herculis Athletics competition this Friday 20 July from 7pm onwards.

The Herculis meet is part of the Samsung Diamond League and is the last international track and field event before the London Olympic Games.  Interestingly, only one world record has been set in the event’s history (Pole vault in 2008).

Ticket sales can be purchased online or at the ticket office onsite.  For the event programme visit


Jazz à Juan (Juan les Pins Jazz Festival) is an annual music festival held at Pinède Gould in Juan les Pins.  This year’s billing includes Tom Jones, Sonny Rollins, Kool and the Gang and Norah Jones. The setting is lovely – right on the seafront surrounded by palm trees, pine trees and a great vista of the ocean.  The site is flat and there is admission for ground-floor seating, so it is accessible.  Toilets are accessible and there are kiosks selling food and drinks.

As well as paid-admission tickets, the festival has free concerts whereby musicians wander the streets of Juan les Pins and Antibes stopping to play on street corners, terraces and squares.  Last night, as I ate dinner at a beach restaurant in Juan les Pins we listened to the distant sound of ‘New Scat’ and the ‘Street Warmers’.  

Tonight, at 7pm there is free music along the waterfront promenade in Juan les Pins.  I may see you there!

Activities – NICE JAZZ FESTIVAL 2012

It’s not to everybody’s musical preference, but I like jazz.  I like piano jazz, bass jazz and especially saxophones and trumpets.  Thanks to John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk, jazz reignites memories of some great bars I used to frequent, and a fantastic Sunday morning radio show I used to listen to while I did housework (it’s true!).

My travel ‘to-do’ list includes the New Orleans Jazz Festival.  One day I’ll get there and sit in the heat enjoying some cool jazz while eating hot jambalaya and po-boy sandwiches.  I can but dream.

In the meantime while my distant dream of New Orleans is on the backburner, the French Riviera is also a drawcard for jazz fans (Nice and Juan les Pins have major annual festivals) and this Sunday is the first evening of the Nice Jazz Festival which runs from Sunday 08 July to Thursday 12 July.

Previously held at the Roman site of Cimiez, the Nice Jazz Festival will be entertaining crowds at Place Massena and the Albert 1er gardens – a more accessible location, I believe.  The entire area is flat so perfectly accessible for families with baby buggies, or wheelchair users, and public transport links at this location are much better.

With a capacity to take a larger audience than Cimiez and lower ticket prices, the organisers are hoping the move to the new site will create a ‘relaxed picnic-style’ environment with a child-friendly play area, market stalls and plenty of green space to lounge about.  Well done to Christian Estrosi and the organisers for recognising the potential to return the festival to global standards by making it more accessible to fans (both geographically and financially).

The opening bill includes Erykah Badu, Deedee Bridgewater Eddy Louiss and Richard Galliano.  For the Nice Jazz Festival programme, click on