Mojitos & music at the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival

Today, I visited the concert venue for the popular Jazz à Juan (Juan les Pins Jazz Festival) which begins this Friday (11 July) and has nightly concerts until 20 July 2014.

Jazz à Juan (logo image reproduced by official website)

Jazz à Juan (logo image reproduced by official website)

The concert location at Pinede Gould is a lovely setting under the pine trees looking out across the Mediterranean towards Île St-Marguerite and towards Cannes and the Esterel mountains. It’s a magic place for listening to music as the sun sets.

Pinede Gould, Juan les Pins Jazz Festival

Pinede Gould, Juan les Pins Jazz Festival

The festival line-up this year includes:

  • Nile Rodgers who is scheduled to appear the opening night with The Family Stone so get your dancing shoes ready!
  • George Benson
  • Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke duet
  • Booker T Jones
  • Joss Stone is no stranger to these shores and brings her powerful, soulful voice to the Pinede Gould on Wednesday 16 July.
  • Saturday 19 July will be another night to get your dancing shoes out. Start with a Cuban mojito at one of the nearby bars then head to the festival as Pedrito Martinez and Orquesta Aragon are sure to inject a little Cuban spice to your night.
  • My personal favourite, Jamie Cullum is making a return to Juan les Pins, and I highly recommend him as a live performer, he is energetic and interacts with the audience.  The French are renown for clapping when they enjoy music; let’s change this, this man deserves no-holds barred dancing.
  • The most anticipated concert night is Gregory Porter and Stevie Wonder – tickets sold like hot cakes! Did you manage to secure a ticket?

My Jazz à Juan tips:

– First visit to the festival and/or Juan les Pins? There is a Jazz Walk-of-Fame outside the concert venue set into the pavement where stars who have played at the festival over the years have left their handprints in the concrete. Includes: B.B King, Ray Charles, Keith Jarrett, Little Richard and more. Do the tourist thing and line up your own paws for size comparison. I can confirm mine are smaller than B.B. Kings.

Jazz Walk-of-Fame, Juan les Pins (image: Wikimedia)

Jazz Walk-of-Fame, Juan les Pins (image: Wikimedia)

– Take cash in small denominations for the bar at the concert venue. You can buy a beer or wine to enjoy during the concert. There are food vendors but unless they have upgraded the selection then you are limited to hot dogs, paninis and baguettes.

– There are accessible toilets at the concert (Portaloos), or before the concert stop for a drink and use the bathroom at one of the many adjacent bars or restaurants. The Pinede park also has an automated accessible public pay toilet (50 centimes) that you can use prior/after the concert.

– If you have restricted mobility, the ground surface at the concert venue is flat. The ticket booth and entrances are flat and concrete-paved, and inside the venue the ground surface is hard dirt so it’s manoeuvrable for wheelchairs.

– In conjunction with the main concerts at the Pinede Gould, Thursday 17 July sees a series of multiple free jazz concerts throughout Antibes and Juan les Pins. Over 200 musicians will take to the streets and emphasise why being in the region during Jazz Festival time is so exciting. Antibes locations for the free concerts are place de Gaulle and boulevard d’Aiguillon. Juan les Pins locations include petite Pinede near the main concert venue and the seafront promenade du Soleil.

Juan les Pins Jazz Festival

Juan les Pins Jazz Festival

How to get to the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival:

By car: Coming from Antibes, travel down boulevard Président Wilson and Juan les Pins is easy to locate. The nearest pay carpark to the venue is under the Palais des Congrès.

By bus:

  1. Bus 200 from Nice or Cannes direction: Alight at stop ‘La Regence’ in Juan les Pins, and then follow avenue Amiral Courbet to the seafront; at the seafront continue walking left to the venue.
  2. Bus 30 or 31: Alight at stop ‘Palais des Congrès’ in Juan les Pins, cross the road and walk across the park with the pine trees to the venue.
  3. Bus 1: Alight at stop ‘Pin Doré’, follow boulevard Baptistin Ardisson until you pass the Palais des Congrès, then you can cross the road and walk through the park with the pine trees to the venue.

The best spots for a pre-concert drink:

  • Le Crystal – A Juan les Pins institution, great for people-watching
  • Le New Orleans – Jazz-themed bar across from the Pinede park
  • News Caffé – Newly opened at the Palais des Congrès with plenty of outside seating. They have Wifi too.
Le New Orleans jazz bar, Juan les Pins

Le New Orleans jazz bar, Juan les Pins

Looking for something fun to do before a concert?

  • Tuk Tuk Azur can customise a sightseeing tour for you. Take in the scenery on the Cap d’Antibes, then stop at a bar in Juan les Pins for a cocktail before the concert. Book in advance to secure your spot as availability is in demand to the popularity of the festival. Bookings via www.tuktukazur.com

(I have no sales or commission affiliation with any of these companies, all opinions are my own)

Official Festival website: www.jazzajuan.com

Like what you see here? Please share my blog post on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, comment below etc and I’ll share the love back. There may be a mojito involved or I may potentially bribe you for a Jamie Cullum or Stevie Wonder ticket but I’ll appreciate it anyway.

 

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2 thoughts on “Mojitos & music at the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival

  1. Pingback: Access Riviera | 2 reasons to visit the French Riviera at any time of the year

  2. Pingback: Access Riviera | Top 10 posts for last 30 days are….

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