France has long had a penchant for jazz and in the summer there are jazz festivals galore. There’s nothing quite like listening to the sweet sounds from a café in a tree-lined square, alongside the Mediterranean or in a park under a setting sun.
Jazz in Marciac
The small town of Marciac, tucked away in the valleys of the Gers, southwest France packs a big jazz punch. The annual festival takes place every summer and it’s no ordinary jazz event – this is 15 days of world class jazz, drawing more than 250,000 people to enjoy the 15 days of performances. Marciac Jazz Festival has become one of the most important jazz events in the world nevertheless, the buzz in the town remains authentic, fun and vibrant. Over the years the festival has seen Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone and Ray Charles take to the stage and thrill the crowds – the programme never disappoints.
Jazz in Juan-les-Pins, Antibes
The cultural heart of the Cote d’Azur is a place to sit and watch the world go by. It’s also where you’ll enjoy a jazz festival in what must be one of the most lush settings in the world. Cannes is in the background, the Mediterranean Sea glistens in the sun, the scent of pine trees fills the air. The longest running of European jazz festivals is legendary.
Jazz in Normandy
In late spring the apples trees vibrate to the sound of music as Coutances, in the department of Manche turns from a sleepy medieval market town to a thronging jazz town. Punching way above its weight, the eight-day festival spills out of marquees, social halls, bars and church buildings on to streets thronged with music lovers. 50 plus concerts, presenting a kaleidoscope of jazz styles, from Dixieland and boogie-woogie to avant-garde.
Jazz in Nice
Nice is home to one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe. It opened in 1948 and headlining the bill was one Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. Held annually in July, in the height of the summer sun, it’s a mellow, fun and fabulous festival that takes place in the centre of the sunny city with up to 9000 spaces for jazz fans over 5 nights of music and mayhem.
Jazz in Paris
Seven weekends of jazz events in the lovely Parc Floral make for a music lovers dream come true. This event has become ever more popular since it was founded in 1994 and now attracts more than 100,000 spectators. From mid-June to the end of July, the city hums and Parisians flock to the park to enjoy jazz in the open air. You pay to enter the park, the concerts are free. Take a picnic and chill – it’s a great way to feel like a local and experience authentic Paris.