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  • Cote d'azur, France

    © LionelBouffier

    Cote d'azur, France

    © LionelBouffier

  • Jazz Concert, Cannes, France

    © Domergue Pasquini

    Jazz Concert, Cannes, France

    © Domergue Pasquini

  • Fireworks, French Riviera, France

    Fireworks, French Riviera, France

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Music festivals

Three of the Côte d’Azur’s hotspots – Antibes, Nice and Cannes – host popular annual music festivals which draw an international crowd. Perhaps the best-loved musical extravaganza is Jazz à Juan in Juan-Les-Pins (next-door to Antibes), which runs for nine days every July and has seen renowned artists including Miles Davis and Ray Charles make their débuts. An open-backed stage faces out to the sea and, from your seat in the audience, you can watch boats glide silently by as you listen to performances late into the evening. As well as music on stage, the streets of Antibes and Juan-Les-Pins (as well as the beach) come alive with impromptu jams and improvisations, creating a real party atmosphere.

Fans of jazz will also be interested in the Nice Jazz Festival, which has been running every July since 1948 and welcomed Louis Armstrong in its opening year. Originally held in Cimiez to the north of the city, it has now moved to the city centre with the main stage set up in Place Masséna. The festival has two different atmospheres, with bands performing on two stages at once, and a total of six stages active over five days. Over 30,000 people come to enjoy its quality line-up. But Cannes is not to be outdone on the musical front: July also sees its own classical Nuits Musicales du Suquet, a magical event for which the square of the church of Notre-Dame d’Ésperance into a concert hall under the stars.

Fireworks

The skies of the Côte d’Azur are lit up with an explosion of colour after dark in the summer months, as Antibes, Cannes and Monaco jostle for the title of most creative town and put on stunning firework displays set to music. The tradition is today as popular as ever, with crowds flocking to the coast to enjoy the annual series of around 10 evening events.

In Cannes, the sweeping bay is illuminated with unforgettable firework displays free of charge, set against the backdrop of the Lérins islands to the tip of the Estérel, on a natural screen of 400m wide and 200m high. The world’s leading international companies take part in this most prestigious of fireworks festivals, hoping to walk away with the highly sought-after gold or silver award…

In Monaco, the unmissable pyro-melodic international music and firework display competition is organised every summer by the town council and features four separate evening events. High-powered sound systems are set up around the Port Hercule, allowing spectators to enjoy exceptional performances from the Avenue de'Ostende to the Quai Albert 1er.

In Antibes Juan-les-Pins, the pyro-melodic festival ends the summer season in style, with the greatest firework artists organising a spectacular display – it’s a magical explosion of light and sound enjoyed by over 10,000 people every year.

Racing cars

First held in 1929 and considered one of the world’s most prestigious automobile races, the Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One event held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. The narrow course winds its way through the Principality with tight corners and changes in elevation, making it one of Formula One’s most demanding courses, measuring over 3,000km in length after 78 laps. Join the thousands of spectators for this exciting event: 2017’s dates are 25-28 May.

Another date for your diary… the second edition of the Monaco ePrix will take place on 13 May 2017. This Monegasque race is the fifth event in the Formula E’s calendar, and remains the only 100% electric single-seater championship in the world.

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