When we did arrive in Antibes, we were greeted to a beautiful resort/vacation town called Juan-Les-Pins situated East of Cannes (home of the famous Film Festival) and West of Nice and Monte Carlo. While less glitzy and glamorous than its neighbors, Juan-Les-Pins still holds its own as a French Riviera vacation spot. Our visit coincided with the 50th Anniversary of “Jazz-a-Juan”, a renowned jazz festival whose past performers include Miles Davis, B.B. King, and Ray Charles, among many others. None of us are jazz fans per-se, but since we were already there, we decided to purchase standing room tickets to see George Benson (most people know his hit song, “On Broadway”).
We spent most of our days relaxing and lounging on the beach, which was about a 5 min. walk from our hotel, and spent our nights perusing the local bar/café/club scene. There was always plenty to do at night, and most people we met were very friendly despite the language gap and despite them being French.
The night of the concert we ended up meeting a number of cool people, some vacationing from Ireland, and some others from the U.S. One was a guy from New York working in finance/real estate who was there with a group including his wife, who was a big George Benson and jazz music fan. About halfway through the concert he said to us, “This music sucks, but at least they serve beer”, and ended up buying us a few rounds at the concert.
The music was pretty good, but ended up becoming more background music than anything else. The Americans, the Irish, and the GFL-ers ended up conversing with one another, and the group was “shushed” by a few of the people who had actual seats. But in our opinion, that was more the fault of the concert organizer for putting the “standing-room-only” section directly next to the reserved seats section. But in all fairness, I doubt they assumed that things would get a little rowdy at a George Benson concert. All in all it was a great experience, more so because of the people we met, rather than the music (but the music really wasn’t that bad either). After the concert we all headed out for our final night on the town, which included one person in our group being wheeled back to the hotel in a shopping cart. Sorry folks, I will not disclose who that person was, but he had a back ache for a few days after that experience. Next stop: Milan, Italy.