The world heard about Juan-les-Pins first time almost two hundred years ago. On March 1st 1815 Napoleon landed on the beach of Golfe Juan returning from his island of Elba’s exile. Here he gave the order to march first towards Cannes and Grasse, then further north: the route taken by Napoleon I as far as Laffrey, a small village to the north of Grenoble, is now known as the "Route Napoleon". Later, Antibes was awarded the title "Good Town" for its loyalty to Louis 18th in expelling the emperor from Antibes.
But Juan-les-Pins remained a sleepy fishing village on the shores of the Juan Bay for another hundred years or so (the tall longleaf pines common on the peninsula added suffix to the settlement’s name).
Juan-les-Pins first achieved real fame in the 1920s bringing visitors from all over the world, especially America: Scott Fitzgerald, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolf Valentino, to name a few.
In the newly fashionable Juan-les-Pins, it was jazz music that was heard at the casino, in the luxury hotels, and in the clubs. First came Cole Porter, who stayed on the Cap in 1922 and loved having parties for his friends there. Sidney Bechet loved the area so much that he chose to have his wedding party here. Nowadays Festival International de Jazz is held in mid-July for 10 to 12 days, attracting jazz masters and their fans.
April 10, 2005
From journal Sounds of Music on the French Riviera Shores