Romantic Music Festival A MUST for October visitors

98 Liszt 1832          This fall, the 6th Edition of the Festival Franz Liszt is presenting a super lineup of concerts on the Côte d’Azur.

Music lovers, from the most erudite to the complete novice, will enjoy concerts every weekend from October 1 to 22, 2016.

Featured composers: Borodine – Brahms – Dvorak – Fauré – Moussorgsky – Rachmaninoff.  In pictoresque villages like Biot, Levens, Villeneuve-Loubet, Mandelieu-La Napoule.p.historch-768x376 Check out the website for details and reservations

Hope to see you all there!

Artists include HarpAzur, Nicolas Bringuier, Elena Sommer, The Cannes Provence Alps Côte d’Azur Ochestra, Amy Christianna Blake, Olivier Augé-Laribé, The Azuréen Symphonique Orchestra, Musiques en Jeux, Alain Joutard, Richard Rittelmann, Frédéric Diquero, Claudia Cesarano, Landry Chosson, Ensemble Vocal Levens

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Nice Taxis: Avoid the Rip-off

nice taxisOn this day of a national taxi riot, the price, availability and conduct of taxi drivers is being scrutinized, particularly here in Nice, the unhappy home of the world’s highest taxi fares. Furious at competition from Uber, taxi drivers  are shown above at Nice Airport demanding papers from rental cars to prove that it’s a “legitimate” rental. Although the government has already declared Uber’s low-cost service, UberPop, illegal, French courts have yet to weigh in on the matter and the highly popular service exists now in a legal limbo.

I’ll tell you a secret. Everyone bu

t everyone living in Nice loathes the local taxi drivers and tries to avoid taking a taxi at all costs. Locals are well aware that €30 to go 8km from Nice Airport to the town center is absurd and only exists because the “taxi mafia”, as they are locally known, has insisted that the airport is in a special zone. Complaints of nastiness, overcharging, refusing short rides, refusing credit cards, refusing receipts and other shenanigans abound.

So what do locals do about it?

  • Take Uber if possible Be aware that there are two Uber services in France and only one is illegal. The Uber X service uses professional drivers and is legal. The price is slightly cheaper than a taxi, the drivers are pleasant and payment is through theapp.  UberPop is much lower-priced and uses amateur or part-time drivers. Today’s taxi tantrum was directed at both but it is really only UberPop’s service that is in question.
  • Take an airport bus The 98 or 99 airport buses go to the train station and along the Promenade des Anglais. At €6 per person, it’s certainly cheaper than a taxi.
  • Use Auto Bleu This short-term electric car rental is perfect for short distances and is cheaper than a taxi. Auto-Bleu “Flex” is a one-way option that allows you to drop the car off at a different station than the pick-up station. For Auto-Bleu “Zen” you must pick up and drop off at the same station. There is a station at Nice Airport Terminal 2 that only works with the “Zen” option (the Nice taxi mafia strikes again?) but there’s another station within a short walk of Terminal 1 that allows the “Flex” option. See more at the Auto-Bleu website.
  • Be vigilant Act like you know where you are and where you’re going as soon as you get in the taxi. Speak French if you can. There is a card in each taxi that explains all surcharges plus the night, day and waiting rates. Look at it and look at the meter to make sure it corresponds. Keep an eye on the meter during your trip to make sure the driver is not pushing it with his hand. Make sure the meter stays on for the duration. A common trick is to turn it off at some point and then just make up a fare.
  • Don’t be intimidated If you know you’ve been cheated, say so. Demand a receipt. Write down the driver’s name and license number. Insist that you settle it in front of a third party at your hotel or holiday rental. The driver will fume and shout. It will be ugly  but assaulting a passenger is the end of his license and the driver knows it.

And do as the locals do, don’t tip. Unless the driver has performed some heroic feat he’s already been well-paid for your journey.

Nice Jazz Festival 2015

The Roots

The Roots

Ask and ye shall receive. Last year I bemoaned the fact that the Nice Jazz Festival was relying too much on regulars. Sponsored by singer/pianist Jamie Cullum, this year’s program presents several rarely-seen-in-Nice artists such as Brad Mehldau, The Roots, Jason Moran and Roberto Fonseca. In addition to up-and-coming artists, look out for jazz legends Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Barron and Charles Lloyd as well as soul artists Lauryn Hill and Kool and the Gang.

The price has not gone up (yay!), remaining at €35 (€31 if purchased before 15 May) with a variety of reductions available. Check out the Nice Jazz Festival site (in French) for all prices and booking and to this page for English language info, tips and explanations on the infrastructure.

Here’s the Nice Jazz Festival Calendar:

Tuesday 7 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Fred D’Oelsnitz Trio

20h45 – Omer Klein Trio

22h30 – Cassandra Wilson, “Coming Forth By Day”

Scene Massena

20h00 Too Many Zooz “Brasshouse”

21h15 – Caravan Palace

23h00 – Jamie Cullum

Wednesday 8 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Indra Rios Moore

20h45 Kenny Barron

22h30 – Charles Lloyd Quartet

Scene Massena

20h00 – Benjamin Clementine

21h15 – Jungle

23h00 – Asaf Avidan

Thursday 9 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Grégory Privat & Sonny Troupé, “Luminiescence”

20h45 – Brad Mehldau Trio

22h30 – Kurt Elling, “Passion World”

Scene Massena

20h00 – Ibeyi

24h15 Hiatus Coyote

23h00 – Lauryn Hill

Friday 10 July

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Hugh Coltman, “Shadows – Songs of Nat King Cole ”

20h45- Eric Legnini, “What’d I Say” feat. Sandra Nkaké & Kellylee Evans

22h30 – Yael Naim

Scene Massena

20h00 Liv Warfield

21.15 Hindi Zahra

23h00 – Cerrone

Saturday July 11

Teatre de Verdure

19h30 – Andrea Motis & Joan Chamorro

20h45 – Jason Moran, “Fats Waller Dance Party”

22h30 – Roberto Fonseca and Fatoumata Diawara ,”At Home”

Scene Massena

20h00 – Monophonics

21H15 – Larry Graham & Graham Central Station

23h00 The Roots

Sunday 12 July

Scene Massena

11h Free Concert London Gospel Choir

20h30 Soul Rebels

23h00 Kool and the Gang