Things to Do in July in and around Nice – Updated 2021

Nuits Musées/Museums by Moonlight – FREE – Normally in held in May, but thanks to the confinement Museums by Moonlight has been pushed to Saturday July 3, 2021.  All the museums stay up late (10pm for some, 11pm for others, and midnight for MAMAC) with lots of animations and surprises.

Villefranche-sur-mer’s retro American 4th of July Festival is cancelled for 2021, but should be back for 2022. A favorite US serviceman’s hang-out during WWII, Villefranche celebrates independence day with a 1940’s flair.  Easy to get to from Nice by bus or train.

Mon Été a Nice  An all-summer-long slate of outdoor concerts and events including opera and dance, concerts, art expositions, live theater, and even movie screenings under the stars… Just scroll down to the calendar then click on any date to see what’s going on…  Things are being added often, so check back frequently!

Poster 2021 Cannes Film FestivalCannes Film Festival – Normally in May, in this crazy Covid year the mythic festival jumps to July 6-17, 2021.  Here is the inside story on all the ways that you can do the Cannes Film Festival without a badge.

The easiest, however, is just to go to the Cinema de la Plage free open-air screenings.  Here’s this year’s schedule of free beach screenings, many of which are in English.

Attention Bargain Hunters!  The massive Annual French Summer Sales kick off on July 7th and go through August 3, 2021!

Summer Jazz Festivals 

After the obligatory 2020 Covid cancellations, the Cote d’Azur is roaring back in 2021 with some of the best jazz festivals in Europe:

The Nice Jazz Festival returns on July 12-17, 2021, but in a reduced post-pandemic format: 3 concerts/night, Massena stage only, and socially distanced seating.

The purist’s favorite, Jazz à Juan returns just in time for its 60th anniversary, on July 9-20, 2021, where it will grace the Riviera’s best sea-view stage, …and this year adds streaming tickets!

The super-fun Nuits de Sud once again commandeers the Vence town square from July 8-17, 2021 with Latin-infused world music in an extraordinary setting.

Les Nuits Guitares happens from July 21-23, 2021 in an ancient olive grove in the seaside town of Beaulieu-sur-mer.  Easy access by train or bus from Nice.

Plus, each jazz festival has an entire “Off” section of free concerts… think of it like “Off Broadway” – but completely free!  The Nice Jazz Festival ‘Off’ Festival is bursting with free mini-concerts all over town including markets, tramways, open spaces, and city parks. Check out the nightly 7pm free ‘Apéro Concerts’ on top of the Nice Chateau from July 5 to 11, and also the Musicuz party in front of the Eglise de la Vœu on July 6 from 7:30pm.

Other jazz and world music concerts (not free), both before and after the Nice Jazz Festival, are presented at local venues with Nice Music Live.  Particularly interesting are the concerts at the open-air Theatre de Verdure, and also those at the Black Box, both of which have easy tramway access.

If Classical is more your bag…

Nice Classic Live  presents high-quality concerts under the stars from mid-July to mid-August in the ancient olive grove on top of Cimiez, in front of the Matisse museum.  This is where the Nice Jazz Festival used to be held before it outgrew it, and I can attest, it’s magical. Easy access with free shuttles from downtown Nice.  Click the link for ticket info.

In Matisse’s Shadow Concert series on Cimiez,  from July to August 15, held in front of the Matisse museum.  See for dates and info.

Opera beyond the Walls – July 1-16 in the Cimiez gardens – some free, some 5€.  Open-air Opera in a sublime setting!  See for dates and info.

Free Opera mini-concerts:  Daily from July 21 to 31 – FREE – At the sound of the noon cannon, the Opera de Nice gives a free open-air mini-concert in front of the Opera House.

Summer Nights at Villa Massena – July 3, 7, 16, 21, 23, 28 – FREE – Open-air evening concerts in the elegant gardens, starting at 9pm.

Concerts in the Prince’s Palace – Monaco – August 1 and 5. The Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra gives a series of summer concerts in the interior courtyard of the Prince’s Palace, creating an amazing ambience. It’s a coat and tie affair, and tickets go from as low as 20€ to up to 100€.

Sunday Concert in the ParkSunday Orchestra Concerts in the Park – FREE – Every Sunday at 3:30pm the Nice Orchestra d’Harmonie gives a free concert in the gazebo in the Albert 1st gardens.  Click here for this week’s program.  To find it, just walk to the end of the Promenade du Paillon, where the gardens meet the seaside, and it is in the far right corner.

Les Soirees Estivals (Midsummer Nights Concerts) – FREE – Over 500 concerts all summer long in all the towns and villages up and down the coast.  Click the link for the program and calendar, or sort by village.  Most are in the small hill towns but there is a Thursday night Jazz’Art Lympia concert series on the terrasses of the Port on July 15, 22 and 29, at 8pm.

Les Nuits Rothschild  Every Monday and Tuesday night from July through August, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap-Jean-Saint-Ferrat opens its doors from 7:45pm-11:30pm, for an evening ambiance like no other.  The villa is resplendent at night lit by hundreds of candles; enjoy live ballet and ‘dancing fountains’, wander the gardens with a ‘picnic panier’, enjoy the bar, or dine in the villa. Tickets are 22€, or 47€ including a picnic basket to enjoy in the gardens, or 82€ including a glass of Champagne and dinner in the villa.  There is also a family admission of 63€ for two adults and 2 children.

Other July events…

Nice Bastille Day Attack Memorial Ceremonies, July 14th.  The saddest day in Nice’s recent history will be commemorated with a day of somber ceremonies and moving tributes to the 86 victims… But this year the families wanted to add something to bring the community together, especially the youth, so the Ville de Nice is holding a huge free concert just off Place Massena with Grand Corps Malade, starting at 9pm, and ending at exactly 10:34pm when 86 spotlights will shine to the sky.

Contes de l’Apero (loosely translated to The Happy Hour Tales) Theater in the Park – FREE – Every evening at 7pm at the far end of the Promenade du Paillon gardens.  These nightly open-air mini-theater performances range from live theater, dance, music, and comedy.  They’re in French, but the music, dance, and physical humour is universal.

Fireworks wiki by Billy Hicks

Pink Parade/Nice Gay Pride Parade – FREE…and freeing!  4pm Saturday, July 24, 2021.  Glam up and gather at the Acropolis esplanade on rue Barla, one block behind the Museum of Modern Art, and at 4pm the parade struts down the Promenade du Paillon, continues past Place Massena to the Promenade des Anglais, then back up the other side of the Promenade du Paillon gardens, to finish at the Museum of Modern Art esplanade.  And that’s when they really get the party started, with pink drinks, DJ’s, dancing and shows until late into the night.

Open-Air Cinema on Cimiez – Free films presented on the big screen outside the Matisse museum.   July 9 Hair, July 23 Grease, shown in English starting at 10pm. Easy access with the bus #5 that goes until late.

Fete du Malonat in Old Nice -FREE- 3rd weekend in July.  A yearly tribute to the Madonna for protecting this little neighborhood from the Cholera plague of 1854.  With the epidemic flaming, the hospital was at capacity and started sending the overflow to the convents.  This neighborhood was full of fishermen families, who panicked to have so many sick sent into their midst, and too poor to get out of town, so they turned to the Madonna to save them.  The survivors promised her a yearly procession, and they’ve kept their word through generations.  It starts with a 10am mass at the Eglise du Gesu, then follow the 11am procession as they parade the Madonna all over the town!  If you have never been a part of a religious procession dating from the medieval ages, here’s your chance!

See Related Pages:

  • What to do on Sundays in Nice – free afternoon orchestra concerts, free museum days, special family-friendly concert matinees at the Opera House, and of course numerous Catholic masses to choose from…
  • Nice by Nite – concerts, jazz clubs, salsa and tango venues, pub quiz nights, English-language theater and movie venues…

Back up to main Calendar page

Photo credits:  Fireworks by Billy Hicks, licensed by Creative Commons.  Nice Jazz Festival 2017 by Alain Morana.

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