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  • Writer's pictureNicole Ruskell

The Peillon Jazz Festival: An intimate jazz club under the stars

The highest-perched jazz festival in the world is just outside of Nice, providing an intimate atmosphere, great music and typical Niçois food.

The Peillon Jazz Festival

Imagine sitting under the stars on a warm summer night, listening to live jazz by musicians so close you feel like you’re in a small club in New York. But instead, you’re surrounded by ancient stone walls, 376 metres up, with a cool breeze sweeping across the valley. The crowded streets of Nice are only 20 minutes by car, but feel a world and an era away. Sound nice? This is what’s coming to Peillon, a small village in the hills just north of Nice from 30 June to 3 July.

A completely intact medieval village, Peillon is known as a Village Perché, one of the classic hillside villages with stone buildings perched on the side of a cliff. It’s here where a summer jazz festival is gaining popularity for its uniqueness and intimate setting between the audience and the musicians. Now in its third year, this little-known jazz extravaganza is spreading amongst jazz musicians as a lovely experience to play, interact with the audience and have a charming getaway.

Born from an encounter between Jean-Marc Rancurel and Alban Leloup, the Peillon Jazz Festival was created as a tribute to a well-known and respected Contrabassist and jazz teacher in Nice, Marc Peillon. Discovering this beautiful sleeping village so close to Nice and bearing the same name (a complete coincidence), they knew he found the perfect place to honour this mentor and teacher with a 4-day festival of jazz.

But this was no easy feat… In fact, it took a monumental effort, planning and help from the village mayor, Jean-Marc Rancurel, Thierry Marre, the General Coordinator, to design the entire organization of the festival. They received the backing and support of a remarkable team of 59 volunteers, to ensure the smooth running of the event. Alban Leloup and Thomas Layrac bring their know-how and their knowledge in artistic programming. The result? A festival that takes care of the logistics, providing buses direct from Nice Riquier and six simultaneous shuttles running from two free parking lots at the foot of the village up to the village centre.

This village has a soul...

In addition, food is a big part of the festival. Once in the village, local shops, artisan producers and food trucks will all be open providing food to the guests and musicians alike. Between sets (2 – 3 concerts per night) you may wind up having a beer and a socca with a band member. Unlike the massive, crowded festivals that fill up the summer calendar, the Peillon Jazz Festival promises to be a different experience altogether – a truly intimate and lovely evening filled with real jazz.

Eric Legnini, a musician who played the festival in 2022 said of Peillon: “The place is inspiring, it's a call to make music...When you meander through the village, you see the landscape around, you can already imagine how unique it will be! When you arrive at the highest point, you say to yourself how beautiful it is! This village has a soul...”

Each evening features 2 – 3 concerts, with tickets sold at only €29 for the night (all concerts included). Tickets are now available at

The 2023 Lineup

30 June

Concert 1 - From 8:45 pm

Original Creation

Samy Thiébault – sax, Jeanne Michard – sax, Felipe Cabrera – contrabass, Carine Bonnefoy – piano, and Julie Saury – drums.

Concert 2 - From 10 :15 pm

Impressions of Ella

Robin McKelle – Voice, Jonathan Thomas – piano, Eric Wheeler – bass, and Jonathan Barber – drums.

1 July

Concert 1 – From 7:15 pm

Surprise Concert!

Concert 2 – From 8:45 pm

French Colours

Christophe Lampidecchia – accordion, Jean-Marie Ecay – guitar, Kevin Reveyrand – contrabass, and Minino Garay – drums.

China Moses, It's so complicated

Concert 3 – From 10:15 pm

It’s so Complicated

China Moses

2 July

Concert 1 – From 7:15 pm

Giovanni Gambino - piano, Clément Douziech - basse Léo morini - sax, Liam – drums

Concert 2 – From 8:45 pm

The Contrapuntist

Clovis Nicolas - contrebasse

Simona Premazzi – piano, Jérémy Pelt – trumpet, and Leon Parker – drums

Concert 3 – From 10:15 pm

Giovanni Mirabassi – piano, Thomas Bramerie – contrebass, and André Ceccarelli – drums

3 July

Concert 1 – from 8:45 pm

South Story

André Ceccarelli – drums, Sylvain Luc – guitar, Stéphane Belmondo – trumpet, and Thomas Bramerie – contrebass

Concert 2 – From 10:15 pm

My Little Italy

Jean-Pierre Como – piano, Walter Ricci – voice, Remi Vignolo – contrebass, and André Ceccarelli - drums

Getting there

By Car

Coming from Nice or from the A8 freeway, exit NICE Est, take the Paillon road to the CANTARON crossroads, turn right and then immediately left in the direction of PEILLE-PEILLON, pass 2 roundabouts and the PEILLE bridge, then turn immediately right and follow PEILLON. Follow the signs for the PJF.

Volunteers welcome you and manage the parking at the 3 free parking lots at the foot of the village near the town hall square. Transport is provided free of charge by 6 mini-buses; shuttles are available to the public from 3 pm. At the end of the evening, the shuttles will take the public back to their vehicles.

2-wheel parking is available at the entrance of the village near the concerts.

By Bus

A free bus departs from NICE - Vauban bus station at 5:30 pm and returns around midnight. 1 single round-trip of 30 people maximum. Registration is required by phone at Peillon town hall at: 04 93 79 91 04.

More information and a complete lineup is available on the PJF Facebook page.





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