Forword by Jean-Michel Laporte

My Siesta Years by Jean-Michel LAPORTE

Forword by Jean-Michel Laporte

March 4 2021 Non classé 0

In May 2020, Serge JAUSAS, journalist at Nice-Matin, asked me: ” Mr. LAPORTE, wouldn’t you have some photos or some films for the 60th anniversary of La SIESTA because we have nothing? ”

I replied: “I have over 10,000 photos and 20 hours of films! “

You understand, I was the photographer and cameraman of La SIESTA, the living memory of this extraordinary time. My name is Jean Michel LAPORTE. I was born on October 31, 1947 at 100 meters from La Siesta, more precisely in the site still known as “ESPACE LAPORTE”.

In 1961, when I was 14, I oversaw the Baby Kart and, from 1963, I selected the customers authorized to enter in La SIESTA because “elegance and good education were required”. In contact with all the personalities of the time, I was in a good position to be the photographer. All my celebrity photos were given to NICE-MATIN. Being the only one to have photos and films, I now feel invested with a duty of memory.

The history of La SIESTA is above all the ideas of an extraordinary man, my father, Pierre LAPORTE, a visionary creator far ahead of his time.

  • In 1953, the land of La SIESTA was bought from SNCF to manufacture concrete products.
  • In late 1958, creation of the seaside road … Many ideas abound for the use of this exceptional 400m long and 40m wide site. Set up a campsite, a gas station, a dance club… a nautical club… Many suggestions.
  • In May 60, an opportunity arose. Running a karting. A novelty in Europe immediately taken by my father.
  • In early June 1960, work began with the construction of the karting and its refreshment bar.

The name given had to be “la FIESTA”. Finally, the name “La SIESTA” is adopted because more relaxed.

  • On July 13, 1960, the karting and its refreshment bar opened.
  • On July 15, there was such a success that my father decided to build the “night club”. He bought a large licensee, created the patio, the “cantinas”, established bowling alleys and on August 13, 1960, he opened the nightclub and the restaurant.
  • The work was carried out in record time thanks to the Laporte company manufacturing concrete products. The success was immediate!
  • In September 1960, the results exceeded all forecasts and La SIESTA 1961 project was going to be implemented.

The storm of January 1961 was fortunate for La SIESTA. It arrived just before the start of major work… It was therefore decided to build, during the periods of closure, a removable protective 150m long and 3m high wall. La SIESTA for 35 years never suffered from storms again.

  • From February to June 61, all the decorations and furniture were produced in record time always by the LAPORTE company (now ESPACE LAPORTE)

A giant anchor is located at the entrance to La SIESTA, which served as a point of reference for customers.

  • In July 61, the parasailing was successfully launched. The tests and adjustments were carried out by Gil DELAMARE, a famous stuntman of the time …
  • New high-performance karts (LAPORTE creation) were used.
  • The trampoline made its debut and
  • the nightclub opened with 7 dance floors! A Mexican-style open-air nightclub, combining fire and water with a central pool adorned with a dance floor in the shape of water lilies. The lighting was done with gas torches and thousands of candles (made on site). A very warm atmosphere emanated from these original and unique decorations.

The success was great. La SIESTA was a vacation paradise. An open-air nightclub, dreamy settings, unique games, a place of leisure and fun where we spent the day and night without wanting to go elsewhere, we had fun, a festive spirit… These are the secrets of La SIESTA.

La SIESTA was open 4 months a year. It employed 160 people and for ten years never stopped innovating

  • Water skiing, scuba diving club, surfing behind a boat.
  • The launch of the human kite on the water with its daily shows.
  • La SIESTA SHOPPING in gypsy caravans.
  • The purchase of the schooner “the daughter of fire” belonging to Errol Flynn, transformed into a luxury raft by day, and which, lit up at night, offered a dream spectacle.
  • The karting championships in 1964, renowned throughout France. Alain PROST made his debut there.
  • The sands of the world from 33 destinations, presented in small islands of 3 square meters, will be inaugurated in 1965 in the presence of Brigitte BARDOT and Jacques CHARRIER.
  • The Chinese junk anchored in the Brague, transformed into a nightclub and a Chinese restaurant. Gérard MAJAX, the famous magician, ensured the animation for 3 years …


La SIESTA was also a high-end restaurant which in 1967 averaged 500 meals a day and a beach that received artists from all over the world, from Johnny HALLYDAY to the Beatles and all the most famous actors of that time. The night of August 15, 1967 was a record with 8,250 paying admissions.

My father had the brilliant idea of setting up the studios of Radio Monte Carlo at La SIESTA broadcasting live music every evening from 11pm to 1am. Pierre LESCURE, the current President of the Cannes Film Festival, was the host.

It was easier and more original to come to La SIESTA than to go to Monte Carlo because the Esterel motorway at the time stopped in Marina Baie des Anges.

La SIESTA had also live television evenings such as “Les 1200 coups”, “Salut les copains” etc. Finally, some will remember the extraordinary galas organized by La SIESTA: the architects’ gala, Lions clubs, Rotary and many other ones.

Of course, let’s not forget that La SIESTA was the place of thousands of meetings and weddings …

My father passed away in 1972 at the age of 48. He was not only an exceptional creator, a good father, but also a rally driver, a clay shooting champion and a member of the Cousteau team in his early days.

The spirit of creation left by my father has been my greatest heritage. “L’ESPACE LAPORTE côté jardin”, ten years later, was an example.

At La SIESTA I completed my degree in resourcefulness, my aggregation in common sense, and after the death of my father, my doctorate in courage. Thinking of him, I am also proud to have worn our country’s colors as a supplier of the Olympic Games for over thirty years.

For the 60th anniversary of the Siesta I have decided to create a “blog” to share my photos, souvenir films and testimonials. The film “Generation Siesta (1960-70)” perfectly illustrates my comments. All those who knew La SIESTA (1960-1990) will find themselves in this great adventure. All those who have not known La SIESTA will understand “why such a myth”.

This film full of emotions, I made it for you

I made it in memory of my father

I made it to maintain the myth


Jean Michel LAPORTE

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