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Life in Antibes

On the legendary Côte d'Azur (French Riviera), between Nice and Cannes, this classic resort town offers all the attractions of a summertime vacation destination: sunny days, sandy beaches, and a lively ambiance.

THE AREA

Antibes has 23 kilometers of coastline overlooking the serene blue Mediterranean Sea. More than a dozen public beaches are on the Cap d'Antibes and in Juan-les-Pins, and both areas are considered part of the Antibes community. The beautiful natural setting of pine groves and sea views inspired Impressionist painters and still draws celebrities. The Cap d'Antibes peninsula is famous for its exclusive villas. Blessed with a mild climate and flourishing vegetation, Antibes also has an important commercial flower-growing industry that includes roses, carnations, and other blooms. Besides the allure of sunshine and beaches, Antibes boasts an interesting cultural heritage. The medieval fortified castle in the Old Town was for many years the seat of a bishop and a holiday residence of the Grimaldi family.

RESTAURANTS

Michelin Star restaurants, fresh seafood, views of the Mediterranean Sea, and a variety of innovative and traditional cuisines complete the flavorful best Local Cuisine in Antibes. Food and gastronomy in Provence and in Antibes play a tremendous part in the culture and daily life, from the fresh seafood markets to the abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables. This huge Mediterranean region is widely renowned to offer healthy, flavorsome and colorful cuisine, as well as traditional dishes.

Things to do at Antibes

Now for the fun part, our tips on what to do in Antibes

Vieil Antibes (Old Town)

In a beautiful location on the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), the Old Town of Antibes is an inviting place to wander at a leisurely pace. The narrow, winding cobblestone streets are filled with little boutiques, gourmet food shops, cafés, and restaurants. With its seaside views, stone buildings, elegant fountains, and bougainvillea-draped alleyways, Vieil Antibes has the typical character of an old Mediterranean city. This medieval quarter is especially bustling on market days when vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers as well as other artisanal Provençal products. After admiring the ancient buildings and soaking up the charming historic ambiance, visitors may go for a stroll along the ramparts. Connecting to the Old Town, this pleasant pathway offers an exceptional panoramic outlook onto the Mediterranean Sea.

Cap d'Antibes and Juan-Les-Pin Beaches

One of the main tourist draws of Antibes is the beach scene. The picturesque Cap d'Antibes peninsula and Juan-les-Pins coastline lie on the Golfe Juan extending between Antibes and Cannes. The name for Juan-les-Pins is derived from the scenery of pine groves. Both Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pins have many seaside hotels and popular beach resorts. In the area, there are 13 public beaches-from small protected beaches to larger beaches with waterfront restaurants. Many of the beaches have public showers and toilet facilities. Some have snack bars and parasol rentals.

Musée Picasso

This renowned museum occupies the Château Grimaldi, an impressive stone castle with views of the sea. The castle was an important residence during the Middles Ages and has typical medieval defensive towers dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. Housed in this historic building, the museum offers a unique insight into the work produced by Picasso while he lived on the Côte d'Azur. The museum gives these paintings the proper context, as they represent Picasso's infinite creativity and a period of joie de vivre in his life. The museum also has an extensive collection of contemporary art including pieces from the most important movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. The permanent collection includes works by Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, Anna-Eva Bergman, and Joan Miró. A superb selection of sculptures by Joan Miró, Germaine Richier, Bernard Pagès, and other artists is presented on the castle's terrace.

Chemin des Douaniers

Along the verdant seafront of the Cap d'Antibes, this five-kilometer coastal walk provides visitors with a refreshing way to experience the scenery. Beginning at the ramparts of the Old Town, the footpath leads to a small cove and then follows along the walls surrounding the parklands of private castles. The pathway winds around the rocky headland along small freshwater creeks and continues until the tip of Cap d'Antibes at the Villa Eilenroc. It is then possible to take in the exquisite beauty of the Sentier des Douaniers, a pathway surrounded by landscaped gardens that flourish with many fragrant flowers.

Jazz à Juan Festival

The well-known Jazz à Juan festival is held in Antibes every July. The first such festival was a tribute to the famous Jazz musician who loved Antibes, Sidney Bechet. Held in a spectacular setting in Juan-les-Pins under a pine-tree grove near the Mediterranean Sea, the festival has welcomed jazz legends since the 1960s including Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn. In addition, the festival provides a venue for talented newcomers. The repertoire of music reflects a great diversity of cultures such as American, African, Latin, and Cuban. Musical performances cover a wide range of styles from Cool Jazz and New Orleans Jazz to Gospel, Blues, Swing, Be-Bop, and Electro-Jazz. This special musical festival offers tourists and locals a chance to experience the thriving jazz culture and heritage of Antibes Juan-les-Pins.

Musée Peynet

This unique museum displays a collection of whimsical sculptures, humorous drawings, and comic strips. Founded in 1995, the museum is dedicated to the cartoonist Raymond Peynet's work. His sixty-year career is represented here through the exhibitions of lithographs, etchings, drawings, and other mediums. The museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of other cartoonists' works.

Fort Carré

On the peninsula of Saint-Roch, the Fort Carré is built on a rock at 26 meters above sea level with a 360-degree panoramic view. Built on the orders of King Henry II of France in the second half of the sixteenth century, this amazing fortress was once used as a sentry post and defensive site for Antibes, the last French port before the border with Nice, which at the time was a threat to Antibes. The fort is surrounded by four gorgeous hectares of parkland featuring typical Mediterranean flora and fauna. South of the old fort is the Port Vauban harbor.

Cathedral Notre-Dame

The largest church in Antibes, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea Cathedral has a pleasing rose-colored facade that exemplifies Provençal Baroque architecture. In the heart of the Old Town, the cathedral has a magnificent entrance. The intricately detailed doors were sculpted by Jacques Dolle during the 18th century. Visitors will also be delighted by the artwork inside the cathedral, including the noteworthy Vierge du Rosaire painting by Louis Bréa circa 1513. This famous piece depicts Mary holding the Christ child with little cherubs in the background. The panels surrounding the Virgin Mary portrait represent the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary: five each of Joy, Sorrow, and Glory.

Villa Thuret Botanic Gardens

Near the Plateau de la Garoupe on the boulevard du Cap in Antibes, the Jardin Thuret was created by botanist Gustave Thuret who laid it out around 1856. This lush five-hectare botanical garden boasts a great diversity of plants including many native plants that thrive in the climate of the Cap d'Antibes. The garden also features 1,600 different exotic species, including eucalyptus trees from Australia. There is also an arboretum with an extensive collection of trees and shrubs. Besides being a tourist attraction, the Thuret Botanic Gardens serves as a space for scientific research and studies of conservation.

Notre Dame de Bon Port la Garoupe

This small sanctuary on the Cap d'Antibes plateau is a historic pilgrimage chapel. The intimate and inspiring spiritual space features frescoes and commemorative plaques as well as a 14th-century icon from Sébastopol. There is also an interesting Madonna and Child statue crafted from wood and entirely gilded.

Nomade at the Bastion Saint-Jaume

The Bastion Shipyard was built where Captain Cousteau's famous ship, the Calypso, set out. At this location, there once stood a temple and then a chapel in Roman times, and later a fortified tower that was destroyed in the 17th century. Though the shipyard closed in 1985, this site now features the remarkable Nomade sculpture. Depicting a man staring out to sea, this innovative and immense installation by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa evokes a sense of mystery and adventure.

Villa Eilenroc

At the tip of the Cap d'Antibes, on a superb estate of 11 hectares, the Villa Eilenroc epitomizes the luxury of the French Riviera during the Belle Epoque. Built-in 1867, the villa was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris and Monte Carlo opera houses. One of the highlights of visiting the villa is a stroll through its beautiful park, which features serene Mediterranean landscaping and a gorgeous rose garden with thousands of varieties. Most of these fragrant roses originated in Antibes, France's capital of rose growing. There is also a 3.7-kilometer coastal path that begins at the beach of the Villa Eilenroc and ends at the Garoupe Bay. The trail is perfect for a leisurely walk with stops to admire the breathtaking panoramic views along the Cap d'Antibes coastline. After completing the walk, visitors may spend time at the tiny secluded beach of l'Anse de l'Argent Faux.

Chapel Saint-Bernardin

Classified as a historical monument, this 16th-century Gothic church was built for the Brotherhood of the White Penitents of Saint Bernardin. The ornate interior surprises visitors with its richness and beauty. Frescoes from the 16th and 19th centuries adorn the walls, and the 18th-century wooden altarpiece was crafted in a magnificent decorative style.

Day Trip to the Ancient Hilltop Village of Biot

Just seven kilometers away (about a 20-minute drive) from Antibes, this pretty little hillside village is slightly off-the-beaten tourist path. Biot, pronounced "beeyot," was once home to people from Liguria (a region of northern Italy). With its steep, narrow streets and winding paths, Biot is an interesting place to wander and explore. The Church Sainte-Marie-Madeleine has two wonderful altar pictures from the Nice school as well as a Madonna with Rosary by Louis Bréa. There are also other things to do in Biot, such as browsing the town's art galleries and boutiques. The village is known for its arts and crafts, including gold and silverwork, ceramics, handcrafted glass, wood carvings, weaving, and silk-screen printing. A short drive away from the center of the village is the Musée Fernand Léger on the Chemin du Val de Pôme. Created by Léger's widow, Nadja, in the 1950s, the museum displays the artist's works in a comprehensive fashion. The enormous mosaic on its outside wall was originally intended for the sports stadium in Hanover, Germany. Another highlight is the portrait of the artist in wire by Alexander Calder.

Day Trip to Grasse, the Perfume Capital of France

Perched on a hilltop and surrounded by fields of flowers, this lovely town (about 20 kilometers away from Antibes) is the world capital of perfume. The native species of roses, jasmine, violet, mimosa, and lavender are used to make exquisite fragrances, the rich bouquets are unique to Provence. Perfume has been made in Grasse since the 16th century and continues today thanks to five exceptional perfumeries, including the famous perfume-makers Fragonard and Galimard. At the Musée International de la Parfumerie (2 Boulevard du Jeu de Ballon), tourists learn about the history, art, and science of creating perfume. Visitors will also be delighted by the International Perfume Museum's fragrant garden, which is filled with sustainable aromatic flowers and plants. Another joy of visiting Grasse is wandering the center of the old medieval town, with its charming, narrow streets. From some vantage points, there are amazing views of the Mediterranean sea, as the Bay of Cannes is visible in the distance.

Travel to Antibes

AIRPORTS

There are three airports suitable for flying to Antibes, Nice Cote d'Azur, Cannes Mandelieu, and Marseille Provence. The following drive times from the airports to Antibes are approximate and can be affected by heavy traffic during peak holiday times:
- Nice Cote d'Azur-0h25
- Cannes Mandelieu-0h30
- Marseille Provence-2h

CAR

Taking your car with you on holiday gives you the absolute freedom to go where you want when you want. However, there are a few things to consider before you set off. Whilst road tripping is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see a country, ensuring your car is up to the trip, planning your route in advance, and familiarising yourself with the road rules and regulations of the country you are visiting, will all help make the drive itself is as much a part of your holiday as your final destination.

TRAINS

Antibes is connected to the rest of France via the SNCF train network. The TGV, France's intercity high-speed rail service, runs directly from Paris to Antibes and takes approximately 5 hours. Advance reservations for TGV trains are necessary. The Italian Trenitalia train service connects Antibes to Italian cities like Milan, Genoa, Rome, and Venice. Connections are generally made in Ventimiglia, the first train station in Italy after the French-Italian border. Russian Railways run a weekly service from Moscow to the neighboring city of Nice all year round. With a travel time of around 47 hours, the train stops at Minsk, Warsaw, Vienna, and Verona, amongst others.

BUS

If you are flying into Nice Cote d'Azur Airport then getting a bus directly to Antibes is very simple. The bus number 250 runs as an airport express shuttle, with a journey time of around 25 minutes to Biot, 32 minutes to Antibes and a further 10-15 minutes travel time on to Juan-les-Pins and Golfe Juan.

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