Antibes is a charming city on the French Riviera. Claude Monet himself painted its sunsets and sunrises. Picasso was so happy here that he created his brightest painting, "La Joie de vivre." George Sand and Francis Scott Fitzgerald talked about the beauty of Antibes in their works. And English writer and British intelligence officer Graham Greene called Antibes "the only city on the Côte d'Azur, which managed to save his soul."
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
|from 98 €/night||from 93 €/night||Start - 3.51 €, 1km - 2.5 €||1.44 €/liter||55 € for 2 person|
Attractions of Antibes
Antibes is a dynamic and youthful city but has a strong connection to the past. All its streets are like open-air museums of different eras. And this is an absolutely unique atmosphere.
From 1385 to 1608, the Grimaldi family ruled the city. They rebuilt and enlarged the castle to its present size. In 1482, Provence became part of the Kingdom of France and Antibes became a border town.
In the XVII century, on the orders of Louis XIV, its fortifications were modernized. This enabled it to withstand a 58-day siege by Austrian, Sardinian, and English troops in the winter of 1747.
In 1815, Napoleon was not favored here. For his loyalty, King Louis XVIII returned to the city the title "Bon Ville," which had previously been revoked by the Emperor. Antibes also received a new coat of arms depicting the Fleur-de-Lis.
In the mid-XIX century, the beauty of nature attracted the wealthy nobility here. Luxury villas and residences began to appear in the city. In 1870 the first luxurious hotel was built. And in 1887, Stephen Liegeard made the French Riviera famous in his novel "The Cote d'Azur ."Over the next six years, two more luxury hotels opened in the new resort area of Juan-les-Pins. After that, wealthy people from all over the world began to flock to Antibes. It took its place between Nice and Cannes in a series of magnificent seaside resorts. By 1895 the town had grown so big that the protective walls had become "too small" for it, and the authorities began to tear them down. Tourism took an important place in the priorities of the city's economy.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are a special era for Antibes. During this period, the most fashionable and popular artists of the day come here - artists, musicians, actors, poets, and writers. Here is where Francis Scott Fitzgerald created the novel "A Gentle Night ."The prototype of the hotel described in it still exists today under the name "Hotel du Cap-Eden-Rock ."And the stars of the XXI century are still happy to stay there.
World War II briefly interrupted the idyllic development of events. But as soon as it ended, Antibes once again became a place of attraction for the American and European creative elite. Pablo Picasso lived here for six months. A part of the Grimaldi castle was allocated for his studio. In gratitude, the artist left an impressive collection of works as a gift to the city.
In 1960, the first jazz festival in Europe was held in Juan-les-Pins. And ten years later, Marineland was opened. It is a very large entertainment marine park and research center. In 1970-1984, a project was implemented to create a technology park, Sophia Antipolis, northwest of the resort. It is the French version of Silicon Valley.
Today Antibes is the largest yacht port and a trendy tourist center of the Cote d'Azur. It is also called the most popular youth resort on the Riviera.
The best time to visit Antibes
One of the year's most important events, Les Voiles d'Antibes (the opening of the Mediterranean sailing season), starts in the first week of June. Boat shows, exhibitions, cocktail parties, and concerts accompany it.
Antibes' most famous festival, held for decades in mid-July, is Jazz a Juan.
If you take the Ter train at the Juan-les-Pins train station, you can reach Grasse in 40 minutes. This is the perfume capital of Provence. In addition to various fragrant products, beautiful ceramics and glassware with an unusual "bubble" texture are sold here.
This is the only city on the Côte d'Azur where French names on street signs, signs of restaurants and hotels, and store windows are duplicated in English.
You can find the way to the sights, the bus route, or the stop's correct name from a police officer. They are constantly on duty on the streets.
Antibes flea markets are a wonderful place to buy souvenirs. One of them is open in Audiberti Square on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Things to do in Antibes
- Take part in the Riviera of Artists project and find in the city reproductions of masterpieces that were painted from life in Antibes. Each painting is located exactly in the place that inspired the author. Most of these locations are on the seafront. But there are reproductions in other picturesque locations in Antibes as well.
- Explore Vieille Ville, the old part of the resort where the medieval fortress walls have been preserved. You can walk for hours through the narrow streets among the ancient stone houses, twined with vines of grapes. Visit cafes, stores, and souvenir shops. Time passes very differently here. On the National Square (Place Nationale), in the center of the area, you can find a very interesting museum of French graphic artist Raymond Peynet (Musee Peynet et du Dessin Humoristique). It is worth a visit to the Capel of the Immaculate Conception. It is famous for its very beautiful courtyard as well as its Baroque interior. The old town holds another attraction of the entire Côte d'Azur, the Provencal Market (Marche Provencal). It has been open since the XIX century. Here you can buy everything: roses and lavender, fragrant spices, the best olives, local fruits and vegetables, and the freshest catch.
- Learn more about the different eras of the city's development. The History and Archaeology Museum in the Bastille Saint-André will help. The Grailhon Tower at Cap d'Antibes has a Museum of the Navy and Napoleon.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens of Tours, the oldest on the French Riviera. In the mid-XIX century, the famous biologist Gustavo Touret bought 3.5 hectares of land here. He built a villa on it and created a huge park where very exotic for France plants managed to take root. Now the collection of this beautiful garden has about 3,000 species.
- Pay tribute to the talent of the father of Cubism by visiting the Picasso Museum in Château Grimaldi. In 1946, the artist spent a happy six months among Antibes's beauties and painted 150 works. In gratitude, he left a gift of 25 of them to the city, as well as sketches, statuettes, and ceramics. The artist's studio in Château Grimaldi and some other rooms were turned into a museum. Now 245 works by Picasso are on display here. The pearl of the collection is the painting "Joy of Life ."Paintings complement the exhibition by Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Amedeo Modigliani, and Fernand Léger. The palace terrace is decorated with sculptures by Joan Miró and Pierre Armand.
- Lounge on one of the beaches of Antibes. On its picturesque coastline, there are many of them (private and public). The total length is 25 km. They are all equipped with showers, cabins for changing, and toilets. You can rent umbrellas and sun loungers. Water activities such as diving, sea fishing, snorkeling, water skiing, and yachting are offered. There are fine cafes and restaurants close to many nearby. Gravette is a very picturesque public beach overlooking the Old Town. Ponteil is divided into free and paid zones. The latter is attached to the Royal Beach hotel and is perfectly equipped. The beach at La Salis, on the beach of the Cote d'Azur, is the coziest and quietest. La Garoupe is located in the eastern part of the picturesque cape of Cap d'Antibes. The sun is particularly gentle, and getting a suntan is elevated to an art form.
- Feel the rhythm of nightlife in Antibes. Many people recommend going to the most fashionable quarter of the resort, Juan-les-Pins. This is where the chic nightclubs, casinos, and bars are concentrated. But there is an alternative. The Belles Rives, which Francis Fitzgerald loved so much, hosts great parties in the style of the great Gatsby. And in the old part of town is the Absinthe Bar. This stunningly atmospheric place, where they serve real absinthe with a fortress of 76 degrees. Neophytes will be told the history of this type of alcohol and taught how to drink it properly.
- Get gastronomic ecstasy at the Michelin restaurants in the resort. And there are three of them. Bacon and Les Pecheurs are located on the coast. Their trump card is the freshest fish and seafood from the local catch. The latter boasts a panoramic terrace. Le Figuier de Saint Esprit restaurant is located close to the fortress walls of the old part of Antibes. The main rule of its chef is to use only local products for gourmet dishes.