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Antibes

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Antibes is a city in the French Riviera. The Cap d'Antibes is the break between the Bay of Cannes to the south-west and the Baie des Anges to the north east. Old Antibes and the port of Antibes are on the mainland on the side facing the Baie des Anges, while Juan les Pins is on the Cannes side and the magnificent Fort Carré lies between the port of Antibes and the rest of the Baie des Anges. Although Antibes is best known for its coast, the municipality does stretch up the hills inland.

During the summer, the place is packed, primarily with French families. In the evenings, everyone is out at the many outdoor restaurants in the old part of Antibes and in Juan les Pins. A fun place for a relaxed vacation.

Understand[edit]

Sunset at Juan-Les-Pins near Antibes

Antibes was founded by the Greeks over 2000 years ago with the name Antipolis. Shortly afterwards it was incorporated into the expanding Roman empire when it was known as Antiboul. With the fall of the Roman empire Antibes was a target of pirates and raiders until the growing power of Genoa removed most of these menaces.

Around the 11th century AD Antibes was a feudal town whose eventual overlord was the Pope. In 1384 it passed into the hands of the Grimaldi family - the former Genovese merchant princes who had now moved westwards to Monaco and Nice - as collateral to a loan that the Pope could not repay. Shortly after this Antibes became the easternmost port of the kingdom of France - at that time Nice was part of Savoy - and thus was extremely important. Over the years, and particularly during the 100 years war, it's port was continually fortified and expanded, culminating in the Fort Carré and the Port Vauban finished in 1710.

The first tourists arrived at Cap d’Antibes in the 1880s and the adjacent town of Juan les Pins was built at the end of the 19th century. Although it expanded, during the early 20th cetury Antibes was less developed than its neighbors on the French Riviera and was thus a haven for artists such as Picasso and later Nicolas de Staël. This under-development did not last and as the 20th century drew to a close the combined municipality of Antibes-Juan-les-Pins was just a part of the unbroken development between Nice and Cannes.

Information[edit]

There are three tourist information offices in Antibes-Juan les Pins:

1) 11, place du Général de Gaulle (Antibes) 2) 51, boulevard Charles Guillaumont (Juan les Pins) 3) In the old town near the remparts.

Get in[edit]

Both Antibes and Juan les Pins have train stations on the main Nice-Cannes line.

The usual method of driving to Antibes is to take the A8 and exit at the Antibes exit (junction 44) and then taking the winding road down to Antibes. It is possible to approach Antibes along the coastal roads (RN98 and RN7) from Cannes and Nice/Cagnes sur Mer. In summer all these coastal roads can be extremely congested as can the main route from the A8. There are, however, very few alternative methods of access and all of them eventually use one of these roads so if you want to go to Antibes then you pretty much have to expect traffic jams.

There is a regular bus service (number 200, 1.5€) between Cannes, Antibes and Nice: there is a stop Place Charles de Gaulle in downtown Antibes. Alternate bus option is the "250 express": faster (takes the highway), more comfortable (not a commuter bus), stops directly at the terminal if you're going or coming from the airport, but also much more expensive (9€): bus stop is just above the train station. There is a 200 and 250 express about every 20 min.

  • Plane. The Nice airport is the closest airport to Antibes. It is not a relatively long drive from the airport to Antibes: 25 min when there is no traffic.

Get around[edit]

The beach at Antibes with the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea stretching out infront
  • Walk. Antibes is a beautiful city. Walking to the old downtown is easy and makes for excellent views.
  • Bike. Although Antibes may be very hilly in certain areas, riding bikes is certainly beautiful and somewhat rewarding. There are bike lanes starting at about the outskirts of the port on the Route de Nice and Bord de la Mer. You can ride from Antibes to Villeneuve-Loubet, and probably beyond, without much difficulty.
  • Drive. Driving in Antibes is not necessarily the best option for getting around if you are staying near the town centre or the old port. There are a number of one way systems and the roads are often busy, particularly at peak times and throughout the summer. However, for those staying slightly out of town or in the Cap d'Antibes it is a good option, especially given that the last train is early (except on weekends) and that taxis are expensive. There is also ample parking in Antibes, though this is mainly paid. For those travelling to the town for holidays a car rental is a good option as it allows you to discover the hinterland and stay out until late at night with no worries about how to get home. Several companies offer car rental services in Antibes, including Europcar, Sixt or, if you are looking for something on the luxury side, Luxury & Services Rent. There are also several places to park near the port which are closer than the train station is to it.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Cap (very romantic under a full moon) and beaches
  • The port
  • Old town and covered market
  • Marineland [1]
  • Picasso museum - For hardcore Picasso fans. It's where he lived, on the sea. Some choice works, painted plates, and a sculpture garden (not Picasso's).
  • Beaches of Juan les Pins
  • Jazz Festival
  • Fireworks

Do[edit][add listing]

  • The covered market (Marché Provençal) offers fresh products every morning except Monday. It is a magnificent selection of meat, fish, cheese and vegetables. You will find the market close to the harbour.
  • Cap d'Antibes is a beautiful and invigorating walk around the cape. Do not forget the good walking shoes and a bit of water. During bad weather, all or part of the sentier may be closed.
  • In the area of golf juan-les-pins, there're several nice scuba-dive sites. You could dive all year long but it's more pleasant from May to October.
  • The public beaches on the Cap d'Antibes are small and very crowded in August. Down at Golfe Juan if actually much more pleasant, despite the higher buildings - there is a broad boardwalk separating the roads from the beaches, and the crowding on the same is less intense. The beach at the Eastern end, next to the hotel belles rives, is very nice.
  • On the Western end of the Golfs Juan there is parasailing - for about 70 euros they take you out to fly 40 meters up in the air behind a motorboat. Quite cool, though expensive.

Work[edit]

If you are seeking a career aboard one of the many superyachts in Antibes, a good place to register and start looking is YPI Crew or Crew Central [2].

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Juan les Pins has a number of trendy boutiques
  • In the old town a number of galleries with art for sale including paintings of local scenes
  • Supermarkets - Carrefour and the centre commercial by the A8, various smaller ones down the hill. The supermarkets, especially Carrefour, also sell the cheapest petrol locally.
  • Antibes has a number of natural and health food stores, including le Panier Vert, Biocoop and Amplitude Bio. There are several other smaller health food stores in the area.
  • The SPAR grocery store on Boulevard Wilson (near Lycée Audiberti) is 'non-stop' and has late closing hours (by French standards). They remain open when most other grocery stores do not.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Antibes features both standard French cuisine as well as local specials focusing on fresh seafood and produce from Provence. Scenic restaurants can be found around the port of Antibes, in the old town, and in Juan les Pins.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of cafés, bars and salons de thé in Antibes. Tea tends to be expensive (up to 4 EUR per person) and not the highest quality (Lipton tea bags, for example). Coffee from coffee machines (35-50 centimes) is actually pretty decent, and good in a pinch.

Antibes can be a difficult place for vegetarian or vegan travellers. Vegetarians should not have much trouble but vegans can expect ending up with a bland and expensive salad. Servers tend to not be very accommodating and are often visibly insulted if asked to modify a dish. There is hope, however. There is a 'falafel place' in the old town near the covered market with vegan options. There is also Chez Helen's, a vegetarian restaurant with vegan options in the old town. There are also a few Indian restaurants in the old town and, in Juan les Pins, a number of Asian restaurants.

  • Chez Helen, 35 rue des Revennes, [3]. Organic vegetarian restaurant with vegan options. Delightful staff. Reservations appreciated.  edit
  • Chamkila, 4 rue Sade. Indian food, plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Friendly staff, cosy and colourful ambiance.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

One interesting place to drink at is the Absinthe Bar La Balade (25 Cours Masséna, Antibes - Tel. 04 93 34 93 00 -email: balade@free.fr ). Absinthe, the mysterious green liqueur so much associated with 19th century artists and writers such as Van Gogh and Baudelaire, was outlawed for decades because of the health risks associated with its abuse, namely insanity and death. However these side effects seem to have been due to "quality control" issues and the herbs that go into absinthe are in fact good for you. Absinthe was only reintroduced legally again in about 2003, and there are very few places where it is possible to drink it. The bar is set in the basement of the Olive Oil shop by the covered market (Marché Provençal) of Antibes and is full of charm even without the lure of Absinthe. If there is a group of you the host will normally give each member of the group a slightly different absinthe so that you can try the different varieties. It is quite an experience and will set you back a mere €4 for a glass. Given the price of beer in the touristy bars by the port this is a real bargain. On Friday nights there is a piano man. The Absinthe bar also provides you with dozens of silly hats (yes, hats), which everyone wears and trades as the evening goes on.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Antibes - Pierre & Vacances Port Prestige, [4]. The Residence occupies a prime location opposite Port Vauban and the ramparts, between the lively harbour and historical centre of Antibes. It consists of 5 small buildings, each with 4 floors, all linked by Mediterranean gardens. The Residence has a remarkable layout characterised by the harmonious combination of architecture, water and plants of a magnificient garden with terraces of trees, flowers and ponds. 1 km from the residence, on the seafront road, you will find a free and unsupervised pebble beach and also a free and unsupervised sandy one, 400 m from the residence behind the old port.  edit
  • Garden Beach Hotel, 15-17 boulevard Baudoin, +33 4 92 93 57 57 (), [5]. On the waterfront with marvellous terrace overlooking the sea. The rooms are with modern furniture and generous dimensions, with big beds. On demand satelite TV giving a good range of british tv channels. There is an underground car park. The staff is friendly and helpful. €139-279.  edit

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