Antibes Travel Summary

Historic Antibes is picture-post-card pretty with its multi-million-dollar mega yachts and a maze-like Old Town encased by 16th-century ramparts.  Antibes lies between Cannes to the south-west and Nice to the north-east.   With its ancient Greek origins and modern Picasso museum, it is a magnet for history buffs and art lovers.

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The Antibes Travel Summary is segmented into 2 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Antibes:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

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1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town

The Côte d’Azur’s second-largest town is home to 80,000 inhabitants and the largest marina in the Mediterranean Sea, Port Vauban, which has been attracting yachts of a different variety since before the times of the Roman Empire.   The old town is beautiful with French colonial villas and cottages.

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After admiring the mega-yachts in Antibes port, stroll around old Antibes, through the Cours Masséna, a Provençal food market, and up to the Musée Picasso, the first museum dedicated to the artist. Formerly the Château Grimaldi, the stronghold was Picasso’s home and workshop in 1946 and remains one of the commanding cultural draws in the resort town.

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For art lovers, Antibes is the place to trace the footsteps of Pablo Picasso, and his flamboyant lifestyle along the French Riviera. The Musée Picasso, France’s first museum dedicated to the artist, stands tall inside the 16th-century ramparts of the restored Château Grimaldi. The site once belonged to the powerful Grimaldi family of Monaco.

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Antibes Juan-les-Pins is home to one of the longest coastlines in France, spanning 25km. As well as the many sandy beaches, hidden creeks lie in the woodland of Cap d’Antibes and the town has five harbours including Port Vauban, the biggest yachting harbour in Europe.

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2. What to See:

Vieil Antibes

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Antibes is characterised by cobblestone streets which are filled with boutiques, gourmet food shops, cafés and inviting restaurants (some of which display the vegetables of the day outside the restaurant itself)
  • Vieil Antibes boasts fantastic sea-front views, stone buildings, elegant fountains, and bougainvillea-draped alleyways
  • The medieval quarter is especially bustling on market days when vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers as well as other Provençal products
  • After admiring the ancient buildings and soaking up the charming historic ambience, visitors may go for a stroll along the ramparts.
  • The Old Town is connected with a pathway that takes you to the sea-front where you can experience exceptional panoramic outlook onto the Mediterranean Sea

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Cap d’Antibes and Juan-les-Pin Beaches:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Cap d’Antibes is a stunning and famous headland of grand villas with sweet-smelling pines, belle époque hotels and rocky, tranquil coves
  • Antibes is famed for its fabulous beaches which include Cap d’Antibes and Juan-les-Pin Beaches
  • The name for Juan-les-Pins is derived from the scenery of pine groves

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Musée Picasso:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Musée Picasso is a small museum dedicated to the work of Pablo Picasso, who lived in the French Riviera for a large part of his life
  • The Picasso Museum is housed in the Grimaldi Castle, a medieval fortress on the Antibes waterfront which benefits from such an outstanding location
  • The collection of the museum includes over 200 works by Picasso, including drawings, ceramics, etchings, carpets, and six paintings
  • Some of those artworks were donated to the town of Antibes by Picasso himself, who installed his atelier on the upper level of the castle for about six months in 1946
  • The permanent exhibition dedicated to Picasso also includes several historical photographs depicting the Spanish artist at work in Antibes

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Fort Carré:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Fort Carré was one of the first fortified strongholds to be built in the Renaissance under the orders of the King of France, Henri II.
  • It was used to guard the nearby border with the County of Nice and to defend the town of Antibes.
  • The Fort has a fascinating history, which sheds light on the whole of the region and its beautiful architecture is based on mathematical principles
  • The walkway (43m high) offers unbeatable views over Antibes and the Mediterranean
  • There is also 4 hectares of protected gardens with typically Mediterranean flora and fauna

 

Cathedral Notre-Dame:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The largest church in Antibes, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea Cathedral has a pleasing rose-coloured 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

 

Villa Thuret Botanic Gardens:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • When Gustave Thuret arrived in Cap d’Antibes, he fell in love with the wild nature of the place and bought five hectares on which to build his stunning villa and cultivate a beautiful park and gardens
  • The botanical gardens at Villa Thuret were built in 1856 and are free for visitors to walk around
  • The gardens cover an area of over 3.5 hectares and house over 1,600 different species of exotic trees and shrubs

Nomade at the Bastion Saint-Jaume:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Nomade is a 8m white sculpture located outside the Bastion Saint-Jaume
  • The sculpture was created by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, the mirage-like piece is built from thousands of white letters and is lit at night
  • The sculpture depicts a man sitting calmly looking at the sea

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Archaeology Museum:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Created in 1963, the Archaeological Museum is housed in the Saint-André bastion, a military stronghold built by Vauban in the late seventeenth century
  • Its two vaulted galleries are home to the Antibes’ permanent archaeological collection, made up of objects excavated both on land and in the sea
  • It provides a history of Antibes during Antiquity as well as the history of Ligurian, Greek and Roman populations who have left their mark on Antibes

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