A Guide To Antibes France: What To See And Do
Antibes is one of the most interesting and vibrant towns on the Riviera, and is a great holiday destination if you’re looking for fun vacation ideas, relaxation and a lively atmosphere.
Antibes is often referred to as Antibes-Juan Les Pins as both towns sit close together, on either side of the Cap d’Antibes peninsula. Juan Les Pins is known for its sizzling nightlife and jazz music, while the Cap d’Antibes, with its luxurious mansions, is a favourite getaway for the rich and famous (often called Billionaire’s Bay).
Antibes has had an eventful history dating back to the 4th century, when it was settled by the Greeks; the town later became part of the Roman Empire. One of the main landmarks in Antibes is the Fort Carré, a 16th century fortress where Napoleon was kept prisoner after the fall of Robespierre during the Revolution.
Antibes France: Getting There and Around
Driving and parking to and around Antibes is a headache…traffic jams are almost always unavoidable in high season, unfortunately. Luckily the town is great for exploring on foot. Public transport is also good – with local trains and buses servicing Antibes and the surrounding region.
Antibes is in a convenient location if you want to explore the surrounding area, you could take a day trip and visit Cannes or Nice; or venture inland and visit a number of lovely perched villages (villages perches).
Antibes France: What To Do
Many visitors to Antibes head straight to the beaches, which are a mix of private (ie where you can pay and rent a mattress for the day) or public (free, but they tend to be more crowded). The main beach in Antibes is Plage de la Gravette; La Baie de la Garoupe on the Cap d’Antibes has a few little beaches (mostly private) and is popular with families. The beaches around Juan les Pins are also good – you could try Plage du Colombier.
One of the star attractions of Antibes is the Picasso Museum, housed in the 12th century Château Grimaldi. Picasso used the Château as a studio for around 6 months in 1946. The museum has a good selection of paintings, drawings, and ceramics as well as works by artists such as Leger, Miro and Ernst.
The charming old town of Antibes, with its 16th century ramparts, is a great place to spend an afternoon, with its winding streets, boutiques and cafes.
Wander through the colourful markets (Marché Provençal) held every weekday morning (except mondays in winter) on Cours Masséna – you’ll find everything from fruit and veggies, to cheese, olive oils, cured meats and flowers.
If you’d like to gawk at some seriously big and expensive boats, check out the “Millionaires Quay” yachts in Port Vauban – the largest marina in Europe.
Both Antibes and Juan les Pins have strong connections with music and you’ll find a variety of festivals going on in summer, including opera and chamber music. The renowned jazz festival (Jazz à Juan) is held every July and have seen the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Miles Davis and Cole Porter.
There are plenty of things to keep the kids entertained too – there’s an amusement park, go-karting, and glass-bottomed boat tours.
Enjoy going for walks? For million dollar views without spending a cent, follow the Sentier Tirepoil, a spectacular coastal walk that goes around the Cap d’Antibes, starting at the Plage de la Garoupe beach. Not for the faint hearted though (it can be quite challenging) – wear good walking shoes, bring plenty of water – and confirm the route with the tourist office.
If you’d like to explore the countryside around Antibes, the charming villages perches (perched villages) of Mougins, Biot and Haut-de-Cagnes are all nearby and well worth a visit.
Picasso spent the last few years of his life in Mougins; Winston Churchill, Edith Piaf and Catherine Deneuve have also been guests. Biot has lots of artisan shops and a Fernand Leger museum. The town of Haut-de-Cagnes is probably the most ‘unspoilt’ and authentic, and has some excellent restaurants. Having a detailed map will come in very handy!
Office de Tourisme d’Antibes
11, place du Général de Gaulle – BP 37
06601 Antibes Cedex
Tél. (33) 04 92 90 53 00