The Cap D’Antibes and beaches.
For the most part extravagantly idyllic, this fabled 4-mile-long peninsula has been carved up into luxurious estates perched high above the water and shaded by thick, tall pines. Since the 19th century its wild greenery and isolation have drawn a glittering assortment of aristocrats, artists, literati, and the merely fabulously wealthy. Among those claiming the prestigious Cap d’Antibes address over the years are: Guy de Maupassant, Anatole France, Claude Monet, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos, and the cream of the Lost Generation, including Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Now the focal point is the famous Hotel Eden Roc, which is packed with stars during the Cannes Film Festival (not surprisingly, as movie studios always pick up the tab for their favourite celebs). Reserve for lunch here during the festival and be literally surrounded by celebrities to-ing and fro-ing to the pool.
Port Vauban now serves as the home of the Yacht Club d’Antibes and is the largest marina (in terms of total tonnage of the boats and yachts moored there) in the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the world’s largest and most lavishly appointed yachts have Port Vauban as their home port, including Russian oil businessman Roman Abramovich’s 86 m Ecstasea. Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen’s yacht Octopus is a regular visitor to the harbour.
Antibes Old Town.
A very short distance away is Juan les Pins which has the beaches and hotels, while Antibes has the restaurants.
The Picasso museum is in the Chateau Grimaldi, between the covered market on the Place Massena and the ramparts. Picasso worked here in the chateau in 1946, and his studio is part of the museum. The collection includes an enormous amount of his work, including Mediterranean marine and mythological life painted here, and ceramics produced in nearby Vallauris in 1948-49.
Open: 15 June-15 Sept: 10hrs-18hrs; 16 Sept-14 June: 10hrs-12hrs, 14hrs-18hrs.
Closed: Monday – Holidays 1st Nov-10th Dec
Entry: approx 4 euros
Tel: 04 92 90 54 20; Fax: 04 92 90 54 21
Not exactly my cup of tea, but if you have children of a certain age, it may be unavoidable.
One interesting place to drink at is the Absinthe Bar La Balade (25 Cours Masséna, Antibes – Tel. 04 93 34 93 00 -email: email@example.com ). 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.