Antibes Travel Guide
On this travel guide, Iconic Riviera will acquaint you with the essentials about one of the historic yet leisurely spots in the French Riviera— Antibes.
Location, Climate, and People
Antibes is in the southeastern part of France. It is part of the Alpes-Maritimes.
Antibes is on the French part of the Mediterranean sea, between Cannes and Nice in the French Riviera. Cannes is 10 kilometers away, while Nice is 25 kilometers. It is a popular seaside town in the French Riviera, with beaches and natural bays.
Juan-les-Pins is a well-known village within the commune of Antibes. The area has many pines (pins in French) where it got its name.
Juan-les-Pins is next to the small fishing village of Golfe Juan. Many refer to the whole resort town as Antibes-Juan-les-Pins.
It has a Mediterranean climate. It has dry summers and mild, wet winters. You can experience a fine 300 days of summer.
There are around 75 000 citizens in Antibes. French is the official language in the town.
A Historic Town
The Phocaean Greeks founded an acropolis in the area around the 4th century before our common era. The name of the town, Antipolis, means “the city across”. It is in relation to its location with Nice. Trade routes existed along its coast.
Later, it became a Roman settlement later. You can trace the Greek traces around the castle and the church. There are still remains of aqueducts (water supply structures) built by the Romans. Villas and town-houses from ancient times are excavated and shows the luxurious life of its dwellers.
Juan-les-Pins is a popular destination for jet-setters. Younger tourists prefer the upbeat vibes of Juan-les-Pins from the rest of Antibes.
It has beaches, night-clubs, casinos, and expensive boutiques. The Jazz à Juan and Jammin’Juan jazz festival are big musical attractions.
Here, you can have an Italian dinner with a fancy cocktail or chilled glass of rosé at sunset overlooking the sea. In late-night, you can exhaust your remaining energy dancing and partying from dusk ’til dawn.
If you’re looking for a quiet time, hang on the promenades and picnic under the groves of pines that grow abundantly in the area.
Old Town Antibes
The old town inside the medieval walls is historic and enchanting. The cobbled-street and beautiful facades of the building have the Renaissance touch.
The sights, scents, and savor are of genuine Provencal. Its street is full of boutiques, gourmet food shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Ramparts are open for strolls. The sea wall at the edge of the town gives a scenic view of the Mediterranean Sea.
One of the most prominent structure is the Picasso Museum, known as the Chateau Grimaldi before.
Marche Provencal- Antibes ‘ Famous Open Market
This upmarket is a covered iron-framed structure where you can find fresh Provencal products. Locals, as well as tourists, can enjoy buying tempting fruits and vegetables, cheeses, tapenades, herbs, olives, olive oils, and dried sausages.
There is also a craft market in summer times. Shops and cafés are on one side.
It is also the spot where you can locate the notable Absinthe Bar.
Église de l’Immaculée Conception
This Roman Catholic church is a national monument. The other name for it is Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea d’Antibes.
It has an ochre and classical russet Italian facade. There is both modern and Renaissance art.
Inside are a painting of the Virgin with the rosary and a life-size wood-carve depiction of Christ’s death.
Place Nationale- Antibes ‘ Main Square
This square has café terraces in summer and a Christmas market in winter. You can find and buy antiques, handicrafts, jewelry, and other trinkets on the stalls.
At the center of the square is a 5-meter high column. It is a gift from Loius XVIII to the royalists of Antibes for not accepting Napoleon Bonaparte after his escape in Elba.
Antibes-Juan-les-Pins has no shortage of beaches with its 25-kilometer coastline. There are 48 private and public beaches in all.
There are several sandy beaches like La Gravette, Ponteil, and Salis where the water is shallow. The ramparts shade the La Gravette on sundown.
Juan-les-Pins has public beaches, while Cap d’Antibes has private beaches and sometimes hidden resorts complete with umbrellas and parasols. They also have water activities like snorkeling and diving.
The area has many beautiful parks. Here are the two best:
This park is new among the parks and gardens in the town. At the center of the 12-acre land is an olive grove.
Its main entrance coming from the main terrace has an Italian Renaissance traditional design. Present also are ponds and fountains alongside the terrace.
A typical Provencal garden shrub maze is a pleasant sight. You can also enjoy the sight of roses and palm groves.
It has a belvedere at the very end of the garden facing the sea.
This park is in the center of Juan-les-Pins. The pine grove gave the town its name.
On the north is a playground for children. There are also benches good for sitting in the sunshine or under the shade of the pines.
Overlooking the beaches there is a large structure that becomes an open-air theater for concerts. It is a venue for Jazz à Juan, and Jammin’Juan in the summer. Visitors can also see the handprint of jazz performers who played at the festival along the footpaths.
Villa Eilenroc Gardens
This villa cum garden is in Cap d’Antibes, home to the town’s magnificent and luxurious mansions and villas. It is the only one to be open to the public.
It possesses a rose garden with hundreds of rose varieties. Around it is an impressive collection of plants and shrubs. 50 olive trees are planted in a grove. It symbolizes a bridge between past and future generations. It is planted in honor of the children born in the first year of the 2nd millennium.
Thuret Botanical Garden
This park is part of a research institute in botany. It was a place where exotic plants were made to adapt to the Mediterranean climate. Cross-fertilization was also done here. Now, these exotic plants are part of the landscape of the French Riviera or Côte d’Azur. The park raised the popularity of Mediterranean garden cultivation and management.
Other Sights and Sites
Port Vauban— Antibes ‘ Main Port
It has the largest marina and yachting harbor in all the French Riviera and even in Europe. It can moor more than 2000 ships and crafts. The port can also accommodate crafts that are more than a hundred meters.
It is one of the millionaire’s paradise in the French Riviera. It has the palatial villas of many rich individuals and home to the famous Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc.
At its summit is the lighthouse, the Phare de la Garoupe. The way to reach it is the stony road of Chemin du Calcaire, which is good for a half-day stroll.
Le Fort Carré
It is a masterpiece of military engineering. It has four pointed bastions and a circular keep at the center.
The fort is a prominent feature in the skyline on the far side of the yacht harbor. The rampart walk gives a scenic view.
Musée d’Histoire et d’Archéologie
The museum houses a collection from the classical history of Antibes. It includes archeological digs and shipwrecks collection.
Among the collection is the Antibes Pebble (Galet d’Antibes) from the 5th century before our common era. It is a large oval stone with curious inscriptions.
There are also pots, amphorae, ancient anchors, Roman stela, funeral urns, and a mosaic from a Roman villa.
Its site is a former Greek acropolis and then a Roman castrum. The Grimaldi made it their residence.
The chateau was home to the Grimaldis who served as governors in the town’s historic times. It now houses one of the world’s largest collections of Picasso who worked here in 1946.
It has a collection of 24 paintings, 4 drawings, 32 lithographs, and 11 oils on papers. There are also 80 pieces of ceramics, two sculptures, and five tapestries.
For art enthusiasts, among the works to see are La Joie de vivre, Satyre, Faun et centaur au trident, and Nature morte à la chouette et aux trois oursins.
Traveling to Antibes
The Nice airport is the nearest to Antibes. It is around 20 kilometers away. It takes about 20 to 40 minutes to reach Antibes.
On a car
Take the Motorway a8, “la Provencale, then the turn to Exit 44.
Riding the bus
Take the airport bus #250 from the bus center at Terminal 1 or in front of Terminal 2.
Taking the train
Take bus #23 at Terminal 1 of the bus center to the station Nice San Agustin. Then, ride at TER to Antibes-Juan-les-Pins.