Antibes: The laid-back city where the jetsetters go to unwind.
Neighbor to Cannes and Nice, Antibes is one of the most sought-after destinations in France and offers all the attractions: endless beaches, crystal blue water, and delectable restaurants, all basked in a festive southern ambiance. The wild setting of the town influenced many world-renowned paintings who perfectly captured Antibes’ unique atmosphere. Even though the French Riviera hotspot attracted its fair share of glitterati throughout the 20th century, it is a relatively laid-back city compared to Nice and Cannes. Apart from its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Antibes has a very rich history. Originally it was known as “Antipolis” meaning “the city on the other side,” the Greeks created Antipolis as a trading post after having founded Marseille. Under the Romans, Antibes was renamed “Antiboul,” dedicated to maritime trade. Some might say that discovering Antibes in two days is impossible, but not us. Here is your 48-hour guide to Antibes.
Morning: Visit Port Vauban and Fort Carré
Start your day by visiting Europe’s first marina and the most popular yachting harbor: Port Vauban. It is the ideal spot to admire the scenic landscapes, and a variety of lavish mega-yachts. The development of this harbor started in the 70s. Originally, it served as an “airport” for seaplanes, acting as a postal and commercial link between different cities. Today, this horseshoe-shaped harbor is one of the most luxurious yachting centers in the world. Continue your morning promenade by visiting Fort Carré. Fort Carré is one of the oldest fortifications, and one of the first to be built in the Renaissance Era. Built during the 16th century by Henri de Mandon, under the rule of Henri II, Fort Carré was used to defend Antibes and Nice. If you wish to have an unobstructed view of Antibes and the coast, climb to the top of the ramparts, which are 43 meters high. For wilderness lovers, discover the four-hectare garden filled with Mediterranean flora and fauna, that lies at the fortress’s feet.
Lunch: Le Potager
6 Sq. du Lys, 06160 Antibes, France
Located near the harbor in the old city, Le Potager is a wonderful eatery. Known for its refined French cuisine, Le Potager is a cozy little restaurant recommended by all. In a simple interior with elaborate decorations, basked in a vintage atmosphere; enjoy vibrant and delicate plates of salmon, risotto, and fresh vegetables. For wine lovers, pair each dish with a special wine from the restaurant’s exhaustive list, or an Armagnac before starting your meal. In elevated French style, expect traditional French cuisine, prepared with the utmost effort and attention to detail.
Afternoon: Admire the Picasso Museum
This museum alone is reason enough to visit Antibes! Dedicated to Pablo Picasso and his life work, the museum is housed inside a medieval fortress, formerly known as the Grimaldi Castle. Admire over 200 works of art by the artist, such as: paintings, ceramics, drawings…etc. Why such an impressive museum in a little town in the South of France? Well, Pablo Picasso lived a long time in Antibes, and installed his atelier on the top floor of the fortress. From there, he donated 23 paintings and 44 drawings to the town. The collection does not include Picasso’s most famous pieces, but each work of art has a historical and sentimental value to Antibes. Even if you are not an art lover, the view from the castle is simply magnificent and definitely worth it. Every detail, such as: carvings and door frames have not been replaced, and are witnesses to this traditional fort’s history.
Drinks and Dinner: Absinthe Bar
25 Cr Masséna
True to its name, Absinthe Bar is the place to go for green fairy infused cocktails. As you progress through a hidden Roman Vault underneath the provincial market, you will arrive in a hidden and vintage world of guitars, posters, absinthe-related decorations, and a fully stocked bar. Make your way through the interior which resembles a 20th century drinking hideaway. Exclusive, controversial, and down-right euphoric, Absinthe Bar offers an impressive and unearthly drinking experience. As you may know, absinthe is banned in several countries, but that does not apply here. The bartender serves it as it’s always meant to be served: a glass of absinthe accompanied by a sugar cube on a silver spoon. Mix the two, and bon voyage! For the most courageous, ask the bartender to light the sugar cube on fire – after having dipped it in absinthe! Good luck!
16 Rue de la République, 06600 Antibes
Located in the heart of Antibes, L’Oursin is the idyllic address for seafood lovers! Enjoy freshly prepared platers or the restaurant’s specialties: homemade rockfish soup, hand-smoked salmon. Since 1962, L’Oursin has been a true institution for the Antibois, for its cuisine and distinctive décor. As soon as you step into the establishment, authentic maritime decorations greet you, which makes you question whether you are on a vessel. Prices may be a bit expensive, however, once you see the generously garnished plates it will be worth it! Adored by locals and tourists alike, L’Oursin is a great seafood experience you must try in Antibes.