Over 2000 years ago the Ancient Greeks colonised the site of Antibes as the jewel of the Cote d'Azur. I was very pleasantly surprised at how beautiful Antibes was. It has many preserved historic buildings. I enjoyed walking around this town much more that Cannes.
My favourite thing was the stroll around the walls of the old town especially along the coast. The star shaped fortress walls were designed by Vauban the master architect and builder in fortifications all over Europe. In the inner centre of Antibes you enter a labyrinth of streets and alleys lined with many cozy restaurants and cafe's.
A cafe table in the old section of Antibes guarantees you a ringside seat to view the rest of the world as it passes by. The cobbled streets are really colorful because of the many flowers in flower-boxes.
The main town square, the Place Nationale, is lined with a selection of restaurants, cafes and brasseries. There are always plenty of places to sit and enjoy a salad or brushetta and a glass of wine, and watch the ever-changing people scenery.
On Sundays, between the shade-giving plane trees, market stalls come out for you to browse an interesting array of bric-a-brac, books and antiques. Look out for the interesting Marche Provencal. This is a covered market where you can buy flowers, food, spices. As you walk the narrow streets stop and try one of the delicious French crepes pancakes. The are sold with all kind of fillings. The more popular being chocolate, jam, ham and cheese.
The Old Antibes beach Plage de La Gravette has a small, sandy, pleasant beach which faces west into the sun. It is sheltered from waves by a small breakwater and this makes it particularly safe for children. The only disadvantage is that it can be crowded. Outside the city walls Antibes has wonderfully sandy beaches which have given it the reputation as the most enjoyable place to be along the whole of the Mediterranean French Riviera. Don't miss Port Vauban, Antibes harbour and especially its famous 'Billionaires Quay' Le quai des milliardaires.
Antibes is the largest pleasure harbour of the French Riviera and is the home of the largest yachts. The Chateau Grimaldi was built on the former Greek Acropolis in the 12th century as a residence for the Princes of Monaco. In 1946 Picasso used part of the castle as a studio. He produced 26 paintings and 43 drawings in five months of intensive work.
As a tribute a Picasso museum is now housed in the castle and includes most of those works of art. Please note that it is closed on Mondays and public holidays. The Musee d'Archeologie (archeological museum) at the Bastion St-Andre displays many finds from the various invaders like the Ligurians, Greeks, and Romans. Most of the objects were salvaged from shipwrecks .
The museum is open Monday - Friday, 10am - 12pm, 2pm - 6pm. If you are on holiday with your children Le parc de la mer et de l'aventure Marineland is just outside of Antibes about 4 km. The are several shows/displays throughout the day featuring killer whales, sharks, dolphins, elephant seals, and sea lions. There is also a water park with a wide range of water games.