I find myself in the South of France this summer, in Antibes, because it’s the yachting capital of Europe and I was searching for a job on a yacht. I’ve been to the French Riviera before, to Nice and Monaco, both of which I absolutely loved. So I knew I’d enjoy Antibes as well. And even though it’s a yachting capital, it’s not showy or pretentious at all. The charm of this town is its old town (Vieux Antibes) with tiny cobblestone streets filled with pedestrians, old stone buildings with wild bougainvillea growing up them, an abundance of cafes spilling out onto sidewalks, markets with fresh produce, spices, and wines from around the region, and a old fortress overlooking the sea. Antibes is entirely charming in every way that you want a small French seaside town to be. It’s not as big as Nice or as ritzy at Monaco, but rather it’s small and charming with a slow pace and appreciation for the relaxed French joie de vivre. I’m so lucky to be living here this summer, as I was here during my job hunt and now my yacht is based here. I could probably live here forever, but let’s not ahead of ourselves. I do think you need to find time to visit Antibes though, so here is my Antibes Visitor Guide to help you plan your trip (or at least daydream about it!).
Antibes Visitor Guide
When To Go
Antibes is charming all the time, but it really shines in summer. It’s really lovely in summer, especially with all the yachts in action and the events going on here and around the Riviera. Come in the first week of June for the Les Voiles d’Antibes sail regatta or in April for the Antibes Yacht Show.
How To Get There
The closest airport is in Nice, and actually it’s my favorite airport of all time to fly into. The views are unbeatable as the mountains come right up to the sea and landscapes collide. From here, it’s a quick train ride or cab ride over to Antibes. Once in Antibes, everything you want is easiest to reach by walking. And even getting around to other towns on the coast is easy by using the SNCF trains. Book your flight to Nice here.
Where To Stay
There’s no argument on this one, when you stay in Antibes you should stay in one of the beautiful old stone homes in the old part of town. It’s the perfect way to settle into life in Antibes and a get a feel for the local vibes. Find your perfect apartment in Antibes on Airbnb (and get $25 off your booking through this link!).
What To Do
I recommend first of all just walking around all the tiny back streets and alleyways, to check out the architecture and homes, especially on Rue de Haut Castelet. Then walk the Promenade de l’Amiral de Grasse, which is the walkway next to the sea, atop the historic stone wall. You can also walk around all the docks to admire the yachts, and I would recommend the international quay on the right side since that’s where all the megayachts are docked! You should stop in to the Marché Provencal, which is the big covered market in the middle of town where farmers sell their produce in the morning and artisans sell their handicrafts in the afternoon. Rent a bike and go for a ride around the picturesque Cap d’Antibes and over to Juan les Pins. There is one beach in Antibes and several others out on Cap d’Antibes which are great for getting your tan on (but be warned that it’s common for women to go topless!). You can do some shopping on Rue James Close and Rue Sade. And don’t miss the Musée Picasso, which is housed in the fortress where Picasso spent a summer creating art that is now featured in this museum.
Where To Eat
Where to eat, oh la la! It’s the south of France, everything is delicious! I like Le Café Jardin for its quiet and quirky ambiance, and would recommend their goat cheese with lavender and honey, it’s to die for! Le Café Antibes in Place des Martyrs de la Resistance is perfect for people watching over a glass of afternoon rosé. I love Les Filles du Micocoulier for a crêpe and people watching in the morning, and Café Clemenceau for an espresso and croissant in the middle of the old town’s daily bustle. Stop in at Felix Café to rub elbows with all the yacht crew since it’s next to the docks. And definitely go to Nacional Beef and Wine Bar for the best steak in town. Then finish it off with a gelato at Gelateria del Porto, the best in town! Also check out my complete guide to the best pain au chocolat in Antibes right here!
Where To Drink
Now on to the important stuff…at the end of a long day of sightseeing and exploring, where can you go for a good pint of beer or glass of wine. Some popular spots are The Hop Store, a good Irish pub, and The Blue Lady, which draws an international crowd. But probably my favorite is Drinker’s Club, which unapologetically spills over onto the sidewalk and street, and ends up swapping customers and glasses with Le Happy Face across the way. If you want to get away from the international crowd and the tourists, go to Bar Bacchus, which is filled with locals sipping wine as early as 11am!
Need To Know
Antibes, France is a charming town with very little crime. To get here you’ll need your passport, and once you’re here you’ll need Euros for currency. There are plenty of ATMs around and most places take credit cards. Most of the shops and restaurants in town shut down at about midday Sunday and stay closed through Monday. And English is pervasive so don’t worry too much about your French skills, though I have a guide coming your way for the most common French phrases you’ll need when traveling!
Overall, Antibes is a wonderful city. After just a few days I knew it was love, and now after a few weeks, I truly don’t want to leave. This old town overlooking the sea is filled with happy people and warm baguettes and so many beautiful things to look at that I wake up every day with a smile on my face. If you haven’t been to Antibes yet, you’re definitely missing out. Hopefully this Antibes Visitor Guide helps you plan your trip, and thoroughly enjoy your stay!
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