After finishing in Provence, we are spending the rest of our trip along the Cote d’Azur, the official term for the French Riviera.
Our first stop is in the seaside town of Antibes, where have rented a villa for the weekend with a group of our friends. Drinks by the pool, games, and outdoor barbecued dinners kept us busy, not to mention the neighbouring sites: Antibes old town, sandy beaches, and hiking.
Antibes Old Town
Antibes used to be an ancient Greek port city (Antipolis), and was heavily fortified. Today it remains surrounded by an ancient star-shaped rampart:
You can walk along part of these walls, which provide nice views of the whole city. Old town itself is pleasant to stroll through, a maze of narrow cobblestone streets and an early morning market (Marché Provençal) selling fresh fish and cheeses which is worth visiting.
Antibes was popular among the painters of France, with it being said that Picasso and Monet quickly fell in love with the city. A number of paintings of Antibes can be found by both artists. Even Napolean Bonaparte once lived in this town with his family.
Antibes’ port is the largest in Europe, and some of the world’s largest yachts can be found parked here. This port is also one of the prime luxury harbors in the Mediterranean, and there is a row of sleek multi-million dollar “superyachts” to gawk at. This is colloquially termed “billionaire’s row”.
Billionaire’s row is a great place for day dreaming…
Sandy Beaches: A French Riviera Rarity
It seems that many of the beaches along the Riviera are rocky. However, there are several great places where you can find a sandy spot. Antibes is one of the few towns known for having some of these silky sand beaches:
Hiking the Cap d’Antibes
The Cap d’Antibes is a 6 km long peninsula located just south of Antibes. It is full of luxurious residences and gardens, as well as hotels which are known to house the celebrities of the Cannes film festival.
What we were more interested in however, was the “Coastal Walk”. This is an easy hike which takes you around the perimeter of the Cap, along limestone cliffs and around rocky bays with beautiful blue water. We even managed to spot a few brave cliff divers jumping in to cool off from the heat of the day.
This was our recipe for a perfect day: hike in the morning, beach in the afternoon!