With its pretty old town and the famous yacht harbour, Antibes is one of the most beautiful places on the Côte d’Azur. But everyone knows that already. That’s why you should try to avoid a visit during high season, especially if you don’t want to be pushed through the streets with the tourist masses. You are unfortunately not the only one who wants to see this idyllic place. Instead of going in August, try to plan your visit during autumn or early summer. In general, however, this place that was once visited by Pablo Picasso, Klaus Mann and F. Scott Fitzgerald is still worth a visit every day of the year.
Early Bird in Antibes
If you can manage to get out of bed early in the morning, you should go and buy some regional delicacies in Antibes’ old market hall. Surrounded by cheese and charcuterie, raspberry salt, fresh courgettes and artichokes, everyone who is a food lover will be pretty inspired to start cooking right away.
The Antibes Market Hall, 1828 Cours Masséna
9:00 a.m. Petit Déjeuner
Have your first café au lait and chocolate croissant of the day just opposite the market at Café Clemencau. Sitting outside on the small square, watching the other early birds passing by, you can observe how it starts to get crowded in the alleyways and enjoy the last rare beautiful moments before the rush of the old town is in full swing.
Café Clemenceaux, 24 Rue Georges Clemenceau
Those who prefer to have breakfast in their accommodation are advised to visit the best confectionery shop in the city after leaving the market. In addition to buying the fresh baguette you should try Jean Luc Pelés homemade bakery products and dessert, especially the macarons, salmon bagels and the delicious lemon tart.
10:00 a.m. Treasure hunt at the antiquity market
For treasure hunters and collectors of beautiful (and weird) stuff I recommend a visit to the Antibes antiquities and flea market. Every Tuesday and Saturday, fans of interior and vintage objects will find precious and funny bits and bobs here. All kinds of things are for sale: genuine curiosities, silver plate, fashion jewellery and champagne glasses. In a relaxed atmosphere, the traders at the Place Amiral Barnaud, which is surrounded by restaurants, like to spend their lunchtime at the tables clothed in white that are dotted between their goods. As beautiful as the market is, bargain hunters should try their luck somewhere else: even second-hand goods are rather pricey in the famous holiday resort.
12:00 p.m. Heading to the Antibe’s beach
As is often the case in popular holiday resorts, the few sandy beaches in Antibes are carefully divided among hotel and beach club operators. If you do not want to squat with the tourist hordes on the few square metres of public beach enclosed by the historic city wall, you have to pay to enjoy the ocean view and, if you do, the Royal Beach Club is probably one of the best places to do so. For 20 euros per day you can rent a comfortable sun lounger, including umbrella. And the friendly good-looking waiters in sailor outfits, who will bring your rosé down to the shore, quickly let you forget about the money.
Like so many artists and intellectuals, Pablo Picasso paid a visit to Antibes – and stayed. At least for two months. During this time he worked at the Château Grimaldi, which was later renamed to honour the famous painter and now houses a museum. There are only a few works by Picasso himself on display in the museum’s bright rooms. Paintings by colleagues such as Niki de Saint Phalle and Nicolas de Staël make up for it though. Of course the real highlight – even in the museum – is the amazing ocean view you discover after stepping out onto the terrace.
6:00 p.m. Time for Antibe’s best Ice cream
As with every little town close to the sea, Antibes also has countless ice cream shops. The best among them is Gelateria Del Porto, which you recognize by its absurdly long queue. The fact that over thirty people are patiently waiting here just to get an ice cream suggests that it must truly be good homemade ice cream – and indeed, it is. Glacier Jean-Marc Voisin produces all the different flavours with local ingredients and fresh fruits – and he still uses old family recipes. If you are not patient enough to queue, you should pass by shortly before dinner, the only time when it gets a little quieter. Enjoy and don’t forget to try the homemade fig ice cream!
Gelateria del Porto, 4 Rue Aubernon, täglich 12.00 – 22.00 Uhr, April – October
8:00 p.m. Drinks and dinner
On your first visit to Antibes it’s worth visiting the legendary Eden Roc. Located on the Cap d’Antibes, this five-star hotel has the most beautiful view of the area – but also the highest prices. The compensation for your 34-euro Bellini awaits you on the terrace: the most amazing sunset on the Côte d’Azur.
11:00 p.m. Antibes at night
You can go out dancing anywhere in the world, so it’s not necessarily a must-do in Antibes. Instead of squeezing yourself into one of the touristy bars, you might prefer enjoying a bottle of wine at the now empty city beach, walking along the historical fortress walls and crossing the impressive marina to take in the dark sea and the pretty lights that illuminate the dark.
Port Vauban, Rue Vauban