Summer 2017 in the Canadian Maritimes

Adventures of David, Jelynne and Eva

A Day in Antibes

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On Wednesday (August 5, 2015), we took the train from Nice to Antibes.

Antibes is a picture-postcard seaside town that hugs the shores of the Mediterranean between Nice and Cannes. It’s 16th-century ramparts cluster around the Le Vieil Antibes of narrow cobbled streets, the flower and vegetable market and the old port. Antibes grew from the ancient Greek trading port of Antipolis More recently, in the 20th century, Antibes became the favorite town for, among many other artists and writers, Picasso, Nicolas de Staël and Max Ernst and the novelist, Graham Greene.

Today it’s famous as one of the Mediterranean’s premier luxury harbours, where sleek white, multi-million dollar mega yachts bob at anchor in the sheltered harbor near Vauban’s Fort Carré. Greater Antibes takes in Antibes, the gorgeous private villas of Cap d’Antibes, the technopolis of Sophia Antipolis to the north, and glitzy modern Juan-les-Pins, internationally known for its summer jazz festival. More information here.

Antibes-Juan-les-Pins Quick Facts

  • 80,000 inhabitants
  • Second largest town on the Côte d’Azur
  • Located between Nice and Cannes
Gare de Nice-Ville. Nice-Ville is the main railway station in Nice, France.

Gare de Nice-Ville. Nice-Ville is the main railway station in Nice, France.

SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français; “National society of French railways” or “French National Railway Company”) is France’s national state-owned railway company and manages the rail traffic in France and the Principality of Monaco. SNCF operates the country’s national rail services, including the TGV, France’s high-speed rail network. Its functions include operation of railway services for passengers and freight, and maintenance and signalling of rail infrastructure.

Eva's first trip on a train!

Eva’s first trip on a train!

Minutes after disembarking the train in Antibes, Eva discovers yet another fountain to play in!

Minutes after disembarking the train in Antibes, Eva discovers yet another fountain to play in!

Eva overlooking Port Vauban in Antibes.

Eva overlooking Port Vauban in Antibes.

Port Vauban is a French yachting harbor located in Antibes on the French Riviera. Originally a natural harbor in use since before the Roman Empire, the port was fortified by Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban, later Marquis de Vauban, King Louis XIV’s military engineer.

Port Vauban now serves as the home of the Yacht Club d’Antibes and is the largest marina (in terms of total tonnage of the boats and yachts moored there) in the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the world’s largest and most lavishly appointed yachts have Port Vauban as their home port, including Russian oil businessman Roman Abramovich’s 86 m Ecstasea and his gift to fellow Russian businessman Eugene Shvidler (Le Grand Bleu). Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen’s yacht Octopus is a regular visitor to the harbor. In the early part of the 20th century, Port Vauban also accommodated numerous seaplanes and a seaplane manufacturer.

As of 2012, typical rates for a berth in Port Vauban are between €1m to €1.4m.

Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

View from the ramparts of Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

View from the ramparts of Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

David capturing the beauty of Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

David capturing the beauty of Plage de la Gravette from the ramparts, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette is perhaps the most beautiful of the Antibes public beaches, discreetly tucked away behind the ramparts at the end of the port. With fine, white sand and luminescent water, this idyllic beach attracts a loyal crowd of locals that just wouldn’t be seen at any other beach.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France. Nice is across the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) in the hazy distance.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France. Nice is across the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) in the hazy distance.

Beautiful windows lace the streets of Vieil Antibes.

Beautiful windows lace the streets of Le Vieil Antibes.

The Musée Picasso, formerly the Château Grimaldi at Antibes, is built upon the foundations of the ancient Greek town of Antipolis.

Musée Picasso, Antibes, France. Viewed from the ramparts at the back of the museum.

Musée Picasso, Antibes, France. Viewed from the ramparts at the back of the museum.

Musée Picasso, Antibes, France.

Musée Picasso, Antibes, France.

The Picasso Museum occupies the Château Grimaldi in Antibes.

The Picasso Museum occupies the Château Grimaldi in Antibes.

Musée Picasso, Antibes, France.

Musée Picasso, Antibes, France.

Being "flaneurs" through Vieil Antibes.

Being flaneurs through Le Vieil Antibes.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Would you like some sand? I have lots! Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Would you like some sand? I have lots! Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Dad, here's your new boat! Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

Dad, here’s your new boat! Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

Entering Le Vieil Antibes, Antibes, France.

Entering Le Vieil Antibes, Antibes, France.

Okay, so where are we? :)

Okay, so where are we? 🙂

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Overlooking Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Overlooking Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Stone fountain at Antibes' Place National.

Stone fountain at Antibes’ Place National.

We had an amazing lunch at an Irish pub called The Hop Store.

We had an amazing lunch at an Irish pub called The Hop Store.

Enjoying lunch in Antibes at the Irish pub called The Hop Store.

Enjoying lunch in Antibes at the Irish pub called The Hop Store.

The colourful Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea d'Antibes, Antibes, France.

The colourful Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea d’Antibes, Antibes, France.

Le Marché Provençal, Antibes, France. The bust of General Championnet in front of the market hall. Championnet died of cholera in Antibes in 1800 at the age of 38. It was noted in the Revolutionary armies in Germany and during the Italian campaign led by Bonaparte.

Le Marché Provençal, Antibes, France. The bust of General Championnet in front of the market hall. Championnet died of cholera in Antibes in 1800 at the age of 38. It was noted in the Revolutionary armies in Germany and during the Italian campaign led by Bonaparte.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea d'Antibes, Antibes, France.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea d’Antibes, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

Plage de la Gravette, Antibes, France.

View from the ramparts at the Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

View from the ramparts at the Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

View of a few of the yachts from the ramparts at the Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

View of a few of the yachts from the ramparts at the Port Vauban, Antibes, France.

After having housed a temple and then a chapel in Roman times, a fortified tower was built at Saint-Jaume which was to be completely destroyed in the 17th century. A few decades later, the Bastion Shipyard was built here, where Captain Cousteau’s famous ship Calypso was kitted out. The shipyard closed in 1985. Destroyed because it had fallen into disuse, the building gave way to a vast area highlighting the famous fortified remains of the curtain wall, beautifully renovated. Today, this area features the Nomade sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. More information here.

The Nomade at the Bastion St. Jaume, Antibes, France.

The Nomade at the Bastion St. Jaume, Antibes, France.

The Nomade at the Bastion St. Jaume, Antibes, France.

The Nomade at the Bastion St. Jaume, Antibes, France.

The Nomade at the Bastion St. Jaume, Antibes, France.

The Nomade at the Bastion St. Jaume, Antibes, France.

The beautiful cobble-stoned streets of Le Vieil Antibes.

The beautiful cobble-stoned streets of Le Vieil Antibes.

The beautiful cobble-stoned streets of Le Vieil Antibes.

The beautiful cobble-stoned streets of Le Vieil Antibes.

Returning to Nice from Antibes on an SNCF train.

Returning to Nice from Antibes on an SNCF train.

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3 thoughts on “A Day in Antibes

  1. Beautiful pictures, like my new sail boat now I just have to come and retrive it 🙂

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  2. It looks like you had a spectacular day of exploration in Antibes! The history is fascinating; thank you for sharing that in your blog along with the wonderful photos! We visited Antibes in the pouring rain so I definitely want to go back and see the things you photographed – I had no idea there was so much there.

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  3. …and we still didn’t explore everything! It was one of our favourite places that we went to. The main streets looked lovely too.

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