As long as I can remember I’ve dreamt about Antibes. When thoughts of the tiny dot-of-a-place on the French Rivera came to my mind, I’d imagine myself lounging on the deck of a massive yacht. Sipping champagne. Dining in the moonlight.
Little did I imagine that I’d live within a morning’s drive of Antibes. Yes. Dreams do come true…
Although no yacht was waiting for me (sigh…) the sights and sounds of Antibes were truly memorable. I don’t know when I’ve taken so many photos in such a short time — just two days. Everywhere I turned there was an amazing door or window to photograph. A partially hidden alley. A striking piece of artwork in a courtyard. It was truly a feast of colors, shapes, images and sounds.
Views of the coastline were breathtaking.
Portholes through stone walls had their own glimpse of the sea.
Yachts were everywhere
Sidewalk cafes were just inviting as I imagined they’d be.
The marketplace and stores around town were filled with fresh products, souvenirs and tourists.
Walking around the Old Town of Antibes (Le Vieil Antibes) three of four times during the two days of my visit, I saw much that I’d imagined. What I wasn’t expecting was that every narrow street seemed to be more picturesque than the last.
Also, I never imagined such spectacular public artwork. Everywhere.
There was a gigantic sculpture of “words” by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa — Nomade. (Click on link to learn more.)
And the works of Nicolas Lavarenne . His graceful statues were artfully placed through the streets and ramparts of Old Town Antibes.
Only on exhibit for the summer, the striking and athletic figures seemed suspended in air as they leapt from walls and ancient structures.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was outdoor art in the courtyard of the Picasso Museum. Even from the street level, you could see the statues towering above the town — as if they were guarding the priceless pieces of art within the building. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed inside.
A walk on the wild side
While seeking out artists and shopping are my passions while traveling, you know there’s going to be a bit of the “absurd” thrown in somewhere. In Antibes a visit to the Absinthe Museum was a “must.”
The storefront of the Absinthe Museum was a gift shop, the side street entrance led down into a cave of “inequity” — filled with absinthe and drinking paraphernalia from throughout the ages.
Hats for the occasion were provided as well as the telling of the history and absinthe-drinking technique. Who knew? Sugar cubes and water? A spoon made just for preparing the perfect drink?
To be honest, we visited the museum during the broad daylight and had only one drink each. In case you’re wondering, the alcohol content and taste of the variety we were drinking were similar to pastis. However, I was told about more potent types. All in all, it was great fun and a memorable way to spend an hour or so on a warm summer day. Especially if you want to recall thoughts of Van Gogh and all who fell under the magical spell of the “green fairy.”
Antibes has a lot going on after dark in the Old Town but the nearby town of Juan-Les-Pins is “party central.”
The afternoon of the second day of our visit to Antibes, my friends, Paul and Rich, and I boarded the “petite train” that ran from in front of our hotel in Antibes to Juan-Les-Pins. Between the two towns the train passed through Cap d’Antibes where we had a glimpse of some of the famous mansions and coastline. We arrived in Juan-Les-Pins in less than half and hour — in time for shopping and a walk on the busy boardwalk.
It was there, in Juan-Les-Pins, that my dream came true.
Remember “dining under the moonlight?
I hope you enjoyed the visit to Antibes!
A BIG thanks to Patricia Sands who helped plan the trip and visited with us in Antibes — her favorite place and hangout.
Patricia’s novels on Provence are a “must read” if you love traveling and dreaming about France.
More favorite places:
Boutique hotel in Antibes – Hotel Le Relais du Postillon
Lunch in Antibes – Le Don Juan
Light dinner in Juan Les Pins (on the pier or on the beach) – La Voille Blanche