Antibes has a special attraction for me. Perhaps it’s the architecture and the narrow colorful avenues. It could be the quaint little hotel where I stay that’s so close to little shops and outdoor cafes, yet so hidden away. On my most recent visit, the main attraction was the food. Here’s a look at Antibes restaurant favorites
The past three years, I’ve made a long weekend pilgrimage to Antibes with my good buddies Paula and Rich. This year we added our friend, Trish, to the party.
Before we left for Antibes, Trish innocently asked, “what do we do in Antibes?”
Paula and I, almost in unison, replied: “absolutely nothing.”
We meant it. The annual getaway is our chance to be together in a totally relaxed atmosphere — before the onslaught of summer visitors, traveling and activities in and around Uzès.
Usually we spend a part of a day exploring something we haven’t seen or done around Antibes. Last year it was the Fete Voiles. This year we walked to and around the park at Fort Carreé.
Le Don Juan for dèjeuner was a treat with ancienne tomato salad, veggie-stuffed farci, calamari, and gnocchi with vegetables
Dinner at Autour du Jardin was even more special with friends from House Hunters International. We lucked out that Erin, Stewart and kids were visiting Antibes at the same time. (Can I call these adorable young adults “kids?”)
Autour du Jardin, Antibes with the kids, Paula and Erin, Stewart and the Barefoot Blogger. A fancy caprese salad and lemon tart.
Dinner at Côte Terroir meant eating fancy food that really tasted as good as it looked. Because it was a windy night, there was no outside seating. Who cared? The service and foods were impeccable.
Côte Terroir, Antibes muse bouche parmesan “pops”; soft boiled egg with nut-crumb wrap and jambon; gambas (shrimp) risotto, and the chef’s take on pavlova with mango
Final night in Antibes means dining out on the plage (beach) in Juan-les-Pins. This year we discovered Le Ruban Bleu. Our “regular” restaurant had disappeared. Seems like there are some restaurants on city property, some spots are owned by the French government. The state owned ones are closed. Go figure?
Le Ruban Bleu in Juan-les-Pins offered the seafood specialties we were craving. Fish soup, pasta with clams and a fancy mixed vegetarian salad
Light lunch and drinks at The Brooklyn was a great find. Located along the busy byway to the harbor, the cafe was buzzing. No wonder! Who could resist this smiling waiter, a bento box for our vegetarian, and a giant Jack Daniels burger. The Colonel cocktail (citron sorbet with vodka) was pretty amazing, too.
Want to know more about Antibes? Check out these posts:
If you’ve been following the adventures of the Barefoot Blogger’s life in France, you might remember my brush with fame and the TV show, House Hunters International.
Well, it wasn’t exactly me on the popular show, but now I’m friends with the couple who brought the story to Uzès.
It all started with this email:
“We’ve been waiting a long time to email you! In a little nutshell, my husband and I started researching the South of France and Uzes in particular last fall and discovered your blog. We fell in love with the area and made an offer on an apartment in Uzes that we now own!…We would love to meet you if are free at the end of June.“
I couldn’t wait! House Hunters International is one of my favorite TV shows. I was going to get “up close and personal” with celebrities.
Over the months, between the first email and our dinner together, Erin and I exchanged emails. She told me about her husband Stuart and their blended family that includes four children. We clicked. As Erin said:
“We have loved learning about Uzes through your blog and feel a special connection because you are from the southern US as well. We are also weak on our grasp of the French language!“
Now that I know Erin and Stuart, I’ve had a chance to learn a bit more about their TV experience. I asked them to tell me what it was like moving into their new place in France. A “behind the scenes” view to share with you.
Here’s the story in Erin’s own words.
“We found out about Uzes on a general Google search. I put in ‘French Fractional Ownership’ because I thought that was all we could afford. One was available in Uzes through International Property Shares.
I had never heard of the town, so I started watching Youtube videos and reading blogs. We liked the history of Uzes, the location: proximity to the coast, vineyards, mountains, and airports/train stations.
Once we had fallen in love with Uzes online, we decided to look at the real estate market for a full purchase opportunity, and VOILA!”
How did House Hunters International get involved?
“We approached House Hunters via an introductory email about our plans to look in Uzés for a second home. The show directors contacted us and set up a Skype interview to learn more about us. It moved forward from there.”
Did you buy your new French home “as is?” “We bought the apartment fully remodeled.”
You have four young adult children. What did they think?
“The children did not have any clue of our plans until the actual filming of the show. We announced our plans on camera for the full effect of their reactions. They LOVED it!”
During the course of your House Hunters adventure, what was your worse day?
“Our worst day was on our first visit to our apartment in Uzés.
The day started with a trip to the local Carrefour store to buy a full list of things we needed to outfit our home. After what seemed like hours, scouting through the huge store, trying to read signs and language that made no sense to us, we headed to the checkout aisle. The store manager was there to meet us. He didn’t leave until he was convinced we could pay the bill.
Next we raced off to Nimes to buy a mattress and portable air conditioner. Thinking we would enjoy a nice lunch with a view before resuming our shopping, we looked for a cafe near the Arena. No parking. By the time we found a spot and walked back to the Arena in 95 degree heat, it was 2pm. The restaurant was no longer serving lunch.
We grabbed sandwiches and set off to finish our task. It took longer than we imagined to buy a mattress and an air conditioner in sign language, so when we headed back to Uzés we were pushing it. We’d planned to have time to freshen up, enjoy an aperitif and spend a relaxing evening at one of Uzés’ finest restaurants.
It didn’t happen that way. A wrong turn took us miles out of our way. We were on the road to Barcelona.
We made it back to Uzés; rushed to the restaurant, sweaty and exhausted; but happy to relax with an elegant French meal.”
That was quite a day! What was your best day?
“Our best day was when all the kids were in Uzés with us the summer of 2017. On Saturday we went to the Uzes market, each with a mission. Using euros and a poor grasp of the French language, we were each to purchase food items for a picnic: cheese, bread, veggies, charcuterie. The next day we picnicked on the bank of the Gardon and canoed to the Pont du Gard.
The kids had the best time. Alex jumped off a huge rock into the river. It was a wonderful experience!”
Erin and Stuart admit their dream to live in France is just beginning. They are busy professionals and have many obligations at home. They’ll be “empty-nesters” soon. Their lives will change. Their getaway home in France is ready and waiting for them.
For those of you who may not have seen the House Hunters International episode on HGTV this week, Erin and family chose Uzes!
Erin, Stuart and their blended family with four children went on a house hunt in the south of France for a second home property. Along the way they contacted House Hunters International who filmed the search for the HGTV network audience.
The property agent — who I happen to know! Pierre Guillery — had three choices of locations that met a majority of the family’s “wish list.” Two were near Avignon, one in Uzes.
Of course, they chose Uzes!
Like many of you who watched the show, I was anxious to see how Uzes was pictured to the TV audience. Because Avignon was the site of two of the choices, Uzes didn’t get the attention it really deserves. BUT!!! Winner, Winner!!
Here are some of my favorite places I wish the viewers could have seen:
Place de Duche
I mean, where else do you find a Duke in residence?
Fenestrelle tower and Cathedral of Saint Théodorit
The cathedral and tower that mark the skyline in Uzes are part of the deep-rooted religious history of France. The cathedral, named for Saint Theodorit, was built in the 12th century, destroyed in the Albigensian Crusade, rebuilt, and destroyed again in the 16th century Wars of Religion. Built again in the 17th century, it was stripped out during the French Revolution, then refurbished in it’s neoclassical style in the 18th century. The 11th century Romanesque Tour Fenestrelle (“Window Tower”), through all the religious and political fervor, is still intact — although previously two stories taller. The cathedral served as the seat of the Uzes bishopric from the 5th century until 1801. It is now a Protestant parish church. In the middle of the 16th century, Uzès was the fifth biggest Protestant town in France.
Saint Etienne d’Uzes
The church Saint Etienne d’Uzes has a similar history to Saint Théodorit of being built, destroyed and rebuilt during religious wars in France. Renovation of the Baroque-style church that was built in 1764-1774 was started in 2004. Saint Etienne maintains its Greek cross design and curved façade, decorated with fire pots from which flames flow. The bell tower that served as the town’s watchtower and defense still stands since the 13th century. The interior dome, arches and cornices are original, with stonework made at that time. The church continues to serve a Catholic congregation.
Remnants of the ancient wall
Uzes was the seat of the bishop’s temporal powers. The Bishop’s Tower was used as a tribunal and prison. This tall, square tower is topped by an octagonal clock tower and belfry, added in the 19th century.
King’s tower was used as a royal residence, as well as for housing troups. Louis XIII stayed here in July 1629. It is said that King Charles hit his head on one of the low doorways in the tower and died from the blow.
Cinéma Le Capitole
The cinema in Uzes is a step back into the 40’s with it’s art films, Metropolitan Opera re-broadcasts and season’s newest movies. Can’t you imagine Humphrey Bogart walking down the street?
Gendarmerie and Uzes police — always on busy and on guard
This is where the locals go for the finest chocolates and pastries in town.
My favorite hangout for lunch!
Watering the Flowers
A horse-drawn cart with a tank of water for the flowers is a common sight in the Place de Duche during the summertime.
Place aux Herbes
What we did see in the House Hunters episode was a lot of the Place aux Herbes. There’s no question this is the true center of Uzes.
TV viewers stateside are in for a treat! House Hunters International is airing a show on HGTV featuring Uzes on Monday night, January 18th.
A few months ago I received an email from Erin, a new reader of the Barefoot Blogger who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She told me she discovered Uzes through my friend Ginny Blackwell’s website, International Property Shares. When she googled “Uzes” for more information, she stumbled on the blog.
“We have loved learning about Uzes through your blog and feel a special connection because you are from the southern US as well. We are also weak on our grasp of the French language,” Erin said in her note.
Since her first note, Erin and I have written back and forth about her visits to Uzes. Now she and her husband have decided to move to Uzes, along with their four children! Their story will be highlighted on House Hunters International on January 18th, 7:30pm CST and 8:30pm EST.
Here’s the promo for the show:
Erin and Stuart have a storied history in France; they got engaged in Paris and returned to be married. Now, the two of them have formed a large blended family with 4 children and they’re hoping to own a piece of the country they’ve grown so fond of. Paris is a bit too crowded and busy so they’ve opted for the peace and beauty of the south of France. They’re unsure of what town to settle in, but they know they want enough space for the whole family. Erin would love to move in to something turn-key right away, while Stuart is open to renovation and putting his own stamp on a property. Find out which sensibility prevails when House Hunters International tours the south of France.
At the time of the show’s airing, Erin hadn’t seen the video. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be looking for some of my favorite spots!
The entrance to the village
The entrance to the village of Uzes
The Fenestrelle Tower
Le Château “Duché”
The home of the Duke
Remains of the ancient wall
Remnants of the ancient wall
Place aux Herbes
Place aux Herbes
Saturday Market in Place aux Herbes
Lavender in the Uzes market
Terroirs Restaurant on the Place aux Herbes
Passion Glaces on Place aux Herbes
Uzes natives and tourists
People on the street in Uzes
Le Provencal Bar and Cafe
Sidestreet in Uzes
“Dixieland” Music in the streets
Sky scapes that take your breath away!
Best wishes to Erin, Stuart and children on your new adventure in France!