Sure, Paris is the capital of fashion, culture, sophistication. But what do you do when you just need some sunshine and a laidback attitude? Head south to the French Riveria. While Cannes and Monaco attract the jet-set and star-studded crowd, Antibes is a fabulous little place to experience the true flavors of the Cote d’Azur without breaking the bank.
A popular destination for British expats (there’s a British grocery store if you miss your Marmite) and international boat owners, the port city of Antibes has all the charm of a small French town with the added bonus of beautiful beaches, lively bars and proximity to the Nice Airport.
Sail into the sunset
For those who want to sail the Mediterranean, Antibes is the can’t-miss port city. Popular with British expats and international yacht owners, Antibes is a hub for sailors, celebrities, the rich and their help. Stroll the port and try to keep track of how many helipads and in-yacht swimming pools you spot. The annual Antibes Yacht Show takes place in April: it’s the ultimate time to drool over the newest and hippest boats.
Don’t go home hungry
Grab a class-act sandwich at La Ferme Au Foie Gras (my favorite is duck with fig spread and brie) before perfecting your bronze on the sandy and protected beach. For a chance to practice your French, head to La Tour by the covered market. Owned by a friendly French couple, she cooks and he does the bar. Wine bar Bacchus is the perfect place for a glass of Muscat and some nibbles in the afternoon sunshine.
Pick out your own goods
The Cours Massena covered market is the heart of the city, always buzzing with activity. In the morning, you can find the typical fruits and veggies, brilliant flowers, a variety of cheeses and fresh bread, but there is also the Provencal herb mix, homemade nougats and delicious jams. After 1 p.m., it shifts into a craft market with artisan-made jewelry, clothing and knick-knacks.
Your modern art fix
Chateau Grimaldi was built on ancient Greek ruins in the early 1600s, and was where Pablo Picasso called home for six months in 1946. The building is now the Picasso Museum, and it was the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the artist. Not only is the art collection stunning, but the museum also features beautiful waterfront views.
Soak up the sunshine
A rare find along the French Riviera, Antibes actually boasts a sandy beach. It’s a comfortable break after the pebbles of Nice, and a cheaper alternative than paying for a fancy chaise lounge at a private beach. Plus, the main beach is on a protected cove: no crashing waves to maneuver!