Alpes-Maritimes (06600) Population: 70,005 Altitude: 9 m
Antibes was a Greek fortified town named Antipolis in the 5th century BC, and later a Roman town, and always an active port for trading along the Mediterranean. Today it's an attractive and active town, popular with "foreigners" from Paris and the north of France, with non-French, and with the local population. Market day Sun, Daily.
The natural beauty remains in the vieille ville (old town), with the ramparts along the sea and the long, arched protective wall along the port. There are plenty of little streets for exploring, restaurants of all types and prices, and lots of shops, from authentic little hardware/general-stores to tourist gift shops.
Antibes is the proper name of this ancient town, but it's commonly referred to as
Antibes - Juan-les-Pins.
The Juan-les-Pins part is a seaside resort and night-life area of sandy beaches, boutiques, night clubs and casino. The two places are close together, a good walk or short drive over the hill of the narrow part of the peninsula, or a longer and lovely drive around the coastline of the Cap d'Antibes.
Plage de La Garoupe (La Garoupe Beach), on the Cap d'Antibes, used to be the favourite beach of Fitzgerald and Murphy. The Cap d'Antibes, marked by the lighthouse at the highest point, is a lush setting of some very large and very expensive estates, even by "French Riviera" standards. It also has the hotel of choice for some famous people, such as Madonna, who prefer to avoid the bright lights and bustle of the Croissette in Cannes during their short stays on the Côte d'Azur.
The old port was the heart of "Antipolis" when the Greeks had a tenuous grip on the coast, the Ligurians were crowded around the outskirts, and galleons and galleys moored in the sheltered waters. Centuries later, and centuries ago, Crusaders left from here on their way to the Holy Lands. Today, the Port Vauban is the largest marina in Europe. The Large Yachts jetty (across the bottom of the photo, above), added just a few years ago, often has a row of some of the worlds largest yachts.
The Port Vauban, created in the early 1970's in its modern iteration, includes a guaranteed 99 places for professional fishermen. The fishing boats are located at the western edge of the port, closest to the arched gateway into the old town, and handy for the fresh-fish stands on the quai.
The 16th-century Fort Carré is a massive, star-shaped fortress on a promontory overlooking the Port Vauban. The fort is built on the site of the Chapelle St. Laurent, which sat on the ruins of the Temple of Mercury. You can't visit the fort, but there's a nice walk around it.
Fort Carré history
- 1550: Construction of the Saint-Laurent tower
- 1565-1588: Four defensive walls were added.
- 1592: The Duc d'Eperon occupied the fort, sent there by Henri IV to retake the town that had been invaded the year before by the Duc de Savoie.
- 1746: The fort, occupied by the Austo-Sardes during Austria's war of succession, was besieged for 57 days .
- 1860: The fort lost its strategic role when Nice was attached to France, although it was maintained as a military fort until 1895.
- pre 1914-18: Military caserns were built.
- 1938: Classified as an historical monument.
- 1940-43: It was a transit camp for the concentration camps.
- 1967: The end of the use as a military casern.
- 1997: Purchased by the town of Antibes for use as a sports and youth center.
Napoléon Bonaparte moved to Antibes with his family in 1794, and was responsible for the defense of the coast. When Robespierre fell, Napoléon was imprisoned in the Fort Carré.
Marché Provençal (covered market):
Sept-May: Tue-Sun mornings; June-Aug: all mornings
At the Cours Massena, in front of the Mairie
Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers, along with other regional products
Artisanal - Marché Provençal (covered market):
Foire (clothing market):
Rue Fontvieille, behind the post office
Thursday, Saturday; 8h-19h
Place Jacques Audiberti, between the Porte Marine and the Place Massena
History of Antibes Juan-les-Pins
First record, 5th-c BC Antipolis (possibly meaning "opposite the point of Nice", across the Baie des Anges)
Celto-Ligurian: Antibes goes back about 3000 years, when Ligurian tribes used the little inlet of Saint-Roch as a natural port, protected from the east winds by two large rocks.
Gallo-Roman: A Greek Massaliote colony founded "Antipolis" (Antibes) and "Nikïa" (Nice) while expanding trade from "Massalia" (Marseille). They fortified "Antipolis" against the ancient Ligurians who had earlier been pushed off the coast and into the Alps.
About 154 BC, with the local tribes of Déciates and Oxybiens threatening Antipolis and Nikïa, the city of Marseille called in Roman protection. By the 2nd century, Rome had developed the region as a provence, giving the name Provence that is used today. In 43 BC, Antipolis was annexed by Rome. The town is full of Roman artifacts (walls, aqueducts, amphora, etc.) from the ancient town or the nearby sea bottom, and visible around the town or in the museums; details are available from the Office de Tourisme or the many guidebooks describing Antibes.
Medieval: In 476, when the Roman empire fell, the barbarians invested the region. Vandals, Visigoths, Burgundians, Ostrogoths and Franks all had their turn, with the theme being destruction. Medieval: Antibes was ruled by the Lords of Grasse, and later by the Bishops of Antibes. At the end of the 14th century, Antibes was on the Franco-Savoyard frontier, and in 1383, the Pope of Avignon "gave" Antibes to the Grimaldi family of Cagnes. In 1608, King Henri IV took Antibes into his kingdom.
• GPS: 43.580722, 7.120872
IGN (1/25,000) #3643 ET "Cannes, Grasse, Côte d'Azur"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #26 "Pay d'Azur"
• The Parc de Vaugrenier, 2 km up the coast (towards Nice) from the Port Vauban, has wide, hard-packed running and walking paths in the shade of its trees. There are fields for playing ball and plenty of spots for picnicking.
• The Parc de la Valmasque, about 3 km out to the northwest, past the autoroute, is much larger than the Parc de Vaugrenier. The marked running trails of 3-km and 6-km are narrower and irregular
Fun - Amusement - Kids
Adventure Golf (Mini-golf)
• Location: Parking Marineland
• Tel: 0493 334 949
Antibes Land (beside Marineland)
Little Provencal Farm
• Location: RN 7, Route de Biot, Antibes
• Tel: 0493 334 949
Kart'on - Karting indoor
• Location: ZAC des Trois Moulins; Rue des Lamberts (near the Antibes autoroute exit)
• Open: Mon-Thur 18h-midnight; Fri 18h-02h; Sat 14h-02h; Sun 12h-20h.
• Tel: 0493 748 989; Fax: 04 93 74 66 10
Mini Golf de la Brague
• Location: rte Biot
• Tel: 0493 746 745
Open: Off season: Wed, Sat, Sun; 10-12h45, 13h30-15h
This 16th century fort was opened for guided visits in 1999.
Museum of History and Archeology
Location: At the Bastion St. André, at the south end of the ramparts
Open: Tue-Sun, 10h-12h, 14h-18h
Closed: holidays, Nov
Tel: 0492 905 435
The Bastion (built in 1682 by the engineer Niquet as part of Vauban's fortifications) contains an archeological exhibit from ancient Antipolis
Musée Naval et Napoléon
Location: in the Tour Sella (old Tour du Graillon) on the Cap d'Antibes
Open: Mon-Fri, Sat mornings, 9h30-12h, 14h15-18h15
Closed: holidays, Oct
Tel: 0493 614 532
Peynet, who has lived in Antibes since 1950, drew "The Lovers".
Location: At the Place Nationale (with the tall column, between the post office and the covered market)
Open: Tue-Sun, 10h-12h, 14h-18h
Tel: 0492 905 430
The Picasso museum is in the Chàteau Grimaldi, between the covered market on the Place Massena and the ramparts. Picasso worked here in the chàteau in 1946, and his studio is part of the museum. The collection includes an enormous amount of his work, including Mediterranean marine and mythological life done here, and ceramics done in nearby Vallauris in 1948-49.
Open: 15 June-15 Sept: 10h-18h; 16 Sept-14 June: 10h-12h, 14h-18h
Closed: Monday; holidays; 1 Nov-10 Dec
Entry: about 4 euros
Tel: 0492 905 420; Fax: 0492 90 54 21
INRA Botanical Garden
The botanical garden of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique is a 3.5 hectare park open to the public.
- Location: Cap d'Antibes; 41 boulevard du Cap
- Open: Mon-Fri, 8h00-18h00 summer; 8h30-17h30 winter
- Closed: Holidays, weekends
- Entry: Free for individuals; charge for groups
- Tel: 0493 678 866; Fax: j0493 678 888
- Web: jardin-thuret.antibes.inra.fr/
Transportation Antibes Juan-les-Pins
The international airport of Nice, 22 km to the east, is available by bus.
Antibes is on the main Paris-Lyon-Avignon-Nice-Italy line, with local trains serving most of the coastal towns.
- Bus information is available at the Office de Tourisme, at La Rotonde (Place du Générale de Gaulle), where most of the buses stop.
Nice-Antibes-Aix. The Cars Phocéens bus company provides bus service between Nice and Aix-en-Provence. There are three buses a day; two go via the Route Nationale and stop at Antibes; the other is an express that goes via the autoroute.
Bus Line 200 Nice - Cannes Local
- Bus line 200 is a local bus (many stops) between Cannes and Nice. In Cannes, the 200 stops at the bus stop in the street in front of the railway station, at the far left (west) end (not at the bus area to the right (east) of the station).
There can be many local stops along the way, including near Cap3000, Saint Laurent-du-Var, Cros-de-Cagnes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Villeneuve-Loubet, the Biot railway station, Antibes, Vallauris and Golfe-Juan.
The full trip takes 1h30 and costs 1 euro.
An official list of Alpes-Maritimes bus lines, with links to the schedules for each line (PDF), is available on the following link:
- Web: www.cg06.fr/fr/servir-les-habitants/deplacements/transport-collectifs/lignes-et-horaires/lignes-et-horaires/