Antibes on the Cote d'Azur in the South of France

Guide to the delightful south of France resort of Antibes

France, Alpes Maritimes, Antibes, the old town and the port (aerial view)
••• Camille Moirence / Getty Images

The town of Antibes is a perfect, picture-postcard seaside resort hugging the shores of the Mediterranean between Nice and Cannes.

Today it’s famous as one of the Mediterranean’s premier luxury harbors, 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.

16th-century ramparts cluster around the old town of narrow cobbled streets, the flower and vegetable market and the old port. Antibes grew from the ancient Greek trading port of Antipolis, was heavily fortified by Vauban in the 17th century and in the 20th century became the favorite town for the likes of Picasso, Nicolas de Staël and Max Ernst and the novelist, Graham Greene.

Antibes-Juan-les-Pins Quick Facts

  • 80,000 inhabitants
  • Second largest town on the Côte d’Azur
  • Located between Nice and Cannes

Getting there

You can fly into Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport on direct flights from the USA. The airport has two modern terminals and is located 4 miles south-west of Nice and around 10 miles north east of Juan-les-Pins.

With over 10 million passengers per year, Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport is a busy facility, currently servicing almost 100 international destinations. Or arrive by train from other European and French cities -- by far the best way to see the countryside.

The airport is well connected to both Nice and Antibes-Juan-les-Pins with buses, a railway station (take the bus to the station) and taxis.

Getting Around

The best way to get around is to walk.

You can stroll down the tiny cobbled, often pedestrianised streets and all the attractions are in the historic center. There are buses, but these are mainly used to get to other towns and villages rather than as transport within Antibes. However if you do travel outside, remember that it costs just 2 euros for a single ticket anywhere within PACA (Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur)

Antibes & Cap d'Antibes -- Where to Stay

There’s plenty of accommodation in all ranges in greater Antibes, which includes the resort of Juan-les-Pins. Top of the range includes the gracious, hidden Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc which stands on a promontory high above the sea and offers every kind of luxury. For something more intimate but as exclusive in a different way, try the delightful bed and breakfast offered at La Bastide du Bosquet, an 18th-century, pastel-colored house beautifully restored.

Where to Eat

The little restaurants in the narrow, cobbled streets of old Antibes offer classic bistro fare. You can take pot luck and on the whole you'll be quite happy. But if you’re after a gourmet experience, you’ll need to book somewhere in advance.

Since 1948, the family-run Bacon has been the place to go for a relaxed atmosphere and a great seafood experience. Les Vieux Murs offers fine dining on the ramparts of Antibes and is a good bet after a visit to the Picasso Museum in the Château Grimaldi. Grab a table at La Croustille (4 cours Massena, tel.: 00 33 (04) 93 34 84 83) and order a crepe while you look out onto the covered market that fills daily with small stalls selling a cornucopia of vegetables, fruit, cheeses, olive oils and sausages. Or take a trip to the small and very local beach of La Garoupe for Le Rocher. Here you can sit by the water, looking at the villa opposite that once belonged to French heart throb Alain Delon and have a very good meal (for lunch the omelettes are excellent).

What to See and Do

Antibes – or the part that visitors see – may be small, but it’s packed with shops, little bistros and restaurants and some good museums.

And don’t forget the camera – Antibes is one of the most photogenic towns on the Mediterranean.

For details of what to do in Antibes, check out my guide:

The great American author, F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed in neighbouring Juan-les-Pins. Juan has one of the best jazz festivals in France; certainly it's a pretty stunning location beside the sea.