Antibes or Juan Les Pins – they are virtually inseparable – nestle snugly between Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera, with more than 23km of coastline that overlooks the Mediterranean.
Only 15 minutes from Nice airport, Antibes is a well-charted boating destination. One of the biggest attractions of the area, especially for yachting, is the weather. Even into the winter months you can expect balmy temperatures, calm seas and sheltered anchorages that are just perfect for watersports.
Antibes itself was an inspiration for many artists; Monet, Cross, Boudin, and Picasso. It’s easy to see why. Its stone ramparts and mediaeval towers stand proud against the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean, and the winding streets of the old town (Vieil Antibes) offer a glimpse into its mediaeval past.
Contrast this with fashionable Juan Les Pins. Built around its world famous Casino, the resort once played host to the American jet set, which counted Scott Fitzgerald, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, John Dos Passos and Picasso amongst its visitors. Cap d’Antibes and Juan Les Pins are said to have inspired Francis-Scott Fitzgerald’s best known novel, “Tender is the Night”. Since then its popularity has never faded, and it is now one of the most sought after resorts in Europe.
To discover the old Antibes, visit the narrow cobbled streets of the Cours Massena. From 6am to 1pm every day you’ll find a typical Provencal market selling local produce – olives, cheese, fresh fruit, tapenades, and sausages, amongst a myriad of street cafes and restaurants. And after soaking up the atmosphere of the ancient town you can take a slow stroll along the old ramparts and enjoy the stunning sea views.
A visit to Antibes would not be complete without seeing something of the artist who took inspiration from the area. The Picasso museum is set in the mediaeval Chateau Grimaldi. The Chateau was used by Picasso at the very height of his creativity, and now displays a vast collection of some 245 of his works, as well as those of Miro, Calder and Leger.
BEACHES AND COASTLINE
Both Cap d’Antibes and Juan-les-Pins are renowned for their beaches. There are 13 public beaches in all – from smaller hidden beaches to larger stretches, boasting smart waterfront restaurants, cafe bars and parasol rental. If you are looking for quiet seclusion, you can always anchor offshore and take the tender to enjoy lunch at the famous Eden Rock restaurant, or perhaps the beautiful Keller Plage restaurant in the bay of Cap d’Antibes, with its private beach and stunning seafood.
Many yacht charterers start their voyages from Europe’s largest marina, Port Vauban. It is home to a vast collection of luxury yachts and superyachts. The marina itself offers 1642 berths, including 19 berths for superyachts from 70 to 179m, and includes a helipad on site. With the dramatic Alps as its backdrop, and the mediaeval towers of Fort Carre, there can be few marinas which offer such a dramatic spot to anchor.