Hello all. It’s been a bit of time since my last blog so, erm, sorry about that! Happy New Year and Bonne Année to you all. Snow was reported in Nice this morning, but that hasn’t stopped the sun from shining on the Côte d’Azur!
My most recent Provençal undertaking has been to travel to the idyllic town of Antibes, located approximately 20km west of Nice. The place is littered with history and sensational views, which are arguably at their finest in the winter, when the snow-capped mountains provide a magnificent backdrop to an already stunning coastline.
I jumped on a late morning train from Nice Ville station (make sure you get on a TER local train, and not a TGV/Intercités, unless you want to pay more and have a slightly shorter journey) with the intention of using as few clichés as possible about how amazing Antibes was going to be. The only lowlight of the journey was having to look at that horrible Marina Baie des Anges building again. I had to shut my eyes and pretend it didn’t exist. I often do the same with Justin Bieber too. Antibes station is located a 10 minute walk from the old town, and the walk follows a palm tree lined road passing billionaires’ yachts. Not bad, eh?
Once you reach the Old Town, be sure to first have a look around the covered market, which displays plenty of fine Provençal produce. I’ve been reliably informed that the market is open every morning except Mondays in winter, but sadly I arrived a few minutes on the wrong side of midday. One of the most popular attractions in the town is Picasso Museum.
I remember doing my own version of the “Weeping Woman” at school, but sadly my knowledge and interest in art is limited, so I can’t really pretend to you all that I’m an expert! However, it is clear that this museum is a must see for art enthusiasts. The brightness and vibrancy of the natural surroundings has led to many other highly established artists becoming attracted the region, including Claude Monet and Nicolas de Staël to name just a few. Even the most cynical anti-acryllic, negative neoclassicist (is that even a word? I’m struggling to think of other art related terms beginning with N) would not resist the temptation to pick up a paintbrush and have a go at recreating this joyous landscape.
For the best views, either head out onto Quai Henri Rambaud, or if you want Antibes itself in the shot, then head south along the Promenade Amiral de Grasse and stop wherever feels good. Back in the centre of town, don’t forget to have a petit café au lait in one of the numerous cafes. The general rule of thumb is that the further away from the port you drink, the cheaper it will be. La Place Nationale is probably a good place to start, but it won’t take you long.
Le Fort Carré is an eyecatching attraction located north of Antibes harbour. You simply can’t fail to notice it perched on the Saint-Roch peninsula during the walk from the railway station into the centre of town. It was originally designed as a defence mechanism for Antibes, which for many years was once the last port before the border…
Antibes has that genuine feel of being a popular and happening place, but at the same time, does not feel too touristy. It’s definitely worth a visit due to its proximity to Nice, and if you are an art lover then, well, put it this away….YOU. MUST. GO!!!!!!