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Tourist Places To Visit In Antibes
Spread over an area of just 27 sq. km., Antibes is a little town located in southeast France nestled between the cities of Nice and Cannes. Established as a Greek colony in the 4th-century, Antibes served as mostly a trading port and was known as Antipolis back then. Port Vauban of Antibes is the largest marina in the Mediterranean Sea and attracts yachts and ships of all luxurious kinds. The maze-like charm of the old town, the numerous parks and gardens, and significant museums spread all over town make Antibes just as fascinating a tourist spot as any other on the French Riviera. A bustling performing arts scene and various music festivals through the year add extra oomph to the peaceful ambience of Antibes. To know more about the top places to visit in Antibes, here is a list of our recommendations.
The Picasso Museum is located in the Chateau Grimaldi, an impressive stone castle that dates back to the time of the original Greek settlement. It was held by the Genoese Grimaldi family until the 1600s before being taken over by the French Crown. The building has always been a significant piece of Antibes’ heritage and became even more historically important after Picasso stayed here in the year 1946. He used the castle as a temporary studio and completed several artworks during his 6-month stay here. He donated several of his works to the castle, and more were donated by his wife after his death. Today, the castle consists of 245 paintings, drawings and ceramics created by Picasso.
There are also sculptures here that were created by the likes of Joan Miro, Bernard Pages and Germaine Richier. The castle was officially inaugurated as the Picasso Museum in the year 1966 and contains the work of other contemporary artists from the 20th and 21st-century as well.
Vieil Antibes (Old Town)
Antibes’ old town is located within the Bay of Angels surrounded by the sturdy medieval city walls and is crisscrossed by narrow streets and cobblestone pathways, which makes for an inviting place to explore at a leisurely pace. The old town is packed with some of the best restaurants in the region, little boutiques and stores, and the local street markets where you’ll find vendors selling amazing local produce like fruits, vegetables, flowers and artisanal Provencal items. The charming ambience of the old town is also a great place to simply relax in a cosy café and take pictures of the splendid ancient buildings.
The Peynet Museum is dedicated to the 20th-century cartoonist Raymond Peynet who decided to settle down in Antibes in 1976. He set up the museum himself sometime in the 80s, which now holds thousands of his illustrations that span his 50-year career. Visitors will be able to admire satirical drawings, quirky sculptures, and even jewellery that he created within the museum. Full-sized figures of the ‘Les Amoureux’ characters he designed for the window display of the Lafayette Gallery in Paris can also be seen here. There are also regular temporary exhibitions held here showcasing works of other cartoonists.
The Archaeology Museum is located in the Saint-Andre Bastion that was designed by Vauban in the 17th-century. While the size of the bastion is not much, the museum is packed with an amazing collection of archaeological findings that have been excavated from around the city and the surrounding waters. A lot of the items showcased here even date back to the Roman times, with several items that were found in Greek, Roman and Phoenician shipwrecks that were stranded here. The items on display include mosaics, coins, ceramics and other everyday objects that depict Antibes’ Greek and Roman history.
In the location along the coast where once stood a temple, followed by a chapel in the Roman times and then a tower that was destroyed in the 17th-century, the Bastion Shipyard was built and eventually shut down in 1985. This spot is now occupied by an eight-metre high sculpture designed by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa in 2007; the sculpture is that of a man sitting and looking out to sea.
On a closer look, visitors can observe that the sculpture is constructed with a large number of jumbled alphabets that are made of aluminium. The artist has tried to emulate the constructive potential that is inherent in letters and has depicted the ideology through his sculpture. Being open on one side, visitors can walk inside the sculpture as well. The masterpiece is illuminated after sunset and this is one of the best times to check it out.
Built upon Roman ruins in the middle of the 16th-century, Fort Carré stands on the peninsula of Saint-Roch around 26 metres above sea level and is surrounded by immense scenic beauty. The fort was enlarged by Vauban in the 17th-century, who also made some changes to the structure of the fortress by replacing its stones with bricks. The building has also served as a sentry post and a defensive site for the town of Antibes against Nice in the 19th-century; this was when Nice was still under Italian rule. In 1998, Fort Carré was officially opened to visitors and it has now become one of the best tourist spots in Antibes. The top of the fort offers 360⁰ views of the surrounding panoramas, with a beautiful waterfront and natural scenic beauty.
Villa Thuret Botanic Gardens
The grand five-hectare Thuret Garden was established by the botanist Gustave Thuret in the year 1856. The park contains a diverse range of flora that is just as appealing to researchers and academicians as it is to tourists. Visitors will find indigenous plants from Europe and thousands of exotic plants brought in from New Zealand, Africa and other countries from around the world that tend to thrive in the climatic conditions of Antibes. If you happen to be a nature-lover and a plant enthusiast, this garden is a must-visit.
Cap d’Antibes is a narrow piece of land that runs between Antibes and the neighbouring town Juan-les-Pins. The area offers a multitude of sights and breathtaking views of the surrounding villas, gardens and the vast seascape. It is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon in; if you’re interested in spending a little more time here, there are several seaside hotels and beach resorts in both Cap d’Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. There are public as well as private beaches here, some with shower and restroom facilities along with snack bars and parasols.