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Provençal Occitan: "Antíbol" in classical norm or "Antibo" in Mistralian norm) is a resort town in the Alpes-Maritimesdepartment in southeastern France, on the Mediterranean Seain the Côte d'Azur, located between Cannesand Nice. Integrated to Antibes Juan-les-Pins, the technological park of Sophia-Antipolis is located north east of the city.
Antibes is a busy town that is a favourite with holiday makers. There is much beauty to be seen in the old town with its fortifications along the coast, tiny lanes lined with lovely shops selling all sorts of curios, sidewalk cafes and restaurants. Today Antibes is affectionately called Antibes-Juan-les-Pins. The
Juan-les-Pinspart is the area that many tourists flock to as this is where the beaches and the nightlife can be found.
The tiny Mediterranean town of Antibes has a long and interesting history which stretches back thousands of years. Due to its naturally protected port, the town has long been used as an important trading centre. Many different groups of people ruled over Antibes, until France finally took control. Antibes owes its modern-day popularity to its wonderful climate and scenery, which attracts thousands of tourists each year. The town has retained much of its ancient charm, which makes it one of the more special towns along the famous French Riviera.
As the Greek Empire fell into decline, the Romans stepped in to take control of the Mediterranean region. By the 2nd century BC, Rome had developed the southern region of France into one of its provinces and began incorporating the small towns into its empire.
In 43 BC, Antibes (or Antipolis, as it was then called) was officially annexed by Rome and remained so for the next 500 years. The Romans turned Antipolis into the biggest town in the region and a main entry point into Gaul. Roman artefacts such as aqueducts, fortified walls and amphora can still be seen today.
When the Roman Empire fell apart in 476, various barbarian tribes took their turn at Antibes. The main result was destruction and a long period of instability. In the 10th century, Antibes found a protector in Seigneur Rodoart, who built extensive fortified walls around the town and a castle in which to live. For the next 200 years, the town experienced a period of renewal.
Antibes’ prosperity was short-lived, as the whole region fell into disarray for several centuries. The inhabitants of Antibes stayed behind their strong city walls as a succession of wars and epidemics ravaged the countryside. By the end of the 15th century, the entire region had fallen under the protection and control of Louis XI, the king of France. Things returned to a state of relative stability, but the small port of Antibes fell into obscurity.
The area around Antibes finally emerged from its long slumber around the middle of the 19th century, as wealthy people from around Europe discovered the beauty of the place and built luxurious homes here. In 1880, the neighbouring town of Juan les Pins was restored by the Duke of Albany, son of Queen Victoria, and brought into fashion as a destination for the wealthy and elite.
In 1926, the old castle of Antibes was bought by the local municipality and restored to its original condition for use as a museum.
Pablo Picassocame to town in 1946 and was invited to stay in the castle. He stayed for six months, painting and drawing many pieces of art as well as crafting ceramics and tapestries. When he departed, he left all his works here, and the castle officially became the Picasso Museum.
Antibes Juan-les-Pins is a town where sport is quite important. There are more than 27,000 enrolled sportsmen and women with permits in the 100 clubs and sporting facilities, as well as high-ranking sportsmen and women from French teams and the National Training Centre for basketball. Antibes Juan-les-Pins also closely guards its environment and the quality of life of its residents. On
25 May 1999, the town was the first in the department to sign the State Charter of the Environment, planning numerous projects to conserve the environment and respect the quality of life. Antibes Juan-les-Pins is optimistic about the future with a population comprising 25% of inhabitants under 25 years of age. The town continues to harmoniously develop in the areas of sport, economy and culture, respecting the environment and the well-being of residents.
Antibes enjoys a classic Mediterranean climate, which means long warm summers, plenty of sunshine and relatively mild winters. The French Riviera remains one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, so summers here are guaranteed to be overcrowded and expensive.
July and August are the hottest and busiest months of the year in Antibes. Although the beaches get crowded, it is certainly the best time of the year there. There are always lots of things going on and, although some might be expensive, it is all fabulous. Also, the Super Marche on Albert 1er sells cheap booze when you can't afford the bars by the port anymore. Also, it's hot so stay by the beach during the day.
After All Saints Day (1 November), the whole Riviera begins to wind down for the winter. Many of the main resorts and lots of the restaurants, bars and shops will be closed until Easter. However, there are still plenty of places that stay open and the weather is delightfully cool and sunny
There are 48 beaches along the 25km of coastline that surround Antibes and Juan les Pins. Each one has its own unique character and atmosphere. There are small family beaches where children can play, sporting beaches with all the popular water activities on offer and long beaches with fine golden sand, which are perfect for sunbathing. Most of the good beaches are private, but you are welcome to stay here if you rent a mattress for the day. The private beaches usually have restaurants on-site which serve up delicious fresh seafood. The main public beach is La Salis, on the edge of the Cap d’Antibes. Public beaches are very crowded during the summer months, so it's a worthwhile investment to pick a nice private beach and rent a mattress for the day.
This museum sits atop the Promenade Amiral de Grasse in the old Bastion St Andre, a 17th century fortress. The museum's collection focuses on the classical history of Antibes. Many artefacts, sculptures and amphorae found in local digs and shipwrecks from the harbour are displayed here. The views of the sea and mountains from the promenade are also spectacular
*Naval Museum of NapoleonHoused in a 17th century stone fort and tower, this museum presents an interesting collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, paintings and naval models. Several wall paintings show historic moments in Napoleon's reign and there are also pieces of his clothing such as one of the hats he once wore. The view from the tower alone is worth the admission price
Chateau Grimaldi was once the home of the princes of Antibes when they ruled from 1385 to 1608. Today, this lovely castle houses one of the world's greatest Picasso collections. The great artist spent half of 1946 living and painting in the castle. When he departed, he gave the museum all the work he created while in residence: 24 paintings, 44 drawings, 32 lithographs, 11 oils on paper, 80 pieces of ceramics, 2 sculptures and 5 tapestries. It is truly a diverse and fascinating collection showing the many sides of Picasso's art
*La Tour MuseumThis small museum in the centre of town brings the contemporary history of Antibes to life through its exhibit of costumes, tools, photographs and other objects used by the local people. The museum presents important moments in the daily life of its people, beginning from the 20th century
Parks and Gardens
*The Exflora ParkThe Exflora Park is a five hectare garden open to the public. Next to the large olive grove, there are different styles of mediterranean gardens, from ancient
Rometo the exuberant Riviera of the 19th century.The main terrace is at the entrance to the park in the style of the Italian renaissance and from where visitors can view the entire garden. Fountains and ponds stretch along the terrace, making a waterway 500 m long.Antibes is renowned for rose production, and recognising this, rose bushes line the path leading to the sea.The luxuriance of the exotic garden and palm grove is reminiscent of the belle époque, when English gardeners succeeded in planting flowers that bloom in winter, the season when the aristocracy visited the Cote d'Azur.A liitle further on is the theatre de verdure, inspired by Italian gardens, and a panoramic viewpoint with a glorious view of the sea and the Iles des Lerins.
In the style of Provencal gardens of the 18th century, there is a maze with sculpted hedges where you can amuse yourself for a while, wandering at will.Further on, Islamic gardens are featured, with an orange grove where the ground is patterned with terracotta irrigation pipes similar to those in the celebrated
Seville Cathedralin Spain.
The vegetable gardens and orchards in the Arsat are planted in hollows as in
Morocco, to protect them from the sun and maximise shadow and humidity. There is a representation of a Moroccan house with a square courtyard and pond within, with plants and ornamental pots. The kiosk, with its attractive blue varnished roof pays hommage to the painter MAJORELLE, creator of the beautiful blue garden in Marrakesh. This completes this part of the park.
In another area, the winter garden contains plants that flower in winter, such as mimosa and camellias, but naturally can only be seen at that time.
*The Eilenroc GardensVilla Eilenroc was built on a rock in the middle of a virtual desert. The area was transformed into a glorious garden through the patience and talent of
Jacques Greber, landscape architect and consultant to the Great Exhibition in New Yorkin 1939. He was commissioned by Mr Beaumont to create this luxuriant park of 11 hectares. The gardens with all their luxuriant vegetation lie thirty metres above the sea with a view across the bay of the Cap. Planted with traditional mediterranean species such as marine and parasol pines, Alep and Canary pines, Cyprus, oaks, olive trees, arbutus, lavender, thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus, ficus, etc., as well as three km of pittosporum hedges, a whole part of the park has been created with plants found in the Antibes area in 1920.
*Thuret ParkIn 1857, Gustave Thuret discovered the wonderful, unspoilt Cap d'Antibes and bought five hectares of land where he built a villa and began the creation of a glorious park. Bequeathed to the state by his heirs, the
Jardin botanique de la Villa Thuretis now managed by the INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research). The superb collection of trees and exotic plants, and the rich earth, provide many opportunities for learning, and the cross-fertilisation of plant species that grow on the mediterranean coast.
The old lighthouse of Antibes provides one of the best views in the region from its lofty hilltop. To get here, you must walk about one kilometre up the Chemin de Calvaire from the Plage de la Salis. It makes for a nice half-day stroll.
Church of the Immaculate Conception
The central church in Antibes was first built in the 11th century with stones used from earlier Roman structures. Its current façade was constructed in the 18th century and is a wonderful blend of Latin classical symmetry and religious fantasy. The interior houses some impressive pieces such as its Baroque altarpiece and life-sized wooden carving of Christ's death from 1447.
Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc
This villa, set in "a gorgeous forest" at the tip of the Cap d'Antibes peninsula, re-creates a nineteenth-century château. Since 1870 the glamorous white-walled
Hotel du Capon the French Riviera has been one of the most storied and luxurious resorts in the world. Guests who flocked there included Marlene Dietrich, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Winston Churchill. Elizabeth Taylorand Richard Burtonconducted an affair and honeymooned there. It is yet to be seen whether it will be open to the public yet.
There are many yachting harbours for keen sailors.
-Port Vauban: The largest yachting harbour in Europe, with more than 2,000 moorings, can accommodate craft of more than 50 metres.This old port was the heart of the ancient Greek city of Antipolis and has a long and colourful history which includes Ligurians, Romans and Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. Today, it is the largest marina in Europe and is full of life. Local fishing boats are moored next to luxury yachts and the docks are lined with fresh fish stands. It's a great place to spend an afternoon watching the fishermen go about their daily lives.
*Port Galice: 542 moorings
*Port de la Salis: 233 moorings
*Port du Crouton: 390 moorings
*Port de l'Olivette: Situated in the sheltered cove of the same name, this is a harbour for sailors and their wooden fishing boats who enjoy the old marine, provencal traditions.
Across the Bay of Angels from Nice lies the old port town of Antibes, which is one of the most distinctive places along the Côte d’Azur. Much of its charm lies in its little harbour, which is filled with fishing boats and pleasure yachts, and the old town, with its quaint buildings and marketplaces full of flowers. Unlike some of the bigger towns along the coast, Antibes has retained much of its original lifestyle as a fishing village. It is quiet and peaceful, and full of Mediterranean ambiance set against a backdrop of Roman artefacts. Yet just next door, in stark contrast, lies the ultra-rich enclave of Cap d’Antibes and the nightlife of Juan les Pins
Theatre and music
If you are looking for high-class cultural theatre, you won’t be disappointed. The Theatre Antibea, Theatre des Heures Bleues and Café Theatre La Scene sur Mer all offer a variety of performances from orchestra music to dramatic plays. During the summer, the schedule is busy, but once the off-season sets in, things quiet down a lot.
Music of all types, from live jazz to DJs spinning techno, can be found in the bars and nightclubs around Antibes. There are also a number of festivals and special outdoor concerts during the summer which attract some of the biggest names in music. Jazz is still the specialty around here, and the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival is one of the best in the world.
The cuisine along the coast tends to follow standard French fare, with local specialties focusing on the amazingly fresh seafood and produce from nearby Provence. In general, the restaurants in Antibes stick to traditional dishes; however, there are a few inventive places that have interesting fusion cuisine. Though there's no particular dish which this town is famous for, you can bet that any seafood dish you order will be fresh and well prepared. Niçoise salad and simple fish soup are two popular dishes you will find almost everywhere.
Somehow the small port town of Antibes has managed to maintain its historic character and local personality while accommodating hordes of tourists in search of fun after the sun goes down. Antibes is a bit quieter than Juan les Pins, but it still has a decent number of pubs, piano bars and even a couple of nightclubs. Piano bars seem to be the most popular type of hangout, followed by the Colonial Pub, a favorite of British expats and tourists alike.
*Juan les PinsThis is the hub of nightlife in the Antibes area. The most fashionable nightclubs are here and open late to cater to the partying crowd.
Antibes and Juan les Pins host a number of interesting festivals, mainly during the summer months. There's not much in the way of traditional cultural festivals in Antibes; most of the festivals focus on music and contemporary activities.
*Jazz à Juan remains one of the top jazz festivals in the world. Since its inception in 1960, it has attracted the greatest legends of jazz each year to play outdoors in this beautiful setting (July).
*The Antique Show of Antibes attracts thousands of treasure seekers for two weeks in April. It's one of the largest shows of its kind in France (April).
*Voiles d’Antibes is one of the world's biggest gatherings of beautiful old teak and brass sailing vessels. They converge on the port for one of the most regal regattas in the Mediterranean (June).
*The Festival of Saint Peter is the annual celebration of this patron saint of fishermen. A colourful procession through the town is followed by all the local fishermen adorning their boats and floating along the coast (June).
*The Festival of Sacred Music takes place in Antibes Cathedral, which has renowned acoustics. Sacred music is the theme of this popular festival, which attracts huge crowds each year (January).
There are several ways to get from the airport at Nice to Antibes. Trains depart from the Gare St Augustin, which is just 500 metres from Terminal 1, and travel directly to Antibes every 30 minutes. Buses go directly from Terminal 1 to Nice's central bus station every 12 minutes. From here, you can catch a bus to Antibes.
Private shuttle bus services also operate from the airport directly to the town centre in Antibes. Check with the airport information desk for help. Taxis are available 24 hours from outside the Arrivals Hall of both terminals. Some of the nicer hotels in Antibes have their own shuttle pick up service and it is worth checking with your hotel to see if they offer this service when you book your room. To drive from the airport, you can simply take the autoroute A8 or one of the smaller roads, including the RN98 or RN7, which lead straight to Antibes.
Stade du Fort Carré
* [http://dancettejerome.zenfolio.com/p325472912/ Fine art pictures of Antibes, France]
* [http://www.edenroc-hotel.fr/ Official website of the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc]
* [http://www.antibes-juanlespins.com/ Antibes official website]
* [http://www.antibes-photos.com/ Antibes pictures website]
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