I’ve been coming to this part of the world for more than 10 years now but it has always had a certain fascination which goes much further back – to the school summer holidays of 1965, in fact, when the death of the author, W.Somerset Maugham, launched me into a discovery of his works. His timeless short story “Three Fat Women of Antibes” with its typical Maugham twist at the end ensured Antibes would remain forever in my memory.
However, it was to be many years before I finally got to visit. Now, thanks to eldest daughter who worked as a “yachtie” and eventually decided to make it her home, Antibes is a regular travel destination.
The magnificent scenery, coastal walks, architecture, markets, food and the wine see us return year after year never losing our enthusiasm for the place.
Its long and fascinating history of invasions dating from the fourth century B.C. is well documented on various websites and many ancient structures still remain from its past giving it a unique character. For the visitor, it is well serviced by Nice airport and the rapid TGV train from Paris, making it a good base from which to explore the rest of France and Europe if by some chance one feels like a change of scenery. Mostly, I prefer to stay put.
A typical holiday usually starts with booking accommodation through vrbo or holiday-rentals. Once installed in an apartment, further travel consists mainly of local buses, envibus.fr or the Nice-Cannes 200 bus, both of which are incredibly cheap. For small tour groups, I would recommend tuktukAzur which specializes in open electric tuk tuks as a fun way to see the sights – your own chauffeur is at your command! De rigueur is at least one TGV trip usually
to Paris, Reims, or Bordeaux and another super trip is just to sit on the regional train and enjoy the trip along the coast from Antibes to Monaco. This latter trip will introduce you to all the beautiful coastal towns such as Villefranche-sur-Mer, Eze, Nice, Cap d’Ail, Cap Ferrât, Beaulieu-sur-Mer whetting the appetite for future visits depending on one’s interests. Be warned though, the trains are often on strike, en grève, in France. At least that is my experience so always have a plan B. The bus between Cannes and Nice is also a handy introduction to all the sights and a cheap alternative should the trains be en grève. Just look out the window and notice the signposts i.e. Renoir’s house in Cagnes-sur-Mer, Maeght Gallery, St. Paul de Vence and so on. It’s a journey of discovery and introduction for what you may wish to do next. Don’t, however, travel on this bus on weekends and try to avoid peak hour. It is just too crowded.
Our ideal holiday these days, however, is to walk out daily from our Antibes apartment to the Cap (d’Antibes), swim at say Plage de la Garoupe, lunch at one of the cafés or restaurants at the beach and stroll back to town ready to open yet another wonderful bottle of Bordeaux purchased on ebay.fr.
The photographs were mostly taken on our walks between Antibes and the Cap d’Antibes in September, 2012.