Antibes is found 30 minutes southwest of Nice along the Côte d’Azur, also known as the French Riviera. With a beautiful vieille ville (old city), sandy beaches, renowned coastal walk, bustling daily market, thriving cafe scene, and easy access to the surrounding region, Antibes is worth a spot on any south of France itinerary.
While planning for our trip to France this spring, Dan and I weren’t sure where we wanted to base ourselves. We were flying into Nice and the options seemed endless, between coastal beach towns and inland hilltop villages. We would usually move around a lot on a big trip, but since this was our first time traveling with our nine-month-old, Margot, we wanted to stay in one place and keep things as relaxed as possible. In the end we landed on Antibes, thanks to the location of our favorite lodging option paired with some inspiration from Ruth at Rome by the Hour. We quickly fell in love with the city and if you find yourself there, I think you will too!
Keep reading for a beginner’s guide to Antibes, France.
Antibes is situated around the Cap d’Antibes peninsula, with the old city located in the northeast corner and the neighborhood of Juan-les-Pins in the northwest. Much of the peninsula between the two is forested, home to extravagant villas and the city’s celebrated Sentier du Littoral, or coastal walk, leading along the gorgeous rocky shoreline between Plage de la Garoupe and the Baie des Milliardaires (Bay of Billionaires, *lol*).
Antibes has been enchanting visitors and inspiring artists for centuries, more recently becoming a favorite of Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (to name a few).
Here’s an overview of how we spent ten days in Antibes, from what we ate and drank to where we loved to people watch and the gelato I’m still thinking about.
Sentier du Littoral
One of our first activities in Antibes was the city’s much-loved coastal walk. It took us longer than we expected to complete – somewhere around two hours – and we were so relieved Margot was as content as she was, even sleeping for some of it.
Coastal Walk Tips:
- Walking from the old city to the trailhead is doable, but will take about an hour.
- If you’re driving to the trailhead, use “Parking Plage de la Garoupe” in Google Maps to navigate to the parking lot along Avenue André Sella.
- After parking, walk back toward the water and head to the right to find the trailhead.
- We were tempted to put Margot in her stroller but we were relieved that we opted for her carrier instead – while the very beginning of this trail is stroller-friendly, most of it is not.
- Wear sneakers – the path is largely flat but is very uneven and rocky in places.
- The trail also goes by the name of Tire-Poil (hair pull) because of the intense wind that sometimes occurs along the coast, and it is sometimes closed for this reason.
- The path leads you along the coast all the way to the Bay of Billionaires. At this point you cut inland and walk through residential streets to return to the parking lot, unless you’d like to double back along the water.
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For another Cap d’Antibes coastal walk option, start at Plage des Ondes and continue south past Plage du Mallet, Port of Olivette, and Plage Pointe Ouest. Then head slightly inland to visit the famous Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and, if you feel like going further, continue down the Chemin de la Mosquée to explore more of the peninsula.
You can also drive or walk up to the Phare de la Garoupe (Garoupe Lighthouse) and enjoy coastal views all the way to Italy toward the east and Cannes toward the west. In Google Maps use “Parking de la Garoupe” if you are driving, and head to “Point de vue de la Chapelle” for the viewpoint. The lighthouse is now closed to the public so you’ll only be able to see the outside, which doesn’t affect the viewpoint but is good to know in advance so you aren’t disappointed when you can’t climb it.
Back to the top of the peninsula: our rental apartment was located on the edge of the vieille ville, which was perfect for exploring its narrow, picturesque streets and doing a lot of cafe hopping. Here’s a rundown of some of the places that became our go-to spots.
- Place Nationale was our favorite – such a laid-back energy with people walking through on their way to the market, couples enjoying a drink at one of the many restaurants, kids running around, and beautiful buildings on all four sides
- Just steps away is the Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, with more cafes and restaurants, shops, a playground, a carousel, a grocery store, and a memorial garden
- Continuing west on the Rue de la République you’ll find Place du Général de Gaulle, which became a hot spot for me after losing our luggage meant several trips to Monoprix (twist my arm)
- Heading south from Place du Général du Gaulle along the Boulevard Albert 1er leads you right to Square Albert 1er, a green space with palm trees and fountains overlooking the sea
It was such a learning experience traveling with a baby for the first time, in even more ways than we realized. Margot’s still taking two naps a day, and while we were willing to deviate from that here and there, we didn’t want to totally throw her routine out the window while we were gone. So while we tried to do as much as we could all together, we often took turns going out for walks while Margot napped. (And more often than not Dan let me go because he’s a saint.)
I loved taking my book and market tote, wandering around the city, and choosing somewhere to enjoy a delicious coffee and people watch. There were many more other than the ones listed here, but these were my favorites that I returned to multiple times.
- NOMADs Coffee | 3 Rue Sade
- Merry Mary | 8 Rue du Docteur Rostan
- La Torref de Fersen | 10 Rue Lacan
I also loved Emilie & the Cool Kids at 16 Rue Aubernon, but I just stopped there for a lemonade on our last day. Another honorable mention goes to Café Marius at 14 Place Nationale – especially picturesque with a handful of outdoor tables overlooking our favorite square.
Food and Restaurants
For the same reason I was just mentioning above, this was definitely not our most restaurant-focused trip. For breakfast we usually had yogurt and pastries (more on them in a second). For lunch we’d often make a jambon-beurre – a baguette sandwich with ham and butter – and pair it with fruit from the market. And for dinner we usually enjoyed takeout in our apartment after putting Margot to bed. That said, we were in France, so even simple picnics were on another level and felt like a rare treat.
One of the best parts of being in one place for our entire 10-day trip was having the time to find favorite spots and then actually have the opportunity to visit them more than once. It felt really special to form a few daily routines in our home away from home.
- La Boulangerie des Gourmets at 8 Rue Sade quickly became our go-to for bread and pastries. Their baguettes and croissants are so. good. and they had dozens of other treats like éclairs and chaussons aux pommes (apple turnovers).
- Around the corner at 31 Cours Masséna, Aux Amoureux des Pains is another delicious bakery. Hearing it was a local specialty, I ordered a slice of pissaladière without knowing what it was. It turns out it’s a flatbread topped with onions, black olives, and anchovies (eek) – definitely not my thing, but I was proud of myself for giving it a try. (Cue Dan laughing as I asked, “does this taste like there’s fish in it?”)
- Whether we were sticking around Antibes or heading out of town on a day trip, we stocked up at the Marché Provençal on Cours Masséna almost every day. Browse fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, spices, flowers and more. In the summer it’s open every morning until around 1 pm and from September to May it’s open every day except Monday.
- Having lunch together at Les Filles du Micocoulier at 4 Cours Masséna was one of our rare meals out on this trip and we loved it. The chèvre chaud salad (hot goat cheese) was so delicious and I loved our bowls of cider. Nothing says “France” to me like drinking out of bowls! Margot sat by us in her stroller and people watched with the best of them while we ate.
- Terroir & Tradition at 12 Rue Georges Clemenceau is a perfect grab-and-go crêpe stand to refuel mid-sightseeing.
- I still daydream about the speculoos gelato from Gelateria del Porto at 4 Rue Aubernon. Enough said. Cash only!
- Our favorite takeout was from Romagna Mia (homemade pasta at 3 Boulevard Dugommier), Rôtisserie d’Antibes (roast chicken and fries at 1 Rue Vauban), and Le Don Camillo (pizza at 35 Rue Vauban).
For next time: Jeanne, Le P’tit Cageot, Le Chaudron, and Ponzo.
Between Antibes and Juan-les-Pins, there are dozens of beaches to explore. We were so excited to take Margot swimming in the sea and it did not disappoint. Many beaches along the French Riviera are rocky, but most in Antibes are sandy, making for a more comfortable visit.
Plage de la Gravette, steps away from the old city, is especially picturesque as it’s surrounded by the city’s medieval ramparts.
Plage du Ponteil and Plage de la Salis, family favorites for their calm and shallow water, are adjacent beaches just south of the old city. The 20-minute walk between here and Plage de la Gravette became a favorite route for us: a stroller-friendly mini coastal walk with picture-perfect views over the sea and the vieille ville rising up from the centuries-old city walls.
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- Le Nomade is a 26-foot-tall cast iron sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. Visitors can step inside it and even take a seat to further appreciate the giant white letters that come together to form the squatting figure. It sits directly facing the sea on the Bastion Saint-Jaume. Originally the site of a Roman temple followed by a church, a fortress, and a shipyard, the area has been renovated to protect and celebrate the remains of the city walls. Open every day but Monday.
- Just next door, Port Vauban is the largest marina in the Mediterranean Sea. While I felt no prior interest in visiting it, we walked through on our way to Le Nomade and it was actually kind of fun to see the boats. (Excuse me – superyachts.) The harbor is extremely picturesque, suspect billionaire vibes aside.
- The Petit Train d’Antibes, or Little Train of Antibes, is a fun way to see more of the city and head over to Juan-les-Pins. It was unexpectedly closed the day we were going to check it out, but it usually runs daily between the old city at 2 rue Lacan in the Place des Martyrs de la Résistance and Juan-les-Pins at 2 Boulevard Baudoin. See more route details here and info on times here.
- The vieille ville is an attraction in and of itself. One of my favorite parts was the collection of tiny, peaceful streets just behind the Place Jacques Audiberti. Head through the archway just past Emilie and the Cool Kids to find Place du Revely – home to the incredibly picturesque La Clé de la Porte B&B – and continue along the Rue de l’Horloge toward the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Immaculée Conception, or Antibes Cathedral. At this point you’ll be steps away from the Picasso Museum and you can either cut over to the water or continue walking through the quiet streets.
- The city’s Picasso Museum is housed in the former Château Grimaldi. Picasso lived and worked here briefly and the space now holds almost 250 of his original works. Open every day but Monday.
- The Musée de la Carte Postale (Postcard Museum) has thousands of postcards from around the world and follows the history of the postcard from its origins to the present day with an audioguide tour available in multiple languages. Open every day but Monday.
- Star-shaped Fort Carré, found just north of Port Vauban, was built as a protective structure in the 1500s. Napoleon Bonaparte was imprisoned here during the French Revolution. James Bond fans may recognize it from the 1983 film Never Say Never Again. Today you can visit it for just three euro (with reduced rates available) and enjoy ten acres of protected gardens and coastal views from the ramparts in addition to the fortification itself. Open every day but Monday.
I didn’t spend much time visiting the shops in Antibes but when I stepped into a few on our last day, I wished I had! There are a lot of lovely small businesses to duck into as you walk around town.
- Atelier KLĀ at 23 Rue des Palmiers is a must-stop for any pottery lover. Two artists, Alice Fougeret and Clotilde Debain, share this space. I happened upon it while walking around the old city and bought myself a beautiful tiny white vase by Clotilde. Open Wednesday through Saturday.
- Maison James Close at 30 Rue James Close has such a fun variety of art, decor and gifts. Open every day but Monday.
- Just next door at 26 Rue James Close, Le Vélo de Léon is a paper store with books, cards, stationery and more. Open every day.
- Across the street at 27 Rue James Close, Marcel Travel Posters has dozens of vintage-style posters and postcards celebrating French destinations. Open Tuesday through Saturday.
- Bonhomme de Bois Pierrot la Lune at 8 Rue James Close is an adorable toy store. Open Monday through Friday.
- Around the corner at 27 Rue de Fersen is the Miss Mam maternity store. I didn’t get a chance to stop in here but it was on my list! Open Tuesday through Saturday.
- Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville at 27 Cours Masséna is a fun basket and textile shop. Pop in on your way to or from the Marché Provençal. Open every day but Monday.
The options for day trips from Antibes are endless. We spent one day in Nice, one day in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and the Tête de Chien viewpoint overlooking Monaco, one day hiking in Saint-Raphaël, and one morning in Mougins. More posts coming soon on all of these!
We considered visiting the Verdon Gorge but since Margot wasn’t loving the car and isn’t old enough yet to enjoy being on a paddleboat, we decided to save it.
Here are a few other ideas depending on what you’re in the mood for:
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence: medieval hilltop village and another artist favorite (Marc Chagall lived here for almost two decades and is buried in the local cemetery)
- Èze: small village perched high above the Mediterranean with charming streets and stunning views
- Monaco: add another country to your trip by visiting the city-state of Monaco, famous for luxury shopping, the Monte-Carlo Casino, and its annual Grand Prix
- Menton: colorful village known for its annual Fête du Citron, or Lemon Festival
- Cannes: celebrity favorite west of Antibes, host of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival
- Grasse: inland village north of Cannes famous for its perfumeries
- Saint-Tropez: known for attracting the rich and famous to its exclusive beach clubs and restaurants, but with plenty to offer the everyday visitor including gorgeous beaches and coastal walks
If you want to stay in or near the old city, look for accommodation in this area.
We rented a car, so we focused on finding an Airbnb with parking included. That said, Antibes is very walkable and there is easy train access to the surrounding area, so depending on your plans a car may not be necessary.
Have you been to Antibes before? What did you think? If not, would you add it to your South of France itinerary? Let me know in the Comments!
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