Antibes - French Riviera

SEP 11,2015 - SEP 11,2015 (1 DAYS)

Citywalk

Antibes:

Main Attractions:  Port Vauban, Avenue du Verdon, Porte Marine, Place Nationale, Rue Georges Clemenceau, Marche Provencal, Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Immaculée Conception, Musée Picasso, Promenade Amiral de Grasse, Musée d'Archéologie, Boulevard d'Aguillon.

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Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day.   Weather: Antibes should be explored ONLY in a bright day. Distance: 5-6 km.

Orientation: You can combine this itinerary with the Cannes or Grasse routes. Walk ! Antibes is a beautiful city. Walking to the old downtown is easy and makes for excellent views.

Introduction: Antibes is a large port of call on the French Riviera. It is home to the largest pleasure boating marina in Europe. It has kilometres of sandy beaches and the large historical old town provides a unique, very refreshing experience of breeze, antiques and sun-bathing. Antibes was a Greek fortified town named Antipolis in the 5th century BC, and later a Roman town, and always an active port for trading along the Mediterranean. Today it's an attractive and active town, popular with "foreigners" from Paris and the north of France, with non-French, and with the local population.

How to get to Antibes:

By train: Antibes has train station on the main Nice-Cannes line. From Nice the local train to Antibes takes about twenty minutes. Getting to Antibes from Nice airport by train first involves a bus ride into Nice Gare de Ville (Avenue Thiers) to get to the train station. The journey to Antibes will take about 30 minutes and will cost in the region of €4.60. The trains are regular and you can buy your tickets from machines or ticket desks in the train station. You can also pre-book tickets online via the website although there is no English translation on the page. Take the "ter" traind and not the "TGV" ones which are more expensive. Indicative morning time-table (please check at: http://www.bonjourlafrance.com/trains_nice_ville_train_station_to_antibes_train_station_132_24.aspx --> 08:02 08:06 08:38 08:55 09:06.

Try researching also in this web site: http://www.ter.sncf.com/paca/horaires/recherche

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By bus: There is a regular bus service (number 200, 1.5€) between Cannes, Antibes and Nice.  Bus #200 leaves from the rue Verdun/Albert 1ere bus stop, which is between the Meridian Hotel and the start of the Promenade du Paillon gardens. Bus 200 connects Nice City with Cannes via Antibes but passes en route in front of the airport. The bus does not stop at the terminal building but rather at Aéroport / Promenade in the main road in front of the airport. The bus goes down the Promenade des Anglais, passing by the Cap 3000 Shopping Center, Saint Laurent du Var, Cagnes-sur-mer, Villeneuve Loubet, Antibes, Vallauris, Golfe Juan/Juan les Pins, and finally Cannes, finishing at the Port. Alternate bus option is the "250 express": faster (takes the highway), more comfortable (not a commuter bus), stops directly at the terminal if you're going or coming from the airport, but also much more expensive (9€). Bus 200 may be slow but cheap for passengers without heavy luggage. Traveling times from the Nice Airport to Antibes on bus 200 should be around 45 minutes but can be significantly longer during peak periods. The bus stop in Antibes is Place Charles de Gaulle in downtown Antibes: it is just above the train station. 

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Bus 200 leaves from Nice every 15-20 minutes daily, and every 30 minutes on Sunday and French holidays. Find here for the schedule: https://www.departement06.fr/vous-deplacer-en-bus/lignes-et-horaires-3029.html

There is a bus terminus outside the arrivals halls of Nice airport terminals 1 and 2. There is a free shuttle between the two terminal and the bus to Antibes (and Cannes) (no. 200) leaves from platform 0 at Terminal 1. The bus number is 200 and will be going to Cannes. The journey will take the best part of an hour and will cost €1.50 (as for summer 2015). A new service called Noctam'bus means that there are now night buses running until 04.00. When you exit the Nice airport - on your LEFT is the bus ticket office and the bus stops right next to it, the nearest to the airport doors:

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Local buses arond Antibes (French and English): http://www.envibus.fr/ligne_ville.asp?id=1

Our itinerary in Antibes:  The Gare d'Antibes is the railway station serving the town, offering connections to Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Paris and several other destinations. From Gare SNCF in Place Pierre Semard, Antibes we take the RIGHT exit and continue SOUTHWARD (right) 200 m. along Avenue Robert Soleau. On our left we see the Office de Tourisme d'Antibes, 42 Avenue Robert Soleau. We turn LEFT (east) along rue Sedi Carnot. In its end we slight RIGHT (east) and continue along Avenue du Verdon. On our left a cute square (no name) with fish sculptures and a marvelous sight of the Port Vauban Antibes with thousands of private yachts. The largest yachting harbour in Europe, with more than 2,000 moorings, can accommodate craft of more than 100 metres. The port hosts often some of the worlds largest yachts. 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, serving both local fishing boats and luxury yachts. The old port was the heart of "Antipolis" when the Greeks had a tenuous grip on the coast, the Ligurians were crowded around the outskirts, and galleons and galleys moored in the sheltered waters. Centuries later, and centuries ago, the Crusaders left from here on their way to the Holy Land.

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Far distant in the north side of Vauban Port - you (hardly) see the Fort Carré. The 16th-century Fort Carré is a massive, star-shaped fortress on a promontory overlooking the Port Vauban. The fort is built on the site of the Chapelle St. Laurent, which sat on the ruins of the Temple of Mercury. You can't visit the fort, but there's a nice walk around it. Its Saint-Laurent tower was constructed at year 1550. Four defensive walls were added at 1565-1588. In 1592 the Duc d'Eperon occupied the fort, sent there by Henri IV to retake the town that had been invaded the year before by the Duc de Savoie. in 1860 the fort lost its strategic role when Nice was attached to France, although it was maintained as a military fort until 1895:

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When you approach Avenue du Verdon (you have two parallel tree-lined roads that merge into one wide avenue. On your left parking lots and on your right - you start to see the walls of the old town. When Avenue du Verdon merges onto one wide road - you see on your right (south) a HUGE square (Promenade de l'Amiral de Grasse)  ) paved with stone and populated with many sculptures and the walls of old Antibes (les remparts du vieil Antibes):

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We cross this gigantic stoned square and admire the walls on our right. The city walls that surround much of Antibes were built in the 10th century to protect the residents from invaders. Turn right - entering Antibes old town through the Porte Marine. The "Porte Marine" arch, for many centuries was the only opening onto the harbour when the ramparts fully encircled Antibes: 

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We entered into the old town. The natural beauty remains in the vieille ville (old town), with the ramparts along the sea and the long, arched protective wall along the port. There are plenty of little streets for exploring, restaurants of all types and prices, and lots of shops. The best way to get around is to walk. You can stroll down the tiny cobbled, often pedestrianized streets and all the attractions are in the historic center. At the moment, we leave all these behind, for the end of our route.

We continue DIRECT south along Rue Thuret, crossing Rue du Général d'Andreossy on right, crossing narrow Rue des Palmiers on your left. Pass through Impasse Thuret on your left and impressive Rue Georges Clemenceau on your left (we'll return here immediately) and continue, direct south, along Avenue Georges Clemenceau. Turn right onto Rue Sade

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to arrive to Place Nationale. Place Nationale is in the old town center. The war monument in the centre - had been a i a fountain in the past. Other than that, not much has changed. The area which is now Place Nationale is believed to have been the site of a Roman forum and so it has been a vibrant public space for over a thousand years – imagine all of the millions of market days it must have seen! Perhaps this is why it has a much more tranquil atmosphere than the newer squares of Antibes – Place de Gaulle and Place des Martyrs de la Resistance. You can feel that it was designed for a very different time. At the square’s centre, surrounded by an open paved area, is a 4-5 metre high, stone column which was gifted to Antibes by Louis XVIII of France in the early 1800s. It was a gift from a grateful king, acknowledging Antibes’ loyalty to the monarchy after the town rejected Napoleon – when Napoleon escaped from his exile on the island of Elba in February 1815 and landed in Golfe-Juan, Antibes refused him access to the town. Traffic around the square is minimal (in spite of there being a small carpark here) – tourists far outnumber cars on Rue de la Republique in the summer – and shade from the square’s many mature trees and multi-coloured awnings and umbrellas, shelter the pavements and cafe terraces from the hottest summer sun and the Mistral winter winds:

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Column in Place Nationale, gift from Louis XVIII to the town (in front of Peynet Museum of Humour and Satire):

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Place Nationale - Sculpture opposite  Peynet Museum of Humour and Satire:

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The Vieil Antibes Cafe in Place Nationale:

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Place Nationale at dusk hour:

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WW1 Memorial Monument - Place nationale:

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MUSÉE PEYNET ET DU DESSIN HUMORISTIQUE is dedicated to the famous Raymond Peynet. A French humorous designer, born in Paris on 16 November 1908 and died on 14 January 1999 (90 years) in Mougins (Alpes-Maritimes). He is famous for having created in 1942 the pair of lovers that he drew on many media - including postage stamps. Peynet lived in Antibes for a long time.  The museum offers a journey through the works of Peynet (lithographies, etchings, gouaches, India Ink, porcelaine, dolls and cartoons). 60 years of a very varied career are presented in this rich collection. Opening hours : 10.00 - 12.00,  14.00 - 18.00. Closed : Mondays. Also closed :  01 JAN, 01 MAY, 01 NOV, 25 DEC.

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Leave Place national from its nort-east corner and continue eastward along Rue Georges Clemenceau (NOT Avenue Georges Clemenceau !). A charming, slightly sloped, road with fountains, blooming pots, attractive shops and full with colours:

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In the eastern end of Rue Georges Clemenceau stands the Town Hall (Mairie) (Hôtel de ville) of Antibes: Adress: Cours Masséna:

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The Marche Provencal (Market of Provence) is to the right of Antibes Town Hall (south to the Mairie). In the front the statue of Championet. Jean Étienne Vachier, called Championnet (13 April 1762, Alixan, Drôme - 9 January 1800) led a Republican French division in many important battles during the French Revolutionary Wars:

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It is a charming COVERED food market with endlessly interesting local food specialties (especially during the morning hours). Spend an half an hour or so walking slowly past its stalls filled with amazingly varied local foods. Small lovely market with a myriad of foods to choose from: fruits, vegetables, cheeses, sausages, spices and ... hand-made handicrafts. NOT a tourist trap. Local specialty socca is prepared on site in an oven for take away:

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Beyond the Town Hall and the market (south-east to them) there is a path leading to the Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Immaculée Conception, 30 rue de la Paroisse. From the 5th or 6th century a cathedral was built on the site where a pagan temple had been, The remains of which can be seen in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. It is said that St Paul was arrested here on a journey to Spain in 63 AD. Destroyed by the barbarians in 1124, the church was rebuilt in the early 13th century. The church has undergone many transformations over the centuries. The current facade is in Italian style from 1747 rebuilt after Renaissance and Modern times. Do not leave without admiring the gate sculpted by Jacques Dole, made at the beginning of the 18th century:

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Retable of the Virgin of Rosaire:

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With our face to the Cathedral - we take the right side stairs leading to the Musée Picasso or Musée d'Tour (tower), Château Grimaldi, 4 rue des Cordiers. The fairly small museum has around 250 art works by Pablo Picasso including paintings, drawing, and ceramics. The 14th-century Château Grimaldi was Picasso’s studio from July to December 1946 and now houses a non-exciting collection of his works and more fascinating photos of him. many visitors may be disappointed, as fewer than 30 paintings are on display and these are not amongst his best-known works. Most were painted during his stay in Antibes and thus the museum gives a glimpse into a very short period rather than an overview of his artistic life and work. In 1946, Picasso has been living several months in Antibes in Chateau Grimaldi (from mid-September to mid-November 1946) and produced many different works, a lot of ceramic work, centaurs and toreador paintings. At the end of that year Picasso gave several important works to the city, including 44 drawings and 23 paintings, among them some of his most famous ones (La Joie de vivre, Satyr, Faune and centaure au trident, The Sea-urchin eater, the Goat). Further works were gifted, entrusted or purchased for the collection from 1952. Several  works were acquired and donated between 1952 and 2001. In particular, the 1990 Jacqueline Picasso donation significantly added to the collections. The limited variety of paintings, drawings, ceramics and lithographs – just hints how versatile and curious an artist Picasso was. The museum also has a room dedicated to Nicolas de Staël, another painter who adopted Antibes as home. On the lower floors of the chateau are works of more major 20th century artists that are presented here: Hartung, Bergman, Germaine, Richier, Miro, Pagès and the Poiriers exhibited on the terrace. You can bet on this museum only because it has fantastic sea views and because it hosts a nice sculptures garden on the seashore (not Picasso's ones...). The lovely Grimaldi Chateau, which partly dates to the fourteenth century, is best appreciated from the outside. The museum in itself is probably not the best you can see about Picasso, but still the scenery from this ancient acropolis is wonderful, and it makes a lot of sense after to understand how Picasso got his inspiration. Be sure you go out into the garden where there are marvelous sculptures, usually a few cute cats and wonderful views along the coast. The renovated Picasso Museum emphasizes its contemporary focus, yet has preserved the spirit of the strong archaeological memory which infuses the building. The architectural project thus has a double approach – encompassing the history of the building yet providing the best conditions for conservation of the works and reception of the public. The newly renovated spaces have been organized as follows:

  • Ground floor: the Hans Hartung donation.
  • 1st floor: temporary exhibitions and display of the Nicolas de Staël collection.
  • 2nd floor: presentation of the Picasso collection and the Picasso studio space.

Opening hours: open daily except Mondays. SEP 16 to JUN 14: 10.00 - 12.00,  14.00 - 18.00. JUN 15 to SEP 15: 10.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes at 17.30. Open during the nights in July and August: WED and FRI until 20.00. Ticket office closes at 19.30. Closed January 1, May 1, November 1 and December 25. Prices: The rates below allow access to the permanent collections and exhibitions of the museum. Full price: € 6. Half price: € 3: on presentation of proof: students, people over 65, large families, teachers and professors. There is a combined ticket of € 10.00 giving access to all Antibes municipal museums (Musée Peynet, Musée d'Archéologie, Fort Carré), valid 7 consecutive days. Free for children under 18, and handicapped persons.

PHOTOS ARE NOT ALLOWED INSIDE THE MUSEUM !

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The Cathedral and the Tower from the Picasso Museum:

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The Picasso Museum Interiors:

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L'egyptienne - 1953:

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Jeunesse (youth) - 1954:

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Picasso - Joy of Life:

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Picasso - La Danse sur la Plage:

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Night Fishing at Antibes, 1939:

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Picasso - Ulysee et les Sirenes - SEP 1947:

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Picasso - Femme dans un Fauteuil - 2 APR 1947 (I rotated the picture...):

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The main entrance - Bernard Pagès - Le Mur d'Antibes - 2014: a breath-taking painting !!!

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Movong photos of Pablo Picasso:

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Fantastic views of the sea from Picasso Museum scenic terrace:

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Picasso Museum - Sculptures Garden:

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We leave the Picasso Museum and walk down (westward) to the road along the shore - Promenade Amiral de Grasse with our face to the SOUTH (right).  It is 450-500 m. walk down south from the Picasso Museum to the Musée d'Archéologie, Bastion Saint-André. This seafront promenade runs along a section of the ramparts that has remained intact since the 17th century. The Promenade Amiral de Grasse offers one of the best views of Antibes. You walk along the sea walls, along the route made by Vauban in the 17th century to the port. Turn your head backward (to the north) and enjoy the view of Picasso Museum. Above your head are the old Cathedral and the Château Grimaldi overlooking the old city. SPECTACULAR VIEWS ALL AROUND !!!:

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There are many posh and eclectic houses along this marvelous NARROW promenade.

Promenade Amiral de Grasse # 27:

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Antibes - Promenade Amiral de Grasse # 33:

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WE arrived to the Fort Saint-André which is home to the Musée d'Archéologie, Bastion Saint-André: a museum tracing 4,000 years of Antibes history through archaeological findings on land and in the sea, including a copy of the head of Silenus, a lead sarcophagus and a reconstruction of a Roman ship. Most of the objects attest to the extraordinary prosperity of the powerful Roman "Civitas Antipolitana". Open all year round. Closed on Mondays and public holidays and 1st January, 1st May, 1st November & 25th December. Opening hours: 16th SEP - 14th JUN: 10.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 17.0. 15th JUN - 15th SEP: 10.00 - 12.00 and 14.00 - 18.00. Late night opening in JUL and AUG on Wednesdays and Fridays until 20.00. Not much to see. You may skip the museum:

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From the roof of the Archeology museum - there is a stunning sight of the old Antibes port:

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In case you got a bright, pleasant day and you still have daylight hour spared - allow yourself a further 1.3 km. walk southward, along the seashore - till Port de la Salis (small harbour near to the more spacious Salis beach) - over looking the Cap d'Antibes. Most of the way is along Boulevard James Wyllie. This stretch of sea is numerated with pine trees:

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We shall return along the seashore to the Archeology Museum. From the museum we start to walk back to the Train Station of Antibes. Head NORTH onto Av. du Général Maizière, 120 m. Continue onto Rue de la Tourraque. We continue walking north and 250 m. further (in the same street) we arrive to Antibes Town Hall (Mairie) when Rue de la Tourraque changes to Cours Masséna. Head north on Cours Masséna toward Rue des Arceaux, 55 m. Slight right (but still heading north, more or less, the same direction) onto Rue Aubernon, 130 m. Turn left onto Boulevard d'Aguillon - pedestrians-only promenade. The most vibrant road in Antibes. The street runs (and this our direction of walk) from east to west along the old city ramparts. Full with bars, cafe's, restaurants, stalls and pedestrians. We start our walk in Boulevard d'Aguillon with the Fountain by Porte Marine on our left and with the Galerie des Bains Douche on right hand side. The Galerie des Bains Douche space was once a storage area for military personnel, originally designed to house ammunition and soldiers. But, from 1935, it became the old town’s municipal bathhouse – offering hot water washing facilities to the local people. This site, in this prime location, had been turned, during the last years, into a modern art gallery demonstrating works of contemporary local artists. Free entry:

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We turn RIGHT (north) in the 6th turn to the right (Avenue Saint-Roch) or in the 7th turn to the right (Avenue Mirabeau). We arrive to the square facing the Vauban Port (already been there in the start of our route). We climb west (left) along the Avenue de la Liberation - and this road ends with the purple-colored SNCF Gare d'Antibes (Train Station).

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