Travels with V
The blue jewel of the Riviera
Antibes part two
A typical walk in the old city of Antibes starts in the harbour, Port Vauban where the big luxuroius motoryachts are moored. To the right stairs lead up to the top of the wall, a remnant of the old defence walls still standing, and walking along the top of it will get you to a plateau by the sea. There you’ll find the famous sculpture “Le Nomade”, an eight meters high male figure looking out at the sea. It’s made by the famous spanish artist Juame Plensa.
From here you have a good view of the ridiculously big boats in the marina, the biggest ones behind locked gates and fences. They are often owned by Saudi princes or oligarchs from Russia or the Ukraine. Astonishingly huge they are sometimes equipped with helicopter platforms and their own actual harbours in the stern.
Port Vauban is said to be the biggest private boat marina in the Mediterranean. Here you’ll also find a tiny fish market where rugged fishermen sell their catch.
On the other side of the wall is the popular sandy beach Plage Gravette. We can’t resist going for a swim in the clear blue water. In early October the water temperature is still ok for a swim. There are a few other sandy beaches within the city area, the biggest and most famous further south is called Plage de la Salis.
Another must-see attraction is the city market with vendors selling greens, groceries, fruit, spices, cookies and baskets and lots of other things. In the late afternoon the market mysteriously disappears, and the space is prepared for outdoor serving by the cafés and restaurants on the side streets. In the evening the place is full of people enjoying the last warn mediterranean nights. One bar here is like a museum displaying bottles and gadgets connected to the old cult drink absinth. And yes, you can taste it in the cellar bar.
Visiting Antibes neighbour cities like Nice, Monte Carlo and Marseille is easy by train. We choose the nearest, Nice, just a half hour’s train ride away. Nice is of course a big and lively city attracting lots of tourists, and most of them do like we do, head for the old town. Here too are narrow winding streets lined with restaurants and bars, just like in Antibes. The difference being the amount of people filling up the streets of Nice. Here you walk the “malecon”, Promenade des Anglais with its posh hotels and casinos on one side and the long pebble beach on the other.
Two clips from Nice, the first is a panorama from the castle hill, the second from a walk in the old town: