Antibes - the City of the Exclusive Yachts
With barely 100.000 inhabitants, Antibes is the third biggest city of the Côte d'Azur. The peninsula rises at the south western end of the Baie des Anges (Angel Bay) for several hundred kilometres into the sea. Even though Antibes offers some touristical attractions,the city is not completely depending on the tourists. But Antibes is not only one of the biggest cities at the Côte d'Azur but also one of the oldest.
Already 600 years B.C., Marseille was founded by greek colonists. In the 4th century BC, exactly these Greeks arranged a trade station in Antibes; At that time, Antibes was still named Antipolis. Therewith, Antibes is in fact one of the oldest cities at the Côte d'Azur. During the time of the Imperium Romanum, Antibes was further expanded by the Romans. Later on, Antibes even became the bishop's see.
In the year 1386, Antibes became the property of the Grimaldi and was not sold to France until the 16h century. The French King then rearranged Antibes to a fortification against the neighboured Savoyen.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Antibes experienced a big raise, as numerus artists and authors got settled in the city. The most famous among them was apparently Picasso.
Viewings in Antibes
By walking from the harbour in direction to the oldtown, one sees the still very well conserved and impressive city wall of the old times. In the oldtown, one walks through some smll alleyways and by being a little lucky, one gets to the Marché Provenšal. On this market, one gets flowers, spices, fruits and meat, everything is lovely arranged.
A highlight of the city is the Picasso museum in the Château Grimaldi. In this building, the famous artist made a lot of famous paintings after the second world war. Today, the museum accommodates more than 250 artworks of Picasso, from paintings to carpets up to
pottery. Moreover, there are also artworks of artists like Max Ernst or Miró in the museum.
But why do I talk so much about the city wall, the castle and museum; the real reason why so many tourists come to Antibes is a comletely different one: Beside the old harbour, there is the harbour Port Vauban. This marina is not only the biggest one of the total Côte d'Azur, but here, also the biggest yachts dock. There are yachts of filthy rich Arabs, Americans or whatever that are bigger than the ferry of the Lake Constance.
One feels really poor by seeing how partly whole teams polish the exterior of a huge yacht until it shines. Here, richness is openly shown; on the yachts, there are partly flags that one has never seen before. The most impressive yacht I have seen had an helicopter on the deck and a fire red ferrari was exhibited on the backside.
Fort Carré offers a further small highlight. The pronged fort raises up on a small hill behind the harbour. The fort was built in the course of the centuries, expanded and repeatedely rearranged in order to defend the city and the harbour. Today, the small fort that today is under monument is openend to the visitor. A visit is worthwhile in any case because one has a fantastic view to the basin and to the oldtown of Antibes in the background.
Bathing in Antibes
Those who think now that Antibes is only a posh and snobby place where the super rich people park their yachts are wrong. If one is really knacked after a walk through the oldtown and a viewing of the Picasso museum, the beach of Antibes invites to relax.
Antibes has a beautiful sandbeach from which on has a straight view to the oldtown and the castle. If one lays down on the smooth sand, one really feels fabulous.
The water is very clear, the beach is more or less protected against the wind by the moles, so that one does not have any big Waves. The water slowly gets deeper, so that one can comfortably walk in the sea; Even though Antibes is not a classical bathing resort, it is a pleasure to relax after the city viewing in a beautiful beach.
Those who after having seen so much richness and luxuriousness have problems to come back to earth again should drive to the Cape of Antibes and have a marvellous hiking tour around the southern tip of the cape.
On a well arranged path, one can walk around the whole cape and is rewarded by views to all directions. There is also the possibility to bath at the Cap d'Antibes, but therefore one has to climb over some rocks in order to get to the water. But therefore, one will enjoy a lonely place with breathtaking view to the sea and to the coast.
Those who want to enjoy a great view without an exhausting walk can drive up to the Plateau de la Garoupe. From here, one has an unforgettable view over the whole Baie des Anges up to Nice and the Cap Ferrat. In the background, the three-thousanders of the Maritime Alps gleam. In the other direction, one can see up to Cannes and to the peninsula of Saint-Tropez.
Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz