Best Things To Do in Antibes, French Riviera

Are you planning to visit Antibes during your French Riviera vacation?

To help you organize your trip, I have put together this guide to the best things to do and see in Antibes. You’ll find all the must-visit attractions in this small seaside resort situated between Nice and Cannes.

Let’s start, what to do and see in Antibes? Where to sleep?

Tour the Old Town, “la Vieille Ville d’Antibes”

The old town is an essential place to see in Antibes.

In the heart of the fortified old town’s walls, this city sector is enjoyable with its small streets full of shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Most of the Antibes sights I mention in more detail in this guide are also clustered in this part of the city.

Antibes alley

The best way to discover old Antibes is to take a leisurely walk along the shopping streets such as Rue Sade, rue Clemenceau or rue Thuret.

You can explore Antibes on foot or with the Hop-On Hop-Off bus that runs to the most important places in the city.

With this bus, you can get on and off as many times as you want and on the days you wish to, depending on your ticket.

Cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea

I follow this guide to Antibes for the cathedral in the old town.

With its ochre-colored façade and stucco work, it differs from the kind of churches we are used to seeing in France.

Facade of the Antibes Cathedral

The cathedral’s exterior is the most beautiful part since its interior is quite austere. However, the most interesting thing is the 16th-century altarpiece by Louis Brea.

Visit the Picasso Museum

Right next to the cathedral, I suggest you visit the Picasso museum.

It’s located in the Château Grimaldi, which owes its name to the family that lived there in the 14th century. The building is listed as a Historic Monument.

This building became the residence of the King’s governor, then the town hall, and then the barracks. In 1946, Pablo Picasso installed his studios there for 2 months.

In these studios, he creates many works. Of which he will leave around twenty paintings and drawings for the city. Among the most famous we can point out: “Le Gobeur d’Oursins”, “La Joie de Vivre” or “La Femme aux urchins”.

In 1966, the Picasso Museum was created in his honor: and it is the first dedicated to him!

In addition to works by Picasso, the museum exhibits paintings by Nicolas de Staël, as well as an extensive collection of modern art.

The Picasso Museum in Antibes is open every day except Monday, and admission costs €8.

Shopping at the Marché Provençal

A visit to the South of France is not complete without a visit to a Provençal market. For this reason, among the tourist attractions of Antibes, you also have the Provencal market, one of the most popular in the region.

Do not hesitate to go there if you want to buy some fruits and vegetables from the local farmers; you will also find good cheeses and cold cuts.

There’s even a stall selling Corsican produce and another selling various spices.

Marche Provencal of Antibes

The market is located on Cours Massena, in the heart of old Antibes. It takes place every morning in summer and from Tuesday to Sunday for the rest of the year.

Related: Best Things to do in Cannes

The Chapel of Saint Bernardine

We continue this circuit through the historic center of Antibes with a brief visit to the chapel of Saint Bernardine.

Built in the 16th century, this recently restored Gothic-style church houses beautiful frescoes, some of which (in the apse and south wall) are original.

In addition to the services held there, the chapel regularly hosts exhibitions and concerts.

The chapel is located on rue Rostan. Free entrance.

Enjoy a Day at the Beach in Cap d’Antibes

If you want to go to the beach in Antibes, and enjoy its turquoise waters, here is a selection:

  • La Gravette beach is accessible from the port, under the ramparts. Small sandy beach well protected from the wind and supervised. Ideal if you travel with children.
  • Ponteil beach: a long sandy beach with shallow water. Supervised beach with toilets and showers.
  • Salis Beach: another long sandy beach, it has a lifeguard, toilets, and showers.
  • Several pebble beaches east of Antibes, after Fort Carré. Be careful because the water is profound there. Beaches with lifeguards.
  • The coves of Cap d’Antibes.
Sandy beach in Antibes

READ: Best things to do in the South of France in October

Villa Thuret Botanical Garden

In the heart of the botanical garden of Villa Thuret, you will be able to marvel at the beauty of the place while discovering multiple species of plants.

Villa Thuret, currently owned by the State, and administered by INRAE since 1964, was built in 1857.

It serves as a scientific laboratory and botanical garden-arboretum dedicated to exotic plants.

Its beauty and maintenance are such that the site was qualified as an Extraordinary Garden in 2007, French Botanical Garden in 2017, and Maison des Illustres in 2018.

As you stroll through its alleys, you will see its large collection. The latter comprises thousands of trees and plants of all kinds from 380 regions worldwide.

All species have been chosen to suit the Mediterranean climate of Antibes.

If you want to enjoy a little corner of paradise for an afternoon, don’t hesitate to go to the botanical garden in the town of Thuret!

The Chapel of the Garoupe

The Chapelle de la Garoupe is a religious building that deserves to be visited. Listed as a historical monument, this place of worship is part of the Garoupe sanctuary.

You can enjoy a magnificent view of the city, the port and the sea.

Inside, you will discover its two naves, one dedicated to Notre-Dame de la Garde and the other to Notre-Dame de Bon Port.

The first is decorated with a fresco by Jacques-Henri Clergues between 1952 and 1953. The second, for its part, is decorated with an artistic creation by Edouard Collin, made in 1948.

Lovers of art and architecture will have a blast!

Visit Port Vauban

If you are looking for a place to go in Antibes to admire beautiful ships, head to Port Vauban.

A walk along the docks of Europe’s largest marina is the perfect opportunity to see the many boats and beautiful sailboats moored there.

Port Vauban Antibes

Port Vauban is also known worldwide for its “billionaires’ wharf,” where 19 berths have been created to accommodate the world’s largest yachts, such as Alicher Ousmanov’s Dilbar, Nasser Al-Rashid’s Lady Moura or Paul Allen’s Octopus, co-founder of Microsoft.

The creation of the dock cost 35 million euros, which the owners of the boats paid to have their assigned place.

Enjoy the Views from Le Nomade

Just before the millionaires’ sector, go see the impressive sculpture “Le Nomade” by the artist Jaume Piensa.

This monumental work represents a human silhouette about ten meters high, made with white steel letters.

From there, you will have a beautiful panoramic view of the walls of Antibes, the sea, and Fort Carré.

Visit Fort Carré

Continuing your walk through Port Vauban, on the opposite side of the millionaires’ sector, you will arrive at Fort Carré.

Built-in the second half of the 16th century by order of King Henry II, this military fort culminates 26 meters above sea level. Its objective was to monitor and deter attacks from the Duchy of Savoy during its construction.

Today you can visit Fort Carré, classified as a “Historic Monument.” The footbridge offers a wonderful panoramic view of the whole of Antibes.

For security reasons, visits are only guided. They last about 30 minutes for €3 per person (children free) and allow you to discover the chapel, the kitchens, and the soldiers’ rooms.

A must-see during your stay in Antibes, if only to enjoy the views.

Antibes city wall and old town

Walk of the Admiral of Grasse

Visiting Antibes also means taking the time to stroll along the Admiral de Grasse promenade.

As you walk on the ramparts made by Vauban, you will enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the sea.

Enjoy a Jazz Festival

The well-known Jazz festival in Juan is held in Antibes every July. The first festival was held in 1960 and was a tribute to the famous jazz musician Sidney Bechet, who loved Antibes.

It is held in a spectacular setting in Juan-les-Pins under a pine forest near the Mediterranean Sea.

The festival has welcomed jazz legends since the 1960s, including Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn. In addition, the festival offers a venue for talented newcomers.

The music repertoire reflects a great diversity of cultures, such as American, African, Latin, and Cuban.

Musical performances cover various styles, from Cool Jazz and New Orleans Jazz to Gospel, Blues, Swing, Be-Bop, and Electro-Jazz.

Other museums to visit in Antibes

  • Bastion Saint-André (Musée d’Archéologie), is in the Bastion Saint-André. Presents updated remains during land and underwater excavations, such as coins or amphorae.
  • The Naval and Napoleonic Museum
  • The Peynet and humorous drawing museum: which exhibits the works of Raymond Peynet, French illustrator, creator of the famous pair of “Lovers” and who lived in Antibes.
  • In the history of Provence, the tower museum has objects and costumes from the 19th century to the present day. Guided tour only on request (minimum 8 people).
  • The Postal Museum and its thousands of postcards from all countries and all times.

Cap d’Antibes Walking Tour

For those who want to get away from the city a bit and take advantage of their trip to Antibes to walk, I advise you to discover Cap d’Antibes.

It is possible to go around the Cap on foot by taking the Tirepoil path or “coastal path” that starts at the car park on André Sella avenue, after Garoupe beach.

Completely traced by the sea, the path, 5 km long (2 hours of walking), is not difficult, but several steps are carved into the rock, so avoid flip flops!

You will also find several small coves with transparent water where you can take a dip to cool off. It really is a great place to go for a walk in Antibes!

Cap d’Antibes is also home to beautiful residences built by large fortunes in the mid-19th century. These include:

  • the Château de la Croe (former residence of the Duke of Windsor)
  • and Villa Eilenroc, at the end of Cap d’Antibes. The gardens of the latter are accessible to the public.

Still on the Cap d’Antibes peninsula, you can also take the Chemin du Calvaire, which will take you to the Garoupe plateau.

There is a lighthouse, a chapel, and a small oratory there, but above all, on a clear day, the place offers a panoramic view of the Alps, Italy, and sometimes even Corsica.

Best things to do in Antibes

One day visit to Gourdon, one of the prettiest villages

Clinging to the top of a vertiginous cliff at an altitude of 760 m, Gourdon is an open balcony over the Gorges du Loup and the Mediterranean and an authentic medieval fortress.

Grouped behind an imposing castle surrounded by gardens designed by Le Nôtre, the old houses have been well preserved and restored in this lively village animated by artisans.

Gourdon is on the official list of the most beautiful villages in France. It is located just 30 kilometers from Antibes and Cannes.

This town hanging from the mountain and with fantastic views will surprise you. Without a doubt, an essential visit to the south of France.

A must in Gourdon:

  • Visit the 12th-century Romanesque church
  • Walk its streets full of artisan stalls
  • Enjoy beautiful panoramic views from Place Victoria

Day trip to St Tropez

Day trip to Monaco

Day trip to Cannes

Is it worth visiting Antibes?

Yes! With everything I’ve told you, do you still have doubts? Antibes has it all, history with a fascinating old town, museums, beaches, a fantastic port with some impressive boats.

You can do walking, water activities, or spend the day relaxing on the beach.

What is Antibes known for?

Antibes is a famous seaside resort appreciated by writers and artists such as Picasso. Antibes is a must for its beaches and its summer climate.

The city has the largest marina in Europe and enjoys an ideal geographical location between Cannes (10 km) and Nice (20 km).

Where to Stay in Antibes

Hotel La Villa Port d’Antibes & Spa

Attractively located in the center of Antibes, Hôtel La Villa Port d’Antibes & Spa offers air-conditioned rooms, a seasonal outdoor pool, free WiFi, and a bar.

It has family rooms and a terrace. There is a 24-hour front desk, room service, and luggage storage at the property.

The hotel serves a buffet or continental breakfast.

On-site, the Sothys spa has a hammam, sensory shower, and winter garden. Massages and beauty treatments are also offered.

Hotel La Villa Port d’Antibes & Spa is close to attractions like the Port, Gravette, and Ponteil beaches.

The nearest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, 16 km from the property.

Hotel Beau Site – Cap d’Antibes

This hotel is a 7-minute walk from the beach. Hotel Beau Site – Cap d’Antibes is located in a residential area 3 km from the center of Antibes and a 5-minute walk from Garoupe Beach.

It has a swimming pool and offers free Wi-Fi.

Hotel Beau Site’s individually decorated rooms are soundproofed and air-conditioned and offer partial sea views and views of the mountains or the garden.

Le Beau Site serves a buffet breakfast each morning. You can enjoy it in the dining room, on the terrace, or in your room.

Guests also have exclusive access to the property’s outdoor pool. It also offers a bicycle rental service.

Private parking is available for a fee. The property is 14 km from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and 15 km from Cannes. The town of Juan-les-Pins is 3 km away.

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