While we were in Oxford in early January John and I nipped into the King's Arms Pub and while he ordered the Guinness I went to the loo. As often happens in the UK a lady and I exchanged a few pleasantries and soon we were chatting like old friends and sharing travel stories. When I mentioned we'd be heading to Nice in a matter of days her eyes lit up as she said, "Oh! I love Antibes." To be honest I'd never heard of it, but as she continued to wax poetic about the town's virtues I decided then and there we'd see Antibes for ourselves - especially when she mentioned the Picasso Museum.
There are many routes to get from Nice to Antibes and while we could have taken the bus we opted for the express train. Fifteen minutes after leaving Nice we arrived in Antibes. Two blocks from the train station is a tourist information office where we picked up a map before heading into town.
Once again the trek into the centre was down hill and we soon found ourselves at the port.
The marina is home to some 1500 boats of varying sizes and shapes. We spotted a few luxury ships that were up to 300 feet in length, but what most impressed John was the fort in the distance.
We didn't have time to visit the fort so it's been added to our to-do list for next year.
We followed the boardwalk toward the Med and spotted a large white figure sitting facing the water. To get there we had to walk along what we assume was originally a defensive wall as not only were the walls incredibly thick, but we were at least 30 feet off the ground.
Look carefully at the next photo. Do you see the head of the sculpture jutting above the wall?
Designed by Jaume Plensa a contemporary sculptor born in Barcelona in 1955, this eight metre high iron Nomade allows visitors to walk right inside it. "Like bricks," he says, "letters have a potential for construction. They enable us to construct thought."
On our way back into town we passed by a beach and even at this time of year there were people in swimming or lying on a blanket catching a few rays...we suspect they may have been from Siberia as even we've succumbed to the climate and found the spring like temperature a tad too chilly for swimming. (I know. Wimps. Both of us.)
This is another view from the opposite wall looking back toward Nice.
Once inside the city walls we discovered a fruit and vegetable market. They're usually mornings to early afternoons and we managed to time it just right for a stroll around to view what's available.
These people were just having a chin wag while I ogled the blocks of cheese.
Freshly picked oranges and tangerines.
|Sausages and prepared meats|
|Macaroons and other sweet treats|
Close by was an antique market. Unlike Canadians who tend to prefer stainless over sterling, the French are huge fans of silver cutlery and it seems the more ornate the better. At every market we've visited we've noticed many silver collections and people purchasing them regardless of price.
I tend to think it's because of the French love affair with food, and in Antibes there is no shortage of restaurants. In fact, a quick check on Tripadvisor mentions there are more than 500 - and those are only the ones with reviews! Almost directly across the street from the antique market we settled into a lovely cafe to have a late lunch. We had a great view...
Lot of smiles when the carafe of wine arrived...
We both opted for the incredibly tasty roasted chicken. No surprise that it was our only meal of the day!
This man in the knit hat played an instrument that sounded like a dulcimer. We spotted him on the train when we returned to Nice so he obviously knows Antibes is a tourist destination - and rightly so. Most of the patrons at this restaurant were either British, American or German.
After lunch we headed to the Picasso Museum. The artist lived on site here in 1946 and the museum showcases his work as well as other artists. No photography inside, but no restrictions outside.
The chateau originally belonged to the Grimaldi family (think Monaco royal family) from the time it was built in 1385.
The outdoor gardens of the Picasso Museum showcases many modern sculptures by various artists, but the horizon and blue Mediterranean seriously competed for our attention.
It's a long way down to the road and even further to sea level.
At the rear of the museum is a courtyard where the majority of tourists were busy taking selfies as shown in the first photo of this post. Our attention was on the gold building next door.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception was first built in the 11th century using stones from earlier Roman structures.
The interior is lush with iconic paintings and sculptures and while we appreciated the Picasso Museum there is definitely something to be said for a more classic artistic approach.
Both John and I commented on the unique pews or chairs with the adjoining back rail. We've never seen anything like them before.
On our way back to the train station we explored the old section of town.
It's quite possible to bypass the particular home John's photographing, and in fact I nearly did - especially with the shrubs that seem to obscure it from view. When standing directly opposite the front door and window one gets the full effect of this magical residence.
My favourite home, however, is this one. We've passed by many more elegant and luxurious homes both here in Antibes and all along the French Riviera, but for whatever reason this one spoke to me. Loud and clear! I just know it would be the perfect place to call home should I ever decide to relocate to France. I'm not even certain why, but I definitely felt a connection.
There's so much to see and do in Antibes and it definitely warrants more than a single visit. No question about it - we'll return next year!
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