Learn why Antibes is the perfect destination for your french language course.
If you’ve chosen to study French in Antibes, you absolutely must visit the town’s iconic attractions. To study French in France, especially on the French Riviera, shows you that it’s possible to learn French, have fun and broaden your cultural horizons, all at the same time. After class or at the weekend, you can enjoy the cultural, artistic, architectural and gastronomic heritage of the town and surrounding villages. Here’s a brief outline of things to do in Antibes.
Antibes is first and foremost a seaside resort, with stunning beaches that win over everyone who comes here. The local area boasts nearly 25 kilometres of coastline, made up primarily of public beaches as well as a handful of private spots. Those who love fine sandy beaches should check out Gravette, close to the old town, not far from the town walls. La Salis and Ponteil are another two beaches that are popular French Riviera beaches with local residents, and can be found on the way to Cap d’Antibes. If you prefer pebbles and great waves, try Fontonne which is not far from Fort Carré as you head towards Nice. Antibes is the perfect location for all sorts of sports, including sailing, paddle boarding, beach volleyball, diving, and much more. Thrill seekers will also love the opportunity to enjoy parasailing or towed water sports like flyboarding and water skiing. If you prefer to take things easier, don’t worry – you can always just sunbathe and take a dip in the sea!
You want to eat after your intensive French language course? Maybe fancy some tapenade or a slice of socca? The Provençal market, located in Cours Masséna, not far from the Cathedral and opposite the Town Hall, will bewitch your senses and whet your appetite with its aromas that are immediately evocative of the South of France. Here, grocers, market gardeners, pork butchers, cheesemongers, fishmongers and confectioners all sell their local produce to the delight of foodies. And for your information, the Antibes market days are: every day in the morning!
At Cap d’Antibes, you can visit the Garoupe Chapel and contemplate the lighthouse of the same name. To reach them, braver souls hike up the Chemin du Calvaire. Once you reach the Sanctuary, you will enjoy an outstanding view of the town and surrounding area. Known throughout the world for its magnificent villas and luxury Cap-Eden-Roc hotel, Cap d’Antibes is a perfect spot for a family walk or a morning jog.
Port Vauban was built in 1680 by the Marquis of Vauban, who was a renowned architect and engineer. Did you know that the Antibes port is Europe’s largest marina? Its enormous yachts, moored at Billionaires’ Quay, captivate sailing fans, who can also admire unique sailing boats at the Voiles d’Antibes regatta, held in June. Finally, don’t forget to go for a walk around Bastion Saint-Jaume and take some pictures of Le Nomade, a sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa which depicts a human silhouette made up of a lattice of letters.
Château Grimaldi, which Picasso used as a studio in 1946, is a must-see for anyone visiting Antibes. Before officially becoming the Picasso Museum Antibes in 1966, the building, as indicated by its name, had been occupied by the Monegasque royal family since the fourteenth century. The museum features numerous paintings by the artist, as well as drawings and ceramic works produced by the master at the Madoura studio in Vallauris. There are also works by other well-known painters, such as Nicolas de Staël, on display. Finally, it’s worth noting that from the top of the museum, visitors can enjoy a unique view of the port and town walls.
This is the monument that perhaps most defines Antibes. Contrary to what its name might suggest (carré means ‘square’), it is in the shape of a star and once served to protect the town’s inhabitants. Built in the sixteenth century, it was improved by Vauban, the famous architect to Louis XIV, who was behind so many of France’s fortifications.
Some ideas for outings near Antibes
Biot (don’t forget to pronounce the ‘t’ at the end!) is the perfect village for all those looking for a peaceful, picturesque spot. A visit to Biot is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy great walks along the Brague, a charming river that will make you forget all about the hustle and bustle of the coast. In the past, Biot owed its fame to its quarries producing tuff, a type of volcanic rock which was once used to build ovens. Today, the village is beloved of ceramicists, potters and master glassmakers, who practise their art in the local glassworks.
Napoleon disembarked on the beaches here on 1 March 1815 after escaping the island of Elba. If you pay a visit to Golfe-Juan, you can take the famous road that bears the Emperor’s name and goes all the way to Grenoble. The town is now inextricably linked with pottery and ceramics. Picasso was particularly fond of Vallauris: he moved here in 1948 and stayed for several years, during which he devoted his time to producing ceramics and linocuts. His works include the monumental fresco War and Peace, which the artist completed in 1952. It is well worth a detour.
Valbonne is home to part of the Sophia-Antipolis site, a vast technology park founded 50 years ago which is the pride of our region. Let’s not forget, after all, that it was the first technology park in Europe! But though Valbonne stands out due to its innovation and modernity, it is also committed to tradition and local products such as the servan, or ‘winter grape’ – a type of local table grape that, in ancient times, was preserved so that the fruit could be eaten until Easter. It almost disappeared, but a handful of fans managed to give this variety a new lease of life... Some other great options include wandering the village’s lanes and alleys, playing a round of golf, or running near the Valmasque Natural Park.
Jean-Luc PICHON - 22/09/2020