Antibes, mon amour
After the pink reverie that was the Camargue and a short lunch break in the hill-sheltered fishing town of Cassis, it was finally time for the long-awaited Antibes, Cote d'Azur. And so it happened; I was finally back to the place that has been tugging at my memories since I was in my early teens, a place I had often visited as a child but had merely remembered for its ice-cream...lots and lots of ice-cream (don't judge, I was only young!).
Just our second stop on the South of France road-trip and we were already in heaven: Nathalie & Pierre's version of it, a 9-room cozy nest right off the beach called La Jabotte. It's a beautiful website but it can't do the reality justice - we were greeted with massive smiles and welcomed into a secluded, lush courtyard. Having been quickly shown to our cozy room, we knew we had made the right choice and we were ready to start our Antibes holiday! A gentle sea breeze, a few chatty local hedgehogs and the main host, Hush (a cutie pie of a rescue chocolate labrador) always ready for a swim. This was it for us.
A true antidote to stress, La Jabotte is conveniently situated just a stone throw's away from the Cap D'Antibes' inviting sea, yet tucked away from all the loud (yet happy) noises coming from the eager locals. A true oasis of serenity with indulgent and heartwarming food, friendly hosts, music and massages on demand and, of course, lots of kind and furry animals.
For our first evening we went on a stroll to the old town centre of Antibes to once again walk the cobbled streets of my childhood dreams. Mesmerised by the infinite shades of blue and the enticing smells, the promenade culminated with a copious dinner at locals' favourite Chez Lulu (naturally, escargot included).
The next day involed a sun-soaked beach bonanza, only "interrupted" by a delicious lunch homemade by our hosts and getting ready to be driven by Pierre in his iconic tuk-tuk through the town on the same paths that were once trotted by Fitzgerald, Hemingway and of course, Picasso. After a seriously delicious dinner at Le Zinc (with one of the best seafood salads I have ever had!), we met Pierre and off we went...
From Jules Verne's house to the Cap's highest point, Phare de la Garoupe (and the Garoupe beach where we spotted the largest private sail-assisted motor yacht in the world - Sailing Yacht A) to Juan-Les-Pins, we inhaled the town's spirit before reaching our destination for the evening - the one and only gem of the French Riviera, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Champagne cocktails, sunset views and a movie-like atmosphere, we could not have hoped for more. After all, it was good enough for Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, the Windsors and many others...
Just about managing to wake up from the Eden dream, the following day we ventured into town (with lots of sea bathing in-between, of course) and visited some of the historical landmarks, including the Picasso museum (former Grimaldi castle) and its beautiful sculpture terrace.
The evening saw us walking to the other side of Antibes from our abode to have a picnic dinner under the moonlight, sat on the Mediterranean-kissed stones, whilst sharing it with the tiny crabs and watching the sun set over Cannes (apparently a typical Sunday night for the locals!). Why do that you ask with so many gourmet restaurants around? This is why...
Conclusion? Antibes is a wonderfully serene, yet vibrant and easy-going place without the masses of tourists you will find in some of its sister towns in the French Riviera. Charming, historical and filled with breathtaking vistas, it's a great place to go with your family or as a couple and take it all in. And if you do, look no further than La Jabotte - it will most certainly make your experience even more magical and you'll end up with both lasting memories and friends!