Antibes is a small city made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the late 1950s. Audrey Hepburn and Liz Taylor among other celebrities vacationed here in the 60s. Over the years many wealthy and famous people have come here looking for a summer escape. The old town lives beside the sea, behind walls that are hundreds of years old. Located just a few miles west of Nice, Antibes is perhaps the best known of the small resort towns on the French Riviera. (I’m skipping a few thousand years of the history of Antibes here – if you want to know more turn to my favorite, Wikipedia, by googling “Antibes.”)
Yesterday I took a train ride to Antibes. An old French fort overlooking a marina filled with yachts was the first thing I saw upon departing the station. Snow covered Alps were clearly visible just a few miles inland. I first walked along a street lined with yacht brokerage firms.
A short walk brought me to an opening in the town wall built in the 1600s. Once inside I found a map of the “old town” and a charming Indian restaurant where I enjoyed a good lunch.
I wandered on, finding the square at the center of town lined with discrete shops and galleries. “Discretion” seems to be a requirement if the town is to continue attracting the people who own those yachts. By now you know that I love finding authentic places that are hundreds of years old and maintained with grace. Antibes is one of those places.
Following the narrow streets led me to the water’s edge where a wall topped with aged, eroded bricks protects the town. On the other side of the wall is a small beach and some very large yachts.
An old small cathedral faces the sea on the land-side of the narrow road that runs behind the wall. The former castle, now the Picasso Museum, is next to it. Tall old houses made of stone line the route – gardens are tiny and occupy any useable space.
I was surprised by the flowers blooming in late February. I haven’t seen many in Nice but already in Antibes the town has started hanging pots of flowers in the square. A row of blooming poppies was in front of the train station. Many homes featured flowers by their doors.
Tomorrow’s a travel day. I’m flying to Malta. If you don’t know where that is ask maps.google.com to show you. I’m excited about going there.