About Antibes and Juan les Pins beaches
Antibes and Juan les Pins are a tale of two cities located on each site of a peninsula (Cap d’Antibes): quiet, sensible Antibes is famous for its old city and Port Vauban, the largest pleasure boat port in Europe, while Juan les Pins is a much more modern resort, famed for its nightlife and flashing lifestyle. The marina in Antibes is renowned for its ‘Millionaires’ Quay’, where huge super-yachts regularly dock. Juan les Pins, on the other hand, has been drawing the stars of the music world with its much acclaimed Jazz à Juan festival, which has been going strong for well over 40 years.
Antibes boasts some gorgeous sandy beaches, both private and public (some argue they are the best on that stretch of the Cote d’Azur), and as such they can get extremely crowded in summer. The Old Antibes Beach is quite small, but it is great for families with young children as it is very safe (it is sheltered from waves by a small breakwater). The Plage du Ponteil and Le Salis Beach (the main public beach) are much bigger, but finding a space to unfurl your towel here in the height of season can still be a challenge. The beaches at Juan les Pins on the opposite side of the peninsular are huge and well worth checking out. At the Cap d’Antibes, La Baie de la Garoupe boasts charming little beaches, most of them private, where you can rent a mattress to spend the day. For watersports Juan les Pins is your best bet: it is alleged water-skiing was invented there.
Beyond the beach:
The historic town centre is full of pretty squares and narrow streets. Leave the car behind and discover the area on foot, as finding a parking space here can be tricky and some of the streets are very narrow (and pedestrianised). Make sure you check out the cathedral and the old ramparts. There are several good museums in town, the best of which are the Picasso Museum (Chateau Grimaldi) and the Peynet Museum (Bastion Saint André). Just strolling through the streets of the very upmarket Cap d’Antibes is a very leisurely way to spend an afternoon: both the exotic Jardin Thuret (boulevard du Cap) and Villa Eilenroc, one of the most beautiful villas of Le Cap (avenue Mrs Beaumont) make interesting stops on the way. Check out Notre Dame des Amoureux, at the top of Le Cap d’Antibes, a charming little chapel hidden in a pine cove not far from the lighthouse.
There is plenty to keep children entertained on the beach, and the resort is generally child-friendly. There is an Olympic size swimming pool in town, an indoor go-karting track (ZAC des Trois Moulins, near the Antibes motorway exit), tennis courts, and two crazy golfs. Children will love exploring the underwater world from a glass-bottomed boat with Visiobulle (8 boulevard de l’Aguillon, and Embarcadère Courbet, Juan-les-Pins). And a visit to Antibes Land (Route de Biot), an amusement park with 30 rides and attractions, is another great way to keep the kids entertained for the afternoon.
Nice is a good excursion for the day. There are museums and art galleries galore, including the excellent Musée Matisse (164 avenue des Arènes de Cimiez) and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (promenade des Arts). So is Cannes, which is a mere 10-minute drive away. Inland, the Gorges du Verdon with their beautiful emerald waters and St Paul de Vence, a lovely medieval village popular with artists, make for good excursions.
If you are visiting in July, treat yourself to a concert or two during the jazz festival. If you really want to splash out check into Hotel Garden Beach (15-17 boulevard Baudoin ) (www.garden-beach-hotel.com) in Juan les Pins. Located on a stunning stretch of golden sandy beach to which it has direct access, the hotel boasts a gorgeous beachfront restaurant (with dining on its own private pier), a magnificent indoor pool and terrace, a state of the art fitness centre – all with fantastic views of the Mediterranean.