Paradise in Antibes or French ‘la Belle Vie’

Three hours of flight - and my plane, having made a spectacular semi-circle above the Azure Coast (Cote d'Azur), lands in Nice. And here I am - already in a taxi, looking at the turquoise water and palm trees along the seaside boardwalks during my half-hour trip to the gorgeous Cape Antibes, one of the most expensive and luxurious places throughout the French Riviera which attracts the rich and famous from all over the world.

Enjoying Antibes

Azure Coast view from above

Antibes is a seaside relaxation. There are magnificent mountain views and bays with snow-white sailing vessels and yachts. There are wet sea breezes. And the Sun is hot and blazing. Lunches smoothly flow into dinners. Olive and orange trees grow in your own garden. There are crowds of tourists in summer and vibrant silence in winter.

Park Exflora Antibes

Antibes house in the old town

Pool in the garden

Those who live here - live like in a fairy tale. You can see ancient villas, immersed in greenery, with lush gardens with parrots. With antique furniture, each piece of which makes a different story. With slow poolside dinners accompanied by the exquisite French wine. With evening dresses and luxurious parties, Horse Racing in Cagnes-sur-Mer near Nice, leisure in Monaco with gambling at the Casino, F1, boat shows and regattas. Ferrari and Lamborghini at the Casino door, and expensive restaurants in Monaco.

Exploring the coast

Amazing sea coast

A walk in Monaco

Casino Monte Carlo

One of the best things in Antibes is that everything is very close. Nice- the fifth largest city in France - is in a half-hour drive. From Nice a beautiful mountainous road leads towards Monaco, and from there it’s no distance to Italy, where you can enjoy the wonderful Ligurian cuisine and Italian architecture. Italian Ventimiglia, Bordighera, Sanremo – they are all a part of the Riviera. Cannes and Saint-Tropez are located on the other side from Antibes. In winter, by car, just in an hour and a half, you can get to the ski resort Isola with the 3000m peak.

Coastal village Antibes

Cap d'Antibes crique

It is remarkable to discover picturesque French villages, to enjoy their unique charm and cosy restaurants. To walk around the medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence, which has become - due to its famous inhabitants - a "living" art gallery and a mecca for Cote d'Azur art dealers. Or go to Eze – another medieval village on the way to Monaco, which offers probably one of the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. Or to admire the stunning beauty of not so well-known Tourrettes-Levans, Aspremont and Saint-Blaise - each on its high hill "in the back yard" of Nice, with their castles, narrow streets and excellent local restaurants.

Antibes monument

Our favourite is the seaside town of Cassis near Marcel The landscape there is completely different, as if it is not the Cote d'Azur anymore. The famous rocky coves – Calanques, similar to the Norwegian fjords, - are the main attraction of this place. We took a boat trip and admired the bright azure waters. I would definitely call Cassis one of the most beautiful places on the coast westward from Antibes because of its absolutely magnificent scenery. The second attracting feature of Cassy- several traditional restaurants, serving the famous real bouillabaisse and the less known, but still extremely tasty, Bourride à la sétoise (Provence Fish Soup With Aïoli).

Marina on the Azure Coast

The majority of Antibes residents have their own yachts or boats; and sailing is one of the favourite pastimes. We also went on a boat trip. But at first, we bought an improvised lunch. We stopped at the bakery, where the smell of fresh baking literally bewitched us. There, at the baker’s I was eager to try everything - from chocolate croissants to the famous macaroons. Then our way lay to the old town market. There you could find everything that your heart might desire, and we took some home terrines (French Pate), a couple of different cheese sorts, sun-dried tomato pasta and olives, of course, - there were dozens of olive varieties. Then we went to the port i- the largest private yacht port throughout the Mediterranean, where our journey began. The yacht of Alisher Usmanov, a billionaire, that is considered to be one of the biggest yachts in the world, was also ‘parked’ there.

Delicious ice cream

Our trip was wonderful. The time seemed to stop on the water. You could just sit, gently rocking on the waves, admiring views of the coastline curved by picturesque bays, and welcome passing by sailing boats and yachts. Such a millionaire lifestyle.

Sunset in Antibes

Restaurants where we ate out were excellent. Foie gras with onion jam, beef tartare and profiteroles with ice cream, served hot chocolate – the dessert, which became my favourite It all melted in my mouth instantly and without any remorse. Then I learned that the real French dinner consisted from a starter, main course, then lettuce with dressing, then cheese, and only then - dessert. They have been dining like that here - on the Cote d'Azur - for around hundreds of years. But for breakfast only coffee and baguette or toast with butter and jam is usually served. And no cheese or ham!

This is it - the beautiful life - the French ‘la Belle Vie’!

How to enjoy the Côte d'Azur

Three restaurants that are worth visiting

  • «Le Passager» Hotel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins that is famous for its excellent food, service and sea views (33, bd Edouard Baudoin, 06160 Juan-les-Pins, Cap d'Antibes).
  • «Le Club House» in Nice Yacht Club (Club Nautique de Nice, 50 bd Franck Pilatte, 06300 Nice) that is worth visiting because of the lack of tourists and a breathtaking view of the sea and the port of Nice.
  • «Nino» in Cassis deserves your attention because of the best bouillabaisse ever (1 Quai Jean Jacques Barthélémy, 13260 Cassis)

Three things that you should do

  • Of course, be sure to visit the wonderful museums, such as the Nice National Marc Chagall Museum (the Musée Marc Chagall, 36 Avenue Dr Ménard 06000 Nice) and the Matisse Museum in Nice (Musée Matisse, 164 Avenue des Arènes de of Cimiez, 06000 Nice), the Fernand Léger National Museum in Biot (National Museum Fernand Leger, 255 Chemin-du Val-de-pome, 06410 Biot), the Picasso Museum in Antibes (Musée Picasso, Place Mariejol, 06600 Antibes) and the Fondation Maeght Gallery in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (Fondation Maeght, 623 Chemin de Gardettes , 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence).
  • Don't miss the famous Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, located at Saint- Jean- Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera, and Kerylos (Kerylos) in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Ajlenrok (Eilenroc) at Cap d'Antibes; the recently opened for visiting conceptual constructivist E-1027 Villa designed by Eileen Gray on Cap Martin, inspired by the"father" of modern architecture , Le Corbusier (the latter requires reservation). Hurry up to visit the fascinating Villa Santo in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, which walls are covered with drawings by Jean Cocteau. It is rumoured that recently it was sold to one very rich Russian and probably will soon be closed for visiting (reservation is also required).
  • Stop at the market in old Antibes (it is open every day till 13.00) and stroll past fragrant herbs, fresh vegetables and fruits, and dozens of varieties of olives, walk up to the very end, where in a wood-burning oven they bake their traditional SOCCA NIÇOIS (tortilla from chickpeas flour). A couple pieces of hot socca, generously seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and a glass of cold Provençal rosé wine will be the best aperitif before your dinner.

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I fell in love with traveling much earlier than I fell in love with my first man. And I'm still faithful to that love (But I have exchanged some men since my first one). I have never had a reason to regret my passion. I constantly dream of going further, it gives me indescribable emotions and meaning to my life.

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