Antibes (/ɒnˈtiːb/, French: ɑ̃.tib; Provençal Occitan: Antíbol) is a Mediterranean resort in the Alpes-Maritimes department of southeastern France, on the Côte d'Azur between Cannes and Nice.
The town of Juan-les-Pins is in the commune of Antibes and the Sophia Antipolis technology park is northwest of it.
Antibes is located on the east side of a neck of land called La Garoupe. It was founded by Phocaeans from Massilia in the 5th-century BC. As a Greek colony and Roman settlement, it was known as Antipolis (Ἀντίπολις, Antípolis, lit. "Cross-City") from its position relative to Nice (anc. Nicaea).
Rome gradually increased its hold over the Mediterranean coast. In 43 BC, Antipolis was officially incorporated in the propraetorial (senatorial from 27 BC) province of Narbonesian Gaul, in which it remained for the next 500 years. Antipolis grew into the largest town in the region and a main entry-point into Gaul. Roman artifacts such as aqueducts, fortified walls, and amphoræ can still be seen today.
Antipolis became the seat of a bishopric in the 5th century. After the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, various barbarian tribes seized Antibes. This resulted in destruction and a long period of instability. In the 10th century, Antibes found a protector in Seigneur Rodoart, who built extensive fortified walls around the town and a castle in which to live. For the next 200 years, the town experienced a period of renewal. Prosperity was short-lived, as the whole region fell into disarray for several centuries. The inhabitants of Antibes stayed behind their strong city walls as a succession of wars and epidemics ravaged the countryside. In the 1244, Antibes's bishop moved his see to Grasse. By the end of the 15th century, the region was under the protection and control of King Louis XI of France. Relative stability returned, but the small port of Antibes fell into obscurity.
From around the middle of the 19th century the Antibes area regained its popularity, as wealthy people from around Europe discovered its natural beauty and built luxurious homes here. It was transferred from its former department of Var to the new one of Alpes Maritimes in 1860. The harbor was again used for a "considerable" fishing industry and the area exported dried fruit, salt fish, and oil.
By the First World War, it had been connected by rail with Nice and most of its fortifications had been demolished to make way for new residential districts. In 1926, the old Château Grimaldi in Antibes was bought by the local municipality and later restored for use as a museum. Pablo Picasso came to the town in 1946, having visited his friend and fellow painter Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara there in 1923, and was invited to stay in the castle. During his six-month stay Picasso painted and drew as well as crafting ceramics and tapestries. When he departed Picasso left a number of his works to the municipality. The castle has since become the Picasso Museum.
Twenty-five percent of the town's inhabitants are under the age of 25.
Antibes enjoys a Mediterranean climate.
Sport is an important part of the local culture; the town hosts the National Training Centre for basketball. On 25 May 1999 the town was the first in the départment to sign the State Environment Charter, which pledges to actively conserve the natural environment. Jazz Festival : "Jazz à Juan" in July.
There are 48 beaches along the 25 km (16 miles) of coastline that surround Antibes and Juan les Pins.
This museum sits atop the Promenade Amiral de Grasse in the old Bastion St Andre, a 17th-century fortress. The museum's collection focuses on the classical history of Antibes. Many artifacts, sculptures and amphorae found in local digs and shipwrecks from the harbour are displayed here. The views of the sea and mountains from the promenade are spectacular.
Naval Museum of Napoleon
Housed in a 17th-century stone fort and tower, this museum presents a collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, paintings and naval models. Several wall paintings show historic moments in Napoleon's reign and there are also pieces of his clothing including one of the hats he wore.
This museum houses one of the world's greatest Picasso collections: 24 paintings, 44 drawings, 32 lithographs, 11 oils on paper, 80 pieces of ceramics, two sculptures and five tapestries.
La Tour Museum
This small museum in the centre of town brings the contemporary history of Antibes to life through its exhibit of costumes, tools, photographs and other objects used by the local people.
The Absinthe Museum is located in a basement in the Roman foundations of Old Antibes. It is dedicated to the manufacture and appreciation of this green liqueur.
Parks and Gardens
The Exflora Park
The Exflora Park is a five hectare (12 acres) garden open to the public. Next to the large olive grove, there are different styles of Mediterranean gardens, from ancient Rome to the exuberant Riviera of the 19th century. Fountains and ponds stretch along the terrace, making a waterway 500 metres (1,600 ft) long. Antibes is renowned for rose production, and rose bushes line the path leading to the sea. The luxuriance of the exotic garden and palm grove is reminiscent of the belle époque, when English gardeners succeeded in planting flowers that bloom in winter, the season when the aristocracy visited the Côte d'Azur.
A little further on is the Théâtre de Verdure, inspired by Italian gardens, and a panoramic viewpoint with a view of the sea and the Iles des Lerins. In the style of Provençal gardens of the 18th century, there is a maze with sculpted hedges. Further on, Islamic gardens are featured, with an orange grove where the ground is patterned with terracotta irrigation pipes similar to those in the celebrated Seville Cathedral in Spain. The vegetable gardens and orchards in the Arsat are planted in hollows as in Morocco to protect them from the sun and maximise shadow and humidity. A representation of a Moroccan house pays homage to the painter Majorelle, creator of the beautiful blue garden in Marrakesh. In another area, the winter garden contains plants that flower in winter, such as mimosa and camellias.
The Eilenroc Gardens
Villa Eilenroc was built on a rock in the middle of a virtual desert. The area was transformed into a garden through the patience and talent of Jacques Greber, landscape architect and consultant to the Great Exhibition in New York in 1939. He was commissioned by Mr Beaumont to create this luxuriant park of 11 hectares (27 acres).
The gardens with all their luxuriant vegetation lie thirty metres above the sea with a view across the bay of the Cap. Planted with traditional Mediterranean species such as marine and parasol pines, Alep and Canary pines, cypress, oaks, olive trees, arbutus, lavender, thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus, ficus etc., as well as three kilometres (1.9 miles) of pittosporum hedges, a whole part of the park has been created with plants found in the Antibes area in 1920.
In 1857, Gustave Thuret discovered the wonderful, unspoilt Cap d'Antibes and bought five hectares (12 acres) of land where he built a villa and began the creation of a park. Bequeathed to the state by his heirs, the Jardin botanique de la Villa Thuret is now managed by the INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research). The superb collection of trees and exotic plants, and the rich earth, provide many opportunities for learning, and the cross-fertilisation of plant species that grow on the Mediterranean coast.
In 1970, Roland de la Poype created this animal exhibition park in Antibes. First, it was a small oceanarium with a few pools and animals, but now it is one of the biggest in the world and receives more than 1,200,000 visitors per year. It is the only French sea park featuring two cetacean species: killer whales and dolphins.
The old lighthouse of Antibes provides one of the best views in the region from its lofty hilltop. To get here, you must walk about one kilometre up the Chemin de Calvaire from the Plage de la Salis. It makes for a nice half-day stroll.
Church of the Immaculate Conception
The central church in Antibes was first built in the 11th century with stones used from earlier Roman structures. Its current façade was constructed in the 18th century and blends Latin classical symmetry and religious fantasy. The interior houses some impressive pieces such as a Baroque altarpiece and life-sized wooden carving of Christ's death from 1447.
Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc
This villa, set in "a forest" at the tip of the Cap d'Antibes peninsula, re-creates a nineteenth-century château. Since 1870 the glamorous white-walled Hotel du Cap on the French Riviera has been one of the most storied and luxurious resorts in the world. Guests who flocked there included Marlene Dietrich, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Winston Churchill. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton conducted an affair and honeymooned there.
There are many yachting harbours which provide moorings for a range of ships ranging from fishing vessels to full sized yachts.
- Port Vauban: The largest yachting harbour in Europe, with more than 2,000 moorings, can accommodate craft of more than 100 metres. This old port was the heart of the ancient Greek city of Antipolis and has a long and colourful history which includes Ligurians, Romans and Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. Today, it is the largest marina in Europe, serving both local fishing boats and luxury yachts.
- Port Galice: 542 moorings
- Port de la Salis: 233 moorings
- Port du Croûton: 390 moorings
- Port de l'Olivette: Situated in the sheltered cove of the same name, this is a harbour for sailors and their wooden fishing boats who enjoy the old marine, provencal traditions.
Theatre and music
The Théâtre Antibea, Théâtre des Heures Bleues and Café Théâtre la Scène sur Mer all offer a variety of performances from orchestra music to dramatic plays. Music of all types, from live jazz to DJs spinning techno, can be found in the bars and nightclubs and there are a number of festivals and special outdoor concerts during the summer. Jazz is still the speciality around here, and the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival is one of the best in the world.
M83 (an electronic band) hails from Antibes.
Antibes and Juan les Pins host a number of festivals, mainly during the summer months. There's not much in the way of traditional cultural festivals in Antibes; most of the festivals focus on music and contemporary activities.
- Jazz à Juan remains one of the top jazz festivals in the world. Since its inception in 1960, it has attracted many famous Jazz artists each year to play outdoors. (July).
- Antibes Yacht Show
- The Antique Show of Antibes attracts thousands of collectors for two weeks in April. It's one of the largest shows of its kind in France (April).
- Voiles d'Antibes is one of the world's biggest gatherings of old teak and brass sailing vessels. They converge on the port for one of the most regal regattas in the Mediterranean (June).
- The Festival of Saint Peter is the annual celebration of the patron saint of fishermen. A colourful procession through the town is followed by all the local fishermen adorning their boats and floating along the coast (June).
- The Festival of Sacred Music takes place in Antibes Cathedral, which has renowned acoustics. Sacred music is the theme of this popular festival, which attracts huge crowds each year (January).
The Gare d'Antibes is the railway station serving the town, offering connections to Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Paris and several other destinations. The railway station is in the centre of town. The nearest airport is Nice Côte d'Azur Airport.
- Flocke and Rasputin (aka Flocon et Rasputine), polar bears living at Marineland
- Graham Greene lived in a small apartment in Antibes in his later years
- Gloria Guinness then Princess Fakhry married Thomas "Loel" Guinness in April 1951
- Nikos Kazantzakis, writer of the novel Zorba the Greek, owned a villa in Old Town
- M83, electronic band
- Gerald and Sara Murphy wealthy Americans credited with establishing the French Riviera as a summer resort
- Guillaume Musso, writer
- Pablo Picasso, painter
- Gabriel Guevrekian, architect
- Halima Soussi, basketball player
- Nicolas de Staël, painter
- Luc-Arthur Vebobe, basketball player
- Duke of Windsor, Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos, at different times, lived in Château de la Croë
Twin towns – sister cities
Antibes is twinned with:
Denmark Ålborg, Denmark
Turkey Bodrum, Turkey
Italy Desenzano del Garda, Italy
Israel Eilat, Israel
Republic of Ireland Kinsale, Ireland
United States Newport Beach, California, United States
Greece Olympia, Greece
Germany Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
Russia Krasnogorsk, Russia