The Old town of Antibes with the verdant Cap d'Antibes in the distance

Originally the ancient Greek trading post of Antipolis the town (polis) opposite (anti) Nice - Antibes became heavily fortified over the centuries, notably by Vauban in the 17th-century, who built the main port and Fort Carré, where Napoleon lived and was temporarily imprisoned. There are some pleasant lanes splashed with colorful flowers in the old town, and a picturesque market place in cours Masséna. The town's high points include the 12th-century towers of the church and Grimaldi castle on the site of Antipolis.

Situated next to Old Antibes, Port Vauban  is one of the largest modern yacht harbors in Europe. This used to be the old port which the Greeks established, the Romans expanded and where, centuries later, Crusaders left for Palestine - but next to nothing is left of those times. On a promontory overlooking Port Vauban stands Fort Carré, a massive, star-shaped 16th-century fortress which was used by the French military until 1967; the town purchased it in 1997 and it is now being used as a youth and sports center.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame which took over the town's watchtower as a belfry, has a wooden crucifix from 1447, a 16th-century Christ and a fine Louis Brea altarpiece depicting the Virgin Mary, dating from the same period.

The Château Grimaldi, built in the 12th-century on Roman foundations, was once the home of the Grimaldi family (who still rule Monaco); today it houses the  Musée Picasso. After the town had bought the château in 1926, it was restored and converted for use as a museum. When Pablo Picasso came to town in 1946 he was invited to stay in the château; the six months Picasso worked here were one of his most productive. He created paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics and tapestries, and donated all his works to the museum.

Back to top

sunny warm colors abound in Old Antibes

a bicycle on the streets of vieux antibes

Provence & Riviera homepage