Never in a million years did I imagine I’d wind up living on the French Riviera (or any Riviera for that matter). I figured I would have to be rich and fabulous. But here I am.
I live in Antibes now, which is smack dab in between Nice and Cannes. The population is about 75,000 which may seem small by urban US standards, but is huge compared to Vidauban (population 8,000), which is where I was originally.
The vibe in Antibes isn’t in the least bit fancy schmancy. Where Cannes is leathery skin squeezed into tight, trendy, un-age-appropriate clothes, trout pout and faces that aren’t quite human, Antibes is leathery skin in shorts and flip flops. Well, that’s not exactly true. There are a lot of Brits here, so there’s a lot of pasty skin as well.
Here are a few other reasons I love Antibes:
Mostly sunny. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s like living in California without the Californians.
The train station Every train stops here, so I can get to a lot of places quickly and easily. No car necessary. It’s 20 minutes to Nice, 12 minutes to Cannes, 35 minutes to Monaco, 40 minutes to St. Paul de Vence (with a bus transfer), 5 minutes to Biot or Cagnes sur Mer, 1 hour 15 minutes to Italy, and so on.
Most villages have a market once or twice a week. Antibes has one every day except Monday, plus a bunch of antique, clothes, crafts and flea markets.
One of the best ancient medieval villages ever
The new part ain’t bad either
Ten minute walk to the beach
Art, culture, history
Antibes has been around for millennia. It used to be called Antiopolis. They’re not sure if the “anti” means opposite from Nice or Corsica. Ligurians, Ionians, Phoenicians, Etruscans frequented the place before the Greeks settled in 5th century BC. It fell into obscurity in the 1400′s, and was rediscovered in the early 1900′s (the jazz age). Napoleon, Monet, Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, all hung out here at one point or another. And now me.
There are museums, theaters, concerts (the Jazz festival in July is pretty famous). There must be hundreds of paintings by dozens of famous artists of the place. No wonder.
I may not be living in a lavish villa with a view of the sea (try a one bedroom apartment with a view of another apartment building, lots of sky and palm trees), have no yacht, Rolls Royce or even a car, but to me, living somewhere this awesome is a luxury in itself.
More pictures of Antibes
Filed under: Alps, Antibes, art history, Cote d'azur, culture, expat in france, history, Impressionists, tourism, trains, transportation, travel, travel humor, Vidauban Tagged: | Antibes, Antibes juan les pins, beach, French Riviera, Jazz, marche provencal, Monet, old town, Picasso museum, Riviera, vielle ville