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Picture-Perfect Antibes inspired the magnificent Claude Monet Landscapes

Claude Monet made his way to Antibes on the Cote D’Azur (French Riviera) in the winter of 1888 and again in 1908. Monet was totally smitten with the area. He fell under the spell of Antibes old town, the sparkling coastline and and the surrounding lush landscapes.

Monet wasn’t a regular tourist like us. His idea of travel was setting up his easel outdoors and capturing the beauty onto his canvases. Monet aimed to capture the changing lights of the Cote D’Azur. He sometimes painted the same scene again and again but at different times of the day. He most favored painting was the view of old town Antibes at sunrise, midday and sunset, when the sun and the light performed its most striking effects!

Even in the winter, the Mediterranean sun in southern France made Monet’s palette of colors lighter and brighter.

Claude Monet landscapes of Antibes
Claude Monet landscapes of Antibes old town, 1888 [Public Domain]

During his time in this region, Claude Monet painted a magnificent Antibes series. In these paintings he captured the sparkling bay, an old fort and the views of Antibes old town from a viewpoint from La Salis. The elements of these paintings consisted of trees and greenery along a shoreline in the forefront, a glimpse of Antibes old town in the distance and the Maritime Alps as the backdrop.

Claude Monet landscapes of Antibes Old Town
Claude Monet landscapes – Morning at Antibes (1888)
[Public Domain]

“What I bring back from here,” Claude Monet Quotes, “will be sweetness itself, white, pink, and blue, all enveloped in a magical air.”

Travel French Riviera -Antibes beaches
View of Modern Antibes from La Salis Photo by Cristian Ruz
on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

But You Don’t Have to be a Lover of Claude Monet to Fall in Love with Antibes on the Cote D’Azur

You can enjoy Antibes as a wonderful day trip or as a base during a trip to the Cote D’Azur in France

Five top things to do in Antibes

1. Visit the Charming Old Town (Vieil Antibes )

Antibes old town is a great place to visit. The town’s charm is in its narrow, cobbled streets and maze of alleyways. Antibes is dotted with quaint boutique shops, trendy cafes, bars and variety of restaurants. From the higher point of the town, you can see the gorgeous, picture-perfect views of the marina below, with its mega luxury yachts and the sparkling blue seas of the bay of Nice beyond.

Parking is restricted and limited in Antibes. Go visit by train or to park your car outside of the town and walk in by foot.

Antibes Old Town / Travel French Riviera
Antibes Old Town (Vieil Antibes ) Photo by
Ian Sanderson on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2. Take a dip in the refreshing Antibes beaches

You cannot visit Antibes in the summer without dipping in or just viewing the sparkling blue Mediterranean seas. There are nearly fifty public and private beaches to choose from in and around Antibes. In addition, you can sunbake from the rocks and jump into the ocean from the small hidden coves found along the Cap d’Antibes Walking Trail.

If you want a beach with all the amenities, head out to Plage du Ponteil. This beach is close to Antibes old town, and offers amenities like toilets, showers, toilets, bars and hiring of small boats. Looking for a beach more secluded? No problem… Head out to Plage Mala. This beach is divided into two sections. A public beach on one side and a restaurant-owned section on the other!

Antibes beaches / Travel French Riviera
French Riviera Antibes Beach Photo by historical couple on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

3. Visit the Stunning Antibes Picasso Museum in the Old Town

Not only did Claude Monet love Antibes, but also Pablo Picasso fell under its spell. So much so, that when the town of Antibes invited him to live in the newly restored Grimaldi castle in 1946, Picasso happily agreed.

Pablo Picasso lived in the castle for a few months over the summer and when he left, he gifted his artworks to Antibes. Today this gorgeous castle is the Picasso Museum of Antibes. Go visit and you will see a lovely collection of Picasso artworks. Press here for more information.

4. Check out the Le Nomade – an iconic sculpture

On the terrace of the old Bastion de St-Jaume, in the Port Vauban, is an incredible eight meter high sculpture. This statue was designed by Juame Plensa , a Barcelona artist.

This impressive statue depicts the top half of a person looking out onto sea. When you approach it, you will notice that the statue is made up of aluminium letters. According to the artist, individual letters or symbols have virtually no meaning on their own. However combined together, they become words, thoughts, and a language.

Plensa aims to offer a sculptural metaphor for human culture and society. His message is that a personal alone has limited potential but people as a group or society have far more power and influence.

The artist, Juame Plensa explains:

“People believe that a letter is nothing, that it is anonymous, but in relationship with other letters they form words, the words with other words create texts, the texts with other texts create culture, and so on.”

There is an opening into the statue allowing the visitor to walk inside.

Quote Jaume Plensa: “It’s an open piece, inviting people to enter it, like a grand-mother embracing her children.”

Le Nomade statue  / Travel-French Riviera
Le Nomade Photo by marcovdz on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

5. Fancy a scenic walk? Head out to the stunning Cap d’Antibes walking trail

If you love walking, then this 4.8 km seaside trail should not be missed. The clearly marked path is easy to follow. The trail isn’t too demanding but you should wear comfortable walking shoes, bring plenty of drinking water and a camera for those picture-pefect views.

This hiking trail goes around the peninsula and takes you through some wild and untamed landscapes. You will walk through olive trees groves, alongside limestone cliffs and to rocky coves. The path offers a quiet and picturesque getaway from busy Antibes & French Riviera. There are plenty of gorgeous secluded spots that are perfect for swimming. Don’t forget your bathers! For more information, press here.

View from the Cap d’Antibes Walking Trail / Travel French Riviera Antibes
Views from the Cap d’Antibes Walking Trail
Photo by Mathieu Péborde on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Make Antibes Your Base when Traveling the Cote D’Azur

Antibes is a great place to base yourself when traveling around the Cote d’Azur (the French Riviera). If you decide to stay in this enchanting port town, my recommendation is that you stay near or in Antibes old town. It is very pretty in the historical center and there are plenty of trendy cafes, restaurants, artisan shops and galleries.

Press on the link below to see Antibes accomodation options and read the reviews. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

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Looking for an organized tour around the French Riviera from Antibes? Check out the options below:

For more French Riviera Travel Tips in the footsteps of the Impressionists, check out the articles below: