In summer of 2015 we spent four magical, relaxing days on the French Riviera. Our base was Antibes, a small resort town I had stayed in back in 1997. We found Antibes a refreshing stop mid-way through our two-week trip to Italy and France. (You can read about our whole two-week trip to Italy and France here.)
While many people wing it when it comes to their lodging reservations, we decided not to roll the dice, knowing we needed to find lodging for five of us, three of whom are children. Our experience has been that hotel rooms in Europe are pretty small, and with five of us, one of whom was a teenager and only child, we were going to need more space. We also like the option of being able to do laundry while traveling, so we can pack lighter, and a kitchen so that not all of our meals were in restaurants. As a result we ended up getting a rental apartment in Antibes.
In Antibes we had a very cozy but charming apartment on a side street not far off the main shopping area. It was really convenient to everything in town there. The air conditioning didn’t work all that well, but we survived. We booked this apartment through VRBO, which is our usual vacation rental source.
The kids befriended a neighborhood kitty who was always hanging around. They named her Antibes.
We took the train to Antibes from Florence, as we did not have a car. While in the French Riviera we relied on trains and one bus (later in this post), but Antibes is a small enough town that it is easy to navigate on foot.
Four Nights in Antibes, France
From Florence we took a train to Antibes, France, a small resort-y town on the French Riviera. After the hustle and bustle of Florence, the laid-back speed of Antibes was a refreshing change of pace.
Water and Beach Time
The kids were quickly drawn to the water and beaches. To be clear, this is really not a beach destination. There is nothing spectacular about them, but obviously kids don’t view it that way. A beach is a beach.
Our son became a pro rock skipper on this trip.
My niece and I enjoyed the Picasso Museum in Antibes. Picasso spent a few months at this very site on the water working on his craft, and he donated quite a few pieces from his time there from post-WWII through the 1940’s. This building was (and currently still is) under renovation when we were there, so we could not see everything, but they charged a very reasonable entrance fee (3 Euros, I believe) as a result. This is my kind of art museum…focusing in on one artist. You cannot take pictures in the gallery, but we both enjoyed the art on the terrace and the views of the Riviera.
Zip Line and Ropes Course Adventure
On our third full day in Antibes we ventured to Villeneuve-Loubet to find Canyon Forest, a ropes course and zip line on the edge of town. True confessions: on the way to Canyon Forest we were too chicken to try to navigate the bus system in French, so we walked what felt like an eternity to get there. (I’m happy to report that we rectified that on the way back to the train station. We were kicking ourselves afterward for how easy it was!)
Canyon Forest was primarily a ropes course with a long zip line at the end, which was fun. It was all of our first time doing a zip line, and we loved it! You can find our review of the course here.
We had hoped to do a side trip to Monaco on our last day in Antibes. However, on that day there was a railroad strike, so services were extremely limited, and it would have been a huge hassle to get there in any kind of a timely fashion. We sadly had to abandon that plan, but the upside was a relaxing final day in Antibes filled with shopping, wandering the beaches, and relaxing.
- The train ticket machines in Antibes are only in French. Also, the ones we encountered in that area had a weird knob technology. I was lucky to have someone who spoke English see me struggling and help me out.
- Antibes is a lovely, laid-back destination. If you need a lower-key stop on your trip, this one is great.
- Our niece was brave enough to try escargot on the trip. (I had tried it on a prior trip.) But we also ended up having burgers on the trip to curb withdrawal symptoms for a few of our pickier eaters. Do what you need to do on an international trip. Not every meal needs to be an adventurous meal.
- If you are taking a teenager on the trip, do everything you can to ensure they have some space to themselves. That worked pretty well for us (though I should ask her how she felt about it).
- We have officially created international travel addicts! Our kids can’t wait to travel abroad again.
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