One Month in the South of France
Updated: Aug 22, 2020
For the past few weeks, really since the month of June started, I've been pulling out my travel journal and reading daily entries from our trip last June to Antibes, France. My husband, Rick, finds the photographs on his phone for each of the entries and then, with a collective sigh, we lament about how much the world has changed between then and now.
Like everyone else, the pandemic has us staying very close to home for the time being. So, until the situation changes, we wait, read the journal entries, and remember...
The thought of playing on a beach and swimming in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea for an entire month led us to the south of France. But, as far as deciding where to stay, I am not sure how the ancient town of Antibes, located on the French Riviera in a sweet spot between Nice and Cannes, came on my radar as a possible travel destination. Perhaps it was fate or just dumb luck.
Either way, we booked an apartment in the historical center of Antibes, sheltered inside its medieval town walls, among the labyrinth of tiny streets. This area is filled with markets, boutiques, and open plazas bordered by restaurants and cafes with tables that spill out onto the sidewalks. Ramparts and stone fortifications from bygone centuries, used against bygone adversaries, still wrap around parts of the old town where we stayed, now only guarding Antibes against the sea.
Where We Stayed
Our apartment in the old town was open and inviting; the kitchen and living room shared one large space. Two sets of windows let in breezes from the sea and hints of the evening dinner specials from nearby bistros.
Though a travel tip I try my best to adhere to, for this trip we did not choose a place with a balcony. The apartment did have a patio area; helpful for drying clothes and wet towels from the beach, but the patio didn't offer views of the street and wasn't conducive for people watching (one of my favorite activities; especially while sipping wine).
We may not have had a balcony, but we definitely rented an apartment in the right location. From the apartment we could wander past the market (Le Marché Provençal) and through town along Rue Aubernon, a main street that leads you to the Mediterranean. Rue Aubernon passes through one of the town's gates in the medieval stone wall and exits out close to the harbor and La Gravette Beach, one of two beaches found in Antibes.
La Gravette Beach
Shaped like a horseshoe, the beach is sheltered below the town's ramparts and filled with sunbathers and families enjoying time together. The beach itself is sandy, but I found it challenging actually getting into the sea; there were several rocks lurking under the water. To solve this problem, instead of donning water shoes and standing out like a total tourist, I bought a small inflatable float ring at a beach shop. Then, the next time I was at the beach, I pressed the float to my chest, stepped gingerly into the water and walked out just far enough to cast off on my float. Problem solved.
Not only did we explore the resort town of Antibes, we discovered other cities and towns up and down the coast as well. I'm looking forward to sharing our travels with you as I remember the month of June in my upcoming posts.