No matter when you visit the French Riviera, you know you're in for a good time. With so many towns up and down the coast, you're more than likely going to find fun happening somewhere, but each month carries different possibilities. For us, the month of June was perfect. Here are the top three reasons why.
Reason #1: Perfect Weather
When we visited Antibes in 2019, the weather was ideal; not too hot, not too cold. Historically, in June the average high temperature for Antibes is 75 degrees and the lows dip down into the mid 60s. That means you don't have to pack extra jackets or coats; just throw a sweater or sweatshirt into your luggage alongside a swimsuit, and you're good to go.
During the day, it is warm enough to enjoy sunbathing and swimming at the beach, but not too hot to sip rosé at little sidewalk cafes in the afternoons. The evenings are pleasant and perfect for outdoor dining at one of the Old Town's many bistros.
* Unfortunately, all of Europe experienced an extreme heat wave at the end of June. Nowadays, regardless of where we plan to travel in the summer, due to global warming, I need to remember to research emerging data regarding heat wave patterns.
Reason #2: Lots of Swimming
You can swim all summer in Antibes and during the month of June, the water is ideal; a bit cool, but refreshing and enjoyable. The weather in July and August brings warmer waters, but unfortunately it also brings jellyfish. In fact, on our last swim at the end of the month, these little creatures were already starting to make their arrival known.
Antibes has some great public beaches walking distance from the Old Town. La Gravette ended up being our favorite, close to the Port Vauban harbor; the beach has great views of the Old Town's ramparts and the Cap d'Antibes peninsula in the distance.
The beach comes complete with a little restaurant; good for a quick meal, glass of wine, or both. A couple of times we picked up cheeses, a baguette, and some fresh fruits from the market and made a day of it at the beach.
If you want to experience the water from a different perspective, boats are available at the harbor. We rented one of the least expensive boats for 100 euros; more powerful boats are available, but you will need a pilot license to get your hands on the steering wheel of one of them.
Staying close to the coastline, we slowly puttered along in our rented boat and discovered a cove where local teenagers were swimming and plunging off rocky cliffs into the sea.
The water was so clear in this spot, we could see sea urchins on the sandy sea floor and beds of seaweed waving with the currents.
Traveling on, we made it around the Cap d'Antibes peninsula to the next town, Juan Le Pin, where we jumped in the water and swam close to shore among the small fishing boats anchored in the harbor.
We also saw up close some jaw-droppingly expensive super yachts and a few people on water jet hover boards zipping back and forth on top of the waves. Water jet hover boards are the wet version of motorized skate boards and can cost as much as $12,000.
Reason #3: Festivals
Antibes put on three different major festivals while we were there. The Festival Nuits Carrées , an annual music festival, featured international pop-rock, hip-hop and electronic music artists. There was also the Fete de la Musique, which takes place each year on the Summer Solstice. Free music can be heard throughout the town, and Rick, a damn good guitar player himself, even sat in for a set of blues at one of the bars that night. This event happens throughout France and is also known as World Music Day.
Our favorite festival,Les Voiles d'Antibes, is both a prestigious yachting competition and a festival, which takes place over the course of five days every June at Antibes' Port Vauban. Gorgeous vintage and classic yachts, as well as smaller vessels, sail back and forth across the waters around the Old Town competing in a variety of regattas.
In addition to the action on the sea, back at the port, there's live music, environmental exhibits, art displays, and libations to be enjoyed. The music and fun at Port Vauban are free to the public; no ticket needed. Libations are extra! Salut.