Antibes Easter Day Trip

Even though France is officially a secular country, the reality is that Catholic holiday traditions are still strong. On Easter, there is usually a nice luncheon for family and friends. But... we hardly know anyone here, so there was no Easter luncheon of lamb and flageolets for us. We decided to visit Antibes, along with many other foreign visitors. It's a short ride on a regional SNCF train. Antibes has so many facets. It's a very ancient town, populated in the Iron Age, and the town was founded as a Greek colony by Phocaeans from what is now Marseille.

Later it was a Roman town with aqueducs supplying water and amphitheatres. Napoleon Bonaparte came there after escaping Elba, but didn't receive the welcome he hoped for and continued northwards to Paris.

Nowadays it's an upscale town, attractive to tourists from all over. The old city reminded me of Byblos in Lebanon, with its narrow streets, small shops and restaurants, and the marina (as well as the touristy vibe and shops) is reminiscent of Sausalito in California (USA).

Antibes marina
Antibes marina

The covered market is full of wonderful produce, cheese, soaps, pasta, pastries and more. The open air market in Nice is much larger, but Antibes has its own cachet.

It was nice to first see those beautiful zucchini blooms (left photo) and later to eat them (battered and fried) as an appetizer at a local restaurant, La Cascade (off Rue Sade), where we sat between Americans at one table, and Japanese at the other. Note: Lunch for 2 cost 52 euros, including a shared appetizer, 2 main dishes, and 2 glasses of white wine. This seemed to be an average cost. There were less expensive pizza or falafel places, and much more expensive restaurants around the Square Albert 1er.

There was live music in the square where we had lunch, a little too loud for my taste, but pretty good.

Even though it was Easter Sunday, the shops were almost all open, selling a large variety of things, from souvenirs and postcards to sweaters to tea to cheese. Part of town was really crowded. We wore our masks when we'd go indoors, but not everyone did.

Antibe square with restaurants' outdoor seating
Antibes square

On our way back to the train station, we walked through the marina, which had a mix of smaller sailboats and very large yachts, with many large motorboats. Quite a few seemed to be English (London, Guernsey, and more). We asked two young men about getting a spot; it may be less expensive than in the San Francisco Bay Area (what is?) but there are very long waiting lists. It seems you must wait about 5 years for a spot in Marseille! For Antibes, they weren't sure.

The water was clear enough to see the bottom, and we saw fish and jellyfish.

By mid-afternoon, we headed back to Nice. It was a pleasant day to be a tourist in Antibes!

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