Antibes and Cote D'Azur Advice

Old Mar 29th, 2016, 12:59 AM
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Antibes and Cote D'Azur Advice

We're a late 20s couple looking to spend more than a week (think 7-9 days) in Cote D'Azur in late May. I've been scrolling throughout the forums, and I've found a few useful pieces of advice, however, I just want to keep our options open when it comes to what's available.

So, we're mostly going to rent (airbnb has some very chic and interesting properties, often half the price of a tiny tin-can of a hotel room). But we're unsure in terms of location - is Antibes better than Juan les Pins? We're not totally keen on Nice, since it's a fairly big city, and we want a bit more quiet. It's the same for St. Tropez - while it's flashy and everything, I'd like to avoid that for 7 days. Are there better alternatives to Antibes in the same area? (that also have a sea opening?)

A few other questions were:

- How likely are we to have a beach-like weather at the end of May? (Based on recent experience, since weather has changed quite a bit lately)
- Are there any specific no-miss activities in the surrounding areas? (for example, it's likely that we will cycle in Provence for a day or two, since it's so close-by)

Forgot to mention this one - we'll be going by car.

Thank you all in advance!
auxesis is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2016, 01:45 AM
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When I was 20 we went to Juan les Pins - we liked it a lot.
Now I find Antibes nicer but we are older and have a thicker wallet and like food more than beach volley...

Close to Antibes you have Marineland, a park with orcas and such.

If you have a car and can go anywhere, I like the towns/villages further down, like Bormes les Mimosas, La Croix Valmer, Gassin, Grimaud. Some are close to the beach, some in the mountain - but in may you will have no problem to go to the beach. And the area is full of walks/hikes.

Can't help about weather (nice weather) we are not often in may and last time I didn't try to go into the sea. But it should be doable.
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Old Mar 29th, 2016, 02:26 AM
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Antibes is an old, pretty walled town. Juan les Pins is a beach resort, not particularly pretty, but a very pleasant place to stay if you are in the Pinede area, or towards the Cap.

End of May Juan les Pins will be quiet, as it is not a holiday time. The main advantage of Juan is the beaches; white sandy beaches with beachclubs and restaurants. You can eat right on the beach, with your toes in the sand. You don't have that in Antibes.

On the other hand, Antibes is a more interesting town, with narrow streets, nice restaurants. There is a tiny sandy beach just next to the remparts, and a larger one just outside of town - towards the Cap. Still walking distance to the old town. There's also a good beach at Plage de la Garoupe, a little further on the Cap.

If you have a car, check that your accommodation has parking. It's not easy to find free parking in Antibes. A little easier in Juan les Pins.

End of May you will probably have beach weather, though the sea will still be cold. No guarantees though.

There's the film festival in Cannes - check the dates. It's fun to go and sit in a cafe and watch the people. Monte Carlo Grand Prix is also in May.

St Tropez is not really that flashy. Expensive, sure, but it's also a lovely village. But in Antibes/Juan les Pins you are better placed to visit the nearby hilltop villages and towns. St Tropez can be a nightmare if you are trying to get in and out by car.
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Old Mar 29th, 2016, 02:46 AM
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My one stay in Juan Les Pins was close to the train station for day trips. Very nice price/quality/convenience option, but the place has no character. Antibes has that charming center, great market, nice shops, and cute little postage-stamp beaches. The only issues is convenience to the station for day trips.
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Old Mar 29th, 2016, 03:25 AM
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I visited both these places a couple of years ago and got a really good 'vibe' from Antibes, I would go back there again. Can't put my finger on it but there was something about it that really appealed.

I certainly would steer clear of St Tropez.
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Old Mar 29th, 2016, 11:06 AM
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To everyone: thanks for replying so quickly and quite in detail!

The description for Antibes is quite up our alley.

To be honest - our initial destination for our trip was supposed to be San Sebastian but then it became clear that the weather is so unstable there that we shifted towards something with more sun, and less rain (we have plenty of rain here in Belgium ). Good news with all the hikes and bike trails. BTW - in regards to the car park, what we found and seems to suit us quite well is a weekly pass in a car park (some 50EUR).

Is there anything that we absolutely shouldn't miss? We're foodies, so we're definitely going to hit the local farmer's and condiment markets to replenish our stocks. For wines - I know rose is quite popular in the area, but is it worth traveling somewhere nearby for something authentic?
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Old Mar 29th, 2016, 11:11 PM
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I'm staying in Antibes now for 7 weeks and have stayed several times in Nice. Antibes is a very nice town with a good vibe but don't discount Nice. The promenade is really wonderful place to walk or bike. Public transit is very good and easy to get to places on bus or train but that's same for either Antibes or Nice. Juan les Pins is as people say primarily a beach town. It's a 25 minute walk that my dog and I enjoy taking from center of Antibes. I've noticed as we walk that there is a lot of public parking that is free until June in Antibes. Not in old town but not very far. Mougins is known for its restaurants. I think Friday market in Valbonne is one of nicest and comes closer to markets in Provence than most others. Drives on the corniches between Nice and Monaco are a must. Villefrance is lovely place to stop for lunch one day. There is no shortage of pretty places to drive to along Côte d'Azur!
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Old Mar 30th, 2016, 02:46 AM
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Nice also has some solid restaurants with very good prices in the back streets near the train station (those in the old town tend to be more touristy/showy). You pretty much have to drive 2 hours to get to extensive wine areas though.
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Old Mar 30th, 2016, 03:04 AM
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Weather like it is about 17c right now. Tourists wear t-shirts and locals jackets.

Where are you from in Belgium ? We are from Waterloo.
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Old Mar 31st, 2016, 01:01 PM
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Let's start with weather. By end of May, you will have bright sunshine (do not forget adequate protection!), warm weather and the sea will be warm enough for swimming.

For culinary experiences, just browse the localô charcuteries, rotisseries, patisseries - you will find an exceptional quality even of take-away products at the Côte d'Azur. It is really amazing. Every grocery store will have a good selection of regional wines, including pre-cooled whites and rosés. There is no need to buy Domaine Ott, even cheap local wines taste good.

For restaurant search, I strongly recommend the Michelon Red Guide, which is available online under viamichelin.com. Click on "restaurants". There are search functions with different critiria (price, quality...). A good bet are always the "Bib Gorumand" restaurants with good quality of food (often close to that of starred restaurants) but moderate prices. In the area around Antibes, you find some Bibs in Mougins, Vallauris and Le Cannet. It will be worth the drive!
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Old Apr 1st, 2016, 09:37 AM
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You can see historical water temps for that area on this website, it's very good http://worldseatemp.com/en/France/Antibes/

average at end of May around 18-19 C in that area. That would never be warm enough for me to go swimming, but maybe you.
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Old Apr 1st, 2016, 10:58 AM
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may is usually great. Lots of Swimming pools are heated so in May they will be around 25c.
Just ask when booking !
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