During our three day stay in Antibes, we tried to be pretty low-key. We were getting a little tired of sight seeing and going, going, going so we spent the days sleeping in late, having a leisurely breakfast and then would do only one activity (which was sometimes followed by an afternoon nap). Our second day we went into the town of Antibes to visit their market, the Picasso museum and walk around the old town. The town itself is quite small so seeing the museum, market and village only takes about 2-3 hours depending on how much shopping you want to do.
Our first stop was the Provencal market. We got here around 10:30am and it was actually a much smaller market than I expected. The one in Nice had much more for sale so I was a little disappointed. However, there was one very excellent spice stall and I loaded up on Herbes de Provence and the lady’s own specially made spice mixes. I got a wonderful smoky salt rub for meat, a persillade and a curry-laden fish rub. Overall, the market was a little bit of a let-down.
Following the market, we headed to the Grimaldi castle, which used to be owned by the Grimaldi family of Monaco but was donated to the town and now houses the Picasso museum. Picasso and his much, much younger wife, Francois Gilot, lived in this building for over a year at the request of the Grimaldis who sponsored Picasso’s art work. Picasso was in an unusually good mood during his stay here with his hot young wife, people paying for his meals and wine and spending his afternoons sun bathing. Most of the paintings he did here are happy themes of satyrs and fauns frolicking in gardens and playing instruments. He also got kind of obsessed with ceramics and pottery making during this time as well. It’s a small but well laid out and thoughtful museum.
We walked over to the beach areas, which are covered in private clubs. For a per person fee, you can get a lounger and umbrella for the day and have lunch, drink wine and hang out.
The last day of our stay, we treated ourselves to a VERY overpriced lunch at the Hotel Cap du Eden Roc. I had hotly debated staying at this hotel instead of the Belles Rives so I was insistent on doing a hotel snoop and having lunch at their poolside terrace restaurant. We arrived a little early and walked around the expansive grounds. I will say that the gardens and property here are drop dead gorgeous. I also loved the art work and sculptures they had sprinkled throughout the property.
After killing 15 minutes walking around the gardens, we headed to the pool area, which is also gorgeous. I will say that one draw back to the Belles Rives is that it has no pool so if you don’t like the beach or sand and prefer a pool, this is probably your hotel of choice. I wouldn’t mind spending a night or two here just for the pool.
We made reservations at their Terrace Restaurant, which sits on a deck overlooking the ocean and their private pier. This hotel is very popular with celebrities and the well-heeled who tender in from their massive yachts in the harbor for lunch, dinner or drinks. No celebrity sightings during our lunch visit though! Our waitress set us up right by the water’s edge and adjusted our umbrella to keep us both in the shade. It was quite muggy and humid this day so shade was a must.
We started with cocktails and perused the menu for a bit before decided to start with a sushi appetizer to share. I’d been eating quite a bit on this trip so I opted for a piece of roasted sea bass with vegetables while Steve tried a $45 club sandwich (told you it was overpriced). They did have a nice, albeit expensive, wine selection so we chose a light Sancerre white wine to go with lunch.
Overall we did enjoy our lunch but it just didn’t feel like a good value for the cost and quality of the food. The Chevre d’Or, which was even more expensive, felt like a better value. It’s definitely a “if you have to ask, you can’t afford” kind of atmosphere. This hotel is very exclusive – you can’t even enter the property without having a reservation at one of their restaurants, spa or be a hotel guest. They gave our uber driver a hassle at the gate when he came to pick us up after lunch! That being said, I would absolutely stay here for at least a night to two just to enjoy their incredible infinity pool and to see how the other half lives.