14 Top Attractions & Things to Do in Antibes-Juan-les-Pins
This classic French Riviera resort town offers all the attractions of a summertime vacation destination: sunny days, sandy beaches, and a lively ambience. On the legendary Côte d'Azur, between Nice and Cannes, Antibes has 23 kilometers of coastline overlooking the serene blue Mediterranean Sea. There are more than a dozen public beaches on the Cap d'Antibes and in Juan-les-Pins-both areas are considered part of the Antibes community. The beautiful natural setting of pine groves and sea views inspired Impressionist painters and still draws celebrities. The Cap d'Antibes peninsula is famous for its exclusive villas. Blessed with a mild climate and flourishing vegetation, Antibes also has an important commercial flower-growing industry that includes roses, carnations, and other blooms. Besides the allure of sunshine and beaches, Antibes boasts an interesting cultural heritage. The medieval fortified castle in the Old Town was for many years the seat of a bishop and a holiday residence of the Grimaldi family.
See also: Where to Stay in Antibes & Juan-les-Pins
1 Vieil Antibes (Old Town)
In a beautiful location on the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), the Old Town of Antibes is an inviting place to wander at a leisurely pace. The narrow, winding cobblestone streets are filled with little boutiques, gourmet food shops, cafés, and restaurants. With its seaside views, stone buildings, elegant fountains, and bougainvillea-draped alleyways, Vieil Antibes has the typical character of an old Mediterranean city. This medieval quarter is especially bustling on market days when vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers as well as other artisanal Provençal products. After admiring the ancient buildings and soaking up the charming historic ambience, visitors may go for a stroll along the ramparts. Connecting to the Old Town, this pleasant pathway offers an exceptional panoramic outlook onto the Mediterranean Sea.
2 Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pin Beaches
One of the main tourist draws of Antibes is the beach scene. The picturesque Cap d'Antibes peninsula and Juan-les-Pins coastline lies on the Golfe Juan extending between Antibes and Cannes. The name for Juan-les-Pins is derived from the scenery of pine groves. Both Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pins have many seaside hotels and popular beach resorts. In the area, there are 13 public beaches-from small protected beaches to larger beaches with waterfront restaurants. Many of the beaches have public showers and toilet facilities. Some have snack bars and parasol rentals.
3 Musée Picasso
This renowned museum occupies the Château Grimaldi, an impressive stone castle with views of the sea. The castle was an important residence during the Middles Ages and has typical medieval defensive towers dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. Housed in this historic building, the museum offers a unique insight into the work produced by Picasso while he lived on the Côte d'Azur. The museum gives these paintings the proper context, as they represent Picasso's infinite creativity and a period of joie de vivre in his life. The museum also has an extensive collection of contemporary art including pieces from the most important movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. The permanent collection includes works by Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, Anna-Eva Bergman, and Joan Miró.
Address: Château Grimaldi, Place Mariejol, Antibes
4 Chemin des Douaniers
Along the verdant seafront of the Cap d'Antibes, this five-kilometer coastal walk provides visitors with a refreshing way to experience the scenery. Beginning at the ramparts of the Old Town, the footpath leads to a small cove and then follows along the walls surrounding the parklands of private castles. The pathway winds around the rocky headland along small freshwater creeks and continues until the tip of Cap d'Antibes at the Villa Eilenroc. It is then possible to take in the exquisite beauty of the Sentier des Douaniers, a pathway surrounded by landscaped gardens that flourishes with many fragrant flowers.
5 Jazz à Juan Festival
The well-known Jazz à Juan festival is held in Antibes every July. The first such festival was a tribute to the famous Jazz musician who loved Antibes, Sidney Bechet. Held in a spectacular setting in Juan-les-Pins under a pine-tree grove near the Mediterranean Sea, the festival has welcomed jazz legends since the 1960s including Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn. In addition, the festival provides a venue for talented newcomers. The repertoire of music reflects a great diversity of cultures such as American, African, Latin, and Cuban. Musical performances cover a wide range of styles from Cool Jazz and New Orleans Jazz to Gospel, Blues, Swing, Be-Bop, and Electro-Jazz. This special musical festival offers tourists and locals a chance to experience the thriving jazz culture and heritage of Antibes Juan-les-Pins.
Address: La Pinède, Antibes (Juan-les-Pins)
6 Musée Peynet
This unique museum displays a collection of whimsical sculptures, humorous drawings, and comic strips. Founded in 1995, the museum is dedicated to the cartoonist Raymond Peynet's work. His sixty-year career is represented here through the exhibitions of lithographs, etchings, drawings, and other mediums. The museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of other cartoonists' works.
Address: Place National, Antibes
7 Fort Carré
On the peninsula of Saint-Roch, the Fort Carré is built on a rock at 26 meters above sea level with a 360-degree panoramic view. Built on the orders of King Henry II of France in the second half of the sixteenth century, this amazing fortress was once used as a sentry post and defensive site for Antibes, the last French port before the border with Nice, which at the time was a threat to Antibes. The fort is surrounded by four gorgeous hectares of parkland featuring typical Mediterranean flora and fauna. South of the old fort is the Port Vauban harbor.
Address: Avenue du 11 Novembre, Antibes
8 Cathedral Notre-Dame
The largest church in Antibes, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea Cathedral has a pleasing rose-colored facade that exemplifies Provençal Baroque architecture. In the heart of the Old Town, the cathedral has a magnificent entrance. The intricately detailed doors were sculpted by Jacques Dolle during the 18th century. Visitors will also be delighted by the artwork inside the cathedral, including the noteworthy Vierge du Rosaire painting by Louis Bréa circa 1513. This famous piece depicts Mary holding the Christ child with little cherubs in the background. The panels surrounding the Virgin Mary portrait represent the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary: five each of Joy, Sorrow, and Glory.
Address: Rue du Saint-Esprit, Antibes
9 Villa Thuret Botanic Gardens
Near the Plateau de la Garoupe on the boulevard du Cap in Antibes, the Jardin Thuret was created by botanist Gustave Thuret who laid it out around 1856. This lush five-hectare botanical garden boasts a great diversity of plants including many native plants that thrive in the climate of the Cap d'Antibes. The garden also features 1,600 different exotic species, including eucalyptus trees from Australia. There is also an arboretum with an extensive collection of trees and shrubs. Besides being a tourist attraction, the Thuret Botanic Gardens serves as a space for scientific research and studies of conservation.
Address: 90 Chemin Gustave Raymond, Antibes
10 Notre Dame de Bon Port la Garoupe
This small sanctuary on the Cap d'Antibes plateau is a historic pilgrimage chapel. The intimate and inspiring spiritual space features frescoes and commemorative plaques as well as a 14th-century icon from Sébastopol. There is also an interesting Madonna and Child statue crafted from wood and entirely gilded.
Address: Chemin du phare, Antibes
11 Villa Eilenroc
At the tip of the Cap d'Antibes, on a superb estate of 11 hectares, the Villa Eilenroc epitomizes the luxury of the French Riviera during the Belle Epoque. Built in 1867, the villa was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris and Monte Carlo opera houses. One of the highlights of visiting the villa is a stroll through its beautiful park, which features serene Mediterranean landscaping and a gorgeous rose garden with thousands of varieties. Most of these fragrant roses originated in Antibes, France's capital of rose growing. There is also a 3.7-kilometer coastal path that begins at the beach of the Villa Eilenroc and ends at the Garoupe Bay. The trail is perfect for a leisurely walk with stops to admire the breathtaking panoramic views along the Cap d'Antibes coastline. After completing the walk, visitors may spend time at the tiny secluded beach of l'Anse de l'Argent Faux.
Address: 460 Avenue Beaumont, Antibes
12 Archaeology Museum
In the Bastion Saint-André, this museum offers an excellent collection of archaeological findings. The collections represent pieces dating back to Antibes' beginnings as an ancient Greek settlement and then a Roman city. The findings were gathered during various excavations in the city and the surrounding waters. Many precious items were found from Etruscan, Greek, Phoenician, and Roman shipwrecks. The pieces include ceramics, mosaics, coins, and everyday objects, which attest to the extraordinary prosperity of this area during antiquity.
Address: Bastion Saint André, Antibes
13 Nomade at the Bastion Saint-Jaume
The Bastion Shipyard was built where Captain Cousteau's famous ship, the Calypso, set out. At this location, there once stood a temple and then a chapel in Roman times, and later a fortified tower that was destroyed in the 17th century. Though the shipyard closed in 1985, this site now features the remarkable Nomade sculpture. Depicting a man staring out to sea, this innovative and immense installation by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa evokes a sense of mystery and adventure.
Address: Quai Henri Rambaud Port Vauban, Antibes
14 Chapel Saint-Bernardin
Classified as a historical monument, this 16th-century Gothic church was built for the Brotherhood of the White Penitents of Saint Bernardin. The ornate interior surprises visitors with its richness and beauty. Frescoes from the 16th and 19th centuries adorn the walls, and the 18th-century wooden altarpiece was crafted in a magnificent decorative style.
Address: Rue du Docteur Rostan, Antibes
Where to Stay in Antibes & Juan-les-Pins for Sightseeing
For tourists, the best place to stay in Antibes & Juan-les-Pins depends on the main reason for visiting. Juan-les-Pins is known for its lovely beaches and Art Deco architecture, while Antibes offers cultural attractions such as museums and a charming Old Town with 16th-century ramparts. Some hotels lie within easy walking distance of both towns. Here are some highly-rated hotels in convenient locations:
- Luxury Hotels: Occupying the waterfront former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Juan-les-Pins, the Art Deco Hotel Belles Rives is pet-friendly and features a Michelin-starred restaurant, seafront terraces, a private beach, and chic rooms with sparkling sea views. An easy walk from both Antibes and Juans-les-Pins, the boutique La Villa has free parking and an outdoor heated pool. Its stylish rooms come with balconies or terraces with pool or sea views. In a sleek glass and steel building, the bold and contemporary Royal Antibes Hotel, Residence, Beach & Spa overlooks the sea a short walk from the Musée Picasso.
- Mid-Range Hotels: Within walking distance of both Juan-les-Pins and the Old Town in Antibes, family-run Le Petit Castel is a boutique hotel with fresh, modern rooms; a shady terrace; boules pit; and gym. It's a seven-minute walk to the beach and about ten minutes to Musée Picasso in Antibes from the hilltop Mas Djoliba Hotel. Residing in a charming Provençal farmhouse, this seasonal hotel offers free parking and a pool. A five-minute walk from the beach and less than ten minutes from Juan-les-Pins, pet-friendly Les Strelitzias offers bright, spacious rooms with pink and red accents.
- Budget Hotels: In a quiet residential area, a ten-minute walk to Juan-les-Pins and beaches, the Astor Hotel serves an organic breakfast, and its studio apartments are a great option for those who like to self cater. A short walk to the beach in Juans-les-Pins, the pet-friendly, Art Deco BEST WESTERN Le Grand Pavois offers spacious guest rooms with Provençal colors, while the welcoming Hotel Colbert is also pet-friendly and is only a block from the beach in Juans-les-Pins.
Day Trips from Antibes-Juan-les-Pins
This little hillside village, pronounced "beeyot", was once home to people from Liguria (a region of northern Italy). With its steep narrow streets and winding paths, Biot is an interesting place to wander and explore. The village is known for its arts and crafts, including gold and silver work, ceramics, handcrafted glass, wood carvings, weaving, and silk-screen printing. The Church Sainte-Marie-Madeleine has two wonderful altar pictures from the Nice school as well as a Madonna with Rosary by Louis Bréa. A short drive away from the center of the village is the Musée Fernand Léger on the Chemin du Val de Pôme. Created by Léger's widow, Nadja, in the 1950s, the museum displays the artist's works in a comprehensive fashion. The enormous mosaic on its outside wall was originally intended for the sports stadium in Hanover, Germany. Another highlight is the portrait of the artist in wire by Alexander Calder.
Perched on a hilltop and surrounded by fields of flowers, this beautiful village is the world capital of perfume. The native species of roses, jasmine, violet, mimosa, and lavender are used to make exquisite fragrances, the rich bouquets are unique to Provence. The town has a perfume museum and five perfumeries including the famous perfume-makers Fragonard and Galimard. Grasse also has several exceptional public gardens-the Jardin des Plantes near the Parfumerie Fragonard, the Parc du Château de Mouans-Sartoux with its terrace of flowering trees and wisteria, and the Garden of Princess Pauline (Napoleon's sister) offering a panoramic view of the town. In addition, there are several other wonderful gardens, such as the Jardin de la Villa Fort France, that tourists may visit for a small entrance fee. Another joy of visiting Grasse is wandering the center of the old medieval town with its charming narrow streets. From some vantage points, there are amazing views of the Mediterranean sea, as the Bay of Cannes is visible in the distance.
As the location of the glitzy Cannes Film Festival and boasting miles of sandy beaches, this fabled French Riviera resort town has a reputation for glamour and luxury. Cannes offers visitors the elegance of the Côte d'Azur with its Belle Epoque hotels and stylish seafront restaurants. A stroll down the town's main street, the Boulevard de la Croisette, gives a taste of the good life at its best. People-watching and sunbathing are the most popular activities in the summertime, when the balmy Mediterranean weather adds to the perfect vacation experience. More than just a beach town, Cannes also has an interesting historic quarter, Le Suquet, with quaint medieval streets and several remarkable churches including the Notre-Dame de l'Espérance, which hosts a musical festival during July.