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16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Antibes-Juan-les-Pins

Written by Lisa Alexander
Nov 17, 2020

On the legendary Côte d'Azur (French Riviera), between Nice and Cannes, this classic resort town offers all the attractions of a summertime vacation destination: sunny days, sandy beaches, and a lively ambience. Antibes has 23 kilometers of coastline with dozens of beaches overlooking the serene blue Mediterranean Sea.

The beautiful natural setting of pine groves and sea views inspired Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and other artists, who captured the scenery in vibrant paintings. Blessed with a mild climate and flourishing vegetation, Antibes has a 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.

Antibes-Juan-les-Pins is one of the best places to visit on the French Riviera for sightseeing, but it's also a great place to just slow down and relax. Discover the most interesting monuments, museums, and beaches in the area with our list of the top tourist attractions in Antibes-Juan-les-Pins.

See also: Where to Stay in Antibes & Juan-les-Pins

1. Vieil Antibes (Old Town)

Vieil Antibes (Old Town)

The walled 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. Also awaiting visitors are enchanting surprises, from seaside views and bougainvillea-draped alleyways to shaded squares with outdoor dining terraces.

This medieval quarter is especially bustling during market hours, when vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as artisanal products like cheese and olives. A traditional market, the Marché Provençal, is held every morning (except Mondays outside of summer) at stalls beneath a covered hall on the Cours Masséna.

After admiring the Old Town's atmospheric pedestrian lanes and ancient stone buildings, visitors may go for a stroll along the ramparts. Overlooking the Baie des Anges, the path along the city's historic fortifications offers an exceptional panoramic outlook onto the Mediterranean Sea.

Two top tourist attractions are found within Vieil Antibes: the Cathédrale Notre-Dame and the renowned Musée Picasso (in the medieval Château Grimaldi).

2. Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pin Beaches

Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pin Beaches

One of the main tourist draws of Antibes is the beach scene. Outside the Antibes city limits, there are two areas with excellent beaches: the Cap d'Antibes peninsula and the Juan-les-Pins coastline that extends along the Golfe-Juan between Antibes and Cannes. Both areas have public and private beaches. Many of the public beaches offer showers and toilet facilities; private beaches generally have waterfront restaurants.

Named after the pine groves sheltering the shoreline, Juan-les-Pins is prized for its pristine environment, as well as its stylish beach clubs. Les Pirates Beach Club is a popular private club with a restaurant, set on a shoreline of fine golden sand. A favorite public beach in Juan-les-Pins is the Plage de la Gallice, which has a protected sandy shoreline and a laid-back ambience.

The Cap d'Antibes peninsula is known for its hidden beaches tucked away in coves and the fancy villas that dot its hillsides. One of the most picturesque spots on the Cap d'Antibes is the Plage de la Garoupe. This private beach boasts fine white sand and gentle crystalline waters. During the off season, the Place de la Garoupe allows public access.

The beachfront property of the Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pins is dotted with restaurants and seaside hotels. The five-star Cap d'Antibes Beach Hotel provides access to a private beach. Other Cap d'Antibes hotels with private beaches include the legendary Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc and the glamorous Hôtel Belles Rives.

3. Musée Picasso

Musée Picasso

The Musée Picasso occupies the Château Grimaldi, an impressive medieval fortress with sea views. Picasso used this château as an art studio for several months in 1946, and during this period, he completed 23 paintings and 44 drawings.

The exhibits present over 200 works by Picasso, including many famous pieces. 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 a permanent collection of modern and contemporary artworks created by renowned artists including Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, Anna-Eva Bergman, and Joan Miró. The castle's terrace displays sculptures by Joan Miró, Germaine Richier, Bernard Pagès, among others.

Address: Château Grimaldi, Place Mariejol, Antibes

4. Chemin des Douaniers

Chemin des Douaniers

This 3.7-kilometer coastal walk is a refreshing way to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Cap d'Antibes. Because of the gusty breezes off the bay, the Chemin des Douaniers has earned the nickname "Sentier de Tirepoil," which loosely translates to "wind-blown hair trail." The salty sea air and panoramic views are certainly invigorating.

Beginning at the Plage de la Garoupe, the narrow, winding seaside trail includes pedestrian staircases, and portions are near cliff edges overlooking the Mediterranean waters. The trail also continues alongside terraces and gardens of private villas.

The pathway winds around the Cap d'Antibes headland, through pine groves and across freshwater creeks. The trail continues until the tip of Cap d'Antibes at the Villa Eilenroc (open to the public), which has splendid grounds with a rose garden and olive grove.

The Chemin des Douaniers falls within an area of the Cap d'Antibes that is a protected nature site (and includes the Lerins Islands). Visitors appreciate the unspoiled environment with its lush vegetation and wildlife. Seagulls are a common sight, and dolphins may be spotted frolicking in the bay.

5. Jazz à Juan Festival

Jazz à Juan Festival

The well-known Jazz à Juan festival is held in Antibes every July. The first festival held in 1960 was a tribute to the famous jazz musician, Sidney Bechet, who loved Antibes.

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.

Address: Jardins de la Pinède, Boulevard Baudoin, Antibes (Juan-les-Pins)

Official site: http://www.jazzajuan.com/en-us/home.aspx

6. Musée Peynet

Musée Peynet | Tony Bowden / photo modified

Founded in 1995, this museum is dedicated to the work of cartoonist Raymond Peynet, who lived in Antibes for many years. The collection displays whimsical drawings, etchings, lithographs, and comic strips created by Peynet during his 60-year career.

The museum's collection also presents other cartoonists' works. Over 30 noteworthy illustrators of the 19th and 20th centuries (as well as contemporary cartoonists) are represented.

Address: Place National, Antibes

7. Fort Carré

Fort Carré

On the peninsula of Saint-Roch, the Fort Carré stands 26 meters above sea level with a 360-degree panoramic view. Built on the orders of Henry II in the 16th century, this fortress was once used as a sentry post and defensive site for Antibes.

The fort is surrounded by four 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. Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea

Cathedral Notre-Dame | ellevalentine / photo modified

In the heart of Vieil Antibes, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea has a pleasing rose-colored facade that exemplifies Provençal Baroque architecture. The facade also features intricately detailed doors sculpted by Joseph Dolle during the 18th century.

Visitors will also be delighted by the artwork inside the cathedral, including the Vierge du Rosaire painting by Louis Bréa circa 1515. This famous piece depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child with little cherubs in the background. The panels surrounding the Virgin Mary represent the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary: five each of Joy, Sorrow, and Glory.

Address: Rue du Saint-Esprit, Antibes

9. Jardin Botanique de la Villa Thuret

Jardin Botanique de la Villa Thuret

Near the Plateau de la Garoupe on the boulevard du Cap in Antibes, the Jardin Botanique de la Villa Thuret was created by botanist Gustave Thuret who laid it out around 1856. The novelist George Sand wrote in Letters of a Traveller that it was "the loveliest garden [she] had ever seen."

This stunning 3.5-hectare botanical garden boasts a great diversity of plants, including many exotic plants that thrive in the climate of the Cap d'Antibes. There is also an arboretum with an extensive collection of trees and shrubs.

Besides being a tourist attraction, the Villa Thuret Botanical Garden 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

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: 635 Route du Phare, Antibes

11. Villa Eilenroc

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 public 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.

The Chemin des Douaniers, a 3.7-kilometer coastal path begins at the beach near the Villa Eilenroc and ends at the Garoupe Bay. This thrilling seafront trail offers sweeping views along the Cap d'Antibes.

Address: 460 Avenue Beaumont, Antibes

12. Musée d'Archéologie

Bastion Saint-André (Musée d'Archéologie)

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 collection includes findings from various excavations in the city and the surrounding waters. Many precious items were found from Etruscan, Greek, Phoenician, and Roman shipwrecks. The pieces on display include ceramics, mosaics, coins, vases, and other everyday objects.

Address: 1 Avenue Général Maizière, Bastion Saint André, Antibes

13. Nomade at the Bastion Saint-Jaume

Nomade at the Bastion Saint-Jaume | Daniel70mi / photo modified

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: 14 Rue du Docteur Rostan, Antibes

15. Day Trip to the Ancient Hilltop Village of Biot

Ancient hilltop village of Biot

Just seven kilometers away (about a 20-minute drive) from Antibes, Biot is a quaint hilltop village with cobblestone streets and idyllic pastoral views. Not to be missed is the Eglise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, which has a Vierge du Rosaire painting by Louis Bréa.

Other things to do in Biot include browsing the town's art galleries and boutiques. The village is known for its arts and crafts, including gold and silver work, ceramics, handcrafted glass, wood carvings, weaving, and silk-screen printing.

A short drive away from the center of the village is the Musée National 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 outdoor mosaic was originally intended for a sports stadium in Hanover, Germany.

16. Day Trip to Grasse, the Perfume Capital of France

Grasse, the perfume capital of France

Perched on a hilltop and surrounded by fields of flowers, this lovely town is just 20 kilometers away from Antibes. This characteristic Provençal town is a delightful day-trip destination with many cultural attractions.

Grasse is the world capital of perfume, which has been made here since the 16th century. In the countryside around the town are aromatic species of roses, jasmine, violet, mimosa, and lavender used to create exquisite fragrances.

Today, Grasse has several exceptional perfumeries. The prestigious Fragonard (20 Boulevard Fragonard) and Galimard (73 route de Cannes) factories are open to the public for guided tours.

At the Musée International de la Parfumerie (2 Boulevard du Jeu de Ballon), tourists learn about the history, art, and science of creating perfume. Visitors will also be delighted by the International Perfume Museum's fragrant garden, which is filled with sustainable aromatic flowers and plants.

Another top attraction is the Musée Fragonard in the Hôtel de Villeneuve (14 Rue Jean Ossola), an elegant historic mansion. The museum displays 15 important paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, an 18th-century artist who is known for his delicate and joyful Rococo style.

Another joy of visiting Grasse is wandering the medieval center (Old Town), with its narrow streets leading to shady public squares. The town's main drag (Rue Jean Ossola and Rue Marcel Journet) has many cafés, restaurants, and shops including perfume boutiques.

The historic center of Grasse is a typical Provençal hilltop town with pedestrian staircases, refreshing fountains, and views of the surrounding landscape. From some vantage points, there are amazing views of the Mediterranean sea, as the Bay of Cannes is visible in the distance.

Not to be missed is the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-du-Puy, a 12th-century Romanesque church that presides over a square of pastel-painted buildings. The exterior of the church looks weathered, but the interior houses precious artworks, including an altarpiece by Louis Bréa and paintings by Peter Paul Rubens.

Grasse Center Map - Tourist Attractions
Grasse Map - Attractions

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 many shops, cafés, and restaurants. Here are some highly rated hotels in convenient locations:

  • Luxury Hotels: Occupying the waterfront villa where Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in 1925, the five-star Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins features a Michelin-starred restaurant, seafront terraces, a private beach, and chic rooms with sparkling sea views.

    Nestled in a cove with a private sandy beach, the Cap d'Antibes Beach Hotel offers spacious, contemporary-style guest rooms. This five-star property includes a Michelin-starred restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, and lush Mediterranean gardens.

    Another high-end hotel on the Cap d'Antibes is the legendary Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, a luxuriant seaside property with a parkland and private beach. This five-star resort has several gourmet restaurants, an upscale spa, and a saltwater swimming pool.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: The four-star La Villa Cap d'Antibes in a quiet residential area of Juan-les-Pins has an outdoor swimming pool and terrace where breakfast is served. Its stylish rooms come with balconies or terraces with pool or sea views.

    Within walking distance of both Juan-les-Pins and Vieil Antibes, the family-run Hôtel le Petit Castel is a boutique hotel with fresh, modern rooms. Amenities include a shady garden terrace and a fitness center.

    It's a short walk to the beach or the Musée Picasso from the Mas Djoliba Hotel in Antibes. This three-star hotel occupies a renovated Provençal farmhouse; the property has a garden and swimming pool.

    Les Strelitzias is just a five-minute walk from the beach and less than 10 minutes from Juan-les-Pins. This three-star hotel offers bright, stylish guest rooms with private balconies.
  • Budget Hotels: In a quiet residential area, a 10-minute walk to Juan-les-Pins and beaches, the Hôtel & Studios Astor has studio apartments ideal for those who like to do their own cooking. This two-star hotel also offers a continental breakfast.

    The Hôtel Le Pré Catelan is just steps away from the beaches and town center of Juan-les-Pins. This three-star hotel features guests rooms adorned with cheerful Provençal decor. The hotel has a pleasant garden and small swimming pool.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

French Riviera Beach Holiday: Antibes-Juan-les-Pins is a good starting point to explore the famous Côte d'Azur. A short drive or train ride from Antibes (11 kilometers away) is the legendary seaside resort of Cannes, with its Belle Epoque hotels, stylish restaurants, and glitzy Cannes Film Festival held in May. A stroll down Cannes' main street, the Boulevard de la Croisette, gives you a taste of the good life.

Tourist Attractions in and around Nice: Within a 30-minute train ride or drive (22 kilometers away) is Nice, a picturesque city appreciated for its elegant waterfront promenade, quaint Old Town, and wealth of cultural attractions. The quintessential French Riviera village of Cagnes-Sur-Mer (11 kilometers away from Antibes) and other pleasant day trips from Nice await vacationers who have more time to enjoy the area.

Glamorous Monaco and Charming Provence: Slightly farther away are two more top attractions: the medieval "perched village" of Eze (48 kilometers from Antibes) and gorgeous, glittering Monaco (50 kilometers away). If you are traveling by car, you can also visit the charming hilltop towns of Provence, such as Tourette-sur-Loup (25 kilometers away) and Saint-Paul-de-Vence (17 kilometers away).

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