Have you seen the movie Chocolat with Johnny Depp? In a quaint French village, a mysterious woman wanders through the cobblestone streets, infusing the town with passion, indulgence, and a whimsical air of magic. This is the only way I’ve found adequately describes my experience in Antibes, France. (Minus Johnny Depp, of course.)
After just a few hours in Antibes, it had completely stolen my heart. The small, winding streets and pastel pink-painted buildings are beautiful, but can’t compare to the breathtaking views of the mountains overlooking the sea. Situated on the French Riviera, Antibes is a small resort town that feels like a hidden gem and is nothing short of romantic. A short bus or train ride from Nice and this beach hideaway is your next escape! If you’re planning to make the trip, might I add a few suggestions on what to do, where to eat, and what to see? Let’s dive in…
What to do:
Antibes is the ideal destination for simple pleasures. From perusing the weekly market to sunbathing at the beach, Antibes is a glorious place to do, well, nothing. Living in a European state of mind, it felt impossible to avoid slowing down and enjoying the beauty in a gelato, a baguette, and the feeling of being sleepy after too much sun.
Little Mermaid at the beach
Antibes has one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve yet to experience. The sea is calm and cool, day and night. It seemed that no matter how deep I would swim, I could still see to the bottom of the crystal clear water. My favorite activity was to swim out to a large, distant rock and “Little Mermaid“. I’d look back at the shore and the overlooking mountains (one of the best views in Antibes) and let the waves crash over me, à la Ariel. My fairytale continues!
Visit the antique market
Finally, one of the most memorable moments in Antibes was going to the outdoor antique market. One morning, on the way to the beach, we stumbled upon tables and blankets overflowing with unusual trinkets, incredible paintings, and old books. As an avid antiquer, I was thrilled to look through the treasure! I walked away with a vintage gold band, the perfect piece to commemorate a few weeks of summer in the south of France.
Where to eat:
Aux Delices Antibois, 10 Rue de la République, 06600 Antibes, France
After coffee, I frequented the bakery Aux Delices Antibois for a fresh baguette. When I say fresh, I mean this crusty loaf was handed to me still hot. As an American, this is something I had literally never experienced and it felt like magic in the making — the ultimate French experience. Antibes was quite slow in the mornings and I’d stroll through the empty streets towards the beach, tearing off pieces of baguette as I went. Whatever was left over from breakfast, I’d eat later in the afternoon with cheese, butter, or a local version of Nutella — swoon.
Merry Mary, 8 Rue du Dr Rostan, 06600 Antibes, France
Merry Mary’s was a daily ritual for Ali (my travel partner) and me. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack, Merry Mary’s was the perfect destination for health food in an otherwise sea of carbs, although I’m not complaining. Buddha bowls, gluten-free avocado toast, and almond milk lattes helped to balance my baguette habit! While sitting on their small patio, we met locals, travelers, and were introduced to several small dogs, happy to join us for lunch.
Pompodoro, 11 Rue du Migrainier, 06600 Antibes, France
Ali had met the chef at Pomodoro earlier in her travels, and when asked to visit the pizza shop on our last evening in Antibes, of course we obliged! This pizza — this insane pizza — was hands down the best thin-crust masterpieces I’ve ever eaten. Trust me, I’m from St. Louis. I know thin crust. Crispy and wafer thin, we almost ate the entire pie. Like most restaurants in Antibes, Pomodoro is a hole-in-the-wall that you might easily overlook as you wander to your next destination. But, don’t miss out!
Moonshine, 8 Rue des Palmiers, 06600 Antibes, France
While most of our trip was filled with French delicacies, Ali and I couldn’t say no when we saw the sign for “Taco Tuesday”. In our most Parisian dresses, we sat down at Moonshine around 9 p.m. on a Tuesday. With a Rock n’ Roll meets vintage Americana vibe, we felt right at home. This feeling only intensified when we realized there was an entire shelf of hot sauce above us and that the Black Keys were echoing through the speakers. While Moonshine has all of the makings for classic barbecue, we came for one thing and one thing only: tacos. Well, chicken tacos and margaritas. Never in my life did I expect such awesome tacos (which I covered in hot sauce) to be found in the south of France. As we were paying for our bill, the hostess asked if we wanted to try their infused whiskeys. A shot of vanilla bourbon later, and we were out the door!
The Socca Bar, 1 Rue James Close, 06600 Antibes, France
On my first night in Antibes, Ali and I wandered into Socca. The owners and what appeared to be their family all sat outside on the wooden patio, drinking wine and laughing under the moonlight. At first, we assumed they had already closed, but the owners insisted that they were still open and to take a seat inside. The lighting was dim, the walls were painted a deep emerald green, and the open doors carried a cool summer air through the tiny restaurant. This experience was the first time I had tasted socca, a chickpea pancake decorated like pizza. Ours came with pepperoni and positively melted in your mouth. We also ordered a salad filled with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella that to this day, I dream about.
If you’re looking to enjoy life’s slowness, tap into your type B personality, and your inner indulgent, seek no further than Antibes. If you need me, I’ll be booking my next flight to France. See you there!