Cannes and Beyond :: Antibes & Juan-les-Pins
Looking for a warm weather getaway? EDGE Travel Editor Jason Salzenstein was recently in the French Riviera, and discovered that there’s more to it than the most famous cities, Nice and Cannes. After spending a week in Cannes (to read that article, click here, he decided to take a few day-trips to surrounding towns and villages. Last week we brought you his report on Grasse; this week we’re focusing on Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. Check it out!
Music, Art, & Culture
Known for their numerous annual jazz, classical, Reggae, and international pop/world music festivals, the town of Antibes and surrounding Juan-les-Pins is a veritable hothouse of music, where sounds collide with nightlife and culture in a way that’s unmatched anywhere else. From intimate recitals to the hot Nuits de Juan- which brings in more than 50,000 people each summer- the aural offerings are nearly unlimited, and definitely world-class.
In addition to its musical roots, Antibes has been- and continues to be- a huge artistic draw. Once the home to Picasso, Man Ray, Chagall, Hemingway, and Jean Cocteau (all of whose presence can still be felt), art permeates the town. The Picasso Museum is the biggest draw, and showcases twenty paintings and forty drawings by the artist, as well as works by Miro, Modigliani, Leger, and others.
Other museums include the Mus�e de la Tour (a Medieval rampart), the History & Archaeology Museum, the Napoleonic Museum, the Postcard Museum, and Fort Carr�- a 16th century fort so well designed and equipped that it was never taken.
The Old Town
Wander around the old part of town and you’ll discover galleries, gourmet shops, famous jewelers, cake and sweet shops, and more; Antibes is full of traditional markets, squares, and cafes. The Proven�al market at the Cours Massena comes alive each morning, offering fresh local products sold directly from the people who create them. The surrounding shops, cafes, and restaurants are not to be missed.
Music is the main draw to Antibes and Juan-les-Pins, and if you’re coming for a concert or festival, you can stay at the Hotel Le M�ridien Garden Beach (Juan Les Pins), which is what I did.
There are always musical events taking place; we caught a concert at the Villa Eilen Roc- an affair that I won’t soon forget. Titled "During the times of Castratos," the concert was a celebration of the historical, well; let’s just say the "men lacking those organs that make them truly men." And while the men singing for us weren’t missing anything (as far as I know- I didn’t check), they were all counter-tenors... i.e. if you closed your eyes while listening to them you’d think you were listening to an incredible (female) soprano.
Showing our true level of uncouth ’American-ness,’ we were all taken by surprise, unaware that this very interesting phenomenon even existed. Trust me when I say that it took every ounce of strength not to explode from pent-up laughter; not because the men were funny- in fact they were brilliantly talented- but because when a large man in a tuxedo comes to the microphone and belts out something that would put Mariah or Celine to shame, it takes you by surprise. So while the experience was certainly interesting, it was somewhat overshadowed by the "uniqueness" of the talent, and not something I’d necessarily do again. Luck dictates, however, that the options you’ll find while in town will be much more conventional...
What I would do again, however, is spend more time in the beautiful town of Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. The outdoor offerings- everything from hiking to water sports, to simply laying in the sun- are diverse and impressive, and I hope to be able to return soon to check them out!
A town of festivals
Because the offerings in Antibes and Juan-les-Pins are largely seasonal and oft changing, I recommend visiting the town’s website while planning your vacation. www.antibesjuanlespins.com
For more vacation ideas in France...
Paris :: Paris, Je t’Aime
The Loire Valley :: For the Love of the Loire
Cannes :: Because You Cannes, Cannes, Cannes
The Alps :: The French Alps :: A Skier’s Dream
Grasse :: Cannes & Beyond :: Grasse
Antibes and Juan-les-Pins :: Cannes & Beyond :: Antibes and Juan-les-Pins
Champagne :: Coming Soon...
Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information :: www.JasonSalzenstein.com