Cannes, Antibes & Nice from Villefranche
Cannes and Nice, two vibrant and beautiful but contrasting cities, plus the Provençal charm of Antibes. For lovers of food, history, architecture and shopping.
A NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TIMES
Distances in this part of France are reasonable; figure a little less than 2 hours of driving time with no traffic. In summer travel times will be slightly longer.
Even though Cannes and Nice are both cities, the contrast in esthetic between the two is marked. Another flavor altogether is Antibes, small and charming with lots of beautiful food shops and a good Provençal market. A great place for food lovers.
DETAILS: CANNES, ANTIBES & NICE from Villefranche
When most of us think of Cannes the first thing that comes to mind is the annual film festival, but Cannes holds many more things to entertain the visitor.
Now associated with the rich and famous, Cannes has come a long way since its origins as a fishing village and Roman outpost, but evidence of its ancient past can still be seen in the original neighbourhood of Le Suquet. As you climb the narrow streets and winding staircases you'll know you're in the old heart of the city. It's also a great place to enjoy birds-eye views of Cannes and the port stretching out before you.
Shoppers and wannabe-jetsetters will want to stroll amongst the palm trees in Le Croisette, where the palm trees, palaces and luxury boutiques are a testament to the sophisticated destination that Cannes has become. If your tastes lean more toward the tastes of the earth, a visit to Forville market will take you on a delicious journey through the products and atmosphere of Provence.
Once a quiet haven that attracted artists such as Picasso and Nicolas de Staël, Antibes is a lively resort town on the French Riviera. Nowadays it's hard imagine it as a Medieval feudal town that the Pope used as collateral on a loan he couldn't repay. After passing into the hands of the future ruling family of Monaco in 1384 it became the easternmost port of the Kingdom of France, where its important position resulted in the construction of fortifications that became Fort Carré, which is still in good condition.
Antibes is very pretty and very pleasant to stroll, with stunning views up and down the coast. Every day but Monday you can browse the Provençal market with its impressive selection of local cheeses, produce, seafood and meats. In local galleries you will find original works of art featuring paintings of local scenes.
In Baroque Old Town you'll get a sense of the splendour of the Belle Epoque, when the wealthy of Europe (particularly from colder climates) came south for the winter, building lavish homes and luxurious hotels. As you take in the Promenade des Anglais, Hotel Negresco and the Russian Church you're sure to relive the opulence of a bygone era.
Today Old Town is home to a vibrant farmers market in Cours Saleya, particularly known for its flowers of every colour and kind. Sample some local culinary specialties or go for a dip in the sea and you'll have experienced "Nissa la Bella" (as it was named in the 19th century) with all your senses.
CANNES, ANTIBES & NICE from Villefranche
DURATION: 8 hrs
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