Antibes / Côte d’Azur

Back in January, we also had a dreamy road trip around the French Riviera. Beyond the yachts and picture-perfect beaches, Antibes is a draw for its literary and artistic history. It was at the Villa Saint Louis (now the popular hotel Belles-Rives) on the Cap d’Antibes that F. Scott Fitzgerald took up summer residence with Zelda and his daughter Scottie in 1926 and began his work on Tender is the Night. The enclosed mansions and dramatic villas lining the shore that once fascinated Fitzgerald are still very much a part of the landscape, but there’s local charm to be found, too. Stroll around old Antibes, through the Cours Masséna, a Provençal food market (don’t forget to buy a mimosa bouquet and supply yourself with home-made soap!), and up to the Musée Picasso, the first museum dedicated to the artist. Outside the market, local artists showcase paintings, sculptures and other pieces every day except Monday. Also worth a stop-off is the Chapelle St Bernardin, a gorgeous little Gothic church built in the 16th century, complete with an impressively intricate fresco. Antibes is known for its breezy, postcard-like beaches – head to Plage du Salis, with its velvet-soft white sand and views of the Cap d’Antibes (where we stayed throughout our trip – there are plenty of small, charming boutique hotels that aren’t Hotel du Cap Eden Roc…).

The Musée Picasso in Antibes is a small museum dedicated to the work of Pablo Picasso, who lived in the French Riviera for a large part of his life. The museum is housed in the Grimaldi Castle, a medieval fortress on the Antibes waterfront, and certainly benefits from such an outstanding location.The collection of the museum includes over 200 works by Picasso, including drawings, ceramics, etchings, carpets, and six paintings. Some of those artworks were donated to the town of Antibes by Picasso himself, who installed his atelier on the upper level of the castle for about six months in 1946. The permanent exhibition dedicated to Picasso also includes a number of historical photographs depicting the Spanish artist at work in Antibes. Along with presenting pieces by Picasso, the museum also accommodates a small permanent exhibition of works by other major modern artists, such as Balthus, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst and Amedeo Modigliani among others.

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

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