A Day in Antibes – part of the Artist’s Dream Tour

by A Week In Provence on January 27, 2019

Tour South of France Picasso MuseumMost probably my favourite day of the tour is spent in Antibes.

From the sight of the jaw dropping yachts in Port Vauban, we stroll through the arch in the 500 year old ramparts and into the charming medieval vieille ville of Antibes. It’s a short walk to the clothing market to pick up some pretty bargains of local and Italian cotton and linen, and then a slow meander through the ancient streets to the Musee Picasso.

Picasso was given the keys of the Chateau Grimaldi when he complained of having no space to paint. He donated most of his work from this period to the museum stipulating it should remain there permanently, and so the name was changed.

As a location for a gallery it is hard to beat. With glimpses of azure sea through the narrow windows it’s easy to picture Picasso creating prolifically. It was a happy time for him, the war was over, and he had moved to the Riviera permanently. His output culminated in the famous Joie de Vivre, based on Francoise Gilot, his partner, who was forty years younger than him.visual delights

Picasso was captivated by the antiquity of the Mediterranean. He invented a mythological cast of characters to inhabit his work – a faun, often playing the double flute of antiquity, a bearded centaur (undoubtedly himself) and a beautiful nymph (Francoise).  The gallery is small and intimate, and features a contemporary exhibition on the first floor. A visit to the sculpture garden in front is a must for the panoramic view over to Cap d’Antibes.

From here we walk along the rampart to the rich abundance of stalls and festival of fragrances of the fabulous Marché Provencal, where traders from around Provence bring fresh produce to sell – fruit and vegetables, cheeses, olives and charcuterie. Bistros and bars line the market providing an opportunity to indulge in some people watching whilst sipping a smooth café crème or strong espresso. And then it’s time for a lunch break.

Marche Provencal south of France Art Tour in AntibesWe have sampled (so hard!) a number of restaurants over the years and have settled on a few favourites. After a relaxing lunch of Moules Frites perhaps, or a Salad Niçoise, and a glass or two of chilled rosé we move on to the next exciting part of the day….but more of that later.

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