Beaches and Billionaires

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To be honest, I did not know that much about the town before we came a few days ago for our hiking trip on the French Riviera, much less…

… the beaches and billionaires of Antibes.

We had been here some years ago on a daytrip, a half-day trip to be precise, while staying in Cannes. It was a mere  5 minutes or so away by train – which is probably why I remembered Antibes as a suburb of Cannes. Antibeians will probably want to kill me now.

"Old Town of Antibes in the French Riviera and its beaches and billionaires"

In fact, Antibes is the bigger of the two cities (if not by much), far older than Cannes – with a history that reaches back more than 2000 years to the ancient Greeks – and far prettier, too.

There, I said it. Now the people from Cannes will probably want to kill me, too. (How to win friends and upset people – in only two brief paragraphs.)

"Picasso Museum among the beaches and billionaires of Antibes in the French Riviera"

Many people probably know Antibes for its Picasso museum, the product of a brief liaison (Picasso stayed in the city for only 6 months), which was nevertheless intense and fruitful, for both sides eventually (Picasso donated more than 20 paintings to the city, and his heirs added some more after his death).

The museum is housed in the gruesomely medieval Palais Grimaldi, formerly the property of the Princes of Monaco.

Next door, you can visit the 18th century Cathedral …

"The Cathedral in Antibes in the Cotes d'Azur"

… and pass through the picturesque Marché Provencal  …

"The Marche Provencal one of attractions aside from the beaches and billionaires of Antibes"

en route to explore the small but beautiful Old Town…

"Part of the old town of Antibes in the Cotes d'Azur"

… or the Fort Carré, a 17th century military fortress built by Vauban, probably the most famous military engineer of all time.

"Fort Carré in Antibes in the French Riviera"

What makes Antibes really unique, however, has little to do with old buildings or modern art.

The Beaches and Billionaires of Antibes

"Giant yachts moored in the port of Antibes in the French Riviera"

Antibes has one of the world’s largest harbour for luxury yachts, and since the harbour is freely accessible to everybody, you can observe from the pier how the yachts are cleaned, prepared for a journey – or for an on-board party. (The really big yachts are moored a little outside the Vieux Port proper, along the Quai de la Grande Plaisance.)

The owner of this one, for example, seemed to plan something special for the night …

"small boat to take guests from big yacht for a little cruise"

 … the bateau separé, at any rate, had already been set up, it seemed, for une petite escapade.

Antibes is also the home port for one of the world’s largest and most famous yachts, the Kingdom 5KR, originally built for Adnan Khashoggi and later owned by the Sultan of Brunei and Donald Trump. (It now belongs to a Saudi prince.) The ship was also used in the Bond movie Never Say Never Again where it is called the Flying Saucer.

"Kingdom 5KR yacht moored in Antibes"

Recently, it became the subject of headlines all over the world again, when Roman Abramovich was denied entry into Antibes harbour – the only place where his Eclipse, the largest yacht in the world, could have moored. It was already occupied by the Kingdom 5KR, so the Russian billionaire …

"Ibramovich's yacht seen from the beach of Antibes"

… had to park his vessel out at sea (the white one behind the beach: that’s the Eclipse). There are, it seems, other things that money cannot buy, apart from love and happiness.

And if you are one of those people who like to get their Christmas shopping done early, long before the rush sets in, Antibes harbour may have something to inspire you.

Wouldn’t this be just the right gift for someone you truly love?

"A small yacht for sale moored in the port of Antibes"

Yes, I know what you are going to say: it doesn’t have a helipad. But then again: Roman’s Eclipse has two, and did it do it any good?

Think small, I say!

Our holiday rental, while staying in Antibes, was kindly provided by HomeAwayUK

15 comments to Beaches and Billionaires

  • Liv

    Antibes is just one of the many beautiful towns on the Cote d’Azur. Such a wonderful place. You clearly had a good look at the yachts!

  • I got to get myself one of them yatchs!! Lovely photographs guys and a nice write up. Keep up the good work!

  • Loved this post…I enjoy looking up big yachts whenever I see one just to see who owns it. We’ve encountered a couple of Abramovich’s yachts during our travels (he has several).

  • I feel even more poor now after reading this post. Antibes looks beautiful. I would love to see the inside of that cathedral much more than a peek at those yachts. Awesome post!

  • A very interesting and informative post. My interest in Antibes was originally sparked by the fact that it was the author Graham Greene’s home. Now I want to visit it even more.

  • Looking even more forward to the Riviera next month now. Thanks for the sneak peeks :)

  • Adnan Khashoggi? Now that’s a name I haven’t heard of in years! (According to Google, he’s still alive.)
    I feel badly for the Russian billionaire — the poor thing! I love your description of Antibes. Despite the billionaires with their yachts, it looks like a beautiful place.

  • Im simply drooling over this series. Envy is one of the 7 deadly sins, isn’t it? I’m dead.

  • We did visit too some years ago but only for half a day, just enough time to catch the market and like you, didn’t know about the moored yachts. It’s a charming town, really.

  • I spent a day in Antibes back in 1995, while backpacking, so no yacht. Your photos brought back some great memories. :)

  • What a nice post. I had no feel for Antibes before, but now I think I do.

  • Jeremy Branham

    The luxury yachts thing doesn’t appeal to me. However, Antibes being prettier and little less crowded would be a little bit of a draw.

  • What a fantastic post and stunning pics my friend! Guess you don’t have a lot of friends in either city, but what the heck, they’ll get over it. ; ) LOVING those yachts too…can you imagine how grand life must be for these folks?! Wow, I am in awe! Thank you for a most glorious post!

  • How weird… Somehow I’ve always known that Antibes is one of the most exclusive places of the Mediterranean, where billionaires stop with their huge yachts and have amazing houses.
    No wonder, as Cap d’Antibes is beautiful!

  • Love this post! You’ve given a true ‘Sense of Place’ here. Hope you’ve sipped champagne somewhere along the way, preferably out of a crystal flute!

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