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beaches and sea

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here are several beautiful sandy beaches within easy walking distance of Les Trois Palmes and the nearest - Plage de la Gravette - is just five minutes stroll through the streets of the Old Town.

They are all fine sand, clean and well-maintained, and often with facilities such as showers. Bars and refreshments will never be far away.

Unlike the waters at many resorts around Europe, the Mediterranean Sea at Antibes is quite warm almost throughout the year, and it is pleasant to swim even through to November.

But it is perhaps the colour and the vistas across that water that makes it truly memorable (and gives the area its name of Azure Coast).

What's it like at the beach today?

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Beaches in many places on the Cote d'Azur are almost exclusively private or require you to pay hefty charges for you to use them. This is not the case for Antibes. The beaches in and around Antibes are very largely free and fully accessible to the public.

Where there are bars actually on the beach, you will of course be expected to buy a drink to use that stretch of sand. But even if it does cost a bit more than average, it is still well worth it to sip a cold beer and gaze out over that deep blue sea.

The local beaches

The nearest beach to Les Trois Palmes, Plage de la Gravette, nestles under the old fortifications of the town and is just five minutes away on foot. Here the water is well sheltered and shallow and the bottom shelves gently so it is ideal for children.

Salis beach - click for a larger view
Salis beach

The other beaches, Le Ponteil and Le Salis, are a 15-minute stroll along narrow, quaint streets with flower bedecked houses, past ancient monuments and along the ancient walls with stunning views of the coast and across the mediterranean to the Alps as a distant backdrop.

All are public and therefore free, and only really get crowded in the height of summer.

The weather

Today in Antibes

What makes the Cote d'Azur so popular is, of course, the weather. This can be described as truly temperate. Antibes has pleasantly warm summers and mild winters. Autumn starts late and spring early, so it hardly gets 'cold' at all. Even in mid-winter, the warm sun means you can still sit outside. (Though people still talk about 1986, when they had snow!) Equally, the summers are not blisteringly hot. Unlike other mediterranean places further south, it can seldom be described as unbearably hot. Temperatures rise to about 30°C, though the mid-twenties is more typical. For a forecast for the next few days, click here

Plage de la Gravette - click for larger view
Plage de la Gravette, just a few minutes away from Les Trois Palmes

Other beaches within easy reach

As an alternative to the local beaches, you are only a short car or bus ride away from other beaches around the Cap d'Antibes.

Garoupe beach largely private, although there is a small public section. It may get crowded in summer but does, however, have excellent places to eat. From Garoupe bay you can take the rocky 'Smuggler's Path' around the bottom of the penninsula.

On the other side of the Cap, there are also small places to bathe at Le Crouton and Port Gallice, although just up the coast is the large seaside resort of Juan les Pins with plenty going on.

<i>Les Trois Palmes</i> is surrounded by beaches
Les Trois Palmes is surrounded by fine beaches, the nearest just a few minutes' pleasant walk through the Old Town

View from bar on beach at Juan les Pins - click for larger view
View from beach bar at Juan Les Pins

Juan les Pins

Certainly walkable, but just a 10-minute bus ride from Antibes, Juan les Pins has a long, sandy beach that stretches all the way around the bay. Although it is much more of a seaside resort than Antibes, it also has character. It first became popular in the twenties, and this can still be seen in much of the architecture.

There are long public sections, but there are also excellent bars and restaurants on the beach. There is a lot going on for children, such as a merry-go-round, go-karts and amusement arcades. Juan les Pins has a vibrant nightlife with many nightclubs and bars open throughout the year.

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