in antibes and enjoying an hour during a morning walk
Antibes est pour toi en France un de tes points de chute. –Françoise Nicolai
Graham Greene, who moved to Antibes in 1966, wrote a dozen books there . . . –BBC Culture
I landed in Antibes ten years ago and, as a French friend suggested, j’y réside [à Antibes] une bonne partie de l’année. During that time, I have often wandered the many streets of Vieil Antibes.
I think of Antibes as having three parts to the medieval village, le vieil village. The division is not official.
Above the Marché Provençal (the local market), between it and the Mediterranean Sea, is one quartier and possibly my favorite. It is small and can be explored in a short time.
The two other quartiers are flat, but the one above the Marché Provençal rests on a small knoll. One must walk up from the Marché and into it. Continuing through it, one descends slightly to the ramparts and the Promenade Amiral de Grasse and then one meets the Mediterranean Sea.
Many small streets lead east into the quartier from the Marché Provençal. Any one would offer an introduction, but going to a far end of the market square, no matter which one, north or south, and finding a street entrance from there would permit a walk from one end of the quartier to the other with no need to turn around and go back.
Many streets go through walls and buildings. Walls and ramparts protected the city from attacks from the sea. To move from one place to another it was necessary to make a simple way to the other side. Sometimes the arches over passage ways served also as residences. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
While the old quarter is built of stone, the residents balance it with plants. Windows and doors, street walls, and angles into streets, all are often adorned with flowers, foliage, and small trees. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
The Musée Picasso, which was once the château Grimaldi, is situated in this part of Antibes. In order to visit, one must walk through a small plaza and walk up a ramp. Close by is the Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Immaculée Conception. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
The Grimaldi Château was offered to Picasso as a studio, and in return he donated many of the works he painted there and the sketches to the city of Antibes for the expressed purpose of establishing a museum.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Immaculée Conception, a national monument, can trace its origins back to the 5th or 6th centuries, but has gone through many, many changes. The doors are from the 18th century, for example.
Keeping the eyes open for possibilities often rewards with some pleasant surprises. I saw a door knock and thought it was lovely and clever.