October 2006 view of Antibes by the Mediterranean
|Canton||Antibes-1, 2 and 3|
|o Mayor (2020-2026)||Jean Leonetti|
|26.48 km2 (10.22 sq mi)|
|o Density||2,800/km2 (7,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||0-163 m (0-535 ft) |
(avg. 9 m or 30 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Traces of occupation dating back to the early Iron Age have been found in the areas of the castle and cathedral. Remains beneath the Holy Spirit Chapel show there was an indigenous community with ties with Mediterranean populations, including the Etruscans, as evidenced by the presence of numerous underwater amphorae and wrecks off Antibes. However, most trade was with the Greek world, via the Phocaeans of Marseille.
Antibes was founded by Phocaeans from Massilia. As a Greek colony (and later Roman) settlement, it was named Antipolis (Greek: , Antípolis, lit. "Cross-City") from its position close to Nice (anc. - Nikaia).
Current research suggests that Antipolis was founded relatively late (4th century BC), to benefit from the protection of Marseille with its trade routes along the coast and strongholds like Olbia at Hyères, and trading posts such as Antipolis itself and later Nikaia; it is mentioned by Strabo.
The exact location of the Greek city is not well known. Given Greek colonial practices, it is likely that it was set at the foot of the rock of Antibes, in today's old city. Traces of occupation in the Hellenistic period have been identified around the castle and the church (former cathedral). The goods unearthed during these excavations show the dominance of imported products of the Marseilles region, associated with Campanian and indigenous ceramics.
Early in the second century BC the Ligurian Deceates and Oxybiens tribes launched repeated attacks against Nikaia and Antipolis. The Greeks of Marseille appealed to Rome as they had already done a few years earlier against the federation of Salyens. In 154 BC the consul Quintus Opimius defeated the Décéates and Oxybiens and took Aegythna from the Décéates.
Rome gradually increased its hold over the Mediterranean coast. In 43 BC, Antipolis was officially incorporated in the propraetorial (senatorial from 27 BC) province of Narbonesian Gaul, in which it remained for the next 500 years. Antipolis grew into the largest town in the region and a main entry point into Gaul. Roman artifacts such as aqueducts, fortified walls, and amphoræ can still be seen today.
The city was supplied with water by two aqueducts. The Fontvieille aqueduct rises in Biot, and eventually joins the coast below the RN7 and the railway track at the Fort Carré. It was rediscovered and restored in the 18th century by the Chevalier d'Aguillon to supply the modern city.
The aqueduct called the Bouillide or Clausonnes rises near the town of Valbonne. Monumental remains of aqueduct bridges are located in the neighbourhood of Fugaret, in the forest of Valmasque and near the town of Vallauris.
Like most Roman towns, Antipolis possessed buildings for shows and entertainment. A Roman theatre is attested by the tombstone of the child "Septentrion". The inscription says "he danced and was popular on the stage of the theatre". The theatre was located, like the amphitheatre, between Rue de la République and Rue de Fersen, near the Porte Royale. The back wall is positioned substantially next to Rue Fourmillère. A radial wall was found on the right side of the bus station. A plan of the theatre made in the 16th century is in the Marciana National Library of Venice.
The remains of the amphitheatre were still visible at the end of the 17th century during the restructuring of the fortifications of the city. A concentric oval was still visible in many plans of the seventeenth century and in a map of Antibes from the early nineteenth century. These remains are now covered by the Fersen middle school.
Excavations in the old town have discovered well-preserved houses showing some luxury. Among them, the most monumental are those in the rectory garden of rue Clemenceau. These show a comparable level to that of the Gallo-Roman domus such as those of Saint-Romain-en-Gal. Large parts of the floor mosaic are organised around a courtyard with a marble fountain. The building dates from the late third century, although parts date from the end of the Hellenistic era or the end of the Roman Republic. Another house paved with porphyry and green stone was excavated between rue des Palmiers and the rue de la Blancherie. The finds at the Antibes Museum of Archaeology suggests the main occupation between the 2nd and 4th century. Finds from the end of the Hellenistic era and the end of the Roman Republic is present on both sites.
Antipolis became the seat of a bishopric in the 5th century. After the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, various barbarian tribes seized Antibes. This resulted in destruction and a long period of instability. In the 10th century Antibes found a protector in Seigneur Rodoart, who built extensive fortified walls around the town and a castle in which to live. For the next 200 years, the town experienced a period of renewal. Prosperity was short-lived, for the whole region fell into disarray for several centuries. The inhabitants of Antibes stayed behind their strong city walls as a succession of wars and epidemics ravaged the countryside. In 1244, Antibes's bishop moved his see to Grasse. By the end of the 15th century, the region was under the protection and control of King Louis XI of France. Relative stability returned, but the small port of Antibes fell into obscurity.
From around the middle of the 19th century the Antibes area regained its popularity, as wealthy people from around Europe discovered its natural environment and built luxurious homes there. It was transferred from its former department of Var to the new one of Alpes Maritimes in 1860. The harbor was again used for a "considerable" fishing industry and the area exported dried fruit, salt fish, and oil.
By the First World War, it had been connected by rail with Nice and most of its fortifications had been demolished to make way for new residential districts. In 1926, the old Château Grimaldi in Antibes was bought by the local municipality and later restored for use as a museum. Pablo Picasso came to the town in 1946, having visited his friend and fellow painter Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara there in 1923, and was invited to stay in the castle. During his six-month stay, Picasso painted and drew, as well as crafting ceramics and tapestries. When he departed, Picasso left a number of his works to the municipality. The castle has since become the Picasso Museum.
On 25 May 1999, the town was the first in the départment to sign the State Environment Charter, which pledges to actively conserve the natural environment.
Sport is an important part of the local culture; the town hosts the National Training Centre for basketball. The Jean Bunoz Sports Hall hosted several games of the FIBA EuroBasket 1999. The city is home to Olympique Antibes, a professional basketball team of France's top division LNB Pro A, which plays its home games at the Azur Arena Antibes.
There is a jazz festival, Jazz à Juan, in July.
There are 48 beaches along the 25 km (16 miles) of coastline that surround Antibes and Juan les Pins.
The old lighthouse of Antibes provides views from its lofty hilltop. To get here, you must walk about one kilometre up the Chemin de Calvaire from the Plage de la Salis. It makes for a nice half-day stroll.
The central church in Antibes was first built in the 11th century with stones used from earlier Roman structures. Its current façade was constructed in the 18th century and blends Latin classical symmetry and religious fantasy. The interior houses some impressive pieces such as a Baroque altarpiece and life-sized wooden carving of Christ's death from 1447.
This villa, set in "a forest" at the tip of the Cap d'Antibes peninsula, re-creates a nineteenth-century château. Since 1870 the glamorous white-walled Hotel du Cap on the French Riviera has been one of the most storied and luxurious resorts in the world. Guests who flocked there included Marlene Dietrich, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Winston Churchill. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton conducted an affair and honeymooned there.
There are many yachting harbours which provide moorings for a range of ships ranging from fishing vessels to full sized yachts.
The Théâtre Antibea, Théâtre des Heures Bleues and Café Théâtre la Scène sur Mer all offer a variety of performances from orchestra music to dramatic plays. Music of all types, from live jazz to DJs spinning techno, can be found in the bars and nightclubs and there are a number of festivals and special outdoor concerts during the summer. Jazz is still the speciality around here, and the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival is one of the best in the world.
M83 (an electronic band) hails from Antibes.
Antibes and Juan les Pins host a number of festivals, mainly during the summer months. There's not much in the way of traditional cultural festivals in Antibes; most of the festivals focus on music and contemporary activities.
Antibes enjoys a Mediterranean climate.
|Climate data for Antibes (France) 1981-2006 averages, extremes 1949-2006|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.8
|Average high °C (°F)||12.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.0
|Average low °C (°F)||5.8
|Record low °C (°F)||-6.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||72.1
|Average precipitation days||6.0||4.8||4.8||7.1||5.3||3.5||1.6||2.4||4.9||7.5||7.6||6.7||62.3|
|Average relative humidity (%)||74||75||75||76||78||78||76||76||78||77||76||74||76.1|
|Source 1: Météo France|
|Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity 1961-1990)|
The Antibes station is the railway station serving the town, offering connections to Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Grasse, St Raphael, Les Arcs, Milan, Ventimiliga, Paris and several other destinations. This railway station is in the centre of town. There is another railway station, Juan-les-Pins. The nearest airports are Nice Côte d'Azur Airport and Cannes Airport.