We must be in the rainy season in southern France as it has been cloudy and rainy more often than sunny for the past several weekends. Instead of spending the entire Saturday indoors, we decided to find something to do away from the house. After resisting for more than two months, I finally gave in and we ventured to the Ikea in Toulon. The drive from our house took approximately an hour and a half and by the time we got to Toulon it was mostly sunny and warm. We felt more like finding a beach than going indoors, but the kids were excited (me too) to eat Swedish Meatballs and find new comforters for their beds (they disappeared in the move to France).
The Ikea in Toulon is like every Ikea I have ever been to with some small differences-they have outdoor patio furniture, beer, and garden plants. After 10 minutes in the store, the boys were tired of shopping, so Reddy made himself comfortable in the shopping cart, and we headed for the Ikea cafeteria to eat while the girls shopped. If you have never eaten at an Ikea, it is worth the experience. My favorite is the Swedish Meatballs served with mashed potatoes, cream sauce (gravy) and lingonberries for under $5. If you really like the food, you can even buy it in frozen packages and take it home for future enjoyment- we did. After 3 hours in Ikea, the boys put a stop to the shopping madness and we retreated for home to find it still cold and rainy.
On Sunday, we had tickets to the Antibes Yacht Show (thanks Frank and Dee) so we made our way to the coast and found that the clouds were parting and the sun was shining. Antibes lies on the Mediterranean in the Côte d’Azur, located between Cannes and Nice. Antibes is about 15km from our house, but it takes about 30 minutes to get there.
We met up with our kids tennis instructor (and part time nanny), Kate and her husband Higgy, at the Antibes Market and then wandered the streets looking for a place to enjoy a sit down lunch. The tiny, winding streets of Antibes were shockingly filled with people on this normally lazy Sunday afternoon. Maybe the emergence of the sun after days of rain had motivated the masses to hit the streets, beaches, and restaurants. We decided to have lunch on the patio at La Daurade as they were able to accommodate the seven of us. The food at La Daurade is good, but not great. They serve a very common French menu, but unlike many local restaurants here the portions are very large. Our three kids could have split one of the normal meals and two adults could easily split one entree.
Across and down from the restaurant toward the harbor, the streets were filled with vendors selling a variety of antiques, mostly nautically themed which went along with the yacht show in the harbor.
A view of Fort Carré on the outskirts of Antibes from the harbor. It was built during the 16th century and during the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte was briefly imprisoned here. We haven’t toured the fort yet, but it is on our list of things to do.
The afternoon was spent with our mouths dragging along the docks at the Antibes Yacht Show. Touring these beautiful floating mansions on the Mediterranean was a new experience for us. We were utterly amazed by the size, glamour, and costs (low millions to hundreds of millions) of these boats. The yacht pictured in the photo above had its own helicopter and is supposedly owned by a very wealthy Russian.
The boat above is not a cruise ship, that is a private yacht.
If you have an extra 25 million laying around, you can easily pick up this super yacht, Blue Ice. I was hoping to Google and find that this amazing yacht belongs to someone famous (was thinking a famous musician), but all I could find was the information below.
According to the CharterWorld.com: Blue Ice is a super yacht measuring 150 feet and can accommodate up to 10 guests in 5 cabins. The master suite is accessible from the entertainment room and features a king bed, private study, His and Her bathrooms, and a walk-in closet. There are 2 VIP cabins with queen beds and ensuite bathrooms. There are 2 twin cabins, each with 2 single beds and ensuite bathrooms. Both twins can be converted to a double cabin. In each cabin there is a Lantic entertainment system, plus a docking station for Music mp3/iPod devices. There is also a radio, a flat-screen television, and an assortment of movies.
Super yacht BLUE ICE has the following extras onboard: Tenders and Toys include two 3 Seat Waverunners, Water Skis, Wake board, Donut, 2 canoes, Snorkelling equipment, and a Power Plate Communications include Furuno radars/DGPS/Weatherfax, Satcom Seatel with internet capability Ship’s computer, Lantic YMS-PC. Audio Visual Equipment and Deck Facilities include a Lantic System.
More photos of Blue Ice here. It’s worth clicking on the link to see how nice these boats really are.
For most, a day in Antibes includes time spent on the beach. Just on the other side of the port is Plage de La Gravette. This Old Antibes beach which is small, sandy (not all beaches here are sandy), and pleasant, faces west into the sun. What is particularly nice about this beach is that it is sheltered from waves by a small breakwater and the enclosure makes it particularly safe for children. It’s also within a short walk of the main restaurants, shops, and cafes in Antibes. We spent 30 minutes here letting the kids play and then started our walk back to the car along the fortified seawall.
Another view of Plage de La Gravette from the seawall. You can walk along the edge of the sea on a paved path from Juan Les Pins to Antibes.