Antibes - the nearest sandy beach to Nice - my website

Thursday 9th July 2009

Plage de la Gravette
Plage de La Gravette, Antibes (with apologies for terrible photo-stitching)

We wanted the feel of sand between our toes so went to Antibes for the day. Closer substitutes with almost sandy beaches include Villefranche, Plage Passable and Cocody Beach but the proper sand starts west of Nice at Antibes.

Took the 200 TAM bus from Nice Gare Routiere to Antibes. It was one euro but not worth the time involved really as we waited over 40 minutes in the bus station for the 200 to arrive. The journey was 1 hour 35 minutes, then a walk to the beach. It was lovely on the beach though and not too crowded yet as the French and UK school holidays haven't started for everyone yet.

We go to the free little public beach called la Gravette rather than along the the coast a bit to the wider stretch of Les Salis. From the map below, you can see the route. It's a odd way to get to the beach, there's no signpost and you have to go into the Marina (the red dot on the map) then out again under a set of arches to get on the beach. There's a kiosk for snacks, icecreams, drinks and a fresh water shower by the sea with a tap part - it's OK to drink so you can fill up your water bottle.

The loos (one for men, one for women) are outside the beach just by the arch. They are pretty revolting - a hole and somewhere to put your feet but it flushes and there is a wash basin. No paper or soap, take your own and use hand sanitiser. Or go in the sea. A 'refinement' to the loos this year is the doors - last year they were half-grilled so that people could see you, at least they have been filled in this year so you can pee in peace. There is a definite skill to using the loo - a balance, literally, between aim and noise - you'll find out.

map of Antibes and Plage de la Gravette

map of central Antibes, with route to La Gravette beach from train and bus.

(map courtesy of Plan Guide City Map, Antibes, around 6 euros)

just outside the beach

Here's the entrance to the beach, looking from the beach to the Marina. I photoshopped out (v badly) the shopping trolley full of beach paraphernalia that my dear husband was holding, he doesn't usually have his wrist bent like that.

It was a lovely day, reading, picnicking, snoozing, buying ice creams etc and we eeked it out for as long as possible to about 6pm before packing and heading back. Sand is certainly more comfortable than Nice's pebbles but a week later, we are still crunching sand around the apartment and the towels needed washing the same day - they stay much 'cleaner' on the pebbles.

Anyway, coming home also turned into a nightmare. A very long wait, it must have been over 30 minutes before the 200 arrived which was full and the driver let off a few passsengers further down the road from our stop and then refused to stop for the 20 or so waiting people at our stop. At this point, we decided to leg it to the train station. This was our one bit of transport luck that day. In 5 minutes, a fast train to Nice Ville arrived and in about 20 minutes we were in Nice and headed for a tram to Garibaldi, none of us could face the walk at that point. The fare was 4 euros each, about 1,50 euros for my daughter plus a euro each for the tram. Worth every penny.

Not sure I'll bother with the 200 again, I'd rather pay the train fare for most places west of Nice.

my daughter enjoying the sandy beach in Antibes
My daughter enjoying the sand on La Gravette, the beach looks almost empty in this pic.

Other ideas for trips out of Nice.

A trip to Villefranche

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