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Antibes to Nice, The Baie des Anges
Here in the South of France we have a heatwave, even more reason to keep exploring this magnificent coastline. This time we will be following the French Riviera from Antibes to the city of Nice.
The wide blue bay stretches from the Cap d’Antibes to Nice, it demonstrates a change in geography from the west of the Cap with its sandy beaches and islands as the beaches tend to be shale or pebbled and the coastline progressively more built up as you get closer to the metropolis of Nice. The bay is also outlet to a number of rivers, the largest being the Var which flows from the Alps to the Med with its estuary next to the airport.
Biot & Villeneuve Loubet
The long pebbled beach that from Antibes alongside the train tracks, passes the medieval village of Biot which sits on a hill top a few kilometres inland, the village is famous for glass blowing and well worth a visit. At this point the Brague River meets the Mediterranean. The pebbled beach runs for about 5km to Villeneuve Loubet, and the Marina Baie des Anges with its distinctive triangular buildings protecting a port and restaurants and bars which come to life in the summer season. Like Biot the original village of Villeneuve Loubet is inland, on the banks on the river Loup. Traditionally the costal marshes provided flood plains for the rivers but in recent times they have been built up.
Cagnes Sur Mer & St Laurent du Var
Continuing eastwards the pebbled beaches pass the Hippodrome du Cote d’Azur where the main stands at the racecourse have some of the best view across the Baie des Anges. Cagnes sur Mer is still a working fishing town with its market offering the freshest fish from the daily catch. The seafront has a number of fish restaurants as well as a paved promenade ideal for joggers and roller-skates.
The St Laurent du Var costal promenade distinctly different architecture and ambiance to the other towns along the coast. It is entirely pedestrianised from the port to the Cap 3000 shopping centre. The terraces of the bars and restaurants offer great views of the aeroplanes and helicopters at Nice Cote d’Azur airport.
Once past the Airport and the Var estuary we reach the Nice coastline. The fifth largest city in France became a popular tourist destination in the mid to late 18th century with the British and Russian aristocracy enjoying the winter climate. The famous Promenade des Anglais, the English walkway, was named by these tourists as are many streets and areas of the city and Tsar Nicolas II oversaw the building of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, opened in 1912. The Niçoise architecture is fabulously demonstrated in the Hotel Negresco which harks back to the bygone glamorous era. Nice is famous for its pebbled beach that lies below the promenade, a mix of private and public beaches, to the port which hosts yachts and also provides the ferry link to Corsica and Sardinia. There is so much to discover in Nice from the Cors Salaya market to the vineyards of Bellet, plenty to talk about another time!