When we decided to visit the Cote d’Azur (aka French Riviera) this past summer, the first thing I was set to figure out: the best place to stay. Where to stay in the French Riviera with kids was not an easy task. I wanted a great location, easy to get around without a car, a spot that was family friendly and still had the beautiful Cote d’ Azur feel the adults were looking for.
Choosing the right town was step one. We chose Antibes because it checked off so many boxes. Here’s why….
Where to stay in the French Riviera with kids
Here’s why I would recommend staying in Antibes, France if you are visiting the Cote d’ Azur as a family:
Antibes is close to Nice
When flying to Europe with kids, it’s always good to think about getting to the final destination once you land. You are flying overnight, it’s a big time difference and a big day of travel for kids. If you can eliminate some travel once you arrive and make the “final destination” as easy as possible, it can make a big difference for jet lag and the first day or so of the trip. There is a direct flight from EWR to Nice and then Antibes is about a 15 minute cab ride from Nice. We landed in Nice, checked into the rental house and on the beach in no time. It made beating jet lag easy!
Great Family Friendly French Beaches
We loved the beaches in Antibes. There are easy to walk to free beaches. I thought we would do more beach clubs when we were in the South of France, but ended up loving the free beaches in Antibes with the kids that, except for one day (see below) we never did a beach club. We enjoyed Ponteil and Salis for full days at the beach because of the super fun food options and the “island” to swim to. We enjoyed Plage de la Gravette for late afternoon and evening swims. All of the beaches mentioned were an easy walk from our rental.
Great Family Friendly Restaurants & Food Options
I didn’t know what to expect dining out with kids on the coast of France. I pictured fancy St. Tropez bars and restaurants and spots with nothing on the menu my kids would eat…. this was not the case in Antibes. We found such great spots to eat, complete with kids menus and free ice cream for dessert. The spots to eat at the beach were a huge hit with the kids. They were little mini restaurants with snacks, ice cream, candy, crepes and delicious lunch foods. Our rental was right near the famous Provencal Market of Antibes where we would grab fruit, cheese, bread and other treats for the house.
The Carousels & Ferris Wheel in Antibes
There are two fun carousels in Antibes and the giant ferris wheel. The ferris wheel and one of the carousels is at the marina, which is a very fun spot to be at in the evenings. The view from the top of the ferris wheel is amazing. There’s another carousel near the playground in Antibes.
The Playground in Antibes
The kids loved the playground in Antibes. I’m sure there are others, but the one I am referring to is located at 8 Rue Lacan. The little trampolines in the ground were a blast and there’s lots to climb. The playground (and carousel) are surround by fun outdoor spots to get food and drinks. This makes it a great night out at the beach for families!
Looking to add a little culture to the beach trip? Antibes has a lovely Picasso Museum. Picasso set up shop in Château Grimaldi, the famous castle of Antibes Juan les Pins in the 1940’s. When he returned to Paris he left 23 paintings & 44 sketches for the castle. You can see them all at this museum. Bonus: the view from the museum is absolutely breathtaking.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from a Picasso Museum… Antibes Land. I find a trip to Europe is most enjoyed by our crew if I have a balance of things the adults love and the kids love. The kids thought the amusement park in Antibes was about the coolest thing they did all summer. You can take the train from the center of Antibes right there. It was a lot of fun, they won some cool prizes and were exhausted after.
Walkable to everything
We didn’t rent a car at all during our week in the Cote d’Azur and had no problems at all. Antibes had everything we could need in walking distance: the market, tons of restaurants, the beaches, etc. Then to explore more of the area (which we did) we just hopped on the train.
Le Petit Train to Juan-les-Pins
One of the kids favorite parts of Antibes was the day we took the Le Petit Train to Juan-les-Pins. As I mentioned, we didn’t have a car and I had wanted to visit Belle Rives. I was so excited to find out about Le Petit Train and that we could walk to Belle Rives from the spot it stopped in Juan-les-Pins.
Easy access to other towns via train
Antibes is pretty centrally located along the Cote d’Azur and therefore easy to have it as a home base to explore more towns with kids in tow. The train stops all along the coast.
Family friendly vacation rental in Antibes
Our vacation rental in Antibes was one of those places I could have happily stayed and lived in for the rest of my life. The location was fantastic: after a week in Antibes, I can’t picture a better location. It fit our family of 7 perfectly. The little courtyard was just wonderful!
It had a great little ground floor with a sitting area, kitchen and table. There was another table in the courtyard to use too. Then the 2nd floor had 2 bedrooms and a full bath and the 3rd floor had another bedroom and bath. The grand finale…. a closet filled with beach gear and beach toys. I get so nervous flying to a country I have never been to and showing up to a vacation rental. When we arrived (via a ride we got from the airport from the owners friend!) we couldn’t believe how awesome this place was. It was just steps from the view of the water too, so I could sneak out to see the sunrise a few times.