Par-dessus le marché

Antibes is on the Côte d’Azur between Cannes and Nice. I spent some time here when I attended the Centre Intérnational d’Antibes. Antibes’ history goes back 2,500 years to a time when it was called Antipolis. Due to the protected port, it remained important as a trading site for centuries before it faded into obscurity for almost two millennia. Vauban, Louis XIV’s military engineer, constructed a star-shaped fort looking over the port in the 17th century.

In the 19th century, tourists seeking ample sunshine put Antibes back on the map. Pablo Picasso came to Antibes in 1946 and stayed with friends in the Château Grimaldi, now the Picasso Museum. This was a productive time for the artist and when he moved on, he left many works of art that became the nucleus of the collection.

The 15 miles of coastline and the port are a favorite of swimmers and boaters. There are slips for 2,000 yachts, some up to 100 yards long. I took a stroll to the Quai des Milliardaires with a friend in the industry who was able to give me lots of great info about life on-board these floating palaces, some with personal helicopters. One of the biggest yachts belonged to a Saudi Sheik who used it about 15 days a year, but required it to be fully staffed and stocked at all times – just in case.

If you’re not in the market for a multi-million dollar yacht, there’s still plenty of charm in Antibes. The ancient walls encircle the Old Town. The open-air Marché Provençal is full of local products, like the colorful spices in the photo, or fresh lavender from the nearby fields in Grasse. Wander the small streets within the ramparts and check out the shops, restaurants, and cafés.

Today’s expression, par-dessus le marché (par-duhsue luh marshay) means “above the market.” There’s plenty of charm in Antibes, above, below, and all around the market.

French Sketches: Cap d’Antibes and the Murphys

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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2 Responses to Par-dessus le marché

  1. Antibes is one of my favorite French towns.

  2. Pingback: La Solitude | One quality, the finest.

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