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Feeling at Home on the French Riviera: Our Apartment Rental in Antibes

You can see the Old Town of Antibes, France, peeking out behind the yachts and sailboats.

You can see the Old Town of Antibes, France, peeking out behind the yachts and sailboats.

My whole South of France and Geneva itinerary came about because I had a persistent daydream of my husband, toddler and me playing on a beach in the French Riviera. (Note that I don’t want to say “relaxing” because there’s a toddler involved.) I envisioned us strolling through a beautiful Old Town and swimming in the Mediterranean. There were plenty of fabulous Cote D’Azur towns to choose from but once I realized that a sandy (as opposed to rocky) beach was a must, my choices narrowed considerably. Antibes, a family-friendly, yacht-loving, Picasso-honoring, town became the clear choice. So now all we had to do was find a vacation rental in Antibes … in less than two weeks from our departure date!

The Old Town of Antibes, France

The Old Town of Antibes, France

On the vacation rental website, I was able to select my July dates and required rental amenities: internet, air conditioning, parking and at least one bedroom (no studios because having a separate sleeping space is greatly preferred when traveling with a toddler). Without too much trouble, I found the winner, a one-bedroom condo in Antibes that was just outside of the Old Town and a 10-minute walk to the nearest sandy beach. The owner, Sarah, responded immediately to my query, and then quickly responded to my subsequent questions. There were several positive reviews for this condo that also helped put my mind at ease.

The bedroom in our Antibes rental was nice and airy.

The bedroom in our Antibes rental was nice and airy.

We had rushed around a lot in the beginning of the trip and we were very ready to relax (in relative terms) when we arrived in Antibes. We had spent the past three nights in three different places: an overnight flight, a hotel in Annecy and a hotel in Avignon. We couldn’t wait to spread out in our one-bedroom apartment rental for the next three nights. Through texting, we arranged to have Sarah’s lovely father, Taffy, meet us by the garage door, where he helped us figure out the parking (two doors — very secure!), gave us our keys and showed us around the place.

The secret to a great family vacation? Blackout shades, a French Riviera special!

The secret to a great family vacation? Blackout shades, a French Riviera special!

The place was immaculately clean, and actually looked even better than the photos on the website. The living room and dining room area was spacious enough for our toddler to play in, and there were even some toys for him! The bedroom was big enough that we had no problem fitting in our Bjorn Travel Light Crib, which we take everywhere. The kitchen was nice and bright, as it bordered the large, triangular terrace. Although we never ended up cooking, it was nice to have a fridge to store my son’s milk and our fruit. And it’s much nicer to wash bottles and pacifiers in a kitchen than a hotel bathroom.

The kitchen in our Antibes rental faced the terrace. We didn't end up cooking but were glad to have a fridge and a drying rack for washing bottles.

The kitchen in our Antibes rental faced the terrace. We didn’t end up cooking but were glad to have a fridge and a drying rack for washing bottles.

All of the promised amenities were there, but I never could have imagined what my favorite amenity was going to be: motorized blackout shades. The French Riviera takes its blackout shades very seriously. They keep them closed during the day if they’re out so the place stays cool, which is very environmentally friendly. The blackout shades are also there for security reasons during the off-season. These shades kept the bedroom so delightfully dark and, more importantly it kept our toddler asleep hours after the sun had risen! I’ve never seen blackout shades like this anywhere else. Maybe I could be the one who introduces them to America? We have no idea what we’re missing… sleep!

A balcony is de rigueur in the South of France, and our triangular balcony in our apartment rental in Antibes was quite spacious!

A balcony is de rigueur in the South of France, and our triangular balcony in our holiday rental in Antibes was quite spacious!

We really felt right at home in our rental, and it was easy to pretend that we were a French family en vacances. We were a short walk to the lively Old Town, which was full of great restaurants, a surprising number of which was Italian, which was excellent for our pizza-loving son (who am I kidding — we’re all pizza fanatics). Our favorite way to get to Old Town was to walk along the harbor so we could admire the yachts. These docks have earned the name “Millionaire’s Quay” for a reason, and it’s the kind of place where a 40-ft yacht looks small because it’s next to a 60-ft yacht. A 10-minute walk along the water also brought us to the small but picturesque La Gravette beach, and then about another 10-15-minute walk brought us to La Salis beach which we preferred because it was much longer and the sand was softer. We had some wonderful beach-filled days and then just as we were settling into our routine, it was time to move on…

 

14 Responses to Feeling at Home on the French Riviera: Our Apartment Rental in Antibes

  1. Try New Things July 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Hi Liz. I left work last October to fulfill my travel dreams and one of them was definitely to wander around the south of France. I want to live there for a month or two and experience it like the French do. This apartment looks like the perfect base camp from which to do that. Thanks!
    Try New Things recently posted..Multiple Sources of Income

  2. Liz Borod Wright
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
    July 28, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    This apartment would be perfect for a monthlong stay! I wish we could have stayed longer. You’re lucky that you will have more time to explore the South of France — such a beautiful place with so much to see and do!

  3. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    July 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    what a wonderful place! i’d totally love to stay there – so airy and light!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Brussels with Kids

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      July 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      It was very light! Antibes is general is known for its light, that’s how it attracted so many artists throughout the years.

  4. Shelly Rivoli July 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    I LOVE Antibes! This condo looks great, too – what a balcony! Fond memories eating croissant with my FIRST toddler right across the street from the beach there. Glad you had a nice time! ;-)
    Shelly Rivoli recently posted..Travels with Baby needs your vote!

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      July 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      My toddler used to love croissants but stopped liking them just in time our trip to France! Le sigh…

  5. Heidi Wagoner July 30, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Hey we are in Toulouse, France at this very moment. We booked just 2 days in advance and looked at Flipkey, but wasn’t anything available in our price range.

    We are 5+ weeks into our Summer Road Trip and unfortunately just didn’t make it to that part of France. I guess we will need to make another trip. Back to Spain we go in a week or so.
    Heidi Wagoner recently posted..Essential Tips To Estimate the Cost of Living

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      July 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      That’s too bad, Heidi! Sometimes only higher-end places are available, and also never be shy in asking the owner for as last-minute discount because sometimes people would rather rent at a slightly lower rate than have the place stay vacant. But do check out FlipKey the next time you need a rental, as we had a great experience, as you can see. Enjoy Toulouse!

  6. Andrea July 30, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    This looks fantastic – I love staying in apartments when I travel!
    Andrea recently posted..Travel With Dietary Requirements

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      July 31, 2013 at 1:19 am #

      It was fantastic! I’m also a huge fan of staying in apartments — great way to feel at home!

  7. Lauren@GreenGlobalTrvl August 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    What a beautiful town. The apartment looks spacious with a full kitchen! Thanks for posting.
    Lauren@GreenGlobalTrvl recently posted..Top 5 Thailand National Parks

  8. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    August 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Interesting article referencing important considerations and resources for a family traveling together – on short notice.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..Top 5 Thailand National Parks

  9. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    I need to spend more time in France. There is so much to it that I’ve barely scratched the surfaces of the areas I know I’d fall in love with.
    Abby recently posted..Off the Beaten Path in Napa

  10. Elena August 10, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    So charming! I love staying in apartments while traveling in Europe- to immerse yourself in the true experience. Thanks so much for sharing your trip!
    Elena recently posted..Take a Foodie Girls’ Getaway to Chicago

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