Who could blame New Zealand native Rebecca Whitlocke for falling in love with an Englishman and the French Riviera? For over a decade, Rebecca has lived with her young family on the French Riviera in Juan les Pins. This seaside town is a relatively small centre, as compared to Nice and Monaco, but one with a big reputation for its annual jazz festival.
Rebecca’s background in the travel industry gave her the confidence to launch her blog, Access Riviera, as a resource for expats and tourists. Access Riviera provides general travel advice regarding sightseeing, transport and festivals focusing on families and persons with reduced mobility. The content is mixed in with a healthy dose of posts about ‘la vie en France’ as an expat. Rebecca provides media consultancy and copywriting for the yachting and travel industries as well.
We took the opportunity to ask Rebecca about living in Juan le Pins and for her local’s tips on the beautiful Côte d’Azur.
Where I Live, Juan les Pins
Tell us a bit about where you live on the French Riviera?
Juan les Pins is located on the coast between Golfe Juan and Antibes. It is best known for its annual Jazz à Juan Festival with international musicians performing at Pinède Gould overlooking the sea. The venue is a lovely location to watch live music. The town has all the amenities you need, including transport links, but with the benefits of a small community feel. The weather is generally excellent throughout the year, and there are plenty of local events to keep you entertained!
Although Juan les Pins doesn’t have a big town market such as the ones you’ll find in Nice or Cannes, however, I recommend the Marché Provençal in Antibes. Located opposite the socca oven at this market is my favourite fruit vendor.
Why is Juan les Pins a great place for someone to visit?
The town of Juan les Pins is the right size, not too busy nor too quiet for residents and tourists. However, it will be interesting to see how the rezoning of the beaches will affect tourism. The new law introduced in June 2018 requires that any structures (restaurants, bars) on the beaches be fully demountable at the end of the season. Read the additional detail here (in French).
Is there a must-see attraction in Juan les Pins?
Yes! Don’t skip the Cap d’Antibes coastal walk.
The 5km Tour du Cap trail takes about 90+ minutes to complete depending on your walking pace. The coastal walk around Billionaires Bay is mostly flat, although rocky in parts and not suitable for those who are mobility challenged. The trailhead starts near the ‘Phare du Cap’ bus stop. For sweeping views of the French Riviera, and some extra steps, take the pathway up to the Phare de la Garoupe (lighthouse) and Chapelle de la Garoupe. Otherwise, follow signs for Plage de la Garoupe and Sentier Littoral (the coastal footpath).
Consider this a walking tour of the villas described by Maureen Emerson in Riviera Dreaming, Love and War on the Côte d’Azur, a biography of American architect Barry Dierks. A name you have probably never heard of despite the vast body of residential design work he completed on the Riviera.
Additional walking: The Juan le Pin Heritage Trail covers 17 places of interest and architectural landmarks of Juan les Pins related to the eras of Belle Époque, Art Deco and/or the Jazz Age.
Eating and Drinking in Town
Where do you go for coffee?
I’m always keen to try new coffee shops! My regular coffee place in Juan les Pins is a local coffee bar called Bar des Voyageurs next to the train station, the owners are lovely, the coffee is excellent and inexpensive for Juan les Pins. In Antibes, La Torref de Fersen is unique because the barista understands coffee beans and different blends. He also runs barista workshops.
Bar des Voyageurs
2 Avenue l’Estérel, 06160 Antibes
La Torref de Fersen
25 rue de Fersen, 06160 Antibes
Do you have a favourite bakery?
My favourite bakery is Aux Delices Antibois at 10 Rue de la République in Antibes. Everything they sell is delicious. However, the michettes (small rolls) covered in lardons, olive or cheese are inexpensive and great for snacks or picnics.
Where do you recommend for a casual lunch with friends?
Bistrot Margaux at 17 Avenue du 11 Novembre opposite Antibes port has good food, wine and service.
Where is your go-to spot for an apéro?
In Juan les Pins, Le Crystal is a summer institution as it has a prime corner location. In Antibes, Le Latino (24 Boulevard d’Aguillon) or Café Brun (6 Rue Aubernon) for their service and drinks selection.
Avenue Georges Gallice
What is your top pick for a romantic dinner?
You can’t go past La Passagère at the Belles Rives or going to the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Also, L’Arazur in Antibes.
Where do you like to go for dinner with friends?
Mamo Michelangelo, located right behind the ramparts in Antibes at 2 Rue des Cordiers, is the place to eat Italian food in a comfortable atmosphere.
What about for family-friendly dining?
Try Epi Beach, Boulevard Charles Guillaumont in Juan les Pins. As well, my sons love the pizza at Bistrot de la Plage at Salis beach. We go regularly!
Touring the Riviera
What is the best day trip from Juan les Pins?
There are so many alternatives, head to the hill towns, enjoy the beach, get a dose of culture at one of many museums. These two options are a short trip away from the mainland:
The Iles des Lérins are a lovely day trip from the coast. Regular ferries leave from Golfe Juan and Cannes.
Or anywhere along the Esterels coast – there is even a ferry that leaves from Cannes in summer, which is excellent for day trips (more info in this blog post).
Retail Therapy on the Coast:
Where do you head to for clothes shopping?
Bonne and Clyde in Juan les Pins have some cute summer staples such as espadrilles, kaftans and T-shirts. Also, in Antibes drop by Choisy La Galerie for wearable art on women’s clothing.
What about shopping for home decor?
Paris Prix in Juan les Pins has lovely items such as photo frames, vases, cushions. Ideal place if you’re furnishing a rental apartment or holiday let.
Where to Stay in Juan les Pins
If money was no object, where would you recommend staying?
Definitely Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Dom Pérignon at the Grand Hôtel du Cap, anyone?
Where do you recommend for comfortable accommodation?
AC Hotel by Marriott Ambassadeur on chemin des Sables, or Hotel Astor on chemin Fournel Badine.
More Reasons to Visit: