Each summer, over 50,000 young energetic people from around the globe arrive in Antibes, France a quaint village on the French Riviera that just so happens to berth the largest super yachts in the world. They arrive with dreams of landing a job as yacht crew, earning upward of 10,000 euros a year, travelling, and rubbing shoulders with the likes of billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Allen as well as Beyonce, Leonardo di Caprio and the Kardashians.
I have worked as a yacht chef going on four years now, and I see the new faces arriving in my adopted home from April through July, the key job-hunting season. After they settle into a room here, they have two questions, where do I get a phone card, and 2) where do I grab a bite to eat?
The first question is easiest:
PREPAID LOCAL SIM CARDS (about 20 euros):
Orange, 11 place Charles de Gaulle
SFR, 2 rue de la Republique
The second is a bit trickier…as a tourist town, old town Antibes offers dismal, disappointing food at shocking prices. You have to be an insider to know where to eat so you don’t get ripped off and a sore tummy
FALAFEL, 1 Rue Aubernon, tasty Mediterranean style kebab sandwiches and wraps at affordable prices, open late
PIZZA & CO, Rue des Casemates, pretty much the best damn pizza in town. Real Italians run it; simple square pizza, amazing dough, always a line out the door (Tuesday-Saturday, 10h-14h30; Friday-Saturday, 18h-20h)
RIMA SANDWICH, 20 Rue Lacan, tasty affordable sandwiches
LA FERME DU FOIE GRAS, 35 Rue Aubernon, must try the smoked duck breast, fig and foie gras sandwich! and order the foie gras-stuffed figs…
COFFEE SHOPS (offering plant milk)
GRAZE, 20 Rue des Casemates (opening September 2016): A California-style juice bar in a posh, hipster setting, order yourself a green smoothie and ‘sushirito’ while jamming to French ‘chansons’ and Beyonce.
LUCKY BREAK 16 Rue Aubernon, fresh smoothies, pressed juices, coffees, salads, sandwiches and breakfast
CHOOPY’S 19 Rue du Marc A cheerful small shop offering gluten-free cupcakes, bagel sandwiches, and vegan friendly options.
Le Labo Herbularium, 20 Rue James Close, a natural goods store with a new cafe downstairs offering delicious gourmet juices and vegan lunch delights by the skilled chef, Mikael. He makes his own almond milk fresh daily, so make sure to ask (not on the menu).
Gelateria del Porto, 4 Rue Aubernon, a cute older man who makes the best dam n
Amorino, 45 Rue de la République, a high quality chain offering excellent ice cream with a creamy texture. My favorite is the Inimitable, with chocolate and hazelnut, as well as the pistachio ice cream made with nuts from the Bronte region of Italy (best in the world)
Victoria Artisan Glacier, 10 Rue Thuret – the grown-up choice for ice cream, try elegant flavors like earl grey or violet and lavender.
Boeuf Couronne, 30 Avenue Robert Soleau
Boucherie Normande 54 rue de la Reublique (next to Carrefour City)
Fromagerie L’Etable, 1 rue Sade (before you reach the covered market); get the glorious burrata mozzarella in the plastic bag with green wrapping; vieux Comte, St. Nectaire, goat cheese covered in ash (pyramid shape) and maybe a nice Truffle brie. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh butter, yogurt, and faisselle (homemade cottage cheese).
Fromagerie de Jacques, Antibes Covered Market, every morning, this guy has the best cheese, it’s the only shop where I wait in line 40 minutes while doing my shopping rounds for work. The fresh goat cheese and truffle anything are sublime
Comptoir des Pains, 21 Avenue Robert Soleau
Jean Luc Pele, 27 rue de la Republique
ITALIAN / CHARCUTERIE STORE
Boite a Pates, 5 Rue Sade, get the tomates demi-sechee and marinated exotic mushrooms – add them to any dish and you have instant yum factor. Excellent San Daniele ham and ravioli and fresh pastas. This is what I feed billionaires people!!
FRENCH CAFES, WINE BARS
Le Clemenceau, 24 rue George Clemenceau, (WiFi, open late) – serves breakfast, intimate authentic atmosphere, great patio by a fountain
Entre 2 Vins, Rue James Close, great wine, honest traditional French fare, always booked so call ahead for a reservation; my favorite restaurant in town
Cafe Brun, 8 rue Aubernon, a chic place to grab un verre du vin and ardoise of cured meats and cheeses near the port
New Pecheur, 44 Boulevard d’Aguillon, has great ‘fritto misto’ but horrible service, so beware and go early. Great seafood.
INTERNATIONAL GROCERY STORES
Geoffrey’s of London, THE English shop in the French Riviera (it really is), pop in here if you are having a craving for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Cinnamon Toast Crunch and willing to plunk down 8-14 euros for things that normally cost a dollar..I always get my crunchy peanut butter and gluten-free oatcakes here.
Morran’s International Grocery Store, 29 Avenue Robert Soleau, Nathalie and her French-British family are the charming owners of this shop near the train station – they stock anything from mature cheddar, a selection of craft beers, Indian curries, Asian spices and every one of your favorite spices and teas from around the world (Marmite and Ribena anyone?)
Froggy Gourmet, 21 Rue du Aubernon try the truffle chips and corn salsa as well as the mouthwateringly tender and flavourful Black Angus Filet Mignon imported from America (my country).
Stay tuned for the next installment of the ANTIBES YACHT INSIDERS GUIDE: HEALTH & WELLNESS. I will give you my top picks for the most amazing hairstylists, manicurists, and massage professionals in the Côte d’Azur.
Naturalia, 5 Boulevard Dugommier (behind Monoprix)
Naturalia, 2 Rue Championnet, (by the carousel)