Ooops – it is Friday and I haven’t written a post. I’ve written tweets, Facebook messages, e-mails, information and bio as requested by another website, and 3000 words on my manuscript (I was on a roll!) but I haven’t written my Friday post. I made a commitment to write something about my four-month stay in the south of France every Friday and I intend to stick to that. I’m taking a blogging course that the awesome Kristen Lamb is running so I’ve had to make some firm decisions about my blog and better stick to them … or else! She’s made that very clear!
So this Friday, I’ll tell you a bit more about my temporary home in Antibes on the beautiful Cote D’Azur (French Riviera) and also encourage you to follow your dreams and make them come true. There are definitely benefits to getting older and being retired and being able to run away for a few months is one of them. No question, in these tough economic times, it requires saving and planning. But I’m here to tell you it can be done. More about that another time. In the meantime if you have any questions, fire away.
Antibes-Juan Les Pins, as it is officially known is about half-way between Nice and Cannes. Fast and efficient bus or train service takes us to both and all sorts of beautiful places in between. But for today, it’s just about Antibes. Given the chance I could go on ad nauseum. Don’t worry, I’m going to brief and show you some of what I see when my camera and I go for our morning walk.
The recorded history of the town goes back 2400 years beginning with the Greeks who were followed by the Romans. There is an impressive collection of artifacts and ruins in the town and at the excellent Musée Archéologique D’Antibes. Some of this history can also be seen here and there throughout the village.
For example, the column in the middle of this fountain dates from Roman times between the first and third century A.D. I think it’s cool that this piece of history is still very much a part of the everyday life of the town. There are cafes in the square all around the fountain and the street is one that leads to the daily provençal market. I realize it doesn’t exactly compare to the Forum in Rome or other places that have extensive ruins but somehow it’s a small detail that adds charm to this and many other small towns throughout the country.
The ancient communal washing area is still a gathering place for special activities.
Water troughs and fountains hundreds of years old continue to be used. Dotted throughout the village, one can refill a water bottle during a stroll on a hot day as the quality of the drinking water is excellent.
There are many ways to enter the old part of Antibes and one of them is through an original gate that is part of the walls that surrounded Antibes 500 years ago. I love this sort of history and the blending of old and new so I hope you find it interesting too. Inside the gate area, you can still see the beam and places where bolts held hinges to activate the drawbridge. The walls were very thick (20 feet) and originally inside housed military battalions. Today there are art galleries inside but the town has been very careful to preserve the fittings and finishes as they were. France really is to be commended for the way they have preserved the past. The cost is HUGE and sometimes communities step in to help. Such is the case with the beautiful Chapelle Saint-Bernardin, erected on the former site of a Roman temple in the 16th Century. Inside there are frescoes dating back to that time but the most beautiful part to me are these carved doors dated 1581. Apparently there had been a terrible plague in the countryside and the villagers gave these doors to the church in thanks for being spared. Every time I walk by them I get a little thrill to think of the history they hold. Magnifique. (I have no idea why these last few lines are underlined and it’s too late to try and figure it out. I’ve got to go to bed as it is almost midnight here. Got to make my Friday deadline! Bonsoir!)