Antibes and Golfe Juan

Introduction

Our 5*IDC Resort is based in Golfe Juan, this location gives you access to some of the best dive sites on the Cote d’Azur. The principal dive zones are the islands around Cannes, the Cap d’Antibes and La Fourmigue. You can try diving, learn to dive and continue your dive education with us. We have accommodation partners in Antibes and Juan Les Pins. Please read below for more highlights of the area.

Antibes and the immediately neighbouring town, Juan Les Pins, have a special place in the scuba diving world as previous long-standing hosts of the World Underwater Photography and Videography Festival at the end of October each year. Aside from this, on the diving front, access is available to a range of sites off “Les Isles de Lerins”, La Fourmigue (the major lighthouse in the bay) and the Cap D’Antibes. One of the most notable dives is in a cavern that has a statue of Commandant Yves Le Prieur, the forerunner to Cousteau in the invention of the regulator (see Neutral Buoyancy by Tim Ecott). Pre and post dive you will have views of some of the most stunning villas, hotels (including Eden Roc, a favourite of Queen Victoria and Sophia Lauren, among others) and restaurants in the world, plus some of the most exquisite and outrageous yachts and motor cruisers imaginable.

Juan Les Pins has a great atmosphere and buzzing centre, home to a number of great bars, nightclubs, restaurants and boutiques. Antibes equally has a great atmosphere, with a significant British influence. The Old Fort, the Picasso museum and the markets are other notable highlights.

One star accommodation is provided in a hotel roughly 1km from the centre of Juan Les Pins on a thriving little street with shops and restaurants nearby, and a view of the sea at the bottom of a small and not too steep hill. Two star accommodation (officially, but easily pushing three) is a little further out in a superb traditional hotel run by a young couple. The rooms are fantastic and the hotel has a restaurant and half board deals available during the high season. Their specialty is Provencal cooking.

We also can accommodate groups and holiday makers staying for a week or over in mobile homes on an excellent campsite with superb facilities just outside of Biot.

To get a good feel for Antibes as a destination we recommend that you visit www.antibes.co.uk a basic but image heavy site that provides a faithful representation of the town.

General

Antibes-Juan les Pins is one of the most well known resorts on the Côte d’Azur, located between Nice (20 km) and Cannes (12km). Antibes has an interesting character mixing, events and innovation.

Juan les Pins has a noticeably different character and in the high season really comes to life at night with a great mix of casino, night clubs, bars, and boutiques. Parts of Antibes are quieter with a wider choice of restaurants, cafés and theatres.

The Cap d’Antibes is a small piece of paradise and provides a good walk by heading for the sign-posted path which follows the coastline. It is home to a number of millionaires’ chateaux, dream residences, and the famous “Eden Roc” hotel which is reputed to be the most beautiful hotel in the world and can be found at the point of the “Cap”.

History

For a long time Antibes was the only large town between Marseille and Italy. It was the only town on the coast to be protected by ramparts, and thus it has managed to conserve historic monuments from each period in its heritage. The Chateau, Bastion and Towers are today a magnificent Modern Art Museum, History and Archeology Museum and Museum of Traditional Crafts and Local Culture.

Many treasures can be found in the historic town centre. It is a good idea to visit this part of town on foot allowing you to take in the atmosphere, meandering between pretty squares and along narrow streets. There are a number of craft workshops open to the public and numerous boutiques dealing in all manner of specialties.

Beach resort

Antibes/Juan Les Pins and the immediately surrounding area boasts 25 km of coastline incorporating pebble and fine sandy beaches (public and private), secluded creeks and five ports (Vauban, Galice, Crouton, Olivette and Salis). For those of that enjoy walking amongst the quays admiring boats this is pretty much paradise! Port Vauban is the largest pleasure boat port in Europe and is home to some truly unbelievable vessels.

Festival Town

For over 40 years the legendary “Jazz à Juan” jazz festival has brought the stars to Antibes. It still goes on, and the famous pine trees lining the beachfront promenade are still the rendezvous for headlining Jazz musicians and the stars of tomorrow.

The Bay of Golfe Juan is host to three main clusters or groups of dives sites, these being La Fourmigue,

Les Iles de Lerins and the Cap d’Antibes itself.

La Fourmigue

This is a large rock formation that stretches some several hundred metres and is marked by a small lighthouse which is a notable feature of Golfe Juan. An interesting and historical dive site can be found just North of the light. This site is home to an underwater village built in the late sixties. The village, recently renovated/completely reconstructed courtesy of neighbours, CIP Golfe Juan, is situated at a depth of around 15m in what amounts to an “underwater valley”. The new improbed version is slightly larger and includes a Roman amphitheatre, church, and bridges.

The light also marks a group of rocks known as L’Enfer de Dante (named after Dante’s Inferno), truly a spectacular dive site. These are a number of pinnacles which rise up to just 15m the surface and drop off to depths of 55m and beyond. This site is extremely rich in Gorgonian Fans, soft coral and schooling fish.

To the south lies a small cave known as the Grotte de Miro (it once held a sculpture of the Goddess of the Sea by the artist Miro). In the 1980’s this was replaced by a statue of Commandant Yves le Prieur, inventor of the first self-contained regulator, and co-founder of the first ever leisure diving club in 1938 (St Raphael and Paris). The cave has three exits and is located at the bottom of the rock at about 18m. It is carpeted in colourful sponges and soft corals. The top of the rock is awesome for macro photography with multiple species of Nudibranch, Blenny and Scorpionfish in abundance.

Cap D’Antibes and Les Iles de Lerins

Other highlights and areas rich in dive sites in this area are the Cap D’Antibes and Les Iles De Lerins.

The Cap D’Antibes is home to at least half a dozen sites, again all suitable to a wide range of ability levels. A couple of the most known sites are Rascoui and Le Grand Boule.

There are at least three or four recognised dive sites to be found on the landward side of Ile de Sainte Marguerite including “Le Vengeur”, “La Tour Espagnole” and “La Convention”. These are all wall dives ranging in depth from shallow (4m) to 40 metres and above.

Finally there is an interesting little wreck in the Bay, Le Robuste 2, lying at a depth of 26m that is home to a large number of congers and morays.