A tourist day to Antibes – interested in a super yacht?

(written by Dave)

Today we took a break from packing, planning and general trip-readiness issues in order to play tourists again and re-visit Antibes.  We visited Antibes with my mother and nephew Mats In January but it was bucketing down rain and cold all day so we really didn’t see much.  Today we had temps in the mid-60s and blue skies – a spectacular cote d’azur day.

You may remember from our last post that finding the Antibes Starbucks was one of goals for the day for a little reminder of home (well, one of our homes).  We had heard that the only Starbucks on the French Riviera was located in Antibes and seemingly verified this by looking the address up on the web.  Well, I think we can put this one to bed.  There is no Starbucks in Antibes, at least not anymore – maybe it was one of those stores closed when Starbucks pulled back on international stores a few years ago.

That’s not to say that our Starbucks search wasn’t interesting.  Using Nancy’s hand-drawn map we wandered for half an hour before finally stopping in at the information centre.  Once at the counter, the helpful worker gave us exactly the look that you would expect when asking a French person where Starbucks is located.  Eventually, our helper regained his composure, consulted with the other centre staff (quite openly and loudly, I might add) and he confidently reported that there is no Starbucks in Antibes.  Our role in this sketch had now become “somewhat embarrassed Americans” and suitably humiliated we slinked out of the centre.  At least we got a town map.

Old-town Antibes is a lot like old-town Nice or even Entrevaux.  We wandered a few of the alleyways and eventually wound our way to the cathedral.  We could hear music playing and the door appeared to be unlocked we couldn’t seen to open it, so we settled for an exterior tour.   Right next to the cathedral is a Picasso museum.  Unfortunately it was closed on Mondays.  We eventually made our way to the waterfront wall overlooking the Mediterranean.  I am happy to report that it still exists and that it is not closed on Mondays.

We wandered a bit more then found very friendly sandwich vendor and made our way out to the port for a picnic with our feet hanging over the wall.  (The friendly vendor was worth noting as most sales staff here in France are not overly friendly – though that could have something to do with the way I butcher their language).

As we were now near the harbor, I convinced Nancy to walk out and have a look at the boats.  There are a lot of boats in Antibes harbor, not to mention some seriously ridiculous super yachts.  We were not allowed to walk out on the individual piers but we were able to walk right up the back end of the row of super yachts.  I took quite a few photos, including snapping a few yacht names along the way.  Those who know boat names would also know that there is no unique global registry.  Meaning, many boats have the same name and looking up an owner or boat story by name might generate many different actual boats.  Well, these super yachts are “the” boat you find at the top of any internet search by name.  Back at the apartment I quickly found some of the tidbits noted below (subject to the reliability of information available on the internet).  Like I said, these are serious boats.

Montkaj:  256 feet long, owned by Saudi Prince Fahd

Dilbar: 361 feet long, owned by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov and is named after his mother.

Shahnaz:   208 feet long.  No one really knows who own the yacht except that it is moored in Antibes and was given as a gift to a Saudi prince.

Coral Island: 236 feet long.  Rumored to be Saudi Sheik Modhassan but this could be an urban myth.

Kingdom KR5: 267 feet long.  Owned by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud

And finally, my favourite:  The sailing yacht Puritan, a mere minnow at 103 feet, built in 1930 – Ownership is not clear on this one either.  This yacht was actually running about the harbor.  Its motor sounded a bit rough but the wooden deck looked fantastic.

If you think all these massive yachts are a bit over the top, then you should read about poor old Roman Abramovich.  He is the Russian tycoon who owns the Chelsea Premier League football team.  He happens to own a 557 foot, $1 Billion yacht called Eclipse.  In August 2011 he tried to move his yacht into Antibes and he was refused entry as the only berth large enough for his yacht was already occupied by Kingdom KR5 (noted above).  It is sort of like trying to find a parking spot at the mall in your car, only completely different.  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029182/Roman-Abramovichs-1bn-yacht-dock-Saudi-princes-boat-parked.html)

We eventually made it home and back to trip prep in the late afternoon.  Antibes is nice day trip from Nice but you need time to wander the many alleys and the harbor.  Having a nice sunny day makes lunch on the harbor wall certainly worth doing as well.  Just don’t go there if you are looking for Starbucks.  But if you are looking for a new boat, perhaps one that might house an entire village of people, this is your spot.

Ok back to packing and preparing.  We may not post again until Thursday, our planned departure day.  We’ve been spoiled here in Nice with internet access in our apartment.  We plan on trying to get mobile internet again in Italy but we are not sure how that will go.  Daily posting as we travel through Europe will depend on how we do sorting out this issue.  Stay tuned…

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5 thoughts on “A tourist day to Antibes – interested in a super yacht?

  1. Hi guys, good to see you enjoying the sights,have you looked inside the boats, maybe you would have found starbucks and Maca,s but make sure it doesn’t have a italian captain. ;- )

    • Inside was not an option – too many crew members milling about, polishing, waxing and generally cleaning up. All in matching outfits I might add. I suspect that there were no owners within a country mile of any of the boats.


  2. Hi! I just returned from 7 day Cruise to Eastern Caribbean on Holland America and it was lovely! Warm (or hot) Weather, Great food, Relaxation and gentle seas! A tall handsome thin Dutch captain and good at “parking” the Nieuw Amsterdam, but not great at spelling! Home to stay for quite a while now. I’m sure the bikes will be a bit heavier – but we will have a bit of snow tomorrow here, so avoid that if you can!! Brrrrr! Love to you both!

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