© Jo Morgan
Plage du Ponteil Beach, Antibes
This lovely long stretch of sand is what most Antibes locals would mean when they say ‘I’m going to the beach’. It’s a nice sand beach with a stunning view, although it’s not terribly wide and does get super-packed in summer.
This beach is predominantly public, which makes it hugely popular. However, in the corner there’s a lovely private beach club called Royal Beach, which is open from late April/May to 30 September (weather dependent.)
This is a nice beach with an exceptional view and good facilities. Even better, the wide promenade with shady trees and park benches is a place where everyone likes to gather and walk in the evenings, giving it real character year-round. However, in mid-summer, be prepared to get to this beach early otherwise you might find yourself queuing for a patch of sand and waiting for others to leave.
In the long summer twilights, big groups of families and friends gather at this beach for volleyball and picnics until late, and there’s a gorgeous walkway or ‘promenade’ behind the beach with lots of park benches shaded by trees where you can sit and look out to sea.
It is handicap-accessible, with a long paved walkway behind the beach and ramps rolling down to the sand. In high summer, the council has cordoned off a part of the beach with a mat rolled right down to the water for wheelchair users. There are free public toilets on the far side of the Sailing Club building or some coin-operated toilets mid-way along the beach in the carpark. There are showers on the edge of the water.
Dogs: From mid-April until the 1st of October, dogs are ostensibly forbidden on these beaches between 6am and midnight due to the crowds. However, you’ll find that on wet or windy days or early in the morning the locals still walk their dogs there anyway.
Beach Bars & Beachclubs in Antibes
For a fine meal on the beach, head to Royal Beach for excellent modern Italian. There is also a food kiosk at the far end of the beach with café tables set out- selling sandwiches, fries and ice-creams. Just back from the beach, you have Royal Hotel overlooking the sea (more Italian), as well as a pizza place (yes, more Italian!) just behind the promenade. There’s also a mini Casino supermarket across the road selling food, wine, ice-creams etc as well as a newsagent selling all sorts of watertoys.
Setting & Location
The real advantage of this beach is its spectacular setting. To your left you’ll see the Alps rising above the jumble of roofs and grand ramparts of Old Antibes; to your right the green forested Cap d’Antibes curves around, the lighthouse proud upon the hill and huge villas sitting among the pines. The curved Bay of Angels stretches all the way around to Nice in the distance, and the superyachts gather just offshore. The panorama from this beach was once painted by Monet himself-the view really is that good.
There’s a big carpark just behind the beach, which is free from mid-September through to mid-June and has a relatively minimal fee (between €3 and €5 in the summer months.)
Water Safety & Clarity
There are some sections of the water with a sandy bottom, but there are some rocks and great patches of seaweed. The water in the off-season is crystal clear, but in midsummer, it can get a bit murky with all the people swimming in it and the yachts anchored off. Such is life on the French Riviera if you want clear water in high summer take the short ferry trip over to the glorious Cannes Islands.
There are lifeguards posted here in the summer, but this beach is a very calm beach, protected by the Cap d’Antibes on one side and the old town on the other. The slope of the sand into the water is gentle and it stays shallow for some time meaning it’s a great spot for the kiddies to swim.
The sand here is white and soft, happily marking the end of the smooth pebbled beaches that run all the way to Nice and beyond. Through the winter months, the council rarely removes the seaweed and debris that rolls in with the winter storms and while you’ll still be able to find stretches of lovely soft sand, you’ll find this beach does get quite full of sticks, logs and seaweed. It’s a lovely spot for a dog-walk on a cool winter’s day.
On the pontoon just behind Royal Beach Club you’ll find the only watersports centre in Antibes proper, offering towed watersports and paddleboard and kayak rental. Royal Beach Club also has several pedalos with slippery slides for rental. Antibes Sailing Club is just down the end of the beach, and offers sailing lessons and hire of paddleboards, kayaks and windsurfers. For those wanting to buy lilos, beach balls etc, there are several stores behind the beach car park selling watertoys as well as drinks, food and magazines.
The watersports available at Plage de Ponteil are relatively limited; for a full range of watersports including parasailing and flyboarding, head over to the beaches at Juan les Pins. Read our full Antibes watersports guide here.
There’s also a gated playground just behind the beach.