The history of Le Cap d'Antibes is known through the history of Antibes
which exceptional site has been well known since the high antiquity.
Between the second and the first millenium b.c., various nomadic tribes,
probably lured by the beauty of the site, started to settle down and found
some primitive village.
Around the fifth century b.c., Greeks seafarers, opening trading posts all
along the Mediterranean cost, founded Antipolis. Antipolis rapidly became a
significant port. Antipolis meant the opposite city, opposite to Corsica,
as Antipolis was an ideal stop between Corsica and Massilia (today Marseille)
or opposite to Nikke (Nice), Nikke being such name in recognition for the Greek
Goddess of Victory. A former Greek Acropolis was where the
Château Grimaldi is today.
The surroundings of Antibes, and more specifically Le Cap d'Antibes were covered
with pines forest, with basic habitations along the sea. The Garoupe was already
well known and used by fishermen to catch fishes.
In the 2nd century b.c., the whole region, which had to face numerous and heavy
attacks from the surrounding tribes such as the Oxibiens and Cannois, finally
asked protection to the Romans in 154 b.c.. The Romans defeated the Oxibiens
and the whole region became a roman province, the Alpae Maritimae.
Under the Romans, Antipolis continued to develop very well, becoming the biggest
town of the region. The famous Aurelia Road was crossing the city,
which was a major stop for the Romans going to Gaul. A Roman Castrum replaced
the Greek Acropolis. The city had large fortifications, aqueducts, public baths,
a triumphal arch, and a Temple dedicated to Mercury, god of Commerce. The
current places of Le Cap d'Antibes as well as Juan les Pins were part of the
In the 4h century a.c., the Roman Empire converted to the
Christianity, the invasions from the barbarian tribes, the ostrogoths and the
wisigoths, started, and the dislocation of the Roman Empire began. A long period
of devastation for the whole region started.
Antipolis became Antiboul with the consecration of the city
to Christianity in the middle of the 5th century. However, region kept being
devastated by numerous tribes and remained very unsafe for few centuries.
In the 10th century, Antibes had its first Seigneur, the Seigneur of
Antibes, Seigneur Rodoart. He started to protect the whole region by pushing
back the invaders. A castle was built with the former roman stones, where he
lived. Antibes built the fortifications (the year 1000 town walls) as invaders
were as well coming from the sea. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Antibes knew
some renewal, but in the following centuries, insecurity, wars and epidemics
put the whole region on a big recession again. People were mainly living inside
the city, behind the city walls. Le Cap d'Antibes, unsafe, was not really
inhabited. Peace came back in the region by the end of the 14th century.
The Comte de Provence who was protecting and owning the region, died
by the end of the 15th century and left his lands to Louis XI, King of France.
Le Cap d'Antibes really started to develop by the middle of the nineteen century.
At that time, wealthy people from all Europe, notably UK and Russia started
to discover that place and built luxurious dwellings.
In 1880, the surrounding town Juan les Pins was discovered
by the Duke of Albany, son of the Queen Victoria. At that time it was a forest
of pines surrounded by sandy beaches.
In 1926, the castle of Antibes was bought by Antibes
municipality to convert it into a Museum. Picasso stayed there 6 months.
He left all his works and the castle of Antibes became the
Juan les Pins had its glorious days during the twenties
when American people brought there a certain way of life made of fun, enjoying
sandy beaches, and... Jazz. It was an immediate success. All Europe youth in
search of fun and best know American stars such as Frank Jay Gould, Scott and
Jelda Fitzgerald, or Douglas Fairbanks used to go to Juan. That was the
beginning of les années folles (the crazy years). After world war
II, the exuberance atmosphere of Juan started again, making it being the
European New Orleans. Sidney Bechet was impressed by the beauty of the place
and married there in 1951, during a crazy day, made of orchestras in the
streets, famous stars and journalists from all over the world, and dancers.
Sidney Bechet even played for the fist time In the streets of Antibes,
one of his greatest hits. In 1960, the Jazz Festival of Juan les Pins was
launched. All the big ones came: Armstrong, Count Basie, Charles Mingus,
Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Ray
Charles....Hancock, Georges Benson, Keith Jarrett, Al Jarreau. Nowdays,
the Jazz festival is held every July.