5 Rivers, a few Beaches and a Lake...
My family and I were fortunate enough to be able to spend time in the South of France this summer (all gratitude to my generous parents for making it happen - the image above is the view from their roof terrace and FYI they rent out this stunning space in Antibes Old Town so get in touch if you are interested).
Taking over a month abroad in a pandemic was not a smooth ride but it was utterly joyous and absolutely worth it - we definitely all benefited from the change of scene and unending consumption of baguettes.
Aside from 'travelling in a pandemic' the one remarkably different thing from any of our previous trips to France was tat it was our first time travelling overseas with a dog.
I thought it would be tricky - and had endless worries; would he settle? would he annoy people? would the paperwork be a nightmare? would he jump on the sofas? would he got too hot?
Fortunately he settled quite quickly and that the French love their dogs was immediately apparent. Rupert was photographed and filmed, petted and coo'ed over all the time. The general attitude towards dogs in France is one of 'acceptance and non-judgement', dogs are a part of life and rarely held to account for any of their apparent misdemeanours.
The paperwork was also fine. Expensive but doable. If you are travelling with your pet to France you will need to have an (in date) rabies vaccine and a certificate of health from the vet (ours cost about £130). Our only surprise was for the return journey that we not only need a vet check and tapeworm treatment but also a trip to the Prefecture in Nice to get the final 'stamp' on his papers. This was a step that was not listed in any of the UK or French advice.
Thankfully he stayed well away from the sofas and ... while he did get hot, he didn't get too hot which was mainly thanks to the wonderful array of cool swimming spots and shady forest walks we found.
Which is what inspired this post. With most of our usual beach spots off limits to pooches we were forced to get more creative. I spent a lot of time scouring the internet for ideas of where to take him, the girls were keen to head to the rivers having got a taste of it 4 years ago previously. But info about river swiming (and importantly where to park to river swim) is not readily available eon mainstream channels - so I found myself scouring through, often very old, blog posts to find the best spots.
In the spirit of which - I present this - my blog post tribute to our favourite 'swimming with a dog' spots in the Antibes and surrounding area.
First up...The Beaches
We did take Ru to the beach but in light of the lack of shade and his getting very hot we only went for either shorter periods of time or later in the afternoon.
The only official 'dog' beach in the area is at Villeneuve Loubet. The beach itself is rocky and located directly in front of the road and railway line - this might sound unsightly but when you are looking out to sea it really doesn't matter. It was always quiet when we were there - this is mainly down to the fact that there is no direct parking or nearby snack bars.
For the most part we managed to grab a parking space on the side of the road a bit closer towards and Antibes and would then walk down to the dog section (Note: there are areas of road side parking that are 'interdit' and they do issue tickets to check the signage). Unless you have a scooter or bike is unadvisable to try your luck parking on the pebbles directly on the 'dog beach' - we saw at least one car having to be towed out each time we visited. There is also a small car park at the far end of the beach (if you come from Antibes), either way it is a hot walk but worth it once you get there.
We also took him to the Antibes Fort beach. He was not permitted on the actual beach but if you walk over towards the Fort there is the concrete wall you can sit on - not being an official 'beach' this seemed to be ok. There is no sandy area for sunbathing but the water is lovely and there are loads of fun creatures to spot on the rocks. Also...free and easy parking.