Since the ninth century, barefoot sailors carry the virgin statue of Notre-Dame de Bon Port to the Antibes cathedral on the first Thursday of July, then return it to the Garoupe chapel the following Sunday.
It is an interesting sight to see the sailors dressed in their white and blue outfits walking barefoot to Antibes with the statue on their shoulders – it not an easy parade for the sailors as they descend via the chemin du Calvaire which is rocky and uneven for those wearing shoes so I’m baffled how they manage barefoot!
If you are an early-riser (!) you may catch the parade either to or from the Garoupe chapel – the best location for accessibility and views is to situate yourself along Salis beach near Antibes which is flat and has lots of vantage points (automated pay public toilets are located by the carpark across from Hotel Josse) – see below for further details:
Thursday 4 July: An early start for the sailors with a 4a.m mass at the Garoupe chapel, giving blessing to the earth and the sea. 7.15am: The descent via chemin du Calvaire of the virgin of the cathedral followed by another mass. The best location to witness the parade is along Salis beach near Antibes. 8.30pm: Prayers and songs by the sailors..
Friday 5 July: 8.30pm: Prayers and songs by the sailors, followed by a religious concert.
Saturday 6 July: 9pm: Prayers and songs to the statue by the sailors, followed by a lantern procession and a bonfire on plage Gravette beside Antibes port.
Sunday 7 July: 6.15am: Another early day for the sailors (and spectators) with mass at the Antibes cathedral followed by the return departure back to chapel Garoupe at 6.45am. 9.30am: Mass at chapel Garoupe