Eat and drink – ANTIBES (La Caravane Passe)

My mother always told me ‘Trust your instincts’ and when I walked into La Caravane Passe I knew this was one of those places I was happy to find.

My blog is aimed at families who travel with baby buggies/strollers (and also wheelchair bound travellers) who need accessible restaurants however for this review I am going against the grain and reviewing a nice cafeteria that is not wholly accessible as it is a great find.

You could quite easily miss La Caravane Passe if you visit Antibes as it is not on the tourist track – it is however only a few minutes walk from the centre of the old town and is situated on rue Vauban, a through road between the La Famiglia restaurant and Don Camillos pizza restaurant.

At first glance you think you have entered an Aladdin’s cave – a wonderful array of items are displayed in the front of the shop such as exotic silks, woven fabrics, fragrant candles, crockery, cushions, distressed wooden furniture and lamps.

Photo reprinted courtesy of LaCaravanePasse.net

Photo reprinted courtesy of LaCaravanePasse.net

But my review is based on what is found at the back of this treasure trove – a secret garden, or salon de thé to be precise.  What a lovely little spot to enjoy a range of coffees (un café for €1,50), specialty teas (they have a ‘house’ specialty tea with 5-spice, cloves, ginger and cinnamon) or artisanal icecream.  It is also very quiet noise-wise and was shaded on the day I visited which offered relief from a hot day in Antibes old town heaving with summertime tourists.

Photo reprinted courtesy of LaCaravanePasse.net

Photo reprinted courtesy of LaCaravanePasse.net

The garden is reached via a set of steps (4 or 5 steps, I forgot to count!) so this is why it is not accessible with wheels – though the shop itself is.  Families with children at walking age, or travellers with reduced mobility who can manage a few steps will be fine. There is a toilet onsite that is accessed through the small workshop by the salon de thé counter; the door is a single-frame and not very wide so you can’t fit a baby buggy in but you can park it outside in the shop.

I will be returning to La Caravane Passe – I’m glad I found it and trusted my instincts to wander inside. My mum would be proud and I’ll bring her here next time she visits us.

La Caravane Passe, 37 rue Vauban, 06600 Antibes

Opening hours:  All day Tuesday-Saturday  (closed during lunch time)

 

 

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Eat and drink – ANTIBES (Choopy’s)

Choopy’s is a great little place that everyone who is a regular tells their friends and guests about.

Just through the archway (on rue Republique you will see the archway 20metres to the left of the Maison Rober supermarket) you could easily walk past Choopy’s if you stick to the main tourist route, but step through the doorway (mind the few steps it’s not wheelchair accessible but fine for baby strollers/buggies) and you will be greeted by friendly staff and a counter of delicious cupcakes.

They have an impressive coffee menu – and for Antipodeans they are the only cafe in the area that I have noticed has a ‘flat white’ (milky coffee). The interior of the cafe is not big, but in the seating area past the counter there are cosy tables and benches and they even have a toybox for little ones (considerate for the mummy coffee groups!).

There is a toilet onsite, however not accessible for a whole baby buggy/stroller. When I visited (our group was 2 adults, 1 baby and 1 toddler) there was already another family with toddler using the toybox but with a bit of rearranging of buggies/strollers we fitted in. There is also free Wifi to use while eating your cupcake!

The cupcakes are delicious and they have a good range of interesting flavours (last time I was here they had Bounty bar, mint chocolate etc) I ate a mint chocolate flavour which was really chocolatey but not sickly, and they often theme their cupcakes to a special day or event. If you visit, you won’t be disappointed.

Choopy’s

Address: corner of rue Vial and rue Marc

Eat and drink – ANTIBES (Cesar Cafe)

I had never eaten crêpes prior to visiting France.  Sure, I have eaten pancakes many times but crêpes are much lighter tasting, thinner in thickness and generally larger in radius.

Many restaurants sell crêpes and you can get one with all types of toppings – sweetened with Nutella, savoury with cheeses and meats, or the slightly naughty Crêpe Suzette drizzled with caramelised sugar, butter, citrus juice, zest and Grand Marnier liqueur, served flambé.

I opted for a ‘Citronelle’ crêpe yesterday at Cesar Cafe (5 rue Aubernon, 06600 Antibes. Telephone: +33 4 93 34 03 22), a dinner plate-sized crêpe coated in sugar and fresh lemon juice.  There is something about the combination of sticky sweet sugar and zesty lemon juice with a soft foldable crêpe base that is so delicious….I devoured my crêpe in about 2 minutes, and my companion’s crêpe ‘Londonnais’ with ham, egg and the addition of mushrooms went down a treat and was pronounced delicious also.

Cesar Cafe is small in size and the tables are close to each other but don’t be put off if you have a family and baby buggy/stroller.  There are tables outside to park your stroller.  There is one small step to the interior of the cafe, though the doorway to the toilet is narrow so unfortunately the toilet facilities are not wheelchair-accessible.  The cafe also keeps open a small window for ventilation at ground level that opens inwards in front of the bathroom door so you will find it difficult to pass if you are less mobile.

The waiter was friendly and has lived locally for 13 years so he is used to peak season tourists, and rather than rush us through our meal he bought water cups and more coffee.

The cost was 5,50€ for the citron crêpe, 8,50€ for the londannais crêpe (extra price for mushrooms) and 1,70€ for expressos (cafés).

Recommended for a quick snack or coffee break when in old town Antibes.

Eat and drink – JUAN LES PINS (La Grappa)

On Friday evening, Juan les Pins was relatively busy with locals and tourists alike eager to catch a glimpse of the annual ‘Bataille des Fleurs’ (Battle of the Flowers) parade.  There were floats decorated with flowers, Brazilian samba girls and brass bands.  Occasionally, the parade participants would throw a spectator a flower to pass onto their beloved.

Before the parade, we were eager to eat dinner quickly and with a minimum of waiting as we had three children with us (aged 19 months to 6 years of age).  We stopped by La Grappa (12 avenue Maréchal Joffe, 06160 Juan les Pins.  Telephone: 04 93 65 93 13), a family-run Italian pizzeria located on the street leading from Juan les Pins train station to the seafront.

La Grappa is unpretentious.  Because it is on the street leading to the beach area it doesn’t have a scenic view, however it has good tasty pizza for a reasonable price for Juan les PIns.  We reserved a table for seven people (including the children) and were promptly given menus on arrival, and drinks orders taken.  We waited no more than 10 minutes for our delicious wood-fired pizzas to be served.  The waitress was friendly and attentive; the pizza chef was friendly also and showed my son how he put the toppings onto the pizzas and then into the wood-fired oven.

The pizzas were very tasty – perfect thin crust (not soggy or burnt around the edges), lots of toppings and cheese – our bill was 66 euros which was good for Juan les PIns – including 5 large pizzas, a pichet of rosé, 2 large beers and water.  The restaurant is located at street level and has a couple of bistro-type tables outside on the sidewalk, and there is just one small step into the main dining area so it is accessible for both baby buggies/strollers, and/or wheelchairs.  The toilet is also accessible for wheelchair users.

We will definitely return again to La Grappa.

Eat and drink – ANTIBES

Sometimes all you want when you are hungry is to find an old favourite – a restaurant where you can order your favourite dish and know that the quality will be consistently good and the service great.   For me, one of those restaurants is La Cave Provençale at 7 rue Aubernon.  You could easily walk by La Cave Provençale and not blink an eye; there is nothing outstanding about the façade or decor, and the location is on a busy through-road which does not allow for meandering strolling.  However, what brings me back to La Cave Provençale is my ‘favourite dish’ the ‘Gourmand’ salad – a delicious, fresh mix of rocket, coppa, jambon cru, roquefort, roasted pinenuts, olives and mini toasts with lightly melted chevre cheese, mmmmm!  The salad is a decent-sized portion, tastes fresh and is priced well for Antibes.  Service is friendly and prompt even when tables are full.  When I visited last week on a hot day (with friends and two children under 18 months of age) the waiter bought chilled water for the children, and put out the sun awning to avoid sunburn for the children.  The menu offers burgers, salads, pastas and the like.  Downside is there is no high chair for families to use. The toilet is accessible for those with reduced mobility.

Eat and drink – ANTIBES

Children are welcome in restaurants, cafés and bars, however not all restaurants will provide special facilties for families such as high chairs.  Most restaurants do not offer children’s meals (the range may be limited for children to fries, chicken nuggets and similar) but those that do specifically offer children’s menus have fixed-price menus at reduced prices.

Le Moulin, 7 boulevard Maréchal Leclerc (Telephone: 04 93 61 23 60):  Italian-run restaurant situated near to Salis beach serving pizza, pastas and the like.  Large outdoor terrace for dining in the sun.  Ample room for wheelchair users and/or families with strollers but reservations are recommended as this restaurant does get busy.  Easy access to toilet facilities as restaurant is ground level.

Eat and drink – ANTIBES

Children are welcome in restaurants, cafés and bars, however not all restaurants will provide special facilties for families such as high chairs.  Most restaurants do not offer children’s meals (the range may be limited for children to fries, chicken nuggets and similar) but those that do specifically offer children’s menus have fixed-price menus at reduced prices.

Félix Café, 50 boulevard Aguillon, (Telephone: 04 93 34 01 64): Has ramp access inside the restaurant to disabled toilet facilities.  High chair available for families. I recommend the ‘Felix’ pizza.

Fleur de Café, 2 avenue du 24 Août, (Telephone: 04 93 34 43 89): Stroller-friendly café serving cakes, muffins, coffee – has a baby change table, no stairs inside café to toilet facilities.

Restaurant L’auberge Provençal, place Nationale, 61 rue de la République (Telephone: 04 93 34 13 24): Has ramp access inside the restaurant to the rear dining terrace and toilet facilities.

Carrefour supermarkets, one in central Antibes town at 5 avenue Pasteur, and the bigger hypermarket is around 15 minutes drive from Antibes town on Chemin Saint Claude (Telephone: 04 92 91 46 79):  Both are wheelchair accessible.

Intermarche supermarket, 2 boulevard Albert 1er: Wheelchair accessible.