Drive around the narrow lanes of Cap d’Antibes on a sunny summer day and whatever your budget, the French Riviera’s joie de vivre is infectious.
Avenues of pine trees frame glimpses of that famous Cote d’Azur sea while neatly trimmed hedges and elegant but firmly closed gates shelter opulent houses. Offshore 70 per cent of the world’s super-yachts are expected to sail past this summer.
Cap d’Antibes is where property prices defy any downturn, second only to nearby Cap Ferrat for the stratospheric levels reached. Local agents point out mansions owned by Brazilian bankers, Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern royalty and smaller homes held for generations by wealthy French families.
There are about 2,000 homes on the Cap with 10 per cent typically for sale at any one time, says Olivier Maugery-Pons of Savills. Prices range from £1.8 million to £16 million, with a rarefied few capable of hitting £142 million.
Rental demand is consistently strong on the Cap. A wonderful, newly renovated four-bedroom house with a large pool and gardens immediately above the sea, for sale at £5.1 million, would rent for £47,360 a month says Maugery-Pons.
“The south side of the Cap on Billionaires Bay has the biggest and most expensive villas, followed by the west coast and then the east,” he adds. “At the entrance to the Cap prices fall rapidly. So, for example, an older three-bedroom house in L’Îlette would start from £710,400.”
NEW BUILD IN ANTIBES
Come away from the Cap towards the resort town of Antibes itself and you get sea views at a more affordable price. Parc du Cap in Antibes is a new development of 88 apartments that launched this summer.
The location of the five-acre plot, on the peninsula side of the Chemin de Sable, means it can credibly claim to be on the Cap itself — but all the facilities of Antibes are on hand and the beach at Juan-les-Pins is a five-minute stroll.
The one- to four-bedroom homes are split between two five-storey buildings. Good shared facilities include two pools, a fitness centre, tennis court and sauna, while a concierge will be on hand round the clock. All homes have terraces, some have private gardens and there are views to Cap d’Antibes and the Alps.
Apartments at Parc du Cap are priced from £472,800 and include a penthouse with private pool. Monthly service charges start from £240 and average £550. Early interest has come from the UK, France, Russia and Scandinavia.
“Buyers like the turn-key solution which is surprisingly hard to find in the South of France,” says Matthew Murison, chief executive of developer Caudwell Collection. “We anticipate interest from empty-nesters looking for security in a manageable-sized home and from younger families who want a lock-up-and-leave holiday home with excellent facilities.”
GOOD ENOUGH FOR JOANIE
The Parc du Cap development is owned by UK-based telecommunications billionaire John Caudwell. As well as this project and two more in London’s Mayfair, the Caudwell Collection has four more forthcoming residential schemes around Antibes, including a one-off super-villa on the Cap itself.
There is also Le Provençal, the refurbishment of a statuesque former hotel in Juan-les-Pins into 30 apartments. The property is a local landmark soaked in celebrity connections — the hotel guests included Charlie Chaplin, Ella Fitzgerald and Joan Collins, who chose it for two of her honeymoons. Prices will be released later this year.
“Antibes Old Town remains popular for second-home hunters, as does the port area,” comments Rebecca Russell of buying agents Côte Abode. “Along with the old-fashioned charm of Juan-les-Pins, Golfe Juan is also worth considering for clients whose budgets don’t run to the millions.”
In Juan-Les-Pins estate agent Leggett has one-bedroom resale apartments near the beach from £256,500. A six-bedroom villa with pool and sea views in the hills above Antibes is £845,000, reduced from £1,087,000, and a three-bedroom villa an easy drive from the beach at Antibes is £669,000, also through Leggett.