Today’s blog post is something a little different. I’ve recently been addicted to the Love in Provence series by Patricia Sands, (if you LOVE a good romance novel, buy these asap!) Ever since, I have been hopelessly dreaming of being back in the South of France. Ben & I got married in Provence last summer (read more about our wedding HERE) & 18 months ago, we spent a month living in Antibes while job hunting. It’s basically a fairytale town that happens to host a large number of yachties year round.
With romance & France on the brain, I decided it was time to start a new series of Date Night blog posts.
I’m going to be interviewing couples who are based in various yachtie ports to share their favourite nights out. To kick this series off, I reached out to one of the most BEAUTIFUL couples in yachting for their expertise!
Welcome to The Yacht Stew, Sophie & Stuart!
I asked the happy couple to share how they met & their top 5 date nights for the following a categories: Romance, Adventure, Fun, Cultural & Memorable.
We first met 4 years ago when Stuart was working for the British, ITV reality dating programme ‘Take Me Out’ when I auditioned to go on the show…and got through! This story is completely embarrassing for me, and always gives crew a good laugh when they first find out, ending up with ‘screenings’ of the show in the crew mess (season 8, if you’re wondering). Stuart on the other hand revels in it, especially the part when he recalls that the first thing I ever said to him was ‘I think you’re fit, I wish you were coming down the love lift’ (if you watch the show, you’ll get that reference).
My ‘date’ from the show was a total flop, but as they take you away to ‘The Isle of Fernandos’ to film it you have a chaperone who works for the show with you the whole weekend, and mine was Stuart.
We got along so well that weekend, but he told me that we couldn’t keep in touch as it was written in his contract he wasn’t allowed to affiliate with the contestants for a year after the show was filmed. Exactly a year later he pops me a message on facebook, we had three dates in one week and the rest, as they say, is history. We’ve been engaged 10 months, getting married next summer.
We’ve been working on yachts for two years, although not on the same boat until this month which is so exciting! Because we weren’t working on the same boat, time together became extremely precious as it was few and far between. Due to that I like to think we are experts in the humble ‘date night’, especially in Antibes where both our respective yachts were berthed a lot of the time.
Stroll along the cap and a couples massage
For us, romantic is just spending time re-connecting and catching up with one another. So, for a romantic date we would set off and stroll along the old city walls of Antibes all the way to the Cap D’Antibes taking in the views and chatting hand in hand. Working on the same boat means that we are very careful to not make our fellow crew members feel uncomfortable around us, so we stay away from displays of affection, even sitting at different tables at meal times! Therefore, it’s so lovely when you’re off the yacht to just hold one another’s hand, and maybe even stop for a cheeky kiss. At the end of the walk you come to the gorgeous Royal Antibes Hotel, which boasts a rooftop pool and spa. Treat yourself and your sore limbs to a couples massage there, definitely recommended after busy charters!
Adventurous Date Night
Lighthouse hike for sunset champagne
For this one your first step is to buy yourself and your date a delicious bottle of bubbly and some disposable cups. You’ll need comfy, sturdy shoes too.
Start in the old town, by the market place, and walk out towards the old walls. Follow the walls round, past ‘Le Golden Beef’ onto the Cap D’Antibes and keep walking along the stunning shore line. When on the Cap, take a moment to look back onto Old Antibes, this is one of our favourite views in the world it’s the perfect enrapturement of the South of France, with the snow capped Alps in the background and the shimmering Mediterranean in front of you. Keep walking round until you come to the end of the beach, and across the road you’ll see a pine tree draped entrance up some steep steps. Now, you start your climb. The steps are wide and cobbled, so not too laborious but deffo a bit of a workout as there are lots of them! There are pretty view points along the way to stop and catch your breath.
When you reach the top you’ll see ‘Le Phare de la Garoupe’ – the lighthouse, and a charming little chapel amidst the maritime pines. From here you have stunning panoramic views of Antibes behind you, and Cannes in front. The lighthouse rises to 103 metres, and is the strongest along the riviera. Take a seat on one of the benches, pop your champagne, and toast your climb! Time this for sunset for a super romantic reward.
Cultural Date Night Day
Market shopping for a picnic on the beach
Every morning in Old Antibes there’s a traditional market with stalls creaking with local produce; cheese, meats, fish, fruit and vegetables, sweeties, chocolates, fresh flowers, you name it it’s there.
So grab yourself a blanket or some beach towels, picnic plates and cutlery and immerse yourselves in the market atmosphere to fill your boots with treats. We’d use our best (really bad) French to choose some yummy local cheese, a selection of hams and salami, fresh strawberries and some macraoons, then walk to the closest boulangerie for a straight out of the oven baguette. What could be more French than that? If you’re looking to impress why not buy a bunch of flowers that your date could put in their cabin to remind them of the date?
Head down to the Toilet Bowl (Antibes’ famous beach), plonk yourself on a sun drenched spot of sand and enjoy your spoils. Topped off with a chilled glass of rose and a cuddly afternoon nap in the sun. A slice of French heaven…
Fun Date Night
We’re both Scottish, so love a good drink (or two…) and what better way to sample Antibes finest tipples than on a couples bar crawl. We love going on a night out with one another, downing shots, having silly conversations and owning any dance floor. Antibes has so many bars, its hard to know where to start, but by limiting yourselves to one drink per bar you can get through them pretty quickly (depending on your stamina).
Start at the famous yachtie haunt ‘Le Blue Lady’ with a pint, then move on round to ‘Latinos’ for one of their famous giant mojitos (served in a glass bigger than your head) and maybe some nachos to line your stomach. Stop off at the ‘Hopstore’ to check out the live band with a G&T, then go around the corner to ‘Happy Face’ or ‘Drinkers Club’ for an espresso martini to perk you up. Keep going and you’ll reach ‘BAM’, grab a negroni and head down the stairs to the dance floor. If you’re still going but feet are feeling weary, move on to our last stop of the night, the ‘Absinthe Bar’ – where wearing a hat is mandatory, they’ll supply you with a variety of silly ones, perfect for a night out selfie to look back on in the morning.
Warning : this is not recommended pre guest pick up day or on boss trip!!! Save your hangovers for a day off when you can indulge them on the beach, or in your bunk all day. Trust us.
Our favourite date night in Antibes…
Our favourite date night in Antibes was in the charming, Michelin guide restaurant ‘Le P’tit Cageot’.
It’s everything you could want from a French restaurant; down a quiet side street, full of locals, open stone walls and wooden spiral staircases, shelves full of wine, friendly French staff, and the most delicious food. They offer a ‘surprise menu’ consisting of three courses, which the chef decides and changes daily depending on what he can source from the market – making the food the freshest you can get. The presentation is divine, they tailor it to your likes and dislikes if you let them know, and help with wine pairing too – from Provence of course! Despite its Michelin rating, its super relaxed and informal, so a great place to unwind after a hard day at work.
We went here the first night we were back together after 13 weeks in season, we celebrated New Years here with our parents, and we went here when we got our couples position. To say it’s special to us doesn’t do it justice.
We hope these date ideas help you to make those precious nights together really count, making memories to last a life time or just for some summer lovin’. Maybe we’ll see you around gorgeous Antibes for double dates! Wishing you all loved up seasons,
Sophie & Stuart
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A little cute tidbit: Sophie & Stuart both separately wrote our their ideas for these dates night topics, when they compared notes, they had chosen the EXACT SAME DATE for all 5 options. They are 100% mean’t to be!
Thank you so much Sophie & Stuart for curating five perfect date nights of all of us! Now…I just need to get back to Antibes so Ben & I can try out all of these suggestions.
Want to share date night ideas? Email me at [email protected]!