A few years ago, when we were cruising the Mediterranean, by happenstance, I ended up in Villefranche for a few hours. It was absolutely lovely. The port stop was Monaco, but I had been there twice and decided to take the train to Nice. During the train ride, I met a lovely woman, and as we chatted she suggested that before going to Nice that I get off the train and check out Villefranche. Taking her advice turned out to be a great move! What an amazing waterfront town!
The Bay of Villefranche, which is said to be one of the five most beautiful bays in the world, is surrounded by the Cap of Nice on the right and Cap Ferrat on the left. The charming Old Town of Villefranche adorns the hillside to the sea, and the sandy (not rocky) beach offers great recreation throughout the year. With Monaco and Nice flanking it, it is hard to believe that Villefranche can retain the charm and authenticity of a little village where people still know each other.
There is so much to do here that it is hard to know where to start. I was only planning to be in Villefranche for a couple of hours. Did I want to just relax, enjoy the beach or lovely promenade, sit in a grab a coffee at one of the many cafes?
Shopping and browsing is always a favorite of mine. I had the choice to wander and find local wine and cheese shops or markets but since I was on a cruise, buying cheese or produce presented a logistic problem. Ending up grabbing a coffee and wandering just taking it all in and making a mental note to return. I don’t think you could get tired of all the options Villefranche has to offer since there is so much to enjoy and give your mind a chill down. My very short time there left me with some extraordinary memories.
The Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer
Reachable by a short path from the town center, the most important historical monument in Villefranche is the 16th-century citadel. Many of the buildings inside the citadel are painted in bright colors, an interesting contrast to the gray walls of the citadel itself. Looking out from the citadel walls, you can see the beautiful gardens of the theater.
The citadel is now home to the town hall and other government offices, and art museums principally and are free to enter.
Past the citadel, there is a marina that still has several important naval buildings namely the Corderie and officers’ barracks.
Travel Video: Villefranche:
Cruise Lines that Visit Villefranche:
- Pullmantur Cruceros
- Royal Caribbean
- Phoenix Reisen
The above list only includes cruise lines that anchor in Villefranche. Several other lines port in Nice or Monaco.
It’s no wonder, that France is a favorite amongst tourists. All destinations personify beauty, relaxation, and history, and offer gastronomic experiences second to none. Viva Le France!
Until Next Friends, Remember “To Travel is to Live!”