Villefranche sur Mer places of interest

Villefranche sur Mer is situated in the heart of the French Riviera (between Cannes and Monaco) near Nice and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, right in the heart of the most beautiful and rich part of the Côte d'Azur. It's here that the most splendid properties are hidden away, and where the world's millionaires love to spend their holidays.

Whether it's summer or winter, Villefranche is a stunning place. Its superb harbour is known to be one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. Over-looking the hills and luxurious residences, Villefranche is one of the most exclusive spots on the cote d'Azur.

The port, the citadelle, the old town, and the gentle curve of the coast all contribute to the beauty of the village which dates back to 130 BC.

With its colourful fishing boats and nets, the port is both a base for fishermen and tourists, offering numerous cruises in the summer. You can wander along the fishing quays, bordered by restaurants and their terraces. If you continue until the end you will arrive at the lengthy Villefranche beach which is pleasant from the very first days of summer.

The Saint Elme citadel which over-looks the sea dates from the 16th century and appears to watch over the old part of the town today.

The village houses an auditorium, museums, "la cité des métiers d'art" and hanging gardens. The army left here in 1965, (to their regret no doubt) and left in their place numerous art collections : Art and History museum, the Goetz-Boumeester collection (works by Picasso, Picabia...), the "Fondation-musée Volti" (contemporary sculptures) and even the Alpine-Hunting museum.

The old village shelters narrow roads and stair-ways with the most evokative names : rue Obscure, rue du Poilu. Covered passages lead down to the coloured facades of the ancient houses which have been carefully renovated. With their windows wide open at the height of summer you can hear snatches of lively conversation and smell the mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine from within.

Jean Cocteau, a native of the area, liked to come to Villefranche where he made friends with the fishermen to whom he dedicated his re-decoration of the Chapelle Saint-Pierre... a site not to be missed.

Sites to see :

  • 16th century Citadelle Saint Elme.
  • Chapelle St Pierre decorated by Cocteau.
  • 13th century medieval quarter.
  • Villefranche church. St Michel chapel.

Leisure activities:

  • Sea excursions. Sailing. Fishing. .
  • Water ski-ing. Swimming.
  • Volti, Goetz and Boumeester Museums.
  • Open-air cinema. Open-air theatre, the citadelle.

Neighbouring villages:

  • Beaulieu sur Mer (3km)
  • St Jean Cap Ferrat (3km)
  • Nice (5km)

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