Villefranche-Sur-Mer is an intimate beach resort and residential town which is one of the beautiful tourist hotspots that line the French Riviera. Long a home to Mediterranean cruise boats that tender plenty of tourists on the shore, this vibrant township is home to picturesque architecture, a gorgeous shoreline, and rustic old town districts which are perfect for late afternoon strolls.
A suburb of the tourist mainstay of Nice, Villefranche-Sur-Mer is a smaller, yet equally beautiful port that is rarely beholden to the overcrowding that can swamp some townships with mainstream and commercial tourist resorts. From the moment you are tendered ashore, Villefranche-Sur-Mer will enchant you with its wonderful beaches, antiquated, intriguing villages, and spacious promenades.
Sightseeing in Villefranche-Sur-Mer
Saint Michael’s Church
Situated at the heat of the grand sprawl of Old Town, this church was built in the 1750s and features baroque Italian architecture, and makes for an awe inspiring sight whether you are taking a late night stroll, or enjoying a morning exploration of the medieval splendour of the Villefranche centre. As well as being home to glorious works of art, such a huge painting of St. Michael, and wooden statue of San Rocco, the interior is worth the entry price alone.
The Chapelle Saint-Pierre
Dating back to the 16th century, this beautiful chapel was restored as recently as 1957 in order to preserve its gorgeous interior, as well as make the addition of stunning murals. There amazing works of art were installed by painter Jacque Cocteau, and feature stunning iconography detailing the life and times of St. Peter, as well as depictions of the local fishermen. A stalwart of the community, this is a striking culture spot that shouldn’t be missed.
Plage des Marinieres
This is the longest stretch of beach in Villefranche-Sur-Mer, and is beautifully framed by rows of tall trees. It curves around the bay for around a kilometre, bookended by the antiquated splendour of the old town, and low, wooded hills. This wonderful beach is easily accessible from all points on the island and is populated by friendly locals soaking up the sunshine. As if to complete this stunning tableau, towering cliffs act as a backdrop to this ideal shoreline attraction, giving it an otherworld beauty that is a must-see for any cruiser.
Shopping in Villefranche-Sur-Mer
A regular shopping highlight in the middle of this quaint township is the brocante (bric-a-brac) market which is held on most Sundays within the province. The amazing arrays of stalls offer a scintillating blend of fantastic antiques, intriguing curios, as well as a flourishing trade community selling delicious produce and confectionery. From booksellers to artists, the brocante market has everything a traveller might be hankering for.
Eating Out in Villefranche-Sur-Mer
French cuisine is revered the world over, and the food in Villefranche-Sur-Mer more than lives up the expectation. Les Garcons is a paradise for foodies- modern seating on a gorgeous rustic patio blends with beautifully prepared meals for a culinary experience which is hard to beat. Cosier spots such as Le Serre, where brightly lit archways frame a great dinnertime atmosphere and local specialities, round out the culinary delights in Villefranche-Sur-Mer no end.