Villefranche - A nice and picturesque old town
The Villefranche-sur-mer is a seaside resort located at the foot of the Alps, on the Mediterranean eastern coast, in the French Riviera. This picturesque town is a few miles away from Nice and its Alpes-Maritimes setting makes it a favorite among tourists visiting the Côte d’Azur.
Among its prime attractions are the Villefranche pebble beach and the bay’s deep natural harbors that are great for swimming enthusiasts. For those looking to experience the region’s exotic cultural and historical sites, the Citadel of Villefranche-sur-mer, the Saint Elme Citadel, Amelie’s market and the St Michel Church are some of the best places to visit in Villefranche. By and large, its rich maritime, as well as cultural diversity and its proximity to Nice, make Villefranche a great spot to shop, grab a bite while on route to the far side of Mont Boron, or enjoy an adventure to its well-kept and colorful hill town.
The main beach is the jewel of this old French town and one of the best places in Villefranche. It is eastwards from the town center, south of the train station. Its pebble-filled groundcover and crystal blue water make this one of the most scenic beaches in the whole of Nice. Historically, this harbor was used by the United States Navy’s 6th Fleet prior to the First World War largely since it is the deepest natural harbor in the Mediterranean Sea. Today, this beachfront is a reputable swimming spot and ideal for coastal adventures.
At first glance, one is bound to notice the huge fleet of luxury yachts, speed boats and paddle boards along the coastline. There is also the chance to see a fishing boat which is another key attraction of the Villefranche beaches. Although a rarity in other regions, this beautiful boat design has been part of the Mediterranean Sea culture for centuries and is still a favorite among local fishermen. What’s more, there is a vast selection of ice cream kiosks and cafes located just across the street, making this the perfect location for an afternoon swim.
A luxury yacht or speed boat is one of the best ways for you to enjoy the rich marine ecosystem that Villefranche’s coast has to offer. If you wish to go out on the sea using private means, you can locate any of the companies offering yacht rentals in the region and enjoy the deep blue sea in exquisite fashion. However, it is paramount that you also tag along a ride guide especially if you are new to the region. This way, you can avoid getting lost in the vast nothingness that is the Mediterranean Sea. For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can go on the famous and public Villefranche-sur-mer boat tour where you can also get to enjoy the various scenic sites of this eastern sea.
Just behind this harbor lie steep cobbled pathways that are lined with an ensemble of ancient buildings. The majority of these structures are painted in red pastel, yellow and orange to give this old town a highly picturesque outlook. Rue du Poilu is the name given to the main street which is known for its numerous trompe l’oeil art depictions. These paintings are meant to commemorate the sacrifices of the French soldiers who took part in the First World War and were key figures of the trench warfare system.
The town’s atmosphere is also one to cherish as the pathways are designed in an ancient manner. There are multiple arches that pass underneath houses such as the Rue Obscura which runs for over 100 meters and has been maintained just as it was in historical times. Also, there are numerous sites to feast your eyes on such as the Place du Conseil and the Church of St. Michael. The latter is a baroque style structure that dates back to the 15th century situated right at the heart of this ancient town, while the former is a fountain square that was traditionally used as the governmental headquarters for Villefranche. However, the Citadel of Villefranche-sur-mer is to a great extent the most trivial historic suites of them all. It was built in the early stages of the 16th century and the imposing structure appears to stand on top of the sea.
There are narrow pathways used to access these historical buildings and one can simply stroll to any of these sites. However, for the more flamboyant travelers, helicopter tours offer more enjoyable sceneries of these architectural wonders. There are several rental companies in the area offering a thrilling helicopter experience. All you need to do is pick one that best caters to all your tour needs. Alternatively, you can go on an electrical bike ride across the city, which is also quite popular among the locals. Better yet, you can also go on a self-drive by sourcing an automobile from any of the rent a car Villefranche companies. This way, you get to enjoy a more personalized tour of these attraction sites.
Noteworthy, Villefranche is also an ideal day-trip destination for those visiting other close by resorts such as Monaco and Nice. For instance, given that are just a few kilometers from Villefranche to Nice, you can acquire a vehicle of your choice from any auto rental business in Nice and drive to Villefranche and back, or vice versa. Compared to bus transportation, individualized driving enables you to have a better experience of nearby attractions such as the Villa Ephrussi gardens, the Èze Village or Menton. By simply contacting a reputable rent a car Villefranche company, you can drive yourself to any of these locations. If money is not an issue, a private helicopter charter could also be a viable option especially since it allows you to enjoy breathtaking aerial views of Villefranche’s rich heritage sites and coastal ecosystem.
Whichever means you decide to use, you are guaranteed to have a thrilling time. A visit to Villefranche is guaranteed to be one you will cherish for years to come. From its deep harbor to the colorful architectural designs, there is a lot this magnificent ancient town has to offer. Book a ticket today and get ready to have the time of your life!
Events and festivals on French Riviera
The Cote d’Azur is abuzz with glitz and glamour all year round but it’s the summer months that really get the party started on France’s sought-after south coast. Events and festivals are held every month and range from theatre performances and music festivals to cinematography celebrations and yacht races. A-listers, millionaires, and outright party people flock to the shores of the Mediterranean for a summer to remember as seaside towns and secluded beaches become the stomping ground for a summer of fun. Below we take a look at some of the best events and festivals on the Côte d’Azur and provide a handy event guide to help you plan your dream trip.
Best restaurants on Cote d'Azur - France
Famous for its designer fashion brands, rolling vineyards, and historic monuments, France is a country with a lot to offer but it’s the nation’s gourmet cuisine that draws millions of visitors year after year. French dishes, which are usually full of flavor, made using simple ingredients, and boasting great finesse, have been replicated around the globe by passionate chefs aiming to try their hand at traditional dishes and haute cuisine. Below we’ve looked at some of the best restaurants in the south of France. Whether you’re looking for fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant (France is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world) or hearty French cuisine at an authentic bistro, we’ve covered all dining options to suit every taste in this restaurant guide.
Nightlife on the French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
The French Riviera is renowned for its glitz and glam appeal, hedonistic summers, and over the top attitude to partying, all of which make it a popular destination with those looking for a lively social scene. Jazz cafes, trendy bars, and glamorous night clubs line the sparkling coast and visitors can choose between splashing the cash at an invite-only beach party or rubbing shoulders with A-listers at one of the best clubs in the world. Whatever your entertainment taste may be, the Cote d’Azur has a little something for everyone.
Shopping on Cote d’Azur
It’s no secret that the South of France is an area well known for its acquired taste in luxury living, and when it comes to shopping this affluent region has a real flair for fashion and a lot to offer for shopaholics. Dare to drag yourself away from the alluring arrondissements of Paris’s fashion district and you’ll be rewarded with a sunsoaked shopping haven on Cote d’Azur and when it comes to shopping, the French Riviera does not disappoint. From upmarket department stores like Galeries Lafayette (whose flagship store you’ll find in Paris) to independent art galleries including the Sheun Gallery in Nice, the array of shopping available on Cote d’Azur covers a variety of tastes and, believe it or not, can be tailored to suit all budgets.
South of France by car
With 71 miles of winding corniche roads, numerous quaint Provincial villages to visit, and endless soft sand beaches to stop at and enjoy some sun-soaking, France’s Cote d’Azur is one of Europe’s dreamiest road trip destinations. Rent a car on the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea and the charm of southern France is at your fingertips! On your Riviera road trip, you’ll wind your way around a variety of landscapes, soak up a diverse range of cultures, and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. After all, there’s no better way to navigate the coast than to do so with the comfort and freedom of your own vehicle.
Boat activities on Cote d'Azur - France
The French Riviera, also known as the Cote d'Azur, is found on France's south-east coast and overlooks the glistening Mediterranean Sea. Known for its dazzling sand beaches, upmarket resort towns, and glamorous casinos, the Cote d'Azur has been a popular holiday destination with some of the world's wealthiest travelers since the 18th century. While boutique shops and Michelin-starred restaurants are certainly points of interest on the coast, one of the biggest draws is the array of water-based activities available. From yacht rentals, private boat tours, parasailing excursions, water sport rentals, and jet ski hire, the list of aqua-excursions is endless! Our simple guide to boat rental on the French Riviera takes a look at the different watersports available along the coast and the range of yacht and boat rentals available. After all, no visit to the Cote d'Azur can pass by without a day at sea.