Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the most charming and authentic french fishing villages on the French Riviera and is nestled between Monaco and Nice. The bay of Villefranche has been named one of the Top 5 most beautiful bays in the world and rightly so; this area is a visual delight for any visitor looking to explore the Cote d'Azur.
Whether you are looking to relax on the beach, people watch at a cafe, go sightseeing or immerse yourself in authentic French lifestyle and cuisine - This delightful old fishing town is a must see. Below, see our top 5 recommendations to see in Villefranche during your trip.
1. Old Harbour
Lined with bright pastel coloured buildings and an array of traditional boats; the old harbour is the heart of Villefranche and oozes Mediterranean character and charm.This is popular place to take a stroll and stop for lunch or an aperitif with many bars and restaurants along the waterfront - Perfect for people watching! There is also a beautiful small square (the Place Amelie Polonnais) just behind the harbour.
2. La Citadelle / Fort St Elme
Villefranche's imposing citadel is a great place to visit with its impressive architecture. This magnificent stone fortress was built by the duke of Savoy in 1557 to defend to defend the city and harbour. Now, it's grand walls shelter the town hall, well-combed public gardens and several museum collections including the Fondation Musée Volti and the Musée Goetz-Boumeester.
3. Chapelle de Saint Pierre des Pecheurs
This stunning, petite, roman-style Chapel is dedicated to St Peter, Patron Saint of fishermen. The ceiling and walls are filled with modern and mystic art representing the lifestyle of the village and fishermen who used it when the artist Jean Cocteau was young. A charming local icon and pleasant pit stop whilst walking around and exploring the Villefranche.
4. Plage de l'Ange
The longest stretch of beach is the southwest facing Plage des Marinières which curves around the bay. At the far end you will find a small, sheltered bay called the Plage de l'Ange Gardien. This is a less crowded, more peaceful pebble beach compared to the main Marinere beach and is hemmed by rocks making it easy to keep an eye on children whilst they have a paddle!
5. Fort du Mont Alban
Built by order of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, between 1557 and 1560, Fort du Mont Alban is one of the most exemplary French military architectural structures dating back to the 16th century. This fort is in fantastic condition, despite the fact it was considerably affected in World War Two.
Fort du Mont Alban has one of the best views on the French Riviera. As it is located in a high hilly region, visitors can see virtually the entire Nice at west and Baie des Anges at east.