The Cote d'Azur is famous for its irresistible turquoise waters, its charming seaside villages, its bays, and of course its sunny climate. Millions of tourists visit the region every year for these very reasons, and as a result, the Cote d'Azur overflows with people. Nevertheless, as is often the case, people mostly concentrate on few places, making it possible to still enjoy the quiet backstreets of any village on the coast. One of the arguably most attractive towns is Villefranche sur Mer, right on those balmy waters, and a short hop from Nice.
There are several ways to reach Villefranche sur Mer. I took the train, which takes you through a tunnel from the bustling city to take you in a matter of minutes to the other side of a hill, delivering you to a colourful town built against the backdrop of a hill. Walking down the stairs took me right to the beach, but I chose to visit the village first. I passed the houses and restaurants right on the waterfront, the little port with fisherboats waiting for the next catch, and visited the Saint Elme citadel a little higher up the hill. From here, you have nice views over the Villefranche bay, you can visit galleries, or just enjoy the 16th century fortress itself.
From the citadel, it is a short walk to the upper part of the old town, and it is great to wander around the narrow streets, discovering small squares, alleys, covered streets, stairs, old lanterns and fountains. By the time I was here, it was lunchtime, the streets were deserted, and I could hear people talking over lunch, or just silence. It was only easy to imagine how life has been going on like this for many centuries - Villefranche sur Mer is an old village, dating back more than 2000 years. Coming down took me to a covered street, and suddenly, I found myself back at the waterfront. Next, I walked down the beach to the other side of the bay for a good view of this cosy village, before hitting the soft sands of the beach.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Villefranche sur Mer (France). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Villefranche sur Mer. Read more about this site.