One of the jewels on the French Riviera
Nestled between Nice and the peninsula of Cap Ferrat, about ten kilometers from Monaco, Villefranche-sur-Mer has an idyllic lifestyle and a wonderful climate. Its territory descends down the hills in planks to the sea and the beautiful harbor where moored yachts and ships offering an enchanting panorama to the tourists. Boaters appreciate Villefranche all the more since it is protected from the wind. A small town, the former Villafranca, certainly is with its area of 488 hectares and only 6500 inhabitants, yet filled with incredible fun as you stroll through the streets of the old town, along the beach and the port, where you can appreciate its exceptional panoramas.
Exceptional, Villefranche-sur-Mer also is from a real estate point of view, because the town offers a surprisingly rich area: very nice buildings with terraces overlooking the sea, California style villas, waterfront homes with extraordinary amenities, and prestigious properties. Each type of buyer can find the apartment or property of choice according to their means. Tina Turner and Elton John have also lived here and Villa Leopolda, one of the most expensive properties in the world, is also located in town. From a practical point of view, Villefranche-sur-Mer located between Nice and Monaco connected by railway, has all the necessary shops and many restaurants. It is also a marina of 420 slips - 4 meters maximum - and a port of call for known cruise lines. Mont Leuze with a height of 577 meters is the highest point in Villefranche. The town is traversed by three cornices that offer magnificent views of the coastline. Its local economy is based on fishing, tourism and boating. The town is also twinned with Bordighera and Villafranca d'Asti in Italy, Nieuwpoort in Belgium, Plan-les-Ouates in Switzerland and Reiskirchen in Germany.
From an architectural and cultural point of view, it is worth mentioning three monuments: Saint-Michel church in Baroque Savoy style that houses several art pieces, Chapelle Saint Pierre, whose frescoes were made by Jean Cocteau and the painter Jean-Paul Brusset and finally the Citadel which houses, among others, the City Hall and the Volti museum, painter sculptor and the Goetz-Boumeester. The city hosts the annual Franchement Art event that is dedicated to contemporary art. Its open-air theater hosts a outdoor cinema from mid-June to mid-September. Other museums are also available to discover such as the Museum of Art and History and the Marine Museum.
The Port de la Darse is also absolutely essential to visit. A former military port, it now houses a marina, a shipyard and research activities in three laboratories: cell biology, oceanography and marine geosciences, all under the supervision of the CNRS.
The Port of Sante, meanwhile, is a fishing port that also houses the ferry terminal. Each year, it is the site of the Flower Naval Combat where flower bouquets are thrown to the crowd on the docks.The city also hosts the Trophee Pasqui where the most beautiful traditional yachts are presented and where the trades of maritime crafts are featured.
Half-day cruises are offered by Acti Leisure from Villefranche. It is possible to explore the whales and dolphins and enjoy expert commentary guides on marine mammals.
Within the city itself, Rue Obscure, a covered street and almost entirely vaulted a length of 130 meters located along the first wall where the historic monument is discovered. The old town is also home to the Rue du Poilu that is the main street as well as many winding streets, stairways and vaulted passages, all brightly colored in Italian style.
For sports fans, the diving center Aqua Pro Dive International offers scuba diving offering underwater photography. It is also possible to rent boats with or without license or water sports with Dark Pelican. Eco Loc, meanwhile, offers bike rentals with electric assistance to browse Villefranche without effort or pollution.
The city also has the gym Des Glacis, the Antoine Bonifaci stadium and the sports complex Barmassa. It welcomes more than seven hundred athletes and offers activities such as gymnastics, judo, karate, kickboxing, tai jitsu and tennis.
Every Saturday morning, the Provencal market is held on the promenade de l’Octroi as well as in the garden François Binon. There are flowers, natural and organic fruit, vegetables, fish and handicrafts and local products. Sunday is hallmarked by an organized market of professional antique dealers, located on the Place Amélie Pollonais and François Binon garden. A food market is also held on Wednesday morning, a local produce stand is there everyday on Place Charles II of Anjou, and finally a fish stand is held every Friday morning.
The municipal nursery Lou Cigaloun welcomes children all year except for August. It is also able to take care of children with a disability or chronic illness. The nursery is operated by early childhood professionals and provide games, medical monitoring, awareness psychomotor activities. The city also has two primary schools: Calderoni Joseph and St. Michael, and the kindergarten Les Magnolias. The Binon garden also offers two gardens for children.
A city with many gardens, both the rose garden and watchtower garden offer an ornate pictureframe of flowers below the Citadel. It is also possible to enjoy a panoramic view of the old town and the harbor from the garden of Chasseurs Alpins. The Saint-Michel garden offers a picnic area, an exceptional views over the bay of Beaulieu, the peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and Villefranche harbor. You can also find a botanical garden and an orientation table. Finally, a view of the harbor from the Port de la Darse is splendid from the Narvik garden.
The city has four three-star hotels: the Welcome, La Fiancée du Pirate, La Flore and Versailles. It is recommended to sample the local cuisine in one of its many restaurants such as Carpaccio, the Mayssa or La Mere Germaine that is a real villefranchoise institution. You will discover an alliance between fine local cuisine and fresh fish from the Mediterranean.
See on a map
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