Set on a shimmering harbour and criss-crossed with winding alleys and staircases, Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the most charming villages on the French Riviera. Stroll through the flower-filled Old Town, explore a 16th-century citadel and relax on the gold-sand beach.
Things to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer
The Old Town feels like something from a French storybook. Get lost in a labyrinth of cobbled alleys and stone staircases lined with brightly painted houses. Flowers baskets hang from the windowsills and ensure there’s colour everywhere you look. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a waterfront bistro and sip café au lait in the sun-drenched main square.
Shop for farm-fresh produce at the twice-weekly market. It’s held in Jardin Francois Binon and features stalls selling everything from fruit, vegetables and fresh-cut flowers to cheese, bread, and olive oil. The hand-painted ceramics make excellent souvenirs.
The French Riviera is famous for postcard-perfect beaches, and Villefranche-sur-Mer is no exception. Instead of the silver pebbles you’ll see in Nice, you’ll find a stretch of golden sand set around a turquoise bay. Bask in the sunshine and cool off in the crystalline Mediterranean water.
Walk up to La Citadelle for sweeping views over the town and the Côte d'Azur. The medieval fortress is perched on a hilltop and set in beautifully manicured gardens. Several museums are located within the citadel and showcase modern art, medieval ceramics and works by famous French sculptor, Antoniucci Volti. Start your walk at dawn to enjoy breathtaking sunrises.
Getting around Villefranche-sur-Mer
Villefranche-sur-Mer is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, especially in the Old Town. The village is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, a five-minute drive from Nice and 10 minutes from Monaco. Trains run between Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer in under five minutes and Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is a 30-minute drive away.