Villefranche-sur-Mer is located between Nice and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat exactly in the heart of the beautiful and rich French Riviera, just 10km away from Monaco. Naturally bordered by the Mont Boron, Mont Alban, and Mont Vinaigrier, it is one of the deepest natural anchorages in the western Mediterranean.
Used as an anchorage since the Greeks and Romans, Villefranche has a history that you will find in the medieval streets that make up its heart. For instance, visit the baroque Saint Michel’s Church which was included in the French Historic Sites Registry, and listen to the oldest playing organ from the County of Nice built by the Grinda Brothers in 1790.
This building is also the perfect historical testimony of the Russian presence in the 19th century. Indeed, the lazaretto of Villefranche was leased to the Imperial Russian Navy, which made the port a leading naval base for its ships in the Mediterranean. Since then, it became the home port of the imperial nobility vacationing in the states of Savoy, a favorite holiday destination for Russians and English. You can find this military print by visiting Port de la Darse (Old Harbor).
Nowadays, the “Trophée Pasqui” is held there, welcoming the most beautiful traditional yachts, to reward the craftmanship of carpentry.
Moreover, you can enjoy cultural events and local festivities that are held annually, as the famous “Combat naval Fleuri” (Naval Flower Battle) taking place since 1902 where the boats are mainly decorated with carnation and mimosa flowers, and each boat with its decoration reflecting something different. On the first weekend of September, the contemporary art fair takes place in the citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer. This show is organized by Nicexpo and recalled as « Franchement Art’(ististique) »
When walking in the charming medieval streets remember that Madonna fell in love with the locality and choose to turn her film “W.E. : Walles & Edouard” there. But she was not the only one. Indeed, some scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s film “To catch a thief” were turned there. You should definitely pay a visit to the Chapelle Saint-Pierre (Saint Peter’s Chapel) to admire the mystical frescoes decorated by the famous French writer Jean Cocteau.
Nowadays favorite beach
Below the old town, you can appreciate your meal in one of the several restaurants by the sea. Try the most famous local dish the “Bouillabaisse” a spicy fish stew based on recipes handed down from sailors in nearby Marseille. Or spend lazy afternoons sipping coffee and enjoying the ocean breeze. The beaches of Villefranche are very popular as they are bordered by Cap Ferrat’s peninsula and Nice, the clear-blue water is very calm, warm, and resourcing.
If you’re interested to come and discover the city by yourself, contact Spark and Partners to find for you the best way to enjoy your stay in an exquisite place. We know the Villefranche-sur-Mer area and all the best properties, even the one that hasn’t been listed yet, and would love to help! To start the process, contact us today.