It’s never been a better time to seek a quieter escape, away from all the hustle and bustle. If this is something you’re looking for, then look no further because Villefranche-sur-mer is the perfect escape. The small and picturesque medieval beach village is cosily tucked into in a bay between the Cap Ferrat peninsula on its left and the Cap de Nice on the right. It’s steep narrow old town streets and majestic colourful buildings make this seaside resort visually spectacular, it’s the perfect place to snap up some shots for the ‘gram.’

Did you know? The bay of Villfranche is considered to be one of the five most beautiful bays in the world. Its harbour is one of the deepest and most natural harbours of any port in the Mediterranean Sea and is lined with boats and ships. The ports are surrounded by four charming beaches where you can devote as much of your getaway relaxing on the beach or even visits to the village’s historical monuments.

The history of Villefranche-sur-mer dates back to pre-historic times when Celto-ligurian tribes roamed the area and established farming communities on the surrounding hills. The Greeks and later the Romans used the natural harbour as a stop-over point when ‘en route’ to the Greek settlements around the Western Mediterranean. It wasn’t until 1295 when Charles II, Duke of Anjou lured local inhabitants to settle closer to the coastline to secure the area from pirates. He granted these local people tax privileges and port fee rights which lasted way up until the 18th century. In the 14th century Villefranche became a part of the Duchy of Savoy. In 1860, as a consequence of the Risorgimento in Italy, it was given to France by a treaty.

 

Things to do

Sightseeing – If you’re like me and love to take a day or two out of your holiday to dedicate the day learning about a city’s history then I highly recommend visiting the Saint-Elme Citadel. It was a fortress built for protection from the French and Turkish in the 16th century after they had invaded the region. The citadel now houses the town-hall.

Markets – We all love a market to bring home some little souvenirs home for the family! There’re two markets in Villefranche, one of which runs from May to October called the Amélie market – this craft market features artisan products including clothing, jewellery and crafts. The second is the Provençal Market which is on every Wednesday and Saturday morning, year-round, featuring fruits, vegetables, flowers, clothing and jewellery.

Old Town – The Old Town is a great place to wander around, get lost for a few minutes along the narrow streets and immerse yourself in this fairy-tale like village. After a little stroll around why not stop off for a bite to eat in some of the lovely cafes and watch the world go by.

 

Private beach clubs

The only private beach in Villefranche-sur-mer is Les bains Deli bo! We highly recommend getting booked in advance here. Even on weekdays, the place is always fully booked by loyal customers and those just passing by. During the day, the sun beds and parasols lead right up to the water’s edge with a gorgeous view of the Bay of Villefranche. Prices for sun beds are €20 and with an umbrella an extra €8. In the evening, it’s an even better setting. Watch the sun begin to set with rich hues of crimson reds blended with oranges while enjoying a delicious gourmet meal. To name a few, some of our favourites on the menu include truffle pasta, sushi pizza (sounds weird, we know, but once you try it you won’t be disappointed) and if you’re looking for a lighter option their traditional Niçoise salad is also a favourite.

 

Access to Saint Jean cap ferrat

Grab your walking boots and head out for a long stroll from Villefranche-sur-mer to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, it’s the perfect starting point for a scenic coastal walk, in total it takes around 45 minutes depending on your speed!

 

Apartments to stay in

From Villas to apartments with panoramic sea views. The choice is yours…

Villa Violette – A luxuriously appointed hillside property with a roof top terrace and a jacuzzi. Villa Violette looks out across one of the world’s most beautiful bays and brings you the joys of seafaring from the comfort off the shore. This three-level apartment, centred around a stunning staircase, is elegantly furnished throughout, and graced with light and space.

Acqua Vita – Acqua Vita has a magnificent south-east facing 50-m² terrace surrounded by palm and citrus trees, a view towards Cap Ferrat and a luxurious interior, Acqua Vita offers you the holiday of your dreams. This gleaming, contemporary and fully air-conditioned/heated, one-bedroom apartment exudes style and comfort and promises a luxurious stay at any time of the year in this superb location.

Dolce Vita –  The high quality furnishings and fittings provide a decadent ambience that allows you to relax and consider the finer things in life or enjoy a little al fresco dining on the spacious balcony with its awe inspiring views of dazzling blue waters of the bay and out over the homes and mansions of the rich and famous on the celebrity filled St Jean Cap Ferrat. This truly is a stunning apartment in an equally amazing location!

Maya – The views from this splendidly refurbished modernist two-bedroom apartment will take your breath away. With two terraces looking out across the bay plus a residents’ swimming pool, this is the place for some serious relaxation.