Villefranche (Nice), France | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Villefranche (Nice), France

Villefranche-sur-Mer is a small beach resort and residential town on the French Riviera. The deep water harbor is home to Mediterranean cruise boats, whose tenders routinely disgorge several thousand passengers on organized trips to nearby Eze Village and Monaco. It sports excellent restaurants and a coarse sandy beach much favored over Nice's stony bay. Convenient harbor car parking attracts visitors from Monaco and along the Riviera. The Citadelle st Elme dates back to antiquity and the town offers easy access to the millionaires' peninsula of St Jean Cap Ferrat.

Since the 1980s Villefranche has been used by cruise ships. It is the most visited cruise ship port of call in France.​

Geography

Villefranche-sur-Mer adjoins the city of Nice to the east along Mont Boron, Mont Alban and Mont Vinaigrier, and 10 km (6.2... Read more

Villefranche (Nice), France

Destination:
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a small beach resort and residential town on the French Riviera. The deep water harbor is home to Mediterranean cruise boats, whose tenders routinely disgorge several thousand passengers on organized trips to nearby Eze Village and Monaco. It sports excellent restaurants and a coarse sandy beach much favored over Nice's stony bay. Convenient harbor car parking attracts visitors from Monaco and along the Riviera. The Citadelle st Elme dates back to antiquity and the town offers easy access to the millionaires' peninsula of St Jean Cap Ferrat.

Since the 1980s Villefranche has been used by cruise ships. It is the most visited cruise ship port of call in France.​

Geography

Villefranche-sur-Mer adjoins the city of Nice to the east along Mont Boron, Mont Alban and Mont Vinaigrier, and 10 km (6.2 mi) south west of Monaco. The bay (rade) of Villefranche is one of the deepest natural harbors of any port in the Mediterranean Sea and provides safe anchorage for large ships, reaching depths of 95 m (320 ft) between the Cape of Nice and Cap Ferrat; it extends to the south to form a 500 m (1700 ft) abyss known as the undersea Canyon of Villefranche at about one nautical mile off the coastline.

The town limits extend to the hills surrounding the bay climbing from sea level to an altitude of 520 m (1750 ft) at Mont-Leuze, reflecting on land the features found offshore. The three "Corniches" or main roads linking Nice to Italy pass through Villefranche.

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Villefranche (Nice), France: Port Information


Cruise passengers are carried ashore by tender boats. The tender wharf is situated at the western end of the resort. ​You can easily reach the town's tourist attractions on foot.

Get around Villefranche (Nice), France


The town is best seen on foot. It is a relatively easy bicycle ride from Nice - it should only take 5 hours max to Nice and back. Stick to the lower road. 

What to see in Villefranche (Nice), France


Churches and chapels

  • Église Saint-Michel (Saint Michael's Church) in the heart of old town, was built in the 1750s in the baroque Italian-style where originally stood a more modest early fourteenth-century church. It houses various works of art, notably a large Saint Michael painting above the marble main altar, a recumbent sculpture Christ (18th century) known as the "Christ of the Galleys" and a polychrome wooden statue of San Rocco. The organ built by the Grinda Brothers in 1790 is one of the oldest of the County of Nice still in operation. The building was included in the French Historic Sites Registry in 1990.
  • The Chapelle Saint-Pierre (Saint Peter's Chapel) dates from the sixteenth century. Used as a storeroom for local fishermen's nets and equipment for most of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, it was restored in 1957 with Jean Cocteau adding his now-famous murals depicting the life of the saint and of local fishermen. The building was included in the French Historic Sites Registry in 1995.

Other public buildings

  • The old harbor of la Darse dates back to the 17th century. Built originally for the galleys of the Duke of Savoy, it is now a marina with dockyard activities for yachts. It is also the site of the oceanographic observatory Observatoire Oceanologique de Villefranche of the Pierre and Marie Curie University of Paris and of the French National Centre for Scientific Research with 3 laboratories (oceanology, marine geoscience, and cell biology) and 150 personnel attached to it. Buildings and structures surrounding the harbor are also included in the French Historic Sites Registry since 1991.
  • The Citadel built in 1557 now houses the Town Hall, a convention center, three museums, and an open-air theater.
  • The Rue Obscure (fr) or “Dark Street” is a passageway under the harbor front houses which dates back to 1260.
  • The Villa Léopolda on the hills surrounding was once the residence of King Leopold II of Belgium and has been tagged as “the most expensive house in the world.”

What to do in Villefranche (Nice), France


The Beach Villefranche is a great day trip from Nice because of its proximity, size, and beach. It's still not a fine sand, but much better than the smooth stones that make up Nice's beaches. Additionally, because the town is quite small, there are next to no tourists clogging up the quaint, waterfront town. With this said the beach is very busy in the high season and very narrow so space is limited.

What to eat and drink in Villefranche (Nice), France


Eat

Villefranche has no shortage of good restaurants though very few if you are on a tight budget. The ones on the waterfront are the best known and pricey but you can find more reasonable ones back into the town.
  • Le Cosmo. Great atmosphere, friendly service, and a good position. Good children's menu.
  • Les Palmiers
  • Café dell Arte. A great little lunch place on the main street in the center of town. Salads, fantastic omelets, and cheap prices.
La Serre Probably the best value in town and very friendly. Slightly unglamorous position but bags of charm. Self Catering.
If you're staying self catering in Villefranche it's worth being prepared. There are two small supermarkets in the Old Town and one on the main road and they are about double UK prices and quite poorly stocked. There are two good boulangeries and a couple of vegetable shops. There is a butcher shop at Place de la Paix, where you will also find a small collection of local shops including a boulangerie, fruit shop, pharmacy, and cafe/newspaper shop. These are local shops, they are not glamourized for tourists but have their own innate charm. There is a small fish stand on the quay in the morning and one that appears sporadically up near the boulangerie at Place de la Paix. It is very tough to try and find high-quality produce of the kind you would expect to get in the inland provencal towns as there is basically no traiteur. If you have no car you are rather at the mercy of the shops mentioned above and so life will be expensive.

Shopping in Villefranche (Nice), France


The town is full of small shops, mostly catering for the tourist trade but also plenty offering the usual services for the permanent population. The tourist shops are very expensive. There is a food market on Saturday mornings and an antiques market on Sundays.

Safety in Villefranche (Nice), France


Criminals prefer to pick on tourists because tourists are usually relaxed and not expecting anything. Avoiding being a victim is generally as simply paying attention to what you are doing, locking your car while you are in it and not flaunting your valuables. This can take the fun out of the holiday but on balance it is probably even less fun to be a crime-victim!

Language spoken in Villefranche (Nice), France


French is the official language. English is widely spoken. 

LOCAL TIME

10:08 pm
June 24, 2019
Europe/Paris

CURRENT WEATHER

22.45 °C / 72.41 °F
sky is clear
Tue

24.76 °C/77 °F
sky is clear
Wed

26.25 °C/79 °F
sky is clear
Thu

27.72 °C/82 °F
sky is clear
Fri

27.15 °C/81 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

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