Just five miles east of Nice, Villefranche is in a whole different world. While Nice has always catered to glamour and glitter, tiny Villefranche has quietly remained an exclusive place, relatively little known. Dating back to the 13th century as one of the deepest ports on the Mediterranean (the harbor is 1,200 feet deep), Villefranche sees itself primarily as a fishing village and port for cruise ships and the yachts of the rich and famous who live across the harbor on Saint Jean-Cap Ferrat, the wealthiest and most exclusive neighborhood on the French Mediterranean.
One of the attractions of staying in Villefranche-sur-mer is that it is a perfect base for exploring the French Riviera. You can take the train direct from Villefranche to Italy. It only takes 45 minutes to reach Ventimille, a great shopping & market town inside the Italian border. This direction will also take you to Monaco in just 17 minutes. Plus there are many gorgeous towns to visit along the way, such as Beaulieu-sur-mer, Eze-sur-mer, Cap D'Ail and Menton. In the other direction (West), the train will take you to the centre of Nice in 4 minutes, and Antibe & Cannes in less than half an hour. From Nice there are trains and buses to Grasse, Vence, St. Paul de Vence and many other inland destinations.
If you like walking, you can walk to the beautiful Boulevard Des Anglais in Nice in under 45 minutes. This is a beautiful walk with breath taking views out across the Mediterranean. The Boulevard Des Anglais stretchs the whole length of the Bay of Angels in Nice. This is a very popular spot with both the locals and tourists alike. Perfect for walking, cycling or roller blading, or just to sit and enjoy the view.
Villefranche itself is a quiet town, with few bright lights in the evening, except for those on a visiting cruise ship. Its full of great restaurants to enjoy the famous mediterranean diet. Temperatures are perfect too, in summer reaching on average about 30 degrees during the day and 20 degrees at night. The colors of buildings are earth tones, and azure blue, just like the water.
You can enjoy the beach, or explore the narrow pedestrian streets. Villefranche was home to many artists and sculpturers and you can visit their works of art in the museums of the Citadel. The Citadel was built in the 16th century and now serves as city hall and outdoor amphitheater for movies and community activities. You can sit at a tiny outdoor cafe at the port, drink a coffee and just watch the boats come and go. There are many activities and things to do, whether you take the kids or just go for romance.