It’s hard to imagine a seaside village more picturesque than Villefranche-Sur-Mer! It truly was enchanting to view Old Town Villefranche as we cruised into port with it’s colorful, pastel buildings cascading steeply towards the sea.
Situated close to Nice and near Monoco, Villefranche is in the heart of Cote d’Azur, otherwise know as the French Riviera. Many of the colorful, pastel buildings date back to Medieval times. The town itself was founded in the 14th century, by the Count of Provence, Charles II of Anjou. Later the town fell to the Dukes of Savoy and Villefranche remained a part of Italy until 1860. There are many lovely, historical buildings to visit and explore the rich history of Villefranche.
The Bay of Villefranche boasts of one of the deepest natural harbors in the Mediterranean Sea and has become an important port. Although a small fishing fleet operates here, the beautiful harbor primarily caters to mostly pleasure boats and cruise ships. While we were in port, we noticed the infamous World Ship, the largest privately owned residential yacht, was also in port.
We took a tender from our cruise ship, Vision of the Seas, into the town. Once we arrived, we were delighted to wander the narrow, cobblestone streets filled with terrace cafes, charming shops and balconies filled with flowers.
We stopped in a charming cafe to enjoy a pizza and a glass of wine. While we were having our lunch, a very friendly older woman stopped to visit with us. She spoke very good English, but would sparkle the conversation with bits of French. I will always remember how she shared her memories of her childhood when France was occupied by Germany during World War II. She was so thankful to the Americans for coming and saving France from the German occupation. It made me realize that there are very few people still alive that have memories of this devastating time in history. I have to say she really touched my heart with her gratitude.
After our lunch, we took a bus to Nice, capital of the French Riviera. I understand there is also a train that will take you the brief five minute ride to Nice. We spent some time wandering the historic quarter, visiting the flower market, and sauntering through the narrow streets to admire the fabulous architecture. The streets of old Nice are lined with with tall houses painted in warm hues of reds, yellows and pink. There are also many restaurants and boutiques to wander through.
Both Villefranche and Nice are fabulous places to visit, and once again, I longed to have more time to wander the enchanting streets, visit the charming boutiques, enjoy the exquisite cuisine and take in some of the amazing museums.
However, our plan was to visit the Medieval visit of Eze and check out some amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea. So we had to scurry on our way. You can check out our visit to Eze in my next post. Until then, thank you for stopping by! Gerri