Villefranche is a glittering retreat on the French Riviera that immerses you in the romance of a perfectly preserved medieval city once used for trade during the ancient Roman and Greek empires. Thrill at the opportunities to sightsee, shop and tour grand landmarks and palaces. The Citadel is a favorite, as is the Rue Obscura vaulted passage for a memorable stroll underneath the city.
There are also many sites of historical significance above ground. Two baroque 14th-century churches stand in splendor. Wander the cobblestone streets and discover a traditional perfume factory, where factory experts can help you craft your own unique fragrance using time-honored techniques. Or, take a luxury European brand vehicle for a spin along the winding seaside road.
Villefranche's proximity to such hotspots as Monte Carlo, Cannes and Nice also afford further thrills. In Monaco, an entire nation less than a square mile, try exhilarating games of chance in Monte Carlo's Grand Casino or see the circuit where the Monaco Grand Prix is famously held. Still more experiences await along the Promenade des Anglais that leads you straight to the Cours Saleya market in Nice, where flowers, crepes and souvenirs are in plenty supply. Further along the coast is Cannes, a renowned playground for the rich and famous and host to one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
Places to Explore
- Église Saint-Michel (Saint Michael's Church)
In the heart of Villefranche's old town is a baroque church built in the 1750s. Today, it is home to exquisite works of art, including an 18th-century life-sized sculpture of Christ, and an oversized portrait of the famed Saint Michael above an ornate marble altar. An organ, also housed here, was built by the Grinda Brothers in 1790 and represents one of the oldest in the county of Nice.
Old Town Nice comprises a dense labyrinth of alleys, narrow buildings and pastel Italian-style facades. Stroll along streets dotted with 17th-century churches, including St-Francois-de-Paul and L'Eglise du Jesus. Take a jaunt down historic boulevards like Rue Droite, which was Nice's chief promenade before the construction of Promenade des Anglais.
Tour the dramatic cliffs of world-famous Monte Carlo. Behold the 16th-century Palais du Prince, once home of Monaco's Prince Rainier III. The tomb of the prince and his late wife, actress Grace Kelly, is located in the beautiful cathedral.
Soak up the tranquility that drenches the seaside resort town perpetually populated with the rich and famous. Walk up the steps of the Palais des Festivals, the iconic location of the city's world-famous film festival.
French is the official language. All public signs are written in French.
The Euro is the main currency. Major credit cards are accepted at many shops, stores and restaurants. Payments under 10 Euros are customarily made with cash.
- How to Get Around
- Tender boats ferry Guests from the ship to the Maritime Terminal, located about 50 yards from downtown.
- A mini-bus shuttles Guests from the terminal to the main bus station which offers service to Monaco and Nice.
- There are no rental car companies in Villefranche, however one is located in Nice.
- The main train station is a 10-minute walk from the terminal. Trains run about every half-hour to Nice, Cannes and Monaco.
- A taxi station is located in front of the port terminal. Some taxi drivers may speak English. Payments must be made in Euros.