In the south of France, in the Alpes-Maritimes département, lies the municipality of Villefranche-sur-Mer, with a population of 5.000. Like 48 other municipalities, it belongs to the “Métropole Nice Côte d'Azur” region. The tourist magnets Monaco and Nice are 14 and 8 kilometers away. Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cannes are 40 kilometers apart and the Italian border is 30 kilometers away.
Mediterranean blaze of colors
Villefranche-sur-Mer - History
More than 2.000 years ago, the coast of the Alpes-Maritimes was settled by the Ligurian people. They were followed by Greeks and Romans. The port of that time was of such strategic importance for the Romans that they connected it to the Via Aurelia via the Via Julia Augusta. Villefranche-sur-Mer once again achieved strategic appreciation. After the Second World War, the 6th US Navy was in front of Villefranche until 1962.
Villefranche-sur-Mer / Nice - France's second largest cruise destination
As far as cruises are concerned, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Nice should be seen as one. Large cruise ships are moored in front of Villefranche-sur-Mer. The passengers are brought by tender boats to the small cruise terminal on Place Wilson. Small cruise ships call at the Port de Nice below the Parc de la Colline du Château in Nice. The Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Region Tourism Office notes that the Nice-Villefranche region is the second largest French cruise destination with nearly 300 ship visits and more than 487.000 passengers annually.
Before Villefranche-sur-Mer, the Celebrity Reflection lies in the roadstead
The view from the cruise ship reveals that Villefranche-sur-Mer lies on the slopes of the Maritime Alps. A circumstance that gives some of the residents fantastic residential areas. During the subsequent stroll through the city, the colorful multi-storey houses on the harbor promenade, the many bars and restaurants and the small harbor will catch your eye. A small sandy beach stretches for a few hundred meters below the train station.
Villefranche-sur-Mer - Houses on the harbor promenade
Villefranche-sur-Mer - beach
What to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer
The place offers the day guests of the cruise ships some sights. Noteworthy are the mighty St. Elme citadel, the Fort du Mont Alban at an altitude of 222 meters and the Cap Ferrat peninsula opposite the town. The citadel dates back to 1557. The city administration uses the restored building as a representative office. The citadel is also used as a congress center and for museum purposes. Fort du Mont Alban flanked the citadel and once protected the port of Villefranche. The noble Cap Ferrat is the home of the rich and the beautiful. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a special attraction there. The palace, built in Italian style, can be visited.
Villefranche-sur-Mer - Citadel St. Elme
Villefranche-sur-Mer - Citadel and Fort du Mont Alban
Villefranche is a lovely cruise destination. If that's not enough, visit the famous neighboring cities of Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes. All three can be reached with the regular TER regional trains operated by the French national railway company.
Cruise Terminal on Place Wilson
The distance between the cruise terminal on Place Wilson and the train station is only 600 meters. Under Discover Monte Carlo and Discover Nice Let us describe our impressions of the cruise destination in the south of France.
Update - July 2022