Celebrity Reflection - Western Mediterranean - Day 3 - Villefranche

Published by: Anne Plau

On the Côte d'Azur between Nice and Monaco, the small French town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is located in a deep, picturesque bay. The location is considered to be one of the most beautiful anchorages in the world.

Celebrity Reflection in the roadstead in front of Villefranche-sur-Mer

Celebrity Reflection in the roadstead in front of Villefranche-sur-Mer


The Celebrity Reflection is located in the middle of this bay. We take a tender boat to the cruise terminal on Place Wilson. Today we want to explore Nice. There - as well as in the other direction to Monaco - the trains of the SNCF, the French railway, run regularly. It's not far from the terminal, we walk for about 10 minutes, first along the harbor and then up a flight of stairs to the train station. Train tickets are available from machines. You can find information in our article Discover Nice.

Tourist center and art metropolis

We drive to Nice Gare de Ville, which is the central train station. The Baie des Anges, Nice's long beach, and the famous Promenade des Anglais are just over 1 1/2 kilometers away on foot. Our way there leads via Avenue Jean Médecin, which is a very attractive shopping street, and via the equally appealing Place Masséna to the sea. We are unlucky: The Promenade des Anglais is being rebuilt and is therefore very unattractive. We walk only a few 100 meters in the direction of Hotel Negresco, then we turn back disappointed.

Place Massena Nice - Copy of the Statue of Liberty Nice waterfront Nice - At Castel Plage

However, it is nice in the direction of the harbor on the Quai des Etats-Unis. Representative buildings such as the opera, palm trees and art objects as well as a replica of the New York Statue of Liberty can be seen here. We like that. We walk to the Port de Nice, then back a little to the Bellanda Tower, which is somewhat hidden behind the Hotel Suisse. From there we take an elevator, the Ascenseur du Chateau, to the Parc de la Colline du Chateau. The park is 90 meters above sea level and is not only beautiful because of its exposed location: We admire mosaics on the paths, the castle ruins and a wide water cascade. From some vantage points we can see the old town, the kilometer-long bay, the harbor and the surrounding hills.

Nice - Port Lympia Mosaics in the Parc de la Colline du Chateau The roofs of the old town Cascade in the Parc de la Colline du Chateau

Vibrant life in old Nice

Paths and stairs lead past three old cemeteries into the old town. We can highly recommend this route. Changing steps and slightly sloping stretches is not very strenuous. We pass pretty gardens, and again and again there are different views of the roofs and towers of the city. Old Nice welcomes us with small, lively streets, cafés and bistros. It's time for a break, we've been on our way for a long time. Afterwards we explore the beautiful old palaces, the cathedral, the clock tower and the Place Rossetti with fountain and obelisk.

Nice old town - Rue Rossetti Cathedral tower Water games on the Promenade du Paillon Restaurants in front of Place Rossetti

We leave the old town on Boulevard Jaurés. From there to Place Masséna, the Promenade du Paillon stretches, a green area with large accessible water areas and fountains, benches, lawns and playgrounds. A meeting point for residents and guests of all ages. We take the tram to the train station and then take the train back to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Mediterranean Villefranche-sur-Mer

In Villefranche let's stroll a little more through the old streets. If you don't feel like going on a tour to Nice or Monaco or if you already know everything, you can spend a day in Villefranche. The Citadelle St. Elme, the Chapelle Saint-Pierre or the completely built-up Rue Obscure are worth seeing. The promenade is very pretty, as is the old port; the whole place is very welcoming.

Villefranche-sur-Mer - Houses on the harbor promenade

Villefranche-sur-Mer - Houses on the harbor promenade


The Celebrity Reflection leaves its berth at five in the afternoon. For me, these are always the highlights of a cruise: The view from the sea to the coast, which is slowly changing and moving away, is impressive. Indeed, it always seems as if the coast and not the ship are moving away. This also applies the other way around, of course, when approaching a coast.

Continue reading: Day 4 - Barcelona