The small town Villefranche-sur-Mer is just east of Nice so if you stay in this town you get the best of both worlds – easy access to the city of Nice, yet a quieter atmosphere.
Its bay is one of the deepest in the world so it’s often frequented by some of the world’s largest cruise liners, though be aware that when a cruise ship is docked the small town can get very crowded!
Even so, Villefranche-sur-Mer beats Nice for its nice coarse sandy beach, and it has some excellent restaurants and nice shopping.
Attractions in the city
The old harbour and old town are among the most popular attractions. Being relatively small the old town is easy to explore on foot.
It and the harbour haven’t changed much over the last couple of hundred years so there’s a great atmosphere to enjoy here among the historic buildings.
Dark Street (Rue Obscure) is a specific landmark to look out for, which is a passageway under the harbor front houses and dates back to 1260.
The Citadel, built in 1557, serves as the town hall and inside there are several museums to visit too.
Villa Leopold is located in the hills above Villefranche-sur-Mer and it’s been known as the most expensive house in the world.
It was once the home of King Leopold II of Belgium.
And then there’s the beach – a natural crescent shape with course sand that easily beats the hard pebbles you’ll find on Nice’s beach.
All in all Villefranche-sur-Mer is a great alternative to the busy atmosphere in Nice