Tourism : Villefranche Sur Mer on the french riviera

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Villefranche sur mer


Villefranche-sur-Mer is located about 6km (4 miles) east of the city of Nice, separated by Mont Boron, Mont Alban and Mont Vinaigrier, and 10km (6 miles) west of MONACO-monte-carlo. The bay (rade) of Villefranche - between the Cap of Nice and Cap Ferrat is one of the deepest natural harbors of any port in the Mediterranean Sea and provides a safe anchorage for large ships. The city limits extend to the hills surrounding the bay climbing from sea level to an altitude of 520 m (1750 ft) at Mont-Leuze. The three "Corniches" or main roads linking Nice to Italy pass through Villefranche and offer spectacular vistas of the coast and surrounding hills.


Built on the terraced hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the Promenade des Marinieres stretches along the waterfront of a deep-water harbour that served as the base for the US 6th Fleet until 1967, and is still used sometimes as an harbour by the US Navy. On the water's edge is the massive wall and Citadel, a fortress built in 1557 by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. Today, the Citadel houses the Town Hall, a congress centre, three museums, and an open air theatre. In the heart of the old town, the baroque Italian-style Saint Michael Church originally dates from the first part of the 14th Century, but was completely rebuilt towards the end of the 18th Century. It houses various works of art, including a large painted Saint Michael and an 18th century life-sized Christ sculpture. This building has been classed as a monument historique since 1990. The Saint Peter Chapel also dates from the 14th Century. Having eventually become used as a storeroom for local fishermen's nets and equipment, in 1957 Jean Cocteau took on the restoration of the chapel, adding his now-famous murals. On the hills surrounding the town, the Fort of Mont Alban offers an incomparable view of Cap Ferrat and the Eastern coastline as far as Italy. From the Plateau Saint-Michel, the view stretches westward to the Bay of Angels in Nice, Cap d'Antibes and the Esterel in the distance more than 25 miles (40 km) away. On a clear winter day, one may also observe the mountains of Corsica in the distance.


The moderate climate, sandy beaches, and ambiance of its Old Town make Villefranche-sur-Mer a popular tourist stop. Currently, real estate prices are such that property here is affordable by only the very wealthy. Stunning estates such as the Villa Leopolda (former residence of King Leopold II), La Bastide ( built by Lord Salisbury), Villa Schiffanoia, Castèu Cansoun de la Mar or Domaine du Castellet are but a few examples of the wealth and luxury surrounding the magnificent bay. In the past, Villefranche-sur-Mer was home to personalities Katherine Mansfield, Jean Cocteau, and Aldous Huxley and today its famous residents include Tina Turner. The Rolling Stones recorded their 1972 album Exile on Main St. at Villa Nellcôte, then the home of Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg. The area also is the seasonal residence of various local nobility descended from the House of Savoy, such as Queen Adèle Le Corvec de Villefranche-sur-Mer. The old town and the bay have offered for years a natural set for movie makers. Among many productions to name just a few: - Raoul Walsh’s Captain Horatio Hornblower - Adventures of Captain Fabian with Errol Flynn - Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief - The Count of Monte Cristo with Louis Jourdan - Leo McCarey's An Affair to Remember - The Madwoman of Chaillot with Katharine Hepburn - Never Say Never with Sean Connery - The Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas - The Bourne Identity with Richard Chamberlain - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin, as well as numerous video clips and commercials. Villefranche-sur-Mer is also a harbor for visiting naval forces and particularly US Navy ships.


Overlooking one of the world's loveliest natural quaysides, a privileged anchoring spot for the most prestigious cruise ships, Villefranche-sur-Mer has maintained its historic cachet with its port, the colorful façades of the Old Town and its Citadelle. Jean Cocteau, amongst other artists, fell under the spell of this enchanting site. Bathers and divers especially appreciate its beaches lapped by clear waters.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Villefranche sur Mer - See Authors history list.


    Ancient Romanesque chapel dedicated to Saint Peter, patron-saint of fishermen, entirely restored and decorated by Jean Cocteau.
    To protect the County of Nice from invaders, the Duke of Savoy had the Citadel built in the 16th century, together with the satellite fortresses of Mont-Alban and Saint-Hospice, and the port of La Darse where[...]
    Collection of almost 300 figurines in polychrome ceramics, representing scenes of daily life in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
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