Images en cours de chargement
Villefranche-sur Mer|Photo Tom CorserThe rade of Villefranche-sur-Mer|Photo Simon EdlesteinColoured on-site Amélie Pollonais facades|Photo RundvaldThe rue Obscure|Photo GrammoThe Saint-Elme Citadel|Photo Jacques JoncourThe frescoes by Jean Cocteau's 1957 (Chapelle Saint-Pierre)|Photo Didouze

A subtle combination between sea and history

Villefranche-sur-Mer is a prestigious city of the French Riviera. It has a magnificent panorama. At the foot of a vast amphitheatre of hills, she kept the remains of its origin. The charm of the city is due also to the softness of its climate which allows exceptional vegetation and a sumptuous flowering exuberance.

Brief summary of history

In 1295 Charles II of Anjou, count of Provence, understands the strategic importance of the site to Villefranche located at the borders of its territory. To encourage the inhabitants to populate the seafront, it gives them relief from taxes. Villefranche is dedicated to the Duchy of Savoy in 1388. The city thus becomes the only maritime gate of the States of Savoy until the construction of the port of Nice in the 18th century and derives its income from merchant ships docking at the port. In 1860 the County of Nice is again annexed by France as a result of the Treaty of Turin and the plebiscite. From 1816 Villefranche is a resort popular with Russian and English aristocracy

See Villefranche

  • Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the major ports of the Riviera, but also a small picturesque fishing port which has kept all its charm of the 17th century with its colors.
  • The rue Obscure is at the heart of the old town along the first line of defence. It is a street covered with 130 meters dating back to 1260.
  • The port of the basin is the ancient military port of Villefranche-sur-Mer. It houses the Marina and shipyard.
  • The Goetz-Boumeester Museum, located in the Citadel, contains one hundred works by engraver Henri Goetz (1909-1989).

The Saint-Elme Citadel

To protect the County of Nice invaders, the Duke of Savoy is build in the 16th century the Citadel, strong Mont-Alban and Saint-Hospice satellites as well as the port of the dock which are stationed the galleys. These constructions foreshadow the new type of bastion fortifications. A masonry pit toured the building, involving a bridge in front of the entrance gate. It is probably this imposing gap which gives the building its fortress appearance than.

Today, this remarkable set of 3 hectares is home to City Hall and museums Volti Goetz-Boumeester, the Roux collection as well as a Convention Center.

Religious buildings

St Michael's Church
St Michael's Church was erected in the first quarter of the 14th century. It has the savoyard Baroque style traits. It hosts several pieces of art, including a painting representing saint Michel, a carved Christ of the 18th century and a polychrome wooden statue of saint Roch and his dog.
The Saint Peter Chapel
The 16th-century St. Peter Chapel is located on the fishing port. In 1957, Jean Cocteau decorated the murals with the help of the painter Jean-Paul Brusset. It has five main stages, both evoke the Mediterranean life, and the other three recount episodes from the life of St. Peter.

Useful information :

Address :
06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer

Opening hours :
Guided tour of the old town and the Citadel, every Friday at 10: 00.

Good to know :
Office Tourisme et Culture de Villefranche-sur-Mer garden François Karlhans, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer Tel + 33 (0) 4 93 01 73 68

Free of charge.

Where to stay:

All accommodation