Certainly one of the most charming villages on the French Riviera – actually it’s my favorite!
Villefranche sur Mer is positioned on a beautiful bay between Monaco and Nice. Alongside its attractive harbor are cafes, restaurants and boats bobbing in the Mediterranean. If you are looking for a classic old town village with class and beauty, this is for you. This charming old town winds its way up narrow cobblestone streets with colorful buildings. Moreover, flowers, plants and ivy adorn the walkways, balconies and buildings. There are boutiques and cafes scattered all around. This town is a feast for your eyes and joy for your soul. Moreover, the restaurants here are incredibly delicious! I have been lucky enough to travel here 5 times and each and every visit just outdoes the last with the amazing food – just superb! Villefranche is a wonderful summer vacation spot, sometimes more busy than others due to cruise ships visit.
Honestly, you will be in foodie heaven when eating in Villefranche restaurants. The chefs take pride in their dishes and the cuisine is absolutely delicious! These restaurants are consistent – they have been open for years and every time I have been here, which is often, it surpasses my last visit. Looking for the best restaurants in Villefranche sur Mer?Here are some of my favorites
Tip: Make reservations. Restaurants in Villefranche-sur-Mer are extremely busy in summer season
Les Garcons is a must go restaurant for foodies – do not miss it. The BEST burrata ever! You will be served absolutely delicious French cuisine. They have a lovely outdoor courtyard as well as inside dining. You will enjoy a delicious meal with wonderful ambiance and great service.
This photo of L’Aparte is courtesy of TripAdvisor
L’Aparte is another restaurant with amazing local cuisine. It is run by two French women, and the food is excellent! The menu is creative and prepared with local fresh ingredients. L’Aparte is located at the entrance of the rue Obscure, a very old-world pedestrian street in Villefranche. Outdoor dining is limited, so make a reservation if you would like to sit outside.
La Belle Etoile
Another exceptional restaurant is La Belle Etoile. The menu choice, quality and food presentation is exceptional. In addition, the atmosphere is lovely, as it is located at the top of the pedestrian staircase with plenty of outdoor seating. The inside is also very nice.
L’oursin Bleu is a harbor front restaurant the serves delicious, perfectly plated food. There are indoor or outdoor tables right on the harbor side dock. If you like to dine waterside, this is a great choice.
Villefranche sur Mer beaches have a beauty and charm all their own. You can go to the local beach, Plage de Marinieres, a few steps away from town. There you can get cozy with the locals and a handful of tourists alike. Furthermore, you can visit some beautiful and chic beaches in the area.My favorite beaches near Villefranche sur Mer are Passable Beach and Paloma Beach. These are are car ride or boat shuttle away. If you decide to walk, as I have done many times, you can enjoy the beautiful sights along the coast. The walk has some very picturesque areas, therefore, don’t forget to bring your camera. In addition you will see some very special homes during your walk. When you visit beaches in the French Riviera (Cote d’Azure), it is typical to have a delicious lunch and then go back to swimming and having fun in the sun!
Tip:Umbrellas, beds and towels are available at all the beach clubs. It is a good idea to have your hotel reserve them for you in advance, as they fill up quickly. In addition, let your hotel make lunch reservations for you. If not, you will wait for a table as lunch is part of the highlight of the beach. Enjoy the wonderful day you will have!
Les Bains de la plage
Plage de Marinieres is a busy local beach which is a quick five minute walk from the center of town. The water is beautiful and calm. The beach club, Les Bains de la Plage is a little piece of casual paradise in Villefranche-Sur-Mer. It welcomes you in a bohemian-chic décor. Deckchairs, umbrellas, tables and beach towels are available. Enjoy a fresh menu by the sea at Restaurant Les Bains de la Plage. You can order lunch/dinner with a bottle of Rose to have table side or at your lounge chair.
Passable Beach is a wonderful beach club with a terrific restaurant and delicious food! I highly suggest visiting Plage de Passable. The swimming is wonderful and there are also paddle boards to rent. It has amazing views of Villefranche-sur-Mer. To get here, it is a quick 15 minute taxi ride. In addition, I also suggest a lovely a 35 minute walk from town to this beach. You will pass Ville Nellcote, a 16 room mansion where Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones lived for a year. Exile on Main Street recordings took place in Ville Nellcote during 1971. If you decide to walk, you will enjoy beautiful views along the water. Enjoy!
Paloma Beach or Plage de la Paloma is a little paradise on the exclusive and chic Cape Jean Ferrat peninsula. It is hidden in a beautiful cove at the bottom of a cliff. There are steps to descend unless of course you arrive by yacht. At Paloma Beach you will find crystal clear water and beautiful views of the mountains. In addition, there is an elegant and delicious restaurant. The menu consists of grilled fish, mussels, amazing salads and a wine list of excellent Côte de Provence Rosé. Reservations are highly recommended for the restaurant. Of course there are sunbed and umbrella rentals and a variety of water sports to indulge in. Interested in walking? It is a beautiful 50 minute walk from Villefranche to chic Paloma Beach. On the way, you will pass movie star, David Niven’s, beautiful house.
Fun Fact: Honeymoon beach scenes in Fifty Shades Freed were filmed at Paloma Beach.
Anao Plage in Beaulieu sur Mer is an excellent option for a beach day. It is a short 15-20 minute walk from the beach of Villefranche and has a chic first class beach club. The food and atmosphere are excellent! Bathe in the heart of a unique heritage on a preserved shore, and enjoy a menu of regional specialties. You will definitely be pampered and love your day! Of course, everything you need is at your fingertips here. I highly recommend Anao! Anao Plage: Av. Fernand Dunan, 06310 Beaulieu-sur-Mer Telephone: +33 04 93 54 07 89
It is only a six minute train ride from Villefranche sur Mer to Eze sur Mer if you would like to explore Eze Beaches. Check out my Eze Beaches post to read more about them.
In addition, I highly suggest a visit to the clifftop Midieval village of Eze. You can visit this beautiful village and the beach in the same day, especially if you hike down the mountain. Read all about it in my Eze post.
Beaches on a Budget
If you are traveling on a budget or prefer to spend your hard earned cash in a delicious restaurant instead of beach rentals, all the above mentioned beaches have a public section. Remember to bring an umbrella and towel to lay on. Check with your hotel to see if they offer complimentary towels or umbrellas. If not, there is a little variety store on the walkway leading to the local beach which sells umbrellas and towels as well as floats and sunscreen. Have a great day at the beach!