We took a late summer getaway to our favorite spot in the French Riviera, Villefranche-Sur-Mer. Just one town east from popular Nice, this small town has it all: a great pebble beach, azure waters, colorful pastel buildings lining the sea in front of rocky cliffs, fabulous food, and charm exuding from every corner. When we had a few days off at the end of summer, there was only one place we knew we wanted to be:
We discovered VSM last year, using Nice as a home base and each day I planned for us to explore a different town by train. We spent days in Cannes, Nice, Villefranche Sur Mer, Menton, and Monaco and VSM knocked us off our feet – and into beautiful, crystal clear water!
The beach is small pebbles, which I have come to favor. While large rocks can hurt your feet to walk on, and sand sticks everywhere, the small pebbles are the perfect in-between. The beach also has large rocks jetting out to climb on and jump into the water or just sunbathe on!
The town is very small so if you’re looking for late nights and loud nightlife, this is not your place! It is in fact so small and quiet I almost wondered if we’d made the right choice staying in VSM, but the ease of waking up and being on the beach in less than ten minutes and calm nature of our getaway was the right choice for us! It has everything you need: one grocery, a few fabulous restaurants, and a great wine bar, plus a boat rental right outside.
Our favorite restaurants were La Belle Etoile for a fabulous dinner, Les Garçons for good classic French, a friendly organic wine bar, La Cave Nature, that also serves cheese boards, and of course lunch every day right on the beach at DeliBo, a chic beach club with the freshest foods! Below is delicious burrata with peaches and tomatoes, and ricotta with strawberries and basil… divine 🙂
If you do get tired of Villefranche (but everything here is so perfect!) or just want to explore, the train station is right above the beach and super easy to use. This year we headed into Nice for a few hours, and after our peaceful paradise, Nice felt very jarring and very touristic! I was confirmed in our decision to stay in VSM. 🙂 This was my 3rd year visiting Nice, and the Vieux Nice did feel very touristy this time. It’s still a fun city though, with one of my favorite squares – Place Masséna with the beautiful, funky black and white tiles against sun-drenched red buildings. It is just gorgeous! Right off of Place Masséna is a fun water park for kids and adults alike 😉
La Fontaine Miroir d’Eau… even adults have fun jumping around in the water 😉
It’s always nice to walk through the Nice Flower Market as well, where they sell soaps, antiques, limoges china and crystalware, and more against the colorful buildings.
Hopping over to Nice was a nice change, but we were happy to be back in our little town of Villefranche! One morning Dave rented us a boat right on the Villefranche harbor so we could explore more of the Côte d’Azure. Off we went!
We cruised around Saint Jean Cap Ferrat to Paloma Beach and the Baie des Fourmis, but honestly I thought the Villefranche harbor area was the prettiest, plus the water was calmer for this girl to get her sea legs back 😉
I hope you enjoyed learning more about this beautiful hidden gem and are able to check it out one day! A bientôt mes amis!