Villefranche sur Mer
The deep-water port for Nice, Villefranche is a delight on its own terms with one of the best beaches in the Eastern Cote d’Azur. Plan a daytrip into bustling Nice or amble gently along the quay to admire the megayachts from picturesque seaside café tables.
What We Love
St. Jean Cap Ferrat: Villefranche is only a train stop away from the haughtiest of haute getaways: the elite peninsula of "Le Cap." Walk the coastal path to hidden beach coves and dine among the international elite at the Grand Hotel.
Nice: If you want to go a little farther, this Italianate city with French soul is only two train stops away at Nice Ville, where the riviera's cultural hub bustles with museums, operas, markets, and bottomless glasses of rose.
Best Known For
Plage Marinieres: The Cote d’Azur is a sun worshipper’s paradise, but the beaches are typically more rocks than sand — except this stretch. Go here to satisfy your need for a perfect Mediterranean beach day.
Antiques Market: If you're in town on a Sunday, head to the market where the glamour of prewar France comes to life through immaculate hotel linens, movie posters, and costume jewelry.
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Who It's Best For
Beachgoers: Enchanting, tiny, and exclusive beaches line the coast around Villefranche. If privacy is your aim, steer away from Nice and choose your place in the sun.
Jet Set Seekers: Villefranche is a tiny town with easy access to the more bustling areas, including dynamic Nice and the 1-percent privileged in Cap Ferrat.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Watch Your Watch: If you’re planning a trip to Nice, know the train schedules and live by them so you don’t miss the ship.
Empty Offseason: The season lasts from late May through mid-September; then everything starts to shut down. If your cruise is in the shoulder season, check to see if museums and restaurants are open before planning your excursion.
Sarah Rose is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for The Wall Street Journal.