Cruise Port Atlas | Villefranche-sur-Mer, France Day Trips | Attractions

Villefranche-sur-Mer, France Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Villefranche-sur-Mer: Paul Gauguin, Celebrity, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean

Key Attractions: Villefranche-sur-Mer, Rue Obscura, Villa Leopolda, St. Peter the Fisherman Church, Villefranche Citadel, Villefranche Beach, Foormis Beach, Passable Beach, Paloma Beach, Nice Old Town, Cours Saleya, Promenade des Anglais, Nice Flower Market, Sainte-Reparate Cathedral, Lescaris Palace, Colline du Chateau, Chagall Museum, Matisse Museum, Monaco Casino, Princes Palace, Monaco Opera House, Monaco Grand Prix Circuit, Museum of Antique Automobiles, Oceanographic Museum, Eze, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Cannes Film Festival Congress, La Croisette, La Suquete, Quartier des Anglais, Ile Sainte-Marguerite, Ile Saint-Honore, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, St. Pauls Castle, La Fondation Maeght, Grasse, International Museum of Perfume, Grasse Cathedral, Antibes, Billionaires Quay, Fort Carre, Exflora Park, Eilenroc Garden, Juan-les-Pins, Picasso Museum, Antibes Archaeological Museum


Villefranche Tender Dock to Old Town / Rue Obscura - 0.1 KM, short walk
Villefranche Tender Dock to Citadel - 0.3 KM, 3 minute walk
Villefranche Tender Dock to Mont Alban Fort - 3.8 KM, 10 minutes
Villefranche Tender Dock to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - 4 KM, 8 minutes
Villefranche Tender Dock to Villa Kerylos - 3.3 KM, 7 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Villefranche-sur-Mer is located just east of the much larger Nice, but seems like a different world. Set in a large deep-water bay, Villefranche remains a scenic tourist town isolated from the big city by hills. Its beauty inspired the Disney parks who used the waterfront buildings of the 17th century marina as a model for the Lights, Camera, Action show set. Just one block in from the old marina is a famous covered street known as Rue Obscura. Adjacent to town is the once important Citadel which now houses the Town Hall and 3 museums. In town there are two lovely churches, the baroque 18th century St. Michael's Church and the Renaissance St. Peter's Chapel with the 20th century murals by Jean Cocteau. The small town is the location of vacation homes for the very wealthy, including Tina Turner. Above the town is the Villa Leopolda which is possibly the world's most expensive home and was build by King Leopold II of Belgium for his mistress during the early 20th century. It used as a set for Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief and the original The Red Shoes. In 1971 Keith Richards rented Villa Nellcote and much of the Rolling Stones' most celebrated album, Exile on Main Street, was recorded in its basement.



Photos of Villefranche Iliouza (top) and public domain

Villefranche area beaches

Villefranche Tender Dock to Villefranche Beach - 0.7 KM, 1 minute, 10 minute walk
Villefranche Tender Dock to Foormis Beach - 3 KM, 7 minutes
Villefranche Tender Dock to Passable Beach - 3.7 KM, 7 minutes
Villefranche Tender Dock to Paloma Beach - 5 KM, 10 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Most beaches in Monaco are small and private, but the beach at Larvotto is public with free access. Like nearly all Riviera beaches, it is a pebble beach, so renting a beach chair will be necessary for sun worshipers. Water sport rentals are available and , though it is crowded, the waters are calm so it it a nice place for families. In high season, you will need to arrive early to secure a spot. Just to the west of Monaco are the small commercial beaches at Plage Marquet and Eden, offering a slightly less urban setting with restaurants, water sports, and beach chairs for rent.




Villefranche Tender Dock to Nice Old Town / Cathedral / Palace Lascaris - 6 KM, 15 minutes
Villefranche Tender Dock to Promenade des Anglais - 7 KM, 15 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Nice is one of Europe's great tourist destinations and became that when English aristocrats and merchants discovered it's Bay of Angels in the 19th century and started spending their summers there. The beach is pebbles but the views are wide and stunning. At the west end of the bay and not far from the cruise terminal is the Old city, a compact and walkable area, which features Cours Saleya and its famous flower market. The Nice Opera House, the Sainte-Reparate Cathedral and the Lascaris Palace are among the most popular historic buildings, but there are many others. Between the port area and Old Town is Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau), which is a massive park with the remains of old structures, lovely walks and an impressive artificial waterfall. Nice's long history provides another attraction with a museum dedicated to Terra Amata, one of the oldest discovered human settlements in all Europe showing evidence of habitation going back 230,000 years. This is also a city of art with a large number of museums, including two dedicated to Matisse and Chagall.



Photo of Cours Saleya by Mg02, Photo of Promenade des Anglais by W. M. Connolley


Villefranche Tender Dock to Eze - 8 KM, 12 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Eze is a medieval village built on a high cliff to the west of Monaco, which has long been famous for its rustic charm and dramatic views of the sea. The town features the remains of a Medieval castle, the Baroque Our Lady of Assumption Church, the 14th century Chapel of the Cross and Francis Blanche Square, named for the famous 20th century French humorist. Filled with shops and restaurants inside ancient stone buildings along steep cobblestone streets, coming to Eze is very much like stepping back in time. The perfume company Fragonard also has an outlet for its factory in the town. A nearby botanical gardens specializes in cacti and other succulents. Along the slopes leading to the town is the Nietzsche Path named for the German philosopher who spent time in the town.



Photo of Eze street by Tangopaso, Photo of Eze from the Grand Corniche by Jimi magic


Villefranche Tender Dock to Monaco - 14 KM, 21 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

When Prince Rainier of Monaco married Grace Kelly in a modern day fairytale romance, the tiny principality joined that group of Mediterranean jet set ports like St. Tropez, Corfu and Alma. The most famous site is the legendary Casino where formal dress is required and stakes have no limit. Built in the same ornate style and also designed by Charles Garnier, is the adjacent Opera House, with its gold and red ornamentation and painted ceilings. Overlooking the port is the Prince's Palace and adjacent square. If you time your visit right, you will see the changing of the guard. Near the Palace is the Monaco Cathedral. The route of the Grand Prix motor race attracts car racing fans from around the world. Prince Albert II established a popular Museum of Ancient Automobiles between the race route and the Casino. The Oceanographic Museum is one of the oldest and best regarded in Europe. Since the country has no income tax, it attracts many wealthy residents who, in turn, attract some of the world's most exclusive retailers and restauranteurs. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City and the most densely populated country in the world.



Photo of Monaco Cathedral by Berthold Werner, Panoramo from Monaco Ville by Mgimelfarb

Saint Paul de Vence

Villefranche Tender Dock to Saint Paul de Vence - 24 KM, 34 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Saint Paul de Vence is built on top of a hill that was the location of St. Paul's castle during the early medieval period. Built on top of the ruins of that castle is the present fortress from the 14th century AD. The stone buildings, narrow alleys and streets, shops and galleries, incredible views of countryside and sea, and vine covered walls make Saint Paul a very popular destination and a bit crowded during the peak of the tourist season, July and August. Several important twentieth century artists lived here, including Marc Chagall, which explains the many galleries and La Fondation Maeght, an important modern art museum.



Photo of Saint-Paul-de-Vence by Baptiste ROUSSEL


Villefranche Tender Dock to Cannes - 40 KM, 43 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Cannes is one of the most famous of the cities along the French Riviera and is the site of the world-famous Cannes Film Festival, where the world's cinema royalty gather once every year to promote their new films. Adjacent to the Film Festival Congress is the waterfront boulevard known as La Croisette which offers views of the islands off the coast and some of the cities most famous beaches and buildings. The city's best vista is on top of La Suquete where you can visit the Gothic Notre Dame L'Esperance. The city became a magnet for the wealthy during the 19th century when many built ornate mansions (inside tours are not offered) located in the Quartier des Anglais. Some visitors will want to visit Ile Sainte-Marguerite, where the mysterious Man with the Iron Mask was imprisoned or Ile Saint-Honorat, with its medieval monastery which produces unique wines.



Photo of La Croisette by Joseph Plotz, photo of Cannes by Mario Lassnig


Villefranche Tender Dock to Grasse - 50 KM, 47 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Grasse is considered the world's capital for perfume production and offers visitors many attractions related to that industry. There are a number of perfumeries that offer tours, along with the International Museum of Perfume. Grasse became the center for perfume production after the jasmine flower was imported by the Moors. Large areas outside Grasse are devoted to jasmine farming and the production of the other plants and flowers used in perfumes. The micro-climate in the area is perfect for this production and irrigation systems were developed early in the growth of the industry. Other attractions include the Cathedral with works by Rubens and Fragonard, the Saracen tower and Church of Placassier built in 1644.



Photo of Bronze Perfumer by Ballista, photo of Grasse Cathedral by Copyleft


Villefranche Tender Dock to Antibes - 33 KM, 41 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Antibes is famous for its yachts, Fort Carre, museums dedicated to Napoleon and Picasso and the local parks and gardens. Overlooking the harbor is the impressive fort, built in the late 16th century and offering tours. It is surrounded by a park. Other parks in the area Exflora Park, with many roses, fountains and different sections in a variety of styles; the Eilenroc Gardens, adjacent to the villa of the same name and Thuret Park on Cap d'Antibes. The Picasso Museum is located in the Grimaldi Chateau, historic home of the Monaco royal family. Picasso spent a short period just after World War II in the area and left what he produced to the city. The collection now includes 245 works by Picasso and many others by artists who were his contemporaries. The Archaeology Museum is housed in the 17th century fortification Bastion Saint Andree and includes a collection of Greek and Roman artifacts dating back as far as the 6th century BCE. Le Tour Museum features historical and cultural artifacts such as clothing, housewares and naval items from various eras in Antibes' past. Throughout the year, Antibes features various music festivals and events, including a famous jazz festival at Juan-les-Pins.



Photo of Fort Carre by Heinrich Kerschbaumer, Photo of Antibes Beach by Mashutik

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible