Today your South of France surveyor is continuing our series of articles looking at some of the regions’ smaller and most picturesque towns and villages. These beautiful locations may be a little off the beaten track, but they are very much worth a visit.

Last time we explored the stunning medieval town of Sartène and this week, it’s the turn of Villefranche-sur-mer.

Nestled on the Cape Ferrat peninsula in the beating heart of the French Riviera, Villefranche-sur-mer offers a very different, but equally striking, atmosphere for discerning travellers.


Consisting of a beautiful and colourful village and a breathtaking natural harbour, Villefranche-sur-mer is home to some of the most incredible sights in the region. For example, the Ephrussi de Rothschild villa, in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, an Italian style palace which is one of the most beautiful of its kind in the French Riviera and is open to the public.

Located near the fishing port, the Saint-Pierre chapel was decorated by Jean Cocteau in 1957. The mighty citadel St. Elmo was constructed in the 16th century to fortify the natural harbour and hosts museums and temporary exhibitions which change regularly throughout the year.

Augmenting these attractions are a plethora of period architecture, statues, and features such as wells and fountains, which are all worth taking the time to explore. On hot summer days, the narrow streets of Villefranche-sur-mer are teeming with walkers and tourists and has a lovely atmosphere.


Like many places on the French Riviera, Villefranche-sur-mer is absolutely bursting with amazing dining experiences.

With its active fishing harbour, fresh seafood is the order of the day and you can take your pick from a wide selection of cafes and restaurants all serving the very best fruits of the ocean. Drawing culinary inspiration from the local area and classic French dishes, Villefranche-sur-mer also takes notes from Italian and other European cooking to bring you some truly wonderful food.

As is also common in the region, Villefranche-sur-mer is an ideal place to sample some incredible wine from the surrounding famous vineyards. New world wines may be making headlines in recent years but visit the French Rivera and rediscover why France is so famous for it.

A Storied History

While the above locations and experiences are incredible, one thing which helps bring Villefranche-sur-mer to life are the stories which helped to shape it.

The deep harbour, which sits within the caldera of a long-dead volcano, was historically beloved by the likes of Onassis and Niarchos and the royals on their luxury vessels. However, the character of Villefranche-sur-mer was subtly shaped by the various famous artists and authors who used to gather at the Hôtel Welcome. Such as Diaghilev and Stravinsky, who loved spending time in the village when on furlough from the Ballet Russe up the coast in Monaco.

Final Thoughts

If Villefranche-sur-mer has got you hungry to start your own story in this stunning region of the world, you can’t go wrong with employing the services of an experienced South of France surveyor such as Charles Mackintosh.

Please get in touch today for more information and insights.