We arrived in Nice at sunset and were met by our friendly English speaking driver Frederic, who whisked us to Villefranche sur Mer where our apartment manager was waiting to greet us. As we entered the apartment, we were thrilled to hear the waves lapping against the quayside just outside the large picture window that dominates our little seaside apartment. After our apartment orientation, we walked along the quayside past the beautifully lit restaurants on the quay and through the cobblestone streets of the village.
With a recommendation from our apartment manager, we found a perfect place for a late dinner. Cave Nature is a quaint restaurant and wine bar set in a small square in the old town. They serve a delicious assortment of “tartines” (flat bread or open face sandwiches), such as crab with avocado & tomato, or duck with figs and lettuce, and offer an impressive selection of wines by the glass.
It was a great start to our trip, but the real “wow” moment was the next morning when we saw the breathtaking views from our window.
The sun was shining on the ochre coloured buildings, and the incredible azur sea was sparkling just outside our window. Early morning swimmers were enjoying the warm water, colourful boats were bobbing in the harbour, sunbathers heading to the beach, and we were delighted by the incredible views while we enjoyed our morning coffee!
The old town of Villefranche is charming, and has a twice weekly market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The buildings are painted in warm Provencal colours that are lit by the sun, and the streets are winding cobblestones with lots of stairs leading up the hillside to the newer parts of town. The 16th century Citadel is an imposing and well preserved fortress that defended the village and now houses 4 museums. Also worth a visit are several churches and and art galleries.
We tried out several restaurants during our stay, and recommend: La Belle Etoile for dinner in the old town- great food and service; La Mere Germaine – expensive, but fabulous location on the quay and excellent food and service (especially the calamari, sole & scallops paupiettes, & moules marinieres), and the Cave Nature (described above) – great for lunch or a light dinner.