The Cutest Town in the French Riviera.
The French Riviera is honestly a dream come true. It's home to some of the most stunning beaches and the Cannes Film Festival and it's a popular European getaway for celebrities and the elite. There are a lot of beautiful towns along the coast, but we loved staying in Villefranche-sur-Mer, because it's a colorful, quaint town right on the water. It's also right in between Monaco and Nice, so it's easy to get around and spend some time visiting the other towns as well. It's also not nearly as crowded, so you get more of an quiet coastal experience. If you're planning a trip to the French Riviera, be sure to spend some time in Villefranche-sur-Mer!
The whole town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is filled with colorful homes and picture-perfect alleyways. We loved wandering around and getting lost in the old town. Everywhere you turn there's the cutest pink or orange pastel house with turquoise shutters and the streets are lined with flowers and plants. It's so romantic and kind of feels like the type of small town Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) grew up in.
Villefranche is a nice little escape, because there aren't high-rise buildings and ridiculously expensive stores on every corner, like in Monaco and Nice. It has much more of a quaint and relaxing feel to it. You can enjoy a walk along the water and spend some time popping in and out of the small shops and grabbing at bite at the cafes along the ocean front. We obviously grabbed gelato as we were walking around town, and loved the small markets and all the Lavender goods the shops were selling from the nearby Lavender fields. The town does have a beautiful beach, Plage des Marinieres, that has the most beautiful blue water and is the perfect place to spend the day relaxing in the sun and playing in the sea. The beaches on the coast of France are made up more of small rocks than soft sand, so be sure to bring some sandals to the beach with you. We thoroughly enjoyed spending our time in Villefranche and wandering through the old town to get more of an old European feel over the ritzy, busy feel of the bigger cities in the French Riviera, like Monaco and Nice.
That being said, it's definitely worth it to spend a day both in Monaco and Nice. They're each about 30 minutes away by train (Monaco to the East and Nice to the West). Monaco is honestly a fashion lover's paradise. There are designer stores throughout the city with some of the most luxurious and high-end fashion brands you can think of. It was a lot of fun walking in the stores and window shopping and seeing the elegant styles and designs. If you time your trip right, you could also experience the Monaco Grand Prix, which is a world-famous car race around the city. When we were there, they were setting up for the race, so while we weren't there for the actual race, we did get to see how the city transforms to become a giant race track. No matter what time of year you go though, you'll see some of the most expensive and luxurious cars in the world on the streets of Monaco. Plus, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and that's a fun experience in and of itself.
Spend a day on the beaches in Nice. From the classic blue umbrellas to the adorable markets, Nice is for sure the perfect place to get that mix of city and beach vibes. Some other towns to check out in the area are Eze and Menton. Eze has amazing views and Menton is charming and super colorful. We didn't have time to go during this trip, but they're definitely a priority for our next visit to the French Riviera.
Part of the beauty of the French Riviera is that there are so many different towns and cities that all have their own unique charm to them. It's the perfect place to spend an entire week or two just hopping along the coast from city to city.
Where to Stay:
Welcome Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer is the perfect place to stay right in the heart of the old town. The hotel is located right on the water and has the most beautiful views of the ocean and the town. Every single one of the rooms has a sea view and a balcony, which means that there isn't a bad room in the whole hotel. One of the things we loved most about the hotel was that they give you the option of either enjoying your breakfast in your hotel room or in the restaurant downstairs. We loved having breakfast on our balcony every morning and watching the morning sun spill over the sea. Their fresh chocolate croissants and cheese spreads are absolutely delicious and what all my French breakfast dreams are made of.
The hotel is a short five-minute walk from the train station, so you can easily hop on the train and take it over to Nice, Monaco, or any of the other towns along the coast. The hotel is honestly in the perfect spot in the town, because you can easily walk to the beach or into the old town. The entire staff is super helpful and attentive and will help make sure your stay is 100% enjoyable. We absolutely loved our stay at Welcome Hotel and would go back in a heartbeat.
Thank you Welcome Hotel for hosting us in your beautiful hotel!