Villefranche - close to Nice, lovely beach

Villefranche, July 2008

Lovely beach for children at Villefranche Villefranche is a lovely peaceful coastal village just minutes from Nice by bus or train. We like going there for the beach which is fine gravel and shelves gently into the sea, perfect for small children as well as everyone else. Unlike the beaches in Nice there is no need for padded mats or rubber swim shoes, the gravel is easy to walk on and comfortable to lie on, you just need a towel. We always take a small parasol which slides through the gravel effortlessly compared to the pile driver needed for the pebbles in Nice.

view to the east of VillefrancheFrom the beach, view to the east of Villefranche, towards the peninsular, St Jean Cap Ferrat

view to the west of VillefrancheFrom the beach, view towards the west of Villefranche, to Villefranche Port, the Citadel, Welcome Hotel and the Cap of Nice.

From the Port in Nice, we catch the 100 TAM bus bound for Menton via Monaco. It's one euro each this year. Villefranche is the next village/town east of Nice, just the other side of the Cap de Nice and before St Jean Cap Ferrat. It's just about 8 stops on the 100. Once you are on the downward run into Villefranche, you need to ding the dinger and get off at the bus stop marked 'Octroi'. The Villefranche Tourist Office is a little way further up the road on the right and set back a bit. You can pick up a map there. I've tried to mark out the location of everything on the map below.

Villefranche map showing the no. 80 bus stopTo get to the beach, you need to walk past the the tourist office and turn right then wend your way downwards either through the Old Town of Villefranche or though the stone fortress or Citadel down to the sea. The beaches are at the far east end of Villefranche, Plages des Marinières. Only the indicated areas have lifeguards. There used to be a private beach here but this has closed down so it is now all pubic beach. There is a food/drink kiosk for snacks, ice cream (cornettos, 3 euros) etc and a fairly horrible loo (go in the sea). There are a couple of open fresh water showers.

If you drive there is a pay and display car park right by the beach d if you take the train from Nice, it is just 2 stops away from Nice Ville (then Nice Riquier, the Villefranche) and about 1,30 euros. The train is the closest option for the beach but the 100 fom the Port is handier for us as our studio is by the port.

Although it's a bit of a walk to the beach from the bus stop, it's downhill plus you pass a Spar shop so you can buy a picnic lunch at a reasonable price. Coming back to Nice is a bit of a slog back up the hill to the Octroi bus stop though so we have worked out a better route using the Ligne d'Azur bus, the 80 which starts by the Port of Villefranche, the stop is called Port de la Sante and route takes you up and over Mont Alban, then down into Nice on the high twisty back roads away from the clogged coastal road. It terminates at Nice Riquier train station which leaves us a 10 minute walk back to the studio however we usually wait a few minutes and take the connecting number 7 or 20 which continues on to the Port, you use the same 1 euro ticket - there's no extra charge as it is a continuation of the same journey. A couple of weeks ago, we watched, along with about 30 Italians, two 100 TAM buses sail straight by the Octroi bus stop on to Nice without stopping. No matter, we have the 80 alternative up our sleeves and no long schlep up the hill either. I've tied to indicate on the map, the location of everything:

the route to Villefranche beach from the the 100 Octroi bus stop There's an 80 this year that leaves the Port at 6:05 pm, a good time to head back. All along the front at Villefranche, there are bars/restaurants and cafes and the bus top for the 80 is by the little church decorated by Jean Cocteau and close to a small square where you can buy a coffee or ice cream if there's time before the bus comes. Try and sit on the right hand side of the bus facing the driver for the best views over Villefranche.

Chapel St Pierre, Villefranche, decorated by Jean Cocteau, 2 euros entry, not Mondays or lunchtimeThe 14th century Chapel of St Pierre, decorated by Jean Cocteau, by the Port de la Santé, Villefranche.

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1 comment:


I just found your blog
So informative for our travels to Nice in October
Well done