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A Day in Villefranche Sur Mer, French Riviera

Situated in the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region on the French Riviera and just 10 km East of Nice, Villefranche Sur Mer is a small seaside town with a picturesque port and an amazing setting. The medieval town is built on terraces on a steep hill along the coast, that overlooks the blue sea of  the Mediterranean bay.  For years it has been a top destination for famous artists and film crews and used as a backdrop for scenes in Jewel of the Nile and other films.

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One of the most popular places in this small French town is its port. The houses around the port are painted in bright orange and red colours, creating an amazing scene for the visitors.  Moreover the port houses many restaurants and bars along the waterfront. Today, the port is still a favourite anchorage for yachts sailing along the French Riviera.

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Just behind this small port, there is the old town of Villefranche Sur Mer, with beautiful ancient houses and a picturesque Place Amelie Polonnais. The streets in the old town run along the hill, rather than up and down, and pass through several arches under the houses, creating an amazing atmosphere.

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There is also a number of churches and religious monuments that are of great interest in Villefranche Sur Mer.  The most important of them is the small Chapel Saint Pierre, which is located on the main seafront road.  The chapel was restored by Jean Cocteau in 1957.  He painted the facades and decorated the interior of the chapel with murals, including images of local fishing girls, as well as scenes from the life of Saint Pierre.  In the center of the town there is another church, the Church of Saint Michel, a 14th century baroque style building, which was rebuilt in the 18th century.  Visitors can see the lovely architectural details outside and inside.

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The most dominant building in Villefranche sur Mer is a large citadel, that was built in 1557.  It is a large walled fortress, that stand poised on a headland above the sea an the town and can only be reached by a short path.  Today, the citadel houses a number of government offices, the Town Hall, an open-air theatre, a convention centre, three small but of high quality museums, which are related to art, like the Goetz Boumeester Museum.  Volti Musuem has a number of displays by sculptor Antoniucci Volti. Set into vaulted rooms, the paintings feature curvaceous women, that are made out of clay, bronze and copper.  One display inside the museum has very steep stairs, but the rest are set on paved ground.

The greatest highlight of the citadel are its grounds itself, with an amazing flower garden and a spectacular view of the sea.

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Green tassel necklace with cream amber spheres

In addition, when visiting Villefranche Sur Mer, visitors can find a lot more things to do.  There is a number of great restaurants on the seafront area, as well as in the old town, that serve delicious food.  Moreover, visitors can find small local shops, to browse for souvenirs or they can relax on the sandy beach of the town.  Above all Villefranche Sur Mer is a medieval village and is one of the best escapes from the bustle of the bigger cities of Cote d’Azur, that are situated just a few minutes away.

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