Villefranche-sur-Mer our happy place
Villefranche is our happy place: our favourite place with my husband, we have visited almost every year ever since we are together. It’s a charming, utterly beautiful fishing village near Nice on the French Riviera. We’ve already been with Bobcat, but as a family of four – this was our first visit. It’s got a gorgeous beach with shallow water – and apart from the big cruise ships parking close to the bay – the view is breathtaking. Fantastic restaurants – lots of them suitable for young children too, cafes, beach bars and if you hop on the train you’re in Nice Main in 15 minutes. (When they are not on strike…) Or 25 minutes to Monte-Carlo. Yes, by train. I find this fact quite amusing.
This is actually our favourite hotel around here – so it’s a kind of secret I’m sharing with you. We prefer to stay in Villefranche even if we plan to spend our time in Nice. We stayed in another hotel already, when Hotel Le Provencal was fully booked (and we tried to book really last minute) and it was quite good too, but we prefer here. It’s small hotel, having only 43 rooms, and although there’s nothing we could have found out about its history, it strikes me as an old grand hotel, I’m almost certain that the building was built as a hotel. Officially, it only has 2 stars – and in France that normally means one. (Sorry French friends, this is the truth!) However, this is not true in this case, as the hotel was recently and very tastefully renovated, I’d easily give it a strong 3 stars. I especially love the little lobby and the way they decorated it. The first impressions when you enter are so important! The rooms, the decoration, the functionality, the space you are getting, they do worth 3 starts. If anything, the breakfast gets 2 stars.
We always book the best room, because whenever we’re there we just want to feel like the first time. The view is fantastic from the sea view rooms – there is no cheating here, especially the corner rooms, they have great views. The higher the better, obviously. This time, with the children we booked a quadruple room and the kids were perfectly fine sharing a big bed. They really enjoyed it in fact. They thought it was so much fun, that stayed up till very late. The room came with a bathtub – always better with small children then a shower – a decent size bathroom, balcony and the fantastic view. The beds had firm and comfy mattresses. There’s a big telly on the wall and minibar fridge – but this was empty on this occasion (I remember, it was different during our previous visits.) There’s lots of mini bath products and plastic cups wrapped in plastic for your tooth brush – which is a shame, but we chose not to use them. Wifi is free and is good.
The breakfast is a little bit disappointing for the price in my opinion, especially given the weak pound. It’s EUR 11 per person and EUR 6 for a child. You get some croissants, bread and pain-au-chocolate, cereals, cook-it-yourself egg, machine coffee (make it for yourself), cheese, some cold cuts and sugary squash instead of proper or even concentrated juice. But, the garden is wonderful and lush green, the birds are chirping and sitting in the garden in the morning sun, looking at the orange trees…. is priceless – so we always pay for our overpriced pain-au-chocolate and not so nice coffee. And we even have seconds. Go for the espresso. But at least they have baby feeding chairs!
The hotel is walking distance to the closest beach, the village with the shops and restaurants, it’s a few minutes walk only. Villefranche-sur-Mer is quite small, but very beautiful. We will be back next year too.
If you want to read more travel related posts of mine, check this one out: Postcards from California