Travel along the coast from Italy towards Nice on the train and watch people crowd to the windows as they approach Villfranche-sur-Mer.
The town is one of the jewels in the crown of the French Côte d’Azur and unlike so many resorts along the coast still retains the look and feel of what you would expect from a French town on the coast.
Villefranche really is a delight for a day out - there are plenty of cafés and restaurants and the old town has an amazing covered street that has buildings precariously built over the top.
Unlike Monaco which has lines of enormous millionaire boats parked in the harbour, the boats at Villefranche are more modest - small pleasure boats and yachts just as you would find in Cornwall. This all adds to the family friendly feel to the place and the beach which is only minutes away from the train station is the perfect place to make your base camp with the little ones.
The sand is as nice as it gets on this coast and the water is typically Mediterranean, clear, blue and inviting.
Villefranche looks out across the water to Cap Ferrat, an exclusive peninsular. There is a fantastic beach at Cap Ferrat - a little piece of paradiseis how it was sold to us by an Italian family we met in Menton. The beach at Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is indeed a great place for a day and for snorkeling it is just a delight it is almost like being in the Caribbean !
If you want to be close to Nice but avoid the downsides of a city then head for Villefranche and Cap Ferrat - we do and it is fantastic !
•The best way to get to Villefranche is on the train and the views along the coast make the trip worth it.
•If you travel to Cap Ferrat it might be better by car - but avoid very busy moments as parking is limited. In October it is perfect - warm water and spaces to park.
•If you are in the area in the spring look out for the battle of the flowers
Artist: John Dyer
Painting: “Paddling and Posing, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat”
Size: 24 x 18 inches
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of Gallery Monaco