Villefranche sur Mer cruise

A beautiful bay two steps away from Nice 

The medieval Chapelle de St-Pierre 

The magic covered rue Obscure

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Villefranche sur Mer

Idling in the 16th century citadel

Villefranche-sur-mer is on the far side of Mont Alban from Nice.
You can enjoy a shore excursion here while your MSC cruise ship lies at anchor in its beautiful bay: the old town, with its fishing boats, sixteenth-century citadel and the covered medieval rue Obscure running beneath the houses, is a charming place to while away an afternoon. Villefranche’s tiny harbour is overlooked by the medieval Chapelle de St-Pierre, decorated by Jean Cocteau in 1957 in shades he described as “ghosts of colours”.

The drawings portray scenes from the life of St Peter and homages to the women of Villefranche and the gypsies. The chapel is used just once a year, on June 29, when fishermen celebrate the feast day of St Peter and St Paul with a Mass.

MSC Mediterranean cruises also offer excursions to Nice, a city with mementos from its time as a Roman regional capital, and earlier still, when it was founded by the Greeks. The old town’s real magnet is cours Saleya and the adjacent place Pierre-Gautier and place Charles-Félix. These wide-open, sunlit spaces – fringed with grandiloquent municipal buildings and Italianate chapels – are the site of the city’s main market.

Café and restaurant tables fill the cours on summer evenings, and presiding over it all is the baroque Chapelle de la Miséricorde with its elliptical nave and exceptionally rich ornamentation. Of the three Corniche roads east of Nice, the Moyenne Corniche is the most photogenic, a real cliff-hanging, car-chase highway.

Eleven kilometres from Nice, the medieval village of Eze winds round its conical rock just below the corniche, its tiny vaulted passages and stairways designed with defence in mind. At the summit, a cactus garden, the Jardin Exotique, covers the site of the former castle.

Must see places in Villefranche sur Mer

Discover our excursions

4 results found

  • MONACO, MONTE CARLO & ÈZE

    CITY TOUR
    • Shopping

    • Best seller

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      5 h

    • Adult$69Price per person

    • Child$50Price per person

    VHF05

    The coastal route taken by your coach from the port to the Principality of Monaco and Monte Carlo will first take you past the pretty towns of St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Èze, giving you wonderful views to enjoy on the way. After parking at the Rock of Monaco, you will head up to the old town. The friendly guide will lead you through the narrow uphill streets, past the Oceanographic Museum, the Cathedral where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III are buried (outside view), and the fairytale Prince’s Palace. You will also get to see one of Monaco’s most famous buildings: the legendary Casino, which stands next to the glamorous Hôtel de Paris. Following a guided tour of the elegant square and the surrounding buildings, you will continue on to the medieval town of Èze, entering via the 14th century double gateway and then walking through the narrow streets. A shopping stop is also scheduled at the renowned Fragonard perfume factory for a chance to learn about French perfume techniques and, if so inspired, to splurge on some fragrance samples. Please note: the tour does not include an internal viewing of or admission to the Casino. This tour is not suitable for guests with mobility problems.
  • NICE & EZE

    CITY TOUR
    • Shopping

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4:30 h

    • Adult$61Price per person

    • Child$47Price per person

    VHF01

    Leave Villefranche and follow the scenic coastal road that offers lovely views of Nice, Villefranche and Cap Ferrat before arriving at the medieval cliff-top town of Eze. Pass the XIV century double gateway and enjoy a walk through the narrow streets of the town. A stop for shopping is scheduled at the renowned Fragonard perfume factory to learn about French perfume techniques and purchase sample fragrances. Next we will continue on to Nice, capital of the “Côte d’Azur”. Here we will admire the famous seafront boulevard known as the “Promenade des Anglais”, the legendary “Negresco” Hotel with its delightful rococo façade and pass by the Russian Orthodox Cathedral with its brightly coloured ceramics and six onion domes. Finally we will visit the old town and have some free time on the attractive “Cours Saleya”, a colourful square in Nice old town.Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair.
  • SAINT-PAUL-DE-VENCE & SIGHTSEEING
    TOUR OF NICE

    CITY TOUR
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4:30 h

      • Adult$61Price per person

      • Child$47Price per person

      VHF06

      Make a date with two of France’s loveliest locations on this enjoyable half-day sightseeing tour, which begins with a drive-by look at the best of Nice, including the famous seafront Promenade des Anglais. You’ll then head inland for a scenic 45-minute drive to the foothills of the Alps and the hilltop location of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Enclosed by intact 16th-century ramparts, this wonderfully preserved medieval treasure contrasts the beauty of its antique patina with numerous galleries exhibiting modern art. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, considering one of the town’s most notable long-term residents was the famous expressionist painter, Marc Chagall, who made Saint-Paul-de-Vence his home in 1966. A short guided walk through the narrow lanes will show you the lay of the quaint little town, with numerous studios and stores selling produce such as soaps, oils and olives to pique your interest during some scheduled free time. Do remember to take your camera as snapshot moments abound in this magical place, whose lack of motorised traffic adds to its historical appeal. The scenic return drive to the pier and your ship finally brings your tour to a leisurely close. Please note: as the tour involves longer periods of walking on uneven ground and an approx. 10-minute walk uphill from the car park to the town centre, it is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.
    • THE JEWELS OF MONACO & MONTECARLO

      CULTURE AND HISTORY
      • Best seller

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4:30 h

      • Adult$65Price per person

      • Child$47Price per person

      VHF04

      Depart from the port and drive along the coastal road passing St. Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu, Eze-sur-Mer to the Principality of Monaco. Our first stop will be at the Rock of Monaco where we will park before heading up into the old town. Our guide will lead us through the narrow uphill streets, past the Oceanographic Museum, the Cathedral where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III are buried (outside view), and the fairytale Prince’s Palace. We will also see one of the most famous buildings of the Principality: Monaco’s legendary Casino which stands next to the glamorous Hotel de Paris. Here we will have a guided tour of the elegant square and surrounding buildings before enjoying some free time. Please note: the tour does not include an internal viewing of or admission to the Casino. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
    Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

     

    Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

    France

    A discrete and slightly snobbish charm
    A discrete and slightly snobbish charm

    A holiday to southern France will take you to heaven. This Garden of Eden encompasses the snow-peaked lower Alps and their foothills, which in the east descend right to the sea, and to the west extend almost to the Rhône.


    The coastal hinterland is made up of range after range of steep, forested hills, while the shore is an ever-changing series of geometric bays giving way to chaotic outcrops of glimmering rock and deep, narrow inlets, like miniature fjords – the calanques. All these elements would count for nothing, however, were it not for the magical Mediterranean light. At its best in spring and autumn, it is both soft and brightly theatrical, as if some expert had rigged the lighting for each landscape for maximum colour and definition with minimum glare. A cruise to southern France is a good opportunity to visit the capital of the Riviera, Nice – a vibrant and intriguing blend of Italianate influence, faded Belle Époque splendour and first-class art.

    East of the city, the lower Corniche links the picturesque seafront towns of Villefranche, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Beaulieu; the higher roads offer some of the most spectacular coastal driving in Europe, en route to the perched village of Èze and the tiny principality of Monaco. The Riviera’s western half claims its best beaches – at jazzy Juan-les-Pins and at Cannes, a glitzy centre of designer shopping and film.