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Old 02-07-2011, 09:42 AM   #1
BWV Dreamin
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Villefranche on Your Own: How Hard Is It?

I am paying for a private tour company to see Rome, Florence and Naples. I was thinking of trying to do Villefranche on our own, but am nervous. How hard or easy is it to do? Would we be better to just hang around the little town we tender into? We have never been to Europe so are not familiar with any type of transportation (trains, buses, etc.)
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:04 AM   #2
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We did Villefranche on our own. It's a cute little town you can easily walk to the old section, the fort and the beach. There are signs everywhere very easy.

My grand father chose to take a cab to Nice and spend the day there. He had no problems either.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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It depends on what you'd like to see. You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering around Villefranche - it is a cute little town but if you want to see Monte Carlo, Nice or Eze, you'll need to use transportation. Nice and Monte Carlo are an easy train trip or bus trip - we spent the day in Nice and had a great time - we were lucky to be there on a day when the market was open. You might want to check out Cruise Critic to see recommendations for the port. I loved Eze as well - did that on a different trip - so worth the effort! This is a gorgeous area!
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:36 AM   #4
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Hi Hope!! We're also looking into what to do at Villefranche! If it's feasible I would like to visit Nice in the morning & DH would like to go to the beach so I was hoping we could do that in the afternoon for awhile... I'll let you know if I come up with anything worth sharing!! I just hope we can do a little of both!!

(I've heard that Eze is amazing but I don't think there would be time to go that far AND hit a beach - unless we can find a beach at Eze?!)
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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The bus system was really easy to use there. I believe I got the info for it on cruise critic. The bus stop is right by the port.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #6
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Hi

We have stopped at Villefranche a number of times now. The boat will tender out in the water and little tender boats will take you up to the quayside.

The quay is litterally a very short walk from the town itself and there is a narrow stretch of beach there too, but it is pebbly, so you will need water shoes. You could spend a pleasant afternoon there, wandering around and having a leisurely lunch, but there isn't a great deal to do.

It is very easy to use the little train that runs along the coast, between Nice and Montecarlo. Again this is a short walk (10 mins max), if you are on the sea side of the platform all trains go to Nice, if you have the rails between you and the sea, all trains go to Montecarlo. I am not sure about Eze.

Theoretically, you could do both Nice and Montecarlo, (although they are in opposite directions, but you would see neither very well!). They are completely different types of places.

Nice is a very large seaside town along the coast. Large sandy beaches (some are a bit stony near the sea), private hotels onto the beaches, a shopping area, with designer shops and I think certainly worth a look, especially if you want a beach - be aware that a lot of bathers are topless, some naked in certain areas. It is easy enough to go to a private beach, pay a small fee and get an umbrella and chairs, with use of showers.

There is also an open top tour bus that takes you around most of the sights.

Montecarlo is a town in a very hilly area, no beaches immediately accessible there, but an impressive marina with millionaires yachts, which is incredible to stroll along, with places for lunch. Further up the hill (there is an elevator that takes you up and down), is the town itself, which comprises of a lot of very expensive shops, the famous Casino and the Cafe de Paris Hotel. In Montecarlo there is lots do do, from visiting the palace, to a car museum and going in the Casino itself, although you need your passport to do this and there is a small charge.

The town is very busy in the main square area, lots of Ferraris and supercars, a good place to sit and watch the world go by, beware, the Cafe de Paris is not cheap, I think our bill for an icecream for the children to share, two wines and two beers was in the region of £50.

You could get a cab, there will be taxi drivers waiting near to where the tenders dock, but as the train is so very easy, save the money for lunch!! However, the roads are windy and get busy when ships are in, so the train is sometimes more reliable as there are no traffic jams!

Hope this helps and as someone else posted, have a look at the Cruise Critic site, lots of people have done this stop on their own, as most of the Med. cruise ships will stop here.

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replys!! Is the train the one that the Disney Cruiseline Excursions show? Or is it like a metro train? I'm sure my husband would love to visit the beach! I need to investigate more! Disney's excursions want $89.00/pp for either a 4 hour wine and cheese at Nice or Eze, or $89.00/pp for Adulto Only Nice and Monaco which is 8 hrs. Just don't know if that will be too long as I will be putting in some tour time in the following three days in Italy. Annie, please get back to me!!!
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anal Annie View Post
Hi Hope!! We're also looking into what to do at Villefranche! If it's feasible I would like to visit Nice in the morning & DH would like to go to the beach so I was hoping we could do that in the afternoon for awhile... I'll let you know if I come up with anything worth sharing!! I just hope we can do a little of both!!

(I've heard that Eze is amazing but I don't think there would be time to go that far AND hit a beach - unless we can find a beach at Eze?!)
Eze is, indeed amazing! We had it added unexpectedly onto the end of our ABD day, and loved it. It is, however, a medieval town perched atop a mountain, so there is no beach. It's well worth visiting, though!

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Old 02-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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When we were in Villefranche, we took the train to Monte Carlo and did some touring around there. Had lunch at Cafe de Paris, walked through the town. It's lovely. But by far, our favourite place was Eze. A beautiful medieval perched village with lots of quaint little shops. I'd love to stay longer there next time.

You can take the train to Monte Carlo and then the bus to Eze. From there, we took a taxi back to the ship. I'm sorry I don't remember costs. You can get the directions by train to Monte Carlo on cruise critic and I'm sure somewhere there can tell you which bus number goes to Eze. I'm pretty sure it was the #112 bus but you will want to check that for certain.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
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I just spent 3 weeks on the French Riviera, with 2 of the weeks right in Villefranche sur Mer. The train station is a very short walk from where the boat tenders dock and you can access many towns/cities via the train. Unless you need a tour guide to explain things I don't see the need for a booked excursion. Rick Steeve's Riviera guide is a good resource for going out on your own.

Villefranche is very charming but a bit quiet during the day. The restaurant scene comes alive in the evening. The beach in Villefranche is really good for the Riviera but watch for occasional jellyfish during the summer. We found water shoes weren't necessary. We would head to the beach in Villefranche every day then hop on the train for day trip. If I knew how to post pictures I'd attach one of the beach for you.

Eze was our biggest disappointment for day trips. It's lovely, but after about 45 minutes of walking around, we were happy to head back. After visiting so many towns in the Riviera we didn't find it that interesting and it was a long trip on the bus for what it was.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:20 PM   #11
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While my DH might find a topless beach enjoyable I, on the otherhand probably would NOT!! Our DS will be 14...I think he would be more embarrassed than anything at this point. Can anybody tell me the name of a good beach in the Villefranche / Nice area that has public access & facilities that might be suitable for all ages? (And exactly the best way to get to it?!) If I had the names of some recommended beaches I'm sure I could Google them for more info.... Or are there any hotels on the beach in that area that offer a pass to use their beach & facilities?
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anal Annie View Post
While my DH might find a topless beach enjoyable I, on the otherhand probably would NOT!! Our DS will be 14...I think he would be more embarrassed than anything at this point. Can anybody tell me the name of a good beach in the Villefranche / Nice area that has public access & facilities that might be suitable for all ages? (And exactly the best way to get to it?!) If I had the names of some recommended beaches I'm sure I could Google them for more info.... Or are there any hotels on the beach in that area that offer a pass to use their beach & facilities?
There is only one beach in Villefranche, it's public and family friendly. ANY beach in France may have topless women on it, including beach clubs. It's just the way of life there. Fewer seem to be going topless though. Beware that the beaches in Nice consist of rocks, not sand.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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There is only one beach in Villefranche, it's public and family friendly. ANY beach in France may have topless women on it, including beach clubs. It's just the way of life there. Fewer seem to be going topless though. Beware that the beaches in Nice consist of rocks, not sand.
OK, soo, yes, I'm a little dense... When you say the beaches in Nice are rocky, not sandy that includes the beach in Villefranche too?? Never understood the draw to a beach that's rocky...but some do I guess. But you mean pebbles, right? Not like have to climb over them big old volcanic rocks, right? Or do I just not have a CLUE here about where we're going?!
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Sadly, no countdown tickers at the moment.

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My first ever trip report - Disneyland Paris and our DCL Med cruise: http://thewhitehouseblog.weebly.com/ (ALMOST but not quite finished)

August 2014 - 3 n @ VGC & DL followed by 7 n @ Aulani follwed by 3 n on Maui / Jan 2014 - 5 n @ AKV Jambo House / Aug 2013 - 9 nights @ SSR / Aug 2012 - 9 n @ Boardwalk Villas and HRH / Mar-Apr 2012 6 n @ Bay Lake / August 2011 Disneyland Paris and DCL MED cruise / August 2010 Disney's DVC resort at Hilton Head Island, SC / March 2010 Kidani Village at AKV / August '09 BCV & Vero Beach / May '09 SSR / July '08 AKV & B2B Cruises on The Wonder/ January '08 VWL / August '07 OKW / July '06 Offsite - Waikiki, Kona & Ka'anapali, Hawaii / July '05 Disneyland & Disney Magic West Coast Cruise to the Mexican Riviera / Summer '04 CSR / May '03 Offsite - St. John, USVI / Summer '02 AKL & O.C., MD


















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Old 02-07-2011, 02:50 PM   #14
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OK, soo, yes, I'm a little dense... When you say the beaches in Nice are rocky, not sandy that includes the beach in Villefranche too?? Never understood the draw to a beach that's rocky...but some do I guess. But you mean pebbles, right? Not like have to climb over them big old volcanic rocks, right? Or do I just not have a CLUE here about where we're going?!
You just walk down a few stairs from the boardwalk to access the beach in Villefranche. Very easy to get to. It was literally a three minute walk from our front door and probably 10 minutes max from the tender. The sand there is granular with some small stones mixed in. Very easy to brush off at the end of the day. The beaches in Nice are stony. Picture rocks two to three inches in length and no sand. Waves in Nice can also be higher, as it's more exposed. Villefranche is a sheltered bay. Mind you, we had days there when the surf was up. It would have been worse in Nice though.

Nice is one train stop away from Villefranche sur Mer, so you get an idea of where it is. Other towns with beaches are accessible via the train. Cannes has nice sandy beaches and beach clubs, great shopping and restaurants. A bit more of trek to get there though. Here's a map of the area:
http://riviera.angloinfo.com/maps/
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:53 PM   #15
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can I ask if this is a tender, do you get options on the time you want to come back or is it only one set time?
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