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Villefranche-sur-Mer coat of arms
Villefranche-sur-Mer (France)
region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Department Alpes-Maritimes
Arrondissement Nice
Canton Beausoleil
Community association Nice Cote d'Azur
Coordinates 43 ° 42 ′  N , 7 ° 19 ′  E Coordinates: 43 ° 42 ′  N , 7 ° 19 ′  E
height 0-575 m
surface 4.88 km 2
Residents 5,091 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 1,043 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 06230
INSEE code

Port and old town

Villefranche-sur-Mer ( Nissart Vilafranca de Mar , Italian Villafranca ) is a French commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region with 5091 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017). It is a member of the Nice Côte d'Azur metropolis .


Villefranche-sur-Mer is located on the Mediterranean Sea , six kilometers east of Nice and ten kilometers west of Monaco .


The stretch of coast was already settled by the Ligurians . In ancient times it served the Greeks and Romans as a port and was accessed by a junction from the Via Aurelia . The port's name at the time was Olivula Portus .

In the Middle Ages the place belonged to the Lotharii Regnum . Due to repeated raids, the residents withdrew to the mountainous hinterland, where they founded a new settlement called Montolvio . In 1295, Charles II , ruler of Provence from the House of Anjou , encouraged its residents to return to the coast because he considered the strategic use of a port on the border of his territory to be important and granted them tax exemption in return . The new settlement was therefore called Villa Franca . From 1388 the area belonged to the county of Savoy (from 1416 duchy). Between 1720 and 1820 it was occupied by France several times before it finally became part of the French state together with the county of Nice in 1860 .

The bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer was home after the Second World War until 1962, the Sixth Fleet of the United States . Today Villefranche is the largest cruise port in France. Until 1988 the place was called Villefranche-sur-Mer only Villefranche.

Population development

year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2016
Residents 5953 6790 7200 7363 8080 6833 6649 5098
Sources: Cassini and INSEE


See also: List of Monuments historiques in Villefranche-sur-Mer

  • Citadel with museum: sculptures by the sculptor Antoniucci Volti , collection and pictures by the artist couple Christine Boumeester and Henri Goetz
  • Chapel of St. Pierre: the interior was painted in 1957 by Jean Cocteau ; is at the port
  • Rue Obscure: a street completely built over with houses; The access to Rue Obscure is to the left of the restaurant L'Oursin bleu from the harbor promenade
  • Villa Leopolda , 2700 square meter celebrity villa in the style of the Belle Époque
  • Port: Villefranche is now the largest cruise port in the country
  • Observatoire Océanologique , formerly also called Station Zoologique or Station Marine , today these are parts of the Observatoire

Town twinning

Sister cities of Villefranche are:



Most of the songs for the album Exile on Main St. by the rock band Rolling Stones were written in the basement of the Wilhelminian style villa “Villa Nellcôte” in Villefranche, 10 Avenue Louise Bordes .

The 1957 film The Great Love of My Life, starring Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant , was partly shot in Villefranche.


  • Le Patrimoine des Communes des Alpes-Maritimes . Flohic Editions, Volume 2, Paris 2000, ISBN 2-84234-071-X , pp. 1039-1055.

Web links

Commons : Villefranche-sur-Mer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ernst Hofacker: 1967. When pop changed our world forever . Reclam, Stuttgart 2016, ISBN 978-3-15-011086-7 , pp. 112 .