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Dr John Hawkins

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Villefranche-sur-mer

Posted on 2011/03/18 23:04:29 (March 2011).

[Friday 11th March 2011]
Most of the places we were going to on this trip were actually revisiting places we'd liked on our summer holiday in 2009. However I thought we should probably also try somewhere new, and having consider a few candidates we'd eventually settled on Villefranche-sur-mer. We'd seen it on the train on our last trip as we went backwards and forwards between Nice, Monaco and elsehwere, and with all the coloured buildings down by the quayside it looked really pretty.

We started the morning at our hotel in Eze, deciding to have breakfast on our balcony. It was ever so slightly chilly this morning, and the sky a bit cloudy, but there were still patches of blue shining through, and the chance to have breakfast whilst enjoying that view of the Mediterranean was just irresistible. This was probably one of the highlights of the whole trip.

After breakfast we checked out of the Chateau de la Chevre d'Or, and headed down to the base of the village, checked the bus times, and had enough time before the bus left to send some postcards and have a quick wander round one of the perfume shops.

The bus didn't go exactly into Villefranche from there, but instead dropped us off at the top of the town, so we then had a fun time rolling our luggage down through the windy backstreets. We eventually arrived at our hotel for the next night - the Welcome Hotel - just before 1. I'd thought it would be a bit too early to check in, but as it turned out our room was ready. We hadn't splashed out on our hotel quite as much as we had the previous night, but we still had a really nice little room, complete with two balconies (one would have been enough!) - one overlooking the harbour, and the other looking along the coast towards the fort.

Our next item of business was finding somewhere to have lunch. Villefranche being a pretty small town it didn't take long to survey most of the restaurants along the quayside, and we chose one pretty much solely based on the fact it served omelettes. I had an omelette Provenšal which came with some tomatoes, courgettes and other fittingly Provenšal legumes. It was rather good actually - the best meal I'd had so far on the trip. We decided to sit outside on the quayside, which apparently no-one else wanted to, it being too cold for the locals. What a waste!

After lunch we went for a stroll along the coast to the Villa Kerylos. It's an authentic recreation of a Greek Villa built by a rich French banker. Not sure either of us were particularly blown away by it - neither of us having much interest in Ancient Greece - but still, it was something to do.

On returning to Villefranche we went for a wander round the maze of streets above the harbour, including the rather spooky Rue Obscura, which is apparently something like 13th century. We also went for a walk out towards the port (a distinct thing from the harbour in the centre of the town) and took a quick look at the fort too.

In the evening, dinner at Le Serre, a little pizza place in the backstreets, which we chose at least partly because it just looked a lot cheaper than the places on the quayside. Once again it was full of English speaking people. Maybe this is partly to do with the time of year, and in some ways it was reassuring to know the tradition of wealthy (or these days maybe not so wealthy) English people fleeing the British winter for warmer climes was still alive and well.



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