Nestled in the heart of one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, Villefranche-sur-Mer has kept its picturesque charm over the centuries. The commune owes its name to the Count of Provence who endowed it with a special status of commercial franchise. As early as the 16th century, the Duke of Savoy undertook to fortify the beautiful harbour to make it a shelter against the incursions of the Barbarians and a mooring base for the armed galleys. He had the port of La Darse dug and the citadel built. Until the 18th century, Villefranche was the great port of the Sardinian state. Then attached to the Savoy, it declined when Nice in its turn provided itself with a port. Originally a fishing port, Villefranche also boasts a long history of naval service. Loaned to the Russian Imperial Navy after 1856, which made it a maintenance and supply base until the First World War, the roadstead housed the US 6th Fleet for several years after the Second World War and until France's withdrawal from NATO in 1962. Today, it is once again a fishing and yachting port and is one of the most important stops on any cruise in the Mediterranean.

The must-see places in Villefranche-Sur-Mer

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