Villefranche is a beautiful gateway port to the French Riviera. Most ships will dock at Nice or Monaco, but smaller ships will drop anchor and provide tenders to shore. The best part — no crowds! Once on shore, there is a tourist office and old port area with shops and restaurants. Just a little ways up the hill towards the Citadelle de Ville is a bus top that can take you to Nice or Monaco.

I decided to wander around the Citadelle and was rewarded with breathe-taking views and some amazing artwork. The Duke of Savoie, Philibert, built the Citadel in 1557 after the Turkish fleet’s attack of the port in 1543. The official name is the Citadelle de St-Elme. Now it serves as the town hall, a congress centre, a police station, a summer outdoor theater, and it houses four art museums.

My favourite museum is dedicated to the sculptures of Antoniucci Volti. The museum is housed in cave-like room carved from the walls of the fortress and in an open, sunny patio.

My visit ended, as usual, with a nice espresso and some shopping.