This Quirky, Colorful French Beach Town Is A Vibrant Escape Any Traveler Will Love

The mere mention of a beach vacation to France already has us packing our bags and double-checking the expiration dates on our passports. What could be better than going to one of the most beautiful countries in the world to relax on the beach? The next question, of course, is where to go? We've got you covered.

Located on the French Riviera, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a picture-perfect escape that offers an excellent blend of culture, gorgeous landscapes, history, and plenty of color. With its vibrant hues, charming streets that are a step back in time, and brilliant blue waters, it's one of those  unforgettable vacation spots that'll instantly be added to your list of "places I can't wait to return to."

In addition to the amazing beaches, Villefranche-sur-Mer has excellent waterfront restaurants and cafes, museums, beautiful art and architecture, and incredible views. Here's what to do on a trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Relax on the beaches and eat on the waterfront

Villefranche-sur-Mer is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the French Riviera — and that's really saying something! Be sure to spend at least a day at Plage des Marinieres, a sandy beach with crystal-clear blue waters. It's widely known as one of the best beaches on the Riviera, and a favorite among locals.

"What to write about this beach!!! A fabulous view... Clear, warm water... It's summer and nothing is better than a day in Villefranche," wrote a reviewer on TripAdvisor. "Villefranche remains the pinnacle... A magnificent city in the background, what more could you ask for???"

Other popular beaches in Villefranche-sur-Mer include Plage Villefranche-sur-Mer, Plage de l'Ange Gardien, Plage Des Jeunes, and Plage de la Darse. When it's time for lunch, don't fret because you won't need to miss out on the sea views for a moment. Head to the waterfront to enjoy local cuisine at one of the seaside restaurants, such as Le Grill, Les Plaisirs, Château Eza, La Chèvre d'Or or La Table du Royal — all of which have earned at least one Michelin star. Boeuf à la Gordienne, salade Niçoise, ratatouille, and pasta dishes are among the signature dishes that you shouldn't miss during a visit to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Enjoy the art and architecture

Villefranche-sur-Mer has a rich culture which is evident through the art and architecture that can be found in the town. Wander through the historic "Old Town" where you can visit Chapelle Saint-Pierre. The chapel features Jean Cocteau's murals, a testament to the artistic spirit of the town.

Make your way up to Citadelle Saint-Elme, a historic fortress that dates back to the 16th century. It offers panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding coastline. Explore the citadel's gardens and its museums, which provide insight into Villefranche-sur-Mer's history. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset as well — so don't forget your camera.

"Views over this charming seaside village are just beautiful with it's 12th and 13th centuries buildings in pastel colours and lots of flowers on balconies, cascading down the hillside to the sea and waterfront quay," wrote one visitor on TripAdvisor.

Villefranche-sur-Mer also has local art galleries, such as ARTHOUSE11, Galerie le 116art, L'Atelier Blanc, and Chappelle Sainte-Elisabeth. An art gallery is the perfect place to admire art, purchase a one-of-a-kind souvenir, or both.