Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Arriving into Villefranche

7 Aug 2006. We arrive at Villefranche, France. We are up early to watch the Island Star sail into the harbour.

We snatch a couple of photos and head for breakfast. Today we have booked an excursion that will take us into Monaco and to Monte Carlo. Those two destinations will be shown in the next two entries. For this one I'll stick to Villefranche.

This is a tender port. The harbour here is not large enough to accomodate a cruise ship at a dock. Instead we walk down a gangway to one of the ship's tender boats - small boats that will ferry us from the ship's side to the shore.

A few women are nervous about the moment of stepping from a walkway attached to the ship onto a small boat that is bobbing about at the side of us. In the event a burly seaman grasps an arm and they find themselves already on the boat.

"Ooh! I want to try that again!" says one, reliving the moment a firm hand made contact...

The ship looks extremely large from this angle!

Villefranche looks everything that you would expect from a resort on the French Riviera. Bright - incredibly bright - colours and a gorgeously blue sky. This is a medieval port. The port was created in 1295 by Charles d'Anjou, though the current waterside buildings don't look that old and appear to have been designed more for the tourism industry than anything else.

There's a steep climb up past the fortress from those earlier days to get to the coach park to join our excursion. We set off towards Monaco on the middle of three roads - the High, Middle and Low Corniche.

Looking back towards Villefranche which is in the middle distance. We had to admit that you don't often get that blue a sea in Blackpool...

The Island Star, anchored in the deeper water in the centre of the bay, dominates this view of the natural harbour. As we approach Monaco, the guide studiously points out the spot were Princess Grace crashed her car and died. And why did we need to know that might I ask?

Large versions of the photos: the photos from this holiday have their own set at Flickr.

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