Sunday, November 6, 2016

Visit to Villefranche Sur Mer on the French Riviera...

Hi all,

Before going into the details of Villefranche Sur Mer, the most anticipated of the three villages I chose to visit while on the French Riviera, I have a few more photos from the Old Town in Nice.  Check out how awesome this part of the city is! 

The streets are so narrow, so tightly packed and quartered together.  The buildings rising up on either side of you, seeming to go on and on, stretching well into the sky.  Their colors, a brilliant array of varying shades in burnt and dusted warm colors, as well as pale greens and blues.  Laundry hangs outside most of the windows, subtly shifting in the breeze.  Conversation and laughter echoes within and floats up between these narrow alleyways, amplifying for those close by.  Cafe and restaurants glow, giving off a lit-from-within enticing sense of invitation.  I LOVED wandering the Old Town of Nice.  It felt as though one had stepped back through time.

I came here twice, on two separate evenings.  During one of them, a light drizzle of rain showered down as I wandered the nearly.deserted streets which coated the pavement in a glistening, reflective sheen.  It gave the labyrinth of streets, the entire scene, a dreamy, romantic feel.

During my wanderings of Old Town, I stumbled upon a restaurant called Koko Green.  This was a raw food/vegan restaurant which I had come across online when searching for tasty food within the city, so I decided to go check it out.  I tried out their raw/vegan tacos.  My god.  I was expecting them to be a disappointment.  These were DELICIOUS!!!!  I also tried one of their raw chocolate squares, made with dates, a variety of seeds and nuts, cocoa powder and figs.  No refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy.  SO good.  It was light like a chocolate mousse but rich and chocolatey.  Mmmmmm. I went back here the next day to sample their raw raspberry cheesecake (made from cashews).  Also excellent.

Now, onto Villefranche Sur Mer.  I have wanted to visit this village for years.  There are two primary reasons for this.  One being that Villefranche caught my eye randomly while scouring photos of the French Riviera years back.  When I stumbled upon the photos of it, my jaw dropped.  I MUST go there someday, I decided on the spot.  Hence, this spot was immediately added to my must-see list.  The second reason is one that came about later on, but that only served to solidify my interest in this quaint fishing village.

Apparently, this is where the Rolling Stones settled down after having fled from England upon their refusal to pay taxes.  They were exiled and chose France as their next destination.  Villefranche to be exact.  Here they rented a villa, Nellcote.  This is during the time they were most heavily entrenched (or maybe more appropriately labeled as being "gripped within the vice") of their heroin addictions.  Yet, they managed to produce what has come to be known as one of the greatest musical albums of all time, Exile on Main Street, during this period when they were living in Villefranche and renting out that villa.  Whoa.  This is a gritty but spellbinding story.

So, without further ado, scroll down for all the AWESOME photos I got of Villefranche.  They city was gorgeous.  Exactly as I pictured it.  Sun-soaked, colorful, quiet.  Quaint, small, untouched by time.  Villefranche is a cozy little fishing village with a gorgeous waterfront strip where one can walk and look out over the impossibly blue water.

After listened to the incorrect advice from the person I had been renting a room from, I accidently gotoff the local bus a few stops too late.  I found myself, once the dust cleared and the bus had driven off, standing on the side of a highway overlooking a cliff which led down, seemingly, to Villefranche.  However, I had to backtrack a bit, walking along the highway and praying I wouldnt be hit.  This was the hottest day thus far, and naturally the day I had dressed the least appropriately for the weather.  I was in black jeans and a long sleeve shirt.  I was dying within minutes, the heat beating down on me, seeming to sear through my black jeans.

Finally, I made it back to Villefranche, turning into the village and entering the narrow, quiet passageways between the colorful, faded homes.

I desperately wanted to sit along the promedade and read my book, feeling the sun on my face, listening to the quiet lapping of the water against the side of the rocks just next to me.  However, every single cafe that sat along the water was naturally obscenely expensive.  I settled on the idea of getting a dessert, some strawberries and cream, reasoning that paying 10 euro for a dessert, assuming I sat there for a couple of hours, could be reasoned out.  I was paying essentially for the atmosphere and to sit for while, enjoying this.

Upon taking a seat, the elegantly dressed Frenchman glided over and offered me their fresh fish of the day, which had apparently been caught fresh that morning.  He pointed to a fishing boat which was tied up outside of the restaurant and raised his eyebrows at me.  I felt my inner adventuress and foodie wavering.  When would I have the chance again to sample fish, fresh, from the seas of the Riviera?  In Villefranche no less.  I told him I would love to try it.  Thirty euro later (easily the most I have ever paid personally for one dish at a restaurant, ever), I was satisfied.  The fish was delicious.  Light, perfectly cooked, the vegetables and potatoes on the side excellent, deliciously seasoned.  It was a fabulous meal.  Shockingly, I felt no buyers remorse upon paying the bill.

By the way, there have been no filters added to these photos, zero editing.  These are the photos taken as is straight off my camera.  So yes, all the colors of this village (the buildings, the water, etc) really do look like this!!!

And, just a few more photos I snapped of Old Town, Nice.  Love this so much.

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