2-Bedroom 1-Bath Waterfront Penthouse Apartment in Villefranche sur Mer
- €1150 – 1575/wk (see all property prices)
- Unique, waterfront penthouse with large balcony in historic 13th – 18th century building, featured on many postcards of Villefranche
- Private balcony has “summer kitchen,” herb garden, dining and lounging areas
- Newly remodeled, artistic and comfortable décor features beautiful antiques, art and lighting from around the world
- Fully equipped modern kitchen and bathroom
- Perfect location in a charming, quiet corner of the old village, within walking distance to everything
- Wireless DSL, satellite TV, two office/desk areas
Click here to download a brochure (PDF file) of this property.
History of a Famous Building
As I sit here on the balcony, on a balmy summer evening, watching the boats bob below, families having dinner aboard, others walking along the quai enjoying the ambiance, I write to you about this Provençal Penthouse.
This building is one of the most photographed in Villefranche. And this apartment, on the top floor of the dark yellow building right on the waterfront of Villefranche sur Mer (see photo above), has a commanding yet intimate and private view of the Bay, Cap Ferrat and the beautiful cliff-like hillsides laden with beautiful gardens and stunning villas. To the right of the building are stone arches which support the pedestrian path that leads to the beach and the train station, as well as the walk to Beaulieu sur Mer and Cap Ferrat.
It is on the water’s edge — so much so that from the balcony you can watch fish swim in the sea just below you. Yet, you are extremely private — enough so that you can enjoy your apartment and balcony in any attire. It’s dreamy romantic, especially at night with the lighting but also just with how it is decorated and the ambiance of the place.
The apartment stands out, as it is the only one with a wrap-around balcony, running 12 meters (36 feet). It appears in nearly every poster or postcard of Villefranche. When you sit at the beach, you can see why. You realize that it was the edge of the medieval village — it defines the medieval village — standing guard, protecting it from the myriad of invaders and visitors it has had over a millennium due to the natural beauty and qualities of this deep water bay. In fact, at one corner of this building a huge wooden door once guarded one of the entrances to the Old Town. Today that’s how we walk to the beach and our charming train station. This building is one edge of the Old Town, still complete with medieval stone walls and buildings that define the walled city.
Located “on the waterfront” today, just 50 years ago it was even more on the waterfront. The building is built on stone that was indeed the water’s edge, another barrier into the medieval city, until just after WWII at which time a small road was built in front of the building, reclaiming land from the sea, in order to make the beach accessible with a car.
In the bottom of this building was once an old olive mill. Villefranche was famous throughout history for its olive oil (and even still produces some — we buy ours from one of the families just down the pedestrian rue from this apartment). Hard to believe you can still live among this kind of Old World reality and charm, as you look across the exquisite Bay of Villefranche to the magnificent villas on Cap Ferrat — Roman Abramovich’s and Ephrussi Rothschild being in direct line of site from the balcony you will enjoy your meals on. Yet, with all the glitz of Cap Ferrat, Monaco — the Riviera — we remain here in Villefranche, a real village with deep roots and a history that moves you.
The apartment’s location is very convenient, although you must be comfortable with stairs as there are two flights of stairs into the apartment, plus you are living in the Old Town which is all pedestrian. An added benefit of living here is that you can really enjoy life without a car. If you want a car, there is plenty of parking nearby (only in July and August is it more challenging — and who wants a car then when you really just want to enjoy swimming and hanging out on your balcony or at the beach). But if you love to walk and get a little exercise each day, it is a fabulous lifestyle, with one of the nicest walks in the world beginning right at your doorstep.
A few last points about the location of this apartment. It is located on an ‘oh so charming’ little square called Place du Conseil — the Place of Council. As you look out the bedroom or bathroom window from this apartment, you see the triangle-shaped square, with a beautiful wrought iron street lamp, two stairwells that curve up the hillside, a fountain that serves fresh, cool spring potable water, and a bench where local people and visitors passing by stop for a rest and a drink or splash of water from the fountain. The local people who live around this square are so friendly, helpful, beautiful and full of stories and life that they enable you to immediately feel the soul of this very real village. And, as it is on the edge of the medieval village, it is just far enough away from the restaurants that you have no noises or smells, yet it is still completely central.
The Provençal Penthouse is an apartment featuring one bedroom, one bathroom, and a separate sleeping loft/mezzanine thereby providing two separate and private sleeping areas. In addition, there are two offices areas. It is ideally configured for a couple with the occasional visitor or with a child. To enter this apartment, you come up a flight of stairs interior to the building to the front door where, just inside, is a coat closet, a large wine rack and a stairwell that leads you to the main rooms of the apartment.
From the main living area in the apartment, three French doors open onto its 12-meter-long, wrap-around balcony. The main room consists of the living, dining, kitchen and one of the office areas. The living room seating includes two arm chairs, reading lights, and a very comfortable sofa from which you enjoy the beautiful views of the bay and the dancing lights on the water at night. The kitchen has all the amenities, including a gas stove, dishwasher, beautiful stone countertops, a full refrigerator, and all the cooking utensils to enjoy cooking and entertaining in this home. The dining table comfortably seats four but can accommodate six.
Entertainment technology includes wireless DSL, satellite TV with SKY (English speaking stations), a DVD and CD player plus a stereo system with iPod connectivity if you would like to bring your iPod (or we can loan you one of ours with a selection of music). The balcony has an outdoor kitchen which you will enjoy using year-round, a great gas Weber barbeque, and a dining table that comfortably accommodates two for meals, or four for aperitifs. You’ll find two chaise chairs as well and folding stools and chairs for additional seating. There’s also a laundry hanging area, since we never put dryers in our homes as the smell of fresh, sun-dried laundry is such a treat and on the Riviera your laundry dries in just a few hours any time of the year. Of course we have a very easy to use and excellent washing machine, the best heating and all other comforts.
The apartment has two sleeping areas. The master bedroom has a queen sized bed, two bedside stands with reading lights, a lovely chair, a large closet and a window overlooking Place du Conseil. The second sleeping area is in the mezzanine, or loft, and has a double bed, two reading lights, a closet, desk, and a storage area. The mezzanine overlooks the main living space which gives it a lovely and colorful view plus views of the turquoise sea below — right from bed. From here you enjoy the sounds of the sea all night long. Our beds are of the best quality, as are our linens. The bathroom is equipped with a bathtub with a stand-up shower. There is plenty of convenient storage in the bathroom, which is quite spacious, has excellent lighting and includes plugs in appropriate places for shavers and hair dryers — plus, there is a lovely window overlooking the Place du Conseil.
An Eclectic Personality
The decoration of this home is somewhat eclectic, as are all of our homes, each with their own personality. In this one we have beautiful carpets from the Orient which we have collected on our travels, art from local artists as well as from our trips abroad, lighting — our passion — from all over the world, many from the brocante markets and all on dimmers so you can set the mood you want, and rich colors — yellow walls and the old terracotta tiles on the floors.
This is a couple’s dream getaway — romantic, comfortable, creative, nourishing, healthy, inspiring. Well, at least that is what we think. But it is our goal and hope that you will feel the same way about this unique environment, as that is the experience we try to provide our guests.
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