Le Beau Balcon (Beautiful Balcony)
1-Bedroom, 1.5-Bath Apartment with Sun-filled Balcony, Beautiful Sea View in the Heart of the Old Town Villefranche sur Mer
- €775 – 1200 per week (see all property prices)
- Balcony has beautiful view of the bay, Cap Ferrat and the pedestrian village as it cascades down the hillside to the sea
- Extensively remodeled in 2010, fully equipped (all the modern amenities) in private, 600-year-old building
- Sleeps 2, and sofa bed can accommodate 2 additional people
- Full bathroom has soaking tub with shower, plus an extra half-bath
- Wireless DSL, satellite TV (English & French stations), DVD, stereo with iPod connection, hair dryers, washing machine, and all those other things you need and want to feel at home
- Flower and herbs grow all over balcony, with dining for 2, aperitif seating for 4
- Salon/living room includes dining area for 4-6, lounging area for 4-6, kitchen, and small office
- Decorated with lovely antiques, beautiful art from local artists, great beds (even the sofa bed) and linen, gourmet kitchens — and our hallmark: great lighting!
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Le Beau Balcon Availability
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About the Apartment
Le Beau Balcon is the name for our newest apartment. Just steps away from the charming Place de la Paix, the beach, and the waterfront quai, it is located in the same building as two of our other apartments, the Artist’s Atelier and Sur le Toit. This building, which we call the rue Volti building, consists of three apartments: Artist’s Atelier, Le Beau Balcon, and Sur le Toit. They are all Riviera Experience apartments. We call it the rue Volti building because it is on rue Volti, a very well known pedestrian street in the village named after our most famous local artist. Many local families live on this street and a beautifully authentic village life and culture is alive and well on rue Volti.
Each apartment in this building is completely different in style and décor. We hope you feel they are all equal in quality of renovation and attention to comfort for making it feel like your home away from home. The reason each is so different is that they truly have very different personalities. It is the apartment that dictates the style.
The building is a very old one in the Old Town, over 600 years we are told by the Marie (local mayor’s office). It has a special, even commanding position in the heart of the village and is one of the most photographed buildings in the old village. It feels a bit grand and elegant, yet is an Old Town building which are full of character and are not typically grand or elegant. But this apartment has a bit of that feel so it dictated some of our remodel and design decisions.
Because of its position, Le Beau Balcon has wonderful sea views and gets a lot of sunshine. It would have been the ‘grand apartment’ of its day as it was the first floor (one flight up from the street). It has high ceilings, beautiful hand-made plaster molding (which we painstakingly preserved and are told by the craftsmen that it must be about 300-400 years old) and therefore was the ‘bourgeois’ apartment of the building. Sur le Toit was the attic and the Artist’s Atelier was the family shop as well as additional living quarters. As a result, we thought we should preserve the beautiful molding and the noble feeling of the apartment.
The décor is old world, a bit bourgeois/Louis XVI in style, yet one must remember, it is a much older building than the bourgeois era so it plays bourgeois with a bit of fun and not too serious so you can relax and enjoy living in the space. We brought back an old tile that was very popular 150 years ago, called carreaux du ciment (cement tiles impregnated with a lovely decorative design and color). They were typically used in bourgeois buildings 100-150 years ago. A boutique in Paris has reintroduced these tiles. They are stunning, or at least we hope you think so. We have also collected a variety of crystal chandeliers for every room, including a unique Baccarat one in the main living room. In addition, there are lovely antiques as well as brand new pieces of furniture (sofa, bed, reading lights). And for the artwork, it is all original and most of it is from two local artists (a couple) who live here in Villefranche.
After entering the apartment on rue Volti, there is an entry hall where you can keep beach things (although we do have a private closet at the beach for that as well), or an umbrella. You walk up a flight of stairs and Le Beau Balcon is on this level. Opening the front door presents you with the main room of the apartment.
The main room has a wonderful view of the sea and the colorful old world buildings and terracotta rooftops that cascade down to the sea, and Cap Ferrat, with villa Rothschild sitting right on the top, all lit up like an ornament at night. It is a much sought after view and a very artistic view. You are struck immediately by the view, the sun-filled room, high ceilings and beautiful molding.
This apartment with its large French doors and windows in both the front and the back receives wonderful sunlight throughout the day. In the morning, the sunlight streams over the balcony into the living room/dining area; in the afternoon it shines into the bedroom and master bath. Two French doors lead out to the new balcony which is five meters long and one meter wide with a dining table and chairs for two and folding stools to accommodate guests for an aperitif. As the balcony is in full sun most of the day, it will be filled with flowers and herbs. You can enjoy breakfast and lunch throughout the year on the balcony, and in the warmest months (at least four months of the year) also dinner. With the boulangerie just steps away, running out in the morning to get fresh croissants to have with your coffee is very easy to do. Some folks even go (having just woken up) nearly in their bed clothes.
The main living space includes a lounging area with a sofa that can seat three (or four in a squeeze), two arm chairs (Louis XVI), a coffee table and two side tables. Also, good reading lights! To one side of the lounging area is one of the French doors leading to the balcony. A large Louis XVI mirror hangs between the two French doors and reflects the chandelier, making an especially lovely scene at night. And under the mirror is a good sized marble shelf to use as a bar.
There is also a Louis XVI-style round dining table that can seat six. There is a lovely Louis XVI ‘confiterie’ (food cupboard) that we use for dishes. And there is a hall table and mirror, also in the Louis XVI style. There is beautiful art throughout the room and a wonderful antique Baccarat crystal chandelier (on a dimmer — all lighting is on dimmers).
Tucked away in a corner, yet with a wonderful view and next to the other French door leading to the balcony, is the office, in a cupboard, so you can close it off when you don’t want to see it any longer. It is equipped with a phone, wireless DSL, and plenty of electrical outlets. Next to the office, also tucked into a cupboard, is the TV, stereo, DVD, etc.
The kitchen includes a full-size refrigerator (in a cupboard), gas stove (with one electric burner and an electric oven), microwave, dishwasher and beautiful granite countertops. The cabinets are all custom made.
In the hallway that leads to the bedroom, bathroom, and half bath is a coat closet. And above the exterior hallway (the building’s hallway) is a closet accessed by this apartment only, for storage of suitcases and other large items.
Bedroom and Bathrooms
The bedroom includes a great bed from Lit de France. We only buy our beds from them. It is a queen-sized bed (160 x 200 cm). Beds are equipped with very nice white cotton linen, which we personally launder and iron in our own laundry facility (if you stay longer than a week we change the linen weekly). There are night stands on both sides of the bed with excellent reading lights. We have tried to design the storage to be very practical as well as nice looking, so there is plenty of hanging space, drawer space, shoe space, and place for ‘stuff.’ There is a full-sized dressing mirror behind the bedroom door, delightful art throughout, a beautiful chandelier and a lovely white linen curtain on the window. The window faces rue Volti and receives great afternoon sunlight. Traditional shutters on the French windows provide privacy at night.
The bathroom is just off the bedroom and features a nice soaking tub/shower combination, a large sink with marble countertops and plenty of counter space and storage in the cabinets. It has a big, well lit mirror over the large counter and sink area, which is great for doing make-up and getting ready for the day. There is a large French window, also with lovely linen curtains and the traditional shutters for privacy, and a toilet with a douchette (a flexible hose with a little spray nozzle for washing after using the toilet — like a bidet).
Off the hallway is also a half bath that includes a toilet, sink, and a utility closet.
We have the necessary modern amenities: washing machine, clothes drying line (just like the French ladies do, a clothesline just outside your French window — and you will love how fresh your laundry smells), ironing board, iron, central heating, hair dryer, dishwasher, etc. The apartment has no air conditioning; however, we do provide fans, and with windows on both sides of the apartment and generally cool evenings our guests find it very comfortable even in the height of summer. We try and ensure that each apartment is fully equipped so it feels like your home away from home, and if anything is missing we’re here on-site to take care of it.
As mentioned, the rue Volti building in which Le Beau Balcon is the middle apartment, is located in the heart of the pedestrian Old Town of Villefranche-sur-Mer. It is just steps from the boulangerie, butcher, green grocer, café, restaurant, bar, etc. The nearby Place de la Paix is where village life unfolds. It is also just steps from the waterfront where you’ll find many great restaurants and a fantastic place to go for a walk, swim, etc. And it is just steps from two grocery stores and a wonderful pharmacy. You truly do not need a car. In fact, because it is all pedestrian there is no car or motorcycle noise. You do hear the noises of village life: children playing, neighbors catching up, church bells ringing (from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.), the occasional argument, but mostly laughter and the music of life. You can definitely imagine what life was like 200 years ago as you are living a slice of it while here, yet in much more comfort.
Public transport is terrific. The bus is about a 5-minute walk away, and the train about a 5-7 minute walk. Both are enjoyable strolls that take you through different parts of the village.
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