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Institut Francais Housing

Where Should You Stay While Attending the Institut de Français?

A number of our customers attend the world-renowned Institut de Français. I, too, was a student when I first arrived to Villefranche and can attest to the quality of their program — both for learning French and as a great life experience.

Riviera Experience apartments are located primarily in the Old Town of Villefranche. We have four on the waterfront and three within the heart of the village. And we have one, a villa apartment, located on the hillside nearby to the Institute.

Property Locations in Villefranche-sur-Mer

Villefranche hillside

^ In this picture of the hillside village, the Institut Français is boxed (at left), and the five buildings containing our nine properties are circled. From left to right: (1) Artist’s Atelier, Le Beau Balcon and Sur le Toit; (2) Chez Nous; (3) Waterfront Penthouse and le Petit Bijou; (4) Riviera Villa; and (5) Beachfront Bliss and Plage Privée.

Villefranch steet map

The Layout of Villefranche

Villefranche is situated on a hillside that rises from the Bay of Villefranche (reputed to be one of the five most beautiful bays in the world, by the way). The village of Villefranche is built on this hillside. There are three levels of the village: the Old Town; “Octoi” or the Basse Corniche level; and the “Col of Villefranche” or the Moyenne Corniche level).

The Old Town is located along the waterfront and rises up the hillside. In the Old Town, you have most of the restaurants, cafes, shops, grocery stores, fruit stores, butcher, newspaper stand and some of the boulangeries (and the best one for bread) and pharmacies. At one end of the Old Town is the train station.

The Old Town merges into the next level of town called Octoi (or the Basse Corniche level) near the post office. The distance is about 100 meters or a 3-minute and lovely walk. This is the most commercial level of town and where the coast road drives through town. A number of banks, pharmacies, boulangeries, a couple of cafes, a grocery store, fruit store, newspaper stand and shops are located at this level. Villefranche’s lovely Saturday marche is also at this level. This is also where you pick up the bus to go to Nice (about a 10-minute bus ride away) or Monaco (about a 15-20 minute bus ride away).

The third level of town, the Col of Villefranche, is quite a bit up the hillside, yet still walkable. There is a grocery store, butcher, boulangerie, café, and pharmacy. This is also where one of the other corniche roads is, called the Moyenne Corniche.

The Institute is located between the Basse Corniche and the Moyenne Corniche levels of town. Their property has beautiful views and gardens and is equally accessible to the Col of Villefranche as well as the Octoi, or Basse Corniche level and the Old Town.

Traveling To and From the Institut

The Institute is located between the Basse Corniche and the Moyenne Corniche levels of town. Their property has beautiful views and gardens and is equally accessible to the Col of Villefranche as well as the Octoi, or Basse Corniche level and the old town.

Personally, for me, and for most of the customers who have stayed with me, we prefer to be in the Old Town. It is here that French life unfolds every day. In addition, nearly all the restaurants are here, most of the bars and cafes, and most of the shops. After school, as you walk down the hill, you can pick up whatever items you want for the evening, go home and relax, and then go for a walk along waterfront quai and beach, or a swim (great bay for swimming), or meet your classmates at a café for an aperitif and to work on your homework together, or meet up for dinner. Afterwards, it is a short and easy walk to your apartment if you stay in the Old Town. In the morning, however, it is a walk to the school — about a 15-minute walk through the Old Town, along the park at the Octoi level, and then up one set of stairs that lead to the Institute’s garden gate.

If you stay on the hillside, it is a little remote in the evenings. Everything you will need and do is located down in the Old Town or on the waterfront, including just taking an inspiring walk. Although it is closer to the Institute in the morning, it is further from everything else you will enjoy doing. It’s a matter of preference. For women on their own, you feel especially safe in the Old Town — walking around alone in the day or at night — even after dinner.

About Our Apartments

All of our apartments have lovely sea views and most have balconies as well. They have all been renovated and furnished to a high standard – each one unique as each apartment has its own personality. We try and offer a quality design and furnishing that is artistic, romantic, French, and comfortable.

Each apartment has an office/desk area, wireless DSL, fixed phone line, and access to printer, and fax machine. We’ve furnished them with the highest quality beds and linen, with bedside tables and good reading lights. They all have a lounging area (also with good reading lights) and a dining and kitchen area.

Our kitchens are fitted to a very high standard as we recognize that one of the great joys of living in France is eating great food (and drinking great wine!) — so our kitchens are designed for someone who loves to cook with local products. And, as we recognize that you may want to entertain your newfound friends from school in your home away from home, we provide French TV, satellite TV, DVD players, and stereos with iPod connections.

One hallmark of all our apartments is our lighting: romantic, unique, artistic. We hope above all, however, that we are best known for offering high quality, clean apartments at great value.

Romantic Riviera Villa Waterfront Penthouse La Petit Bijou Beachfront Bliss Plage Privee Artist's Atelier Le Beau Balcon Sur le Toit Chez Nous