2-Bedroom 2-Bath Waterfront Penthouse Apartment in Villefranche sur Mer
- €1350 – 1800 per week (a supplemental weekly fee may apply for 3 or more people) (see all property prices)
- Unique, waterfront penthouse with wrap-around balcony in historic 13th – 18th century building, featured on many postcards of Villefranche
- Private balcony has “summer kitchen,” a few potted herbs, 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 bathrooms
- Perfect location in a charming, quiet corner of the old village, within walking distance to everything
- Private Wi-Fi, satellite TV, stereo system with bluetooth and inside and outside speakers
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Waterfront Penthouse Availability
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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 Waterfront Penthouse.
This building is one of the most photographed in Villefranche. And this apartment, on the top floor of the yellow/orange (they call the color sienna) 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 the decor and ambiance.
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, a pillar of the old town — 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, next door, at the Palais de la Marine (the former palace of the Dukes of Provence), one corner of that building had a huge wooden door that once guarded one of the entrances to the Old Town. Today that’s how we walk to the beach and our little train station.
Located “on the waterfront” today, just 50 years ago it was even more on the waterfront as the stones below provided shelter for a quai that the fisherman used to pull their boats up and their wives would use to mend the nets. We have a painting of that scene that was done in 1893 by a Parisian painter. The small road in front was only built just after WWII, 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 — including Ephrussi Rothschild’s being in direct line of site from the balcony where you will enjoy many meals. 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 plus stairs. 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 a charming little square called Place du Conseil — the Place of Council. As you look out the bedroom or kitchen windows 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 Waterfront Penthouse is an apartment featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The master bedroom is in the mezzanine (a loft) which is accessed by a lovely stairwell. The mezzanine is open to the main room below but private for dressing. And when you are sitting or laying in bed, you can see the bay below through the French doors of the livingroom. It is quite beautiful and dramatic. There is also a bathroom with a large bathtub, with the shower being part of the bathtub, a toilet and sink. You are under the roof (brand new and well insulated) with two skylights and amazing views below to the main living room and bay. Although this is a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment, this apartment is really suited for a couple with an occasional guest or child. It is not ideal for two couples as it is an intimate and romantic small apartment although it feels spacious with the cathedral ceilings and open floor plan.
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, and large gourmet kitchen. There is even a little desk area that has a commanding view of the bay so if you want to do a little work, there is the perfect little corner to do it in. 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 and a nice nap during the day staring out at the bay. The kitchen has all the amenities, including a gas stove, dishwasher, beautiful stone countertops, a full refrigerator, microwave and all the cooking utensils to enjoy cooking and entertaining in this home. The dining table comfortably seats four but can accommodate six and even eight with the leaves extended.
Entertainment technology includes a private Wi-Fi, satellite TV with SKY (English speaking stations), a DVD and stereo system with bluetooth. The balcony has a gas barbecue which you will enjoy using year-round, 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 — 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 bedrooms and bathrooms (master bath is ensuite to the bedroom). The master bedroom has a queen sized bed, two bedside stands with reading lights, a lovely reading chair and footstool, ample hanging closet space and a dresser and shelf space for clothes, plus an amazing view to the room below and the bay. The color of the sea dominates the room, and you hear the sounds of the sea gently lapping the shores all night long. Plus you have a lovely view from the skylight to the cliffs and villas on high at the end of the bay.
The second bedroom is downstairs and has a double bed with two nightstands and reading lights, plus a beautiful view of the beach and the cliff-live “amphitheater” of the end of the bay, with a window overlooking Place du Conseil. The bedroom is flooded with light. There is also a closet with hanging and shelf space. Our beds are of the best quality, as are our linens.
The master bathroom is large but partly under the eves so has limited headroom, although you can stand in all the important places. The bathtub is quite large and the shower is part of the tub. The sink includes plenty of storage for toiletries and has excellent lighting. The downstairs bathroom is just off the downstairs bedroom and is equipped with a shower and sink with lots of storage and good lighting. Both bathrooms are equipped with hair dyers and a good supply of linen.
An Eclectic Personality
The decoration of this home is somewhat eclectic, as are all of our homes, each having their own personality. This building is very old, around 650 years old, so one must work with the quirkiness of the building (i.e. crooked walls). We have artwork from local artists, plus artists that died over 100 years ago. The main piece in this apartment we found in a gallery in Paris where we happened to be walking and spotted it in the window and exclaimed “Oh my God, that is our home” and there it was, this building painted in 1893 by a painter from Paris who was here, as so many artists were, to paint in the south. This painting was done in the winter as we can tell from the light in the sky, and it is taken around sunset. The women mending the nets was a scene that we still witnessed when we first moved here in 2001 and they strung the nets out along the waterfront just as they are in the painting as they mended them to get ready for the next day’s work.
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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