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935km (581 miles) S of Paris; 6km (4 miles) E of Nice

Just east of Nice, the coastal Lower Corniche sweeps inland to reveal Villefranche, its medieval Old Town tumbling downhill into the shimmering sea. Paired with a dazzling sheltered bay set against picturesque Cap Ferrat beyond, it’s little wonder than countless artists made this beachy getaway their home—or that it’s served as the cinematic backdrop for numerous movies including “Ronin” with Robert de Niro, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with Steve Martin, and “Never Say Never Again” starring Sir Sean Connery.

 

All in all, Villefranche is tailor-made for a romantic wander. Coastal trails run from the marina and beach of Plage Darse to the sandy town beach underneath the train station. Serious strollers may now walk all the way to Nice (with a short hop up to the lower corniche road halfway along), thanks to a newly inaugurated coastal trail.