Something’s up in the south of France: at a recent gathering with friends who all live in or have second homes in Villefranche-sur-Mer, we found it intriguing how many people in the LGBTQ+ community of all ages have decided to consider the town their home.
There is no question why you might want to do so; the area’s natural beauty with its breathtaking panoramic sea views towards the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula is enough reason.
There are no gay nightclubs, bars, or shops specific to the community, but beyond that, it seems to offer so much more. A laid-back lifestyle, a calmer, small-town feel, the locals are friendly, curious, and approachable, numerous amenities are within walking distance, and a true feeling that you are in the actual Cote d’Azur because of its architecture and history.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is ideally located between Nice and Monaco and if you wanted to visit either of those locations, it only takes minutes by car, or is just as convenient by frequent trains and buses. So, it’s not like you’d ever miss out on anything.
For the size of Villefranche-sur-Mer (population around 5,000 but at least double that during the summer months), it is a cultural melting pot of nationalities and when you speak to anyone who has chosen to live in Villefranche-sur-Mer, either full or part-time, the main reason seems to be the same: the quality of life and away from the hustle of a city.
Yet, if one wants to, a quick cab ride will get you safely and cheaply to the centre of Nice with its LGBTQ+ nightclubs and bars. And Monte-Carlo is also just minutes away if you want to do some luxury shopping or enjoy a sumptuous dinner.
Being in the luxury real estate and rental business means I have to be observant of any shifts and changes for clients. And even well before the pandemic hit, Villefranche-sur-Mer has always been a top vacation travel destination, no matter your sexual preference. As for the property market, whether as an investment or a second home, the requests come in weekly for everything from studios to high-end luxury villas in the hills.
Many close friends who have purchased a property in Villefranche-sur-Mer have mentioned they felt they got more for the money, just in views alone, than had they decided to buy in the centre of a busy city. Those that have come here for a holiday for the first time never want to leave and speak fondly of Villefranche-sur-Mer from their memories and experiences of the place and return as often as they can.
It almost feels like you can’t go two blocks now without knowing someone in the LGBTQ+ community with an apartment or villa in any neighbourhood, so a quiet and positive change is taking place.
Having explored the area extensively over the years, no matter the time of day or night there is always something to see and do, and it is incredibly safe throughout the year. So, if you want to discover “the life,” as the locals in the French Riviera fondly refer to the region, Villefranche-sur-Mer is the place to be.