I kept my fourth and final day in Monaco cleared from excursions and plans so I could explore the South of France Coastline. It was about a 15-20 minute drive from Monaco, so it seemed logical to take in some of the most impressive coastlines the world has to offer. Flying into Nice, I was able to get an expansive view of what was to come and couldn’t fly back to Spain without experiencing it.

The whole future of art is to be found in the South of France.

– VanGogh

After a leisurely morning, I made my way downstairs for brunch.  Coupled with their waterfront dining, the hotel really made it hard to venture elsewhere for a meal.  After another great meal, I made my way to the concierge desk for some recommendations on where to direct my taxi.  Three out of four people told me the Villefranche beachfront area was where I wanted to be.  Little did I know, Villefranche-sur-Mer was going to change my life forever.


Logistics and Excursion Planning

Since it was just a short day trip, I didn’t take much with me. A larger over-the-shoulder bag with sunscreen, a hat, and a pair of kicks for walking if need be. Plus some extra space for goodies acquired via local shopping, of course!

TB TIP: When you’re taking a taxi out of Monaco or into Monaco, you will need cash. PERIOD! They do not accept credit cards, and they are not cheap. Also, I recommend public transport (bus/train) when possible as it’s charming, clean and inexpensive.

So now the planning process… well, there wasn’t much of one.  It was meant to be a couple of hours trip.

  • Excursions:
    • Merchant market for shopping
    • Lunch and a drink on the waterfront
    • Clothes, souvenir, ornament shopping
  • Driving Route:
    • Taxi… easy, done!

Travel Time

My hotel in Monaco called me a taxi, and within minutes I was off to Villefranche.  The drive was gorgeous, the taxi was a luxury van with very comfortable seats, and I kind of slipped into a relaxed vacation haze.  Upon arrival, a reality I was unaware of hit… see, from the airport drive in Nice to the hotel in Monaco, I asked the taxi driver if he preferred cash or card and said cash. 

So, since I’ve been walking around Monaco the past few days, I had no idea that the Taxis only took cash.  I had brought 75 euros with me for shopping, and the taxi ride was $72.  So here I am, 3 euros in my pocket, and a glorious marketplace across the street full of little vendors. 

My heart sank as I really wanted some authentic art and gifts to take back home from local vendors.  After a quick recon walk, I confirmed they all took cash only… which generally isn’t an issue, just walk to an ATM, right?  This is a very small town, out of the country, and that just wasn’t an option.

Okay, time for a drink and regrouping.  Across the street was the waterfront and Mayassa Beach Restaurant.  They had such an alluring outdoor patio that it was honestly the silver lining during a moment of frustration.   Drink in hand, ocean breeze in my hair, I couldn’t even process anything else; it was surreal, to say the least… Until my Virgo nature set back in. 

I had to get cash. I called American Express, explained the situation, and they found a local bank’s ATM around the corner from the restaurant I could pull some cash out of.  After a quick walk, I found out the ATM was out of cash.  The worst part is I left over 1,000 euros in my hotel safe but didn’t want a lot of cash on my person traveling to a different place. 

Okay, time to regroup and head back to the restaurant to finish my drink and cash out.  The staff (and locals thus far) were so far, I thought I’d throw up a halo and ask if the restaurant would add 250 euros to my bill and give me the cash.  In a typical small town, super-type people fashion, THEY DID IT FOR ME!  My heart was overwhelmed with joy! 

And, of course, I gave them a much larger tip before leaving.  Finally, I could go lose myself in local vendors.  But first, I checked out the local train route back to Monaco (per the waiter’s recommendation), so I didn’t have to worry about cash and could spend 10 euros versus the 70+ for a taxi ride.  

Ticket purchased, I walked across the street and found some of the most beautiful art, which I still have hanging in my house today, at the marketplace.  Signed by the artist, packed especially for carrying in luggage, I was off to my next stop, the little town square.  I can’t really articulate what a fantastic experience it was. 

Cobblestone streets that were 5-6 feet wide.  Sea birds flying around.  The crisp ocean air was sweeping in between the small buildings. The smell of local ocean-front French cuisine.  I could’ve gotten lost for hours or days here… But alas, after some shopping and flowing summer dresses procured, I decided to enjoy some beach time before my train departed.

After a cocktail, a snack, relaxing beachfront vibes, and a beautiful beginning to the sunset, I walked across the way to my train station.  What a fantastic day… and that’s a pretty amazing feeling, having spent the last three days in Monaco taking in all the beauty, culture, and overall relaxation vibes it has to offer.  

Trip Summary/Recap

Villefranche-sur-Mer was one of the most magical places I’ve visited, and I urge you to take a trip there once in your life.  While I didn’t have a chance to stay a night there in the famous Welcome Hotel, I would recommend it.  This little town is intoxicating, and the locals have stories to tell that will captivate you and make your vacation that much more memorable.    

Tips & Tricks


  • Take a decent-sized day bag to accommodate beachwear, supplies, and more room for art/take-homes. 


  • The weather is perfect, so there’s not much to plan for. ENJOY!


  • Bring cash! 

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