Just a stone’s throw from Nice, the bay of Villefranche sur mer is an attractive site, known for its development of leisure boating and tourist cruises.
Bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean basin (dating back more than 30 million years), the roadstead was home to the English, French, Russian and American war fleets.
Its military vocation dates back to the 18th century, when the city became an arsenal and a military port that housed the fleet of galleys of the Dukes of Savoy, who became Kings of Sardinia in 1720.
Moreover, its privileged geographical location has attracted many scientists and researchers, initiating since the 1880s the oceanographic research, today of international renown, within the former buildings of the military dock.
The bay of Villefranche, which is naturally protected, was probably an active trading post from ancient times, known as “Porto Olivo”.
The result is a site of exceptional heritage value. It is this maritime heritage that the Association de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Maritime de Villefranche (ASPMV), created in 1995, aims to study, safeguard and make known to a wide public.
(traduction: Michelle ICARD)
(source: introduction by Jean Mascle, President of ASPMV, Anne BROGINI, Eric DE BACKER, Jean-Pierre JARDEL, Jérôme MAGAIL, members of the organizing committee of the conference « Villefranche and the sea », held on October 15th and 16th, 2017, in Proceedings of the Conference « Villefranche and the sea », edited in 2019 and re-edited in 2022)