Want a sandy beach near Nice? Head for Villefranche, Antibes or Cannes!
Plage des Marinières, Villefranche, central section looking east in peak season. To get there hop on one of many trains from Nice Ville station heading east; it’s two stops and 10 minutes to Villefrance-sur-Mer.
Any train going to Monaco, Menton, Beaulieu-sur-Mer or even Ventimiglia++ will stop at Villefranche-sur-Mer. Take the train from Nice Ville station (aka Gare Thiers), close to Gare Thiers Tram 1 stop. It will cost less than 2 euros one way and take about 10 minutes depending on how many people are trying to get on board! There are so many trains we don’t bother with looking for a specific train, just wander down when we’re ready.
Buying return tickets online beforehand is worthwhile – loaded onto your phone – as machines at Nice Ville get stuffed with tourists. If that’s not possible head down the corridor on the right (east) side where there are some less visible, newer machines without hapless tourists fiddling around.
When you get off at Villefranche go down the steps, under the rail line, then down another flight of steps. At the bottom you’ll find beach paraphernalia shops, bars and restaurants in the old town to the right. To the left are the beaches and parking spots. The beach section we like (in the photo) is beyond the jumble of large rocks, where the sand is finer and there is anti-jellyfish netting installed.
In high season both the trains and beach will be packed. Don’t worry about squeezing into a sandy space so long as there is room for someone to walk by on either side of your towels/mats, Niçoises are quite used to packed conditions!