The Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer

Add Remove
Add Remove

The Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer

The Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer is a well-preserved bastioned fortress, which was built in the years 1554-1557. Today, it houses the mayor’s office, an outdoor stage, several landscaped gardens, as well as 3 museums.

Indgangen til Citadellet i Villefranche-sur-Mer
The entrance gate to the Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer – ©

History of the Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer

The citadel is also known as Fort Saint-Elme and was built as a sentinel in the port, on behalf of the Duke of Savoy.

The role of the citadel was to protect and control the port of Villefranche-sur-Mer. During the conflicts between France and Savoy, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the citadel was attacked several times. In 1706, Louis XIV spared the fortifications total destruction.

After the county of Nice was annexed to France in 1860, the citadel retained its military duties until 1965, when it was purchased by the municipality of Villefranche.

The citadel underwent various restorations from 1979 and, in 1981, the municipality decided to move the mayor’s office – Hôtel de Ville – into the beautiful red main building.

At the entrance to the citadel is a plaque with a detailed outline plan

See photo gallery and link to the city’s attractions at the end of the article.

3 museums inside the citadel

The greatest jewel in the citadel’s collections is the edifice itself, which offers an exceptional historical setting for the 3 museums.

The three museums are:

Volti Museum, dedicated to the French sculptor of Italian origin, Antoniucci Voltigerno (1915-1989), known as Volti. More than 180 works make up the collection, including sculptures in bronze, hammered copper, plaster, terracotta and works on paper.

The Boumeester-Goetz Collection presents about 60 works by Christine Boumeester (1904-1971), Dutch artist, and Henri Goetz (1909-1989), American artist, as well as 50 works from their personal collection, consisting of great contemporary masters such as Hans Hartung, Joan Miró, Francis Picabia and Pablo Picasso, among others.

City Museum of Villefranche-sur-Mer – The history of the city and citadel is told through works, objects and artifacts that have been acquired or donated for more than a century to the city of Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Photo gallery from the Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer

In addition to these museums, the Citadel of Villefranche-sur-Mer  itself is also an exhibition space that offers a different setting for contemporary artists.

The museums have been temporarily closed since January 2022 due to renovation and restoration of the collections. The program of temporary exhibitions continues.

Admission to the citadel is free and it is open every day from 10am to 7pm in summer and from 10am to 6pm in winter.

By Tommy Sverre – 2024

CityXee recommends these tours

Other experiences in Villefranche-sur-Mer
  • All
  • Art
  • Beaches
  • Boat trips
  • Castles and palaces
  • Events
  • Excursions
  • Hiking
  • Museums
Blomster søkamp Villefranche-sur-Mer Events

Flowery Naval Combat in Villefranche-sur-Mer


Villefranche-sur-Mer Beach

Vandretur Hikes

Coastal walk Nice – Villefranche-sur-Mer

Boat Trip Boat trips

Boat trip from Nice to Villefranche

Scroll to Top

Subscribe to newsletter