Villefranche-sur-Saône, located in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, is a charming city with a rich history and plenty of attractions to explore. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Villefranche-sur-Saône:
1. Rue Nationale
Start your exploration by strolling along Rue Nationale, the main street of Villefranche-sur-Saône. Lined with colorful buildings, cafes, and shops, this pedestrian-friendly street is perfect for leisurely walks and window shopping.
Visit the beautiful Notre-Dame-des-Marais, a Romanesque-style church dating back to the 12th century. The church is known for its stunning stained glass windows and intricate architectural details.
3. Musée Paul Dini
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Musée Paul Dini, a contemporary art museum located in a former 18th-century convent. The museum houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and installations.
4. Collégiale Notre-Dame des Marais
Another notable religious site in Villefranche-sur-Saône is the Collégiale Notre-Dame des Marais. This Gothic-style church features impressive stained glass windows and a magnificent organ. It is worth visiting for its architectural beauty and serene atmosphere.
5. Parc Vermorel
Enjoy some relaxation and outdoor activities at Parc Vermorel. This lovely park offers walking paths, green spaces, and a children’s playground. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or a leisurely afternoon with family and friends.
6. Les Halles
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Pay a visit to Les Halles, a covered market in the heart of Villefranche-sur-Saône. Here, you can browse through a wide variety of fresh produce, regional specialties, and artisanal products. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culinary culture and pick up some delicious treats.
7. Mont Brouilly
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Just a short drive from Villefranche-sur-Saône, you’ll find Mont Brouilly, a stunning vineyard-covered hill. Take a scenic drive or hike up the hill to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards and countryside. Wine enthusiasts can also visit the local wineries to sample some excellent Beaujolais wines.
8. Boat Ride on the Saône River
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Embark on a relaxing boat ride along the Saône River. Admire the picturesque landscapes, quaint villages, and charming countryside as you sail along the peaceful waters. Boat tours are available, offering a unique perspective of the region.
9. Gastronomic Delights
Villefranche-sur-Saône and its surrounding region are known for their gastronomy. Indulge in local specialties such as Beaujolais wines, creamy Bresse chicken, and a variety of delicious cheeses. Explore the city’s restaurants and cafes to savor the flavors of the region.
10. Château de Montmelas
Venture out to the nearby Château de Montmelas, a 17th-century castle perched atop a hill. Take a guided tour of the castle and its grounds, and learn about its fascinating history. The castle offers panoramic views of the Beaujolais vineyards, making it a picturesque spot for photography enthusiasts.
11. Festival of Lights
If you happen to visit in early December, don’t miss the Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières) in nearby Lyon. This renowned event attracts millions of visitors who flock to the city to witness stunning light displays, illuminating buildings, and captivating installations throughout the streets. It’s a magical experience not to be missed.
12. Wine Tastings
Villefranche-sur-Saône is located in the heart of the Beaujolais wine region, making it an excellent base for wine enthusiasts. Take the opportunity to visit local wineries, participate in wine tastings, and learn about the winemaking process. Some wineries even offer tours of their vineyards, allowing you to deepen your knowledge of this famous wine-producing region.
13. Beaujolais Villages
Explore the picturesque villages that dot the Beaujolais region surrounding Villefranche-sur-Saône. Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon, and Brouilly are just a few examples of charming villages known for their vineyards and wine production. Take leisurely drives through the countryside, stop at local wineries, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of these quaint French villages.
14. Cultural Events
Keep an eye out for cultural events taking place during your visit. Villefranche-sur-Saône hosts various exhibitions, concerts, and performances throughout the year. Check the local event calendar to see if any shows or festivals align with your visit, offering you a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant local arts and culture scene.
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Golf enthusiasts can indulge in a round of golf at one of the golf courses near Villefranche-sur-Saône. Golf Club du Beaujolais, for example, offers a challenging 18-hole course set amidst rolling hills and vineyards, providing a unique golfing experience in a picturesque setting.
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Take a short trip to the nearby town of Trévoux, located on the banks of the Saône River. Known as the “City of Books and Writers,” Trévoux is home to the Maison de la Poésie et de la Langue Française, a cultural center dedicated to literature and poetry. Explore the charming streets, visit the historical buildings, and enjoy the tranquil riverside atmosphere.
17. Les Pierres Dorées
Venture into the beautiful region of Les Pierres Dorées, characterized by its golden-hued limestone buildings. This area encompasses several picturesque villages, such as Oingt, Ternand, and Theizé, which are renowned for their architectural beauty and scenic landscapes. Wander through the narrow streets, admire the well-preserved medieval houses, and savor the idyllic countryside charm.
18. Casino Le Lyon Vert
If you’re feeling lucky or seeking some entertainment, visit Casino Le Lyon Vert in nearby Charbonnières-les-Bains. This luxurious casino offers a wide range of gaming options, including slot machines, table games, and poker rooms. It’s also home to several restaurants and bars, ensuring a complete entertainment experience.
19. Hiking in Monts du Beaujolais
Lace up your hiking boots and explore the Monts du Beaujolais, a mountainous region known for its natural beauty and scenic trails. There are numerous hiking routes catering to different difficulty levels, allowing you to discover panoramic views, charming villages, and lush forests along the way.
20. Cruises on the Saône River
Embark on a leisurely river cruise along the Saône River to appreciate the stunning landscapes from a different perspective. Several operators offer boat tours, ranging from short excursions to full-day cruises. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings as you glide along the water.
21. Maison des Vins
Visit the Maison des Vins in nearby Charnay-lès-Mâcon to deepen your knowledge of the wines produced in the region. This wine center showcases a wide selection of wines from Beaujolais and Mâcon, allowing you to taste and purchase the finest bottles. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the diverse flavors and characteristics of the local wines
Places and Things To Do