Our cruise ship anchored at the port of Villefranche on May 14, 2012. We had to take a tender in, and then choose where to go: the town itself, Nice, Cannes, or Monaco. We opted for Nice, and the directions given by others on TripAdvisor for finding the train were helpful.
Just as you get off the tender, you'll go through a building that has a tourist information booth, so if you have questions, you can easily find answers. I had assumed, for example, that since we were there on a Monday, the museums in Nice would be closed, but no. They close on Tuesdays, of off we went to Nice.
The train station is within easy walking distance of where the tender docks. Walk to your right as you face away from the sea along the shore road for a few hundred yards until you see a sign directing you to the station. Go up the stairs, and before you reach the top, there's a tunnel. Go through it and up on the other side of the train tracks to buy your tickets. Our round trip ticket to Nice was only 3,20 Euros each for the ten minute ride. The trains come frequently, and be sure to get off at the first station in Nice.
In Nice, which is a good-sized city, there's another information booth where you can get advice and a free map. We decided to walk to the Chagall museum (10 Euros), which is a fair hike. Then, after a couple of hours there, I also wanted to go to the free Matisse museum, but it was another hike up the street. By then, it was getting late, and we were tired, so we called it a day. Another time, I think I would have taken a cab from the train station to the Matisse Museum first and then walked DOWN hill to the Chagall.
There are no restaurants in sight around the Chagall Museum or, I assume, the Matisse, since both are in residential areas. Rick Steves recommends taking a bus to the seaside area for lunch, but we simply went back to the train and the ship.
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