Its natural harbour has been used since the Greeks and Romans.
It's located only a mile from Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, an idyllic peninsula which boasts villas and houses owned by several well-known celebrities.
Big names such as Elton John, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson, Paul Allen and Roman Abramovich all have villas in the area or houses with a view of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
But before this village became a major destination for tourists and the super-wealthy, Villefranche was once a small fishing village.
In the middle of the 20th century, around 70 fishermen worked here.
Now there is just one family business ploughing the waves off Villefranche.
Four fishermen: Louis Roux, his father, his brother and his son.
"(Before) this was a fishermen's village, there was no pleasure boats before, nothing, only fishermen and in those days we were 70 in a fishermen union," says Louis Roux.
Nowadays, traditional industries in fishing and at the dockyard have declined as people are lured by the tourist wage.
According to Roux, the influx of tourists in recent years has made their work difficult.
"We can do well if we work, but we have a lot of problems with other boats, pleasure boats that (inadvertently) take away our fishing nets," he says.
"But that is the part of our work, we should go with it."
At the age of 31, Louis Roux's son Damien is the youngest fisherman in the village.
He's one of only two people in the region to have taken up the profession in the last ten years.
Despite their industry seemingly suffering, Damien is taking a positive look at the situation, especially with new methods of fishing making their tasks easier.
"I can't imagine doing something else; I have some jobs aside that are also linked to the sea," he says.
"I really can't see myself quitting this, there is a lot of gratifying things in it. We can earn some money too, but it's true that only doing this is not profitable."
While the industry struggles to stay afloat, in the harbour of Villefranche, a lasting monument reminds visitors of the village's fishing history.
The Chapel of Saint Pierre was built in the 16th century and belongs to the union of fishermen of Villefranche.
Jean Cocteau first saw the chapel in 1924.
It was first used as a stock room for fishing nets, but in 1957 Cocteau started decorating the interior.
He painted the walls and added stained glass windows.
The walls depict five different scenes; two which display stories from the Mediterranean, while the other three show tales from Saint Peter's life.
But as Villefranche emerges as a booming destination for tourists and the super-rich, the strain is beginning to show on the village's small remaining fishing industry.
Just as the number of fishermen here has shrunk, so too has the wealth of certain fish which once called these waters home.
That's according to Louis Roux's brother Jean-Paul Roux, the President of the Fisherman's Union of Beaulieu, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and Villefranche-sur-Mer.
He says that European Union fishing quotas and pollution have also contributed to the depletion of fish stocks.
"Fish that could be found twenty years ago, we almost can't find anymore," he says.
"Now we have new fish, fish that existed elsewhere but new here. We have barracuda, small albacore tuna; you have fish that we didn't catch before, but we catch it now in big quantities."
"Anchovy and sardines, that fish disappeared. But that is because of pollution, not because of overfishing as says Europe, that thoughtful sweet Europe."
Jean-Paul Roux says this makes things difficult for restaurant owners, who rely on their daily catch to satisfy the town's hungry visitors.
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