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PhotoHunt: Protection


Rue Obsure

Rue Obsure at night

This week's Photohunt is protection. Let's look at the lovely village of Villefranche sur Mer on the French Riviera and see how it has been protected over the years.

Today, looking at the luxury villas and expensive yachts, it is difficult to realize that this region of France was always under attack and frequently changed rulers. The area was hotly disputed between the Duchy of Savoy and France. It did not become part of France until 1860.

Modern day Villefranche sur Mer started in 1295 when the Duke of Anjou who later became Count of Provence, enticed the local hilltop inhabitants to move closer to the bay to secure the harbor from pirates. The port was declared a free port giving tax and port revenue to the city. The name Villefranche sur Mer means 'free city'.

As the city built up, the 'Rue Obscure' or Dark Street was built. It dates back to the XIVth century. It is located just behind the seafront buildings and runs to the ramparts above the city. The building built up and over the street and it became covered. This provided good refuge for the villagers when attacked. It was also a good place to hide goods such as wine. The inhabitants even used it as late as WWII during a parting German attack at the end of the war.

In 1543, the city was attacked and occupied which led the Duke of Savoy to create two forts, the Citadel along the water and one high on the Mont Alban above the city to protect the village. The forts were not always successful the the city exchanged hands several times.

Today, tourists roam the darkly lit Rue Obscure, the city hall (Mairie) and museums inhabit the citadel and the hilltop fortress waits to be renovated.

Rue Obsure
Rue Obsure

Villefranche sur Mer waterfront

Villefranche sur Mer waterfront - Rue Obscure located just behind these buildings

Fort Montalban
Fort du Mont Alban above Villefranche sur Mer

Citadel at Villefranche sur Mer
The Citadel

View from ramparts of Citadel
Ancient Citadel canon to protect the bay

View from ramparts of Citadel
Bay view from the ramparts of the Citadel in Villefranche sur Mer

Villefranche sur Mer waterfront

Lovely waterfront today.

Comments (11)

Great photos! Also great background for the photos, makes me want to visit.

Happy Weekend!
Amanda :)

I'd love to go exploring there. Underground walk ways fascinate me.

Great shots. Looking at the waterfront shot you'd never guess that this street exists.

Wonderful post and photos for this week! :)

Great post, Marta. I love the photos, great for the theme.


These are absolutely beautiful shots.. what a fabulous place to play hide and seek! Mine is here.



I'm up at http://lifeiskulayful.blogspot.com/2009/04/sph-20-protection.html

Do drop by and visit! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


Wow! So many "protection" photos! Great job!

I enjoyed taking a tour of the village of Villefranche sur Mer. Interesting history and beautiful photos!


I had no idea about la rue Obscure. I do love that stretch of the south coast, but it's a shame everyone else does too! :)

Interesting post, Marta! I’ve heard of Villefranche sur Mer just in passing and never knew much about it other than its geographical location. Loved reading about its history. I love walking old underground streets such as 'Rue Obscure'.

Happy Sunday!

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