I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful red nets!
I’m in Villefranche sur Mer, directly in front of the Welcome Hotel and on time; 6.45am with my 5 layers of clothing, ginger tablet in the system, croissant, pain au chocolat, water and camera, I jump on board ready to hit the seas with Jean Paul.
The sky is not blue as I had hoped, however the light is soft, perfect in fact for photos, JP couldn’t look more splendid in his blue anorak and yellow fishing pants and the red nets are picture perfect sensational!
Importantly (for me in any case) the sea is calm, meaning I can relax and know that I’m not going to disgrace myself with dreaded sea sickness.
Jean Paul is a welcoming host, and I am free to click my shutter on whatever, whenever, and from pretty much anywhere on the boat.
For me it’s just a thrill to finally be on a Pointu (a wooden fishing boat typical of the South of France). I have admired them for so long as they head out to sea, as well as in so many of the harbours and marinas here on the mediterranean, and it’s a bonus to be going out to pull in the nets with one of the most experienced fishermen in the business here.
Jean Paul has been fishing these seas literally all his life, in fact his family has been fishing them for centuries! His father taught him the particular method he still uses today to catch the maximum amount of fish with his nets, a method apparently many others have tried to emulate, however with less success.
Each morning and evening for 300 days of the year without fail JP steers his pointu out to sea to either position his nets or gather them and the fish in. He sells his catch to restaurants and private clients, as well as to the locals and tourists in Villefranche down on the quai in the morning, and they are obviously the freshest fish in town. The catch could include, La Daurade (Sea Bream), La sole, Les Sardines, La Rascasse Rouge (Red Scorpion fish), Le Loup de mer (Sea Bass), Le Thon (Tuna), L’Anguille (Eel).
A big thank you to Jean Paul for having let me join him on his pointu to capture and experience a couple of hours in the life of a Viillefranchois fisherman in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, the bay of Villefranche sur Mer and the waters off Nice. And to Frankie who was on shore to wave us back into port (photo above), so happy to have met you both.
Closest international airport to Villefranche sur Mer is in Nice, 20 minutes by car from the airport, 10 to 15 mins by bus to Villefranche from the centre of Nice, 7 mins by train from Nice Ville station to Villefranche. Buses run between the Nice Ville train station and the airport. There is no train from Nice Ville to the airport.
Bus no 99 runs from the Nice Ville Train station to the airport (direct).
Bus no 98 runs from Place Garibaldi in Nice to the airport (it usually departs from the Gare Routière (Nice bus station)), however it is temporarily closed.
Both buses and trains run regularly to and from Villefranche to all other towns along the coast – Voyage sncf for train information.
Lignes D’Azur for bus timetables.