Villefranche & to Monaco
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-CÃ´te d'Azur region on the French Riviera. Villefranche-sur-Mer adjoins the city of Nice to the east along Mont Boron, Mont Alban and Mont Vinaigrier, and 10 km (6.2 mi) south west of Monaco. The bay (rade) of Villefranche is one of the deepest natural harbours of any port in the Mediterranean Sea and provides safe anchorage for large ships, reaching depths of 95 m (320 ft) between the Cape of Nice and Cap Ferrat; it extends to the south to form a 500 m (1700 ft) abyss known as the undersea Canyon of Villefranche at about one nautical mile off the coastline. Likewise, Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but MonÃ©gasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco's independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units.