Brigitte Bardot Exhibition in Villefranche as French Icon Turns 90

A Brigitte Bardot exhibition is being launched in Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Riviera on 9 March 2024, to mark the actress’s 90th birthday later this year. 

The show – titled ‘Brigitte Bardot, Beyond the Image‘ – will celebrate the French icon’s birthday with a collection of previously unpublished photos from her life that reveal how Bardot has captivated the world while remaining true to herself.

One of Bardot’s first movies was filmed in Villefranche. The war romance ‘An Act of Love’ was shot in 1953 and co-starred American actor Kirk Douglas.

Brigitte Bardot Villefranche-sur-Mer exhibition
Brigitte Bardot exhibition in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Photo: La Citadelle press release by Léonard de Raemy © Marc de Raemy

Three years later, Bardot almost single-handedly torpedoed another Côte d’Azur town – St Tropez – to international fame when she starred in then-husband Roger Vadim’s directorial debut ‘And God Created Woman’, which was filmed in the small fishing village.

Bardot’s charisma throughout her career was caught on film by the late Swiss photographer Léonard de Raemy (1924-2000). Photos from his private collection appear at this special Brigitte Bardot exhibition in Villefranche. They reveal “the vulnerability behind the facade of a legendary star”, according to the town’s press office. 

Brigitte Bardot Villefranche-sur-Mer exhibition
Photo of Brigitte Bardot by Léonard de Raemy © Marc de Raemy

Each picture tells a story and shows the evolution of a woman who is fragile, strong and elusive. The photos show the roles she’s played and public image she’s cultivated, as well as how she’s allowed herself time off with friends and her beloved animals. (In 1986 she founded the Fondation Brigitte Bardot to protect wild and domesticated animals.)

The organisers promise a “unique exhibition paying tribute to a woman of undeniable talent, who transcended cinema to become an authentic and free icon inventing the ‘Bardot style’ of fulfilled femininity.” Bardot, who was born in Paris, turns 90 on 28 September.

Villefranche’s press office adds: “The images show her sometimes bursting with joy, sometimes introspective, but always imbued with this aura which has fascinated and still fascinates entire generations. Although Bardot was praised for her beauty and talent, she was also a pioneer, challenging established norms and revolutionizing preconceived ideas about femininity and independence.”


9 March to 26 May 2024 – Saint-Elme Chapel, at La Citadelle (a fortress built in the 16th century), Villefranche-sur-Mer. 

Opening hours: Every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on public holidays.

Jenni Baxter
Jenni Baxter
Jenni is a co-founder and editor of Riviera Traveller. She has been based in Antibes for over 10 years, and has been visiting the Côte d’Azur since she was a student. As a celebrity journalist for international magazines, she has watched hundreds of movies at the Cannes Film Festival, interviewed stars at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and watched the Monaco Grand Prix from all the key angles. Jenni has also lived in South Africa, London and Australia... and co-wrote The Expat Confessions. She is happiest paddle boarding on the Med with her 3 daughters, or sipping rooibos in the African bush. Contact

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