Cote Azur is a pretty, pastel-painted area of wonders. Every corner you turn reveals something new. New rainbow villages, like Villefranche-sur-Mer, to gaze upon, incredible views and spectacular bays to discover, wonderful restaurants to dine in, walls covered in bougainvillaea, ancient cobbled alleyways and scenic routes to ride on. There is one sight in particular, in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, that will take your breath away.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, an elegant pink villa from the early 1900s. Inspired by the grand Palazzos of Venice, the villa is a splendid combination of architecture and perfectly manicured landscaped gardens. The owner, Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild used the villa as her winter residence until the 1930s before donating the villa, its art collection, and the land to Académie des Beaux-Arts.
Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild had exquisite taste and collected an extensive assortment of Louis XVI furnishings, priceless paintings, sculptures and porcelain. The stories behind each room are fascinating, the hiring and firing at least ten architects during the seven-year building period, the monkey room dedicated to her two beloved primate companions, the parties and her team of team of thirty gardeners, all wearing berets with a red pompom – Béatrice was flamboyant persona who absolutely loved pink and gambling.
The views from the villa are breathtaking: rolling hills with Mediterranean greenery and glances to some of the most magnificent homes in Cap-Ferrat that sit along the turquoise water where white yachts and sailboats dot the bay.
In the middle of our tour, we took a break in the sweet little cafe which is perfect for a little pick-me-up. Be sure to pop in for some coffee and desserts, they are sinfully delicious.
The grounds are absolutely stunning with nine distinctly themed gardens ranging from French to Florentine, Provencal to Stone, Japanese, Exotic, Rose and more! The balmy weather of the Côte d’Azur ensures that the gardens are always blooming but spring and high summer see the most vibrant colours. Wander around to discover the hidden gazebos, secluded corners, pools and waterfalls.
As a popular tourist destination, the palace might get busy during the summer months so we would recommend to plan ahead and arrive either first thing in the morning like we did, or towards the end of the day.
VILLA EPHRUSSI DE ROTHSCHILD
06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat | +33 4 9301 3309 | website