The Villa Ephrussi De Rothschild was the dream home of Beatrice who was the daughter of the eminent Baron de Rothschild. Some seventeen years after she married the banker Maurice Ephrussi she bought seven hectares of land on the narrow isthmus of land called St Jean Cap Ferrat.
The Cap is the most beautiful of three caps of the French Riveria and houses some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Most of these homes are privately owned but the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is open to the public after being left in Beatrice’s will to the Institut De France, on the condition that the Villa was left intact and exactly as she left it. As such it provides valuable insight as to how the privileged lived at that time. Beatrice was a bit of an eccentric socialite, with an unlimited budget she set about making her dream home that would also house her collections from across the globe. The Villa is homage to her refined taste and eye for beauty.
The Villa boasts a series magnificent salon, which were used to display her art and porcelain collections. Each salon is distinctive, tastefully decorated with a very light feminine touch. There is an elegance about the rooms and the way in which they make the most of the light and fabulous scenery. To the east is Beaulieu and Italy and to the west the ancient harbour of Villefranche.
In particular, make sure you have time to dine in the sumptuous Ball Room (which has been converted into a restaurant) and drink in the stunning panoramic views.
As if that were not enough the gardens of the Villa are simply delightful. There are nine intimate themed gardens including Japanese, Florentine, Spanish, Exotic, Provençal and culminating in the rose garden that boasts over 500 rose bushes. Some of the gardens have sculptures and art installations and the shade and quiet they provide is a welcome respite from the unrelenting sunshine.
One of the best views of the gardens is from the balcony, where one can also enjoy the musical fountains.
All in all this is a lovely day out, a must-visit place for every aspiring princesse…