Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – Hidden Gem on the French Riviera

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – Hidden Gem on the French Riviera


The French Riviera has so many wonderful attractions, yet one that deserves to be better known is the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a real hidden gem. With a unique location in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from all sides, it’s worth visiting the rose coloured villa for the view alone. Cap Ferrat is one of the most unspoiled parts of this coast and also one of the most exclusive.

villa-ephrussi-de-rothschildYet there is much more to discover here, starting with the fantastic gardens. The original owner of the property, Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, commissioned the villa from French architect Aaron Messiah. She was the wife of banker Baron Maurice de Ephrussi and a prominent member of the Rothschild banking family. Built between 1905 and 1912, it includes a series of gardens inspired by her travels abroad. Sadly, Béatrice had an unhappy marriage to Maurice, 15 years her senior and an inveterate gambler. She contracted an illness from him which prevented her from having any children, and a divorce was finally granted in 1904.

Béatrice was then able to devote her attention to collecting art. Upon the death of her father in 1905, she inherited his considerable fortune and purchased the plot of land where the villa now stands. Accessed only by a mule track at the time, it was quite a challenge to create gardens on such a rocky promontory. The ground was dynamited and additional earth was brought in, with the gardens being completed in 7 years. She later bequeathed the villa to the Académie des Beaux Arts so that it could be enjoyed by the public, and amazingly enough it’s open 365 days a year. The Académie entrusted the management of the site to Culturespaces who have overseen the renovation of the gardens and the Villa’s interior, following the original plan designed by Louis Marchand. They also organise events at the villa, including the Fête des Roses et des Plantes (Rose and Plant Festival).

villa-ephrussi-visitI’ve always enjoyed visiting gardens, having recently been to Compton Acres and the Elizabethan garden at Kenilworth Castle, so was keen to see what made this one so distinctive. The French Ministry of Culture classifies these as one of the Notable Gardens of France. For me, it’s the magical water fountains in the French garden that stand out when I look back on our visit. They spring into life every twenty minutes with the dancing jets serenaded by classical music which really add to the ambiance.

Villa-ephrussi-de-rothschildThe classical temple makes a charming focal point from which to admire the French garden and the villa.

villa-ephrussi-temple
villa-ephrussi-statueWandering around the gardens, you feel like you are being taken on a journey through many different countries and horticultural styles.

villa-ephrussi-gardensThere’s a shady stone garden

villa-ephrussi-stone-gardenA tranquil Japanese garden

villa-ephrussi-japanese-garden
And a Florentine garden where wedding photos were being taken on the day we visited. In all there are 9 gardens so I’ll leave some for you to discover yourself.

villa-ephrussi-florentine-garden
Inside the villa itself there are some fine Gobelins tapestries, porcelain from Sèvres, Old Master paintings and rare furniture.

villa-ephrussi-salon
You get an intimate impression of life at the villa.

villa-ephrussi-boudoir
And from the first floor you can admire the stunning view over the Italianate gardens. I can certainly see why Baroness Rothschild loved it so much.

villa-ephrussi-tourThere’s also an attractive tea room and restaurant in the former conservatory. Nearby, there’s St Jean Cap de Ferrat which has a good selection of seafront restaurants.

villa-ephrussi-tea-room

Opening hours of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

365 day a year from 10 a.m to 6 p.m, except July and August: from 10 a.m to 7 p.m and from November to January: from Monday to Friday from 2 p.m to 6 p.m. / weekends and holidays from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Are you a fan of gardens?

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

villa-ephrussi-france

  • Lovely post and beautiful photos. I went to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for the first time last summer and it was stunning. Unfortunately I never came across Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild but it is most certainly on my radar now for next time!

    • It’s quite hidden away but that makes it all the more interesting I think, glad you liked the post

  • I loved that you included the tale of the Baroness herself – I’m an absolute sucker for a good backstory, particularly one like this with a bit of drama and tragedy! I think it brings it to life somewhat when you’re exploring these places as you can try to imagine it back in her time so to speak!

    • It really is a tragic story, isn’t it! I’m glad that she found some happiness at the villa at least

  • Such a romantic place! Imagine what it must have been like to live there. Like a dream…

    • Gazing out from the patio really gave me an impression of what it must have been like to live there

  • I love that the garden encompassed so many styles!

  • The green strikes me Suze. All the trees and shrubs makes the gem 😉 Fab shots, especially the one where you’re admiring the estate with the statue.

    Ryan

  • Linzi Clark

    Wow…awestruck!…what a sumptuous house and gardens…this has to top your most extravagant luxury post yet!

    • I wish I could move in and never leave, Linzi – it really was so luxurious yet cosy too!

  • What a stunning place! Hidden places are the best, it must feel like discovering a new place and also not having many people around! Your photos make me want to visit all these places, they are really catchy!

    Ela BellaWorld

    • I can thank Mr Luxe for this one as he suggested we visit it, I hadn’t heard of it before then!

  • It looks like a hidden palace.
    I’m lovin the interior and the views.

    Have a great day!

    http://www.thebandwagonchic.com/

    • Those interiors were so fantastic, with quite a feminine touch and I love the rose colour of the villa too

  • This place looks incredible. Romantic and simply gorgeous. Would love to see it one day!

    • There is something very romantic about it despite the Baroness being single when she lived there. I hope you get the chance to visit!

  • The gardens are absolutely stunning! Makes me long for warm weather — we still have some snow left here.

    http://www.mintnotion.com

    • It’s just warming up here in London but in France when we visited in Winter it was short sleeve weather!

  • How beautiful – I shall also be perusing the ‘Notable Gardens of France list’ shortly…

    • I must admit that despite living in France for years, I hadn’t heard of that list either!

  • Stunning!

  • Coco Cami

    What a beautiful place with the feeling of a secret hideaway. Stunning, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Camille xo

    http://www.cococami.blogspot.co.uk

    • It really does have a secret feel to it, as it’s a no-through road on a peninsula – glad you enjoyed reading about it

  • Wow – such a stunning garden, it almost doesn’t look real! So, so beautiful – another one from you to put on my travel wish list!

    Erin xx
    islandbell.co.uk

    • I agree, there’s something a bit unworldly about the place – probably because it was such a challenge to create it on that rock!

  • This looks like something from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream.’ What an incredible garden and mansion! I’ve always wanted to visit the French Riviera
    Rachel xx
    http://www.thedailyluxe.net

    • It’s very dream like isn’t it – and the water and music just add to the effect.

  • Everytime I stop by your blog, I always know its going to be good and I am right. This post is nothing short but amazing. Just looking at the architecture and the ambiance makes me wish I was there. Thanks for much for sharing this Suze.

    Kia / KTS
    http://www.houseofkts.com

    • Oh that’s so sweet, Kia! I always enjoy reading your posts too, they’re so varied

  • Ellie Adams

    Omg Suze this looks breathtaking. The french riviera is somewhere I’ve always had on my wishlist (genuinely looking into prices now) The villa looks insane!

    Elle
    http://www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

    • It’s such a beautiful region, in some ways I prefer it to the Amalfi Coast. Going back there in May for Cannes!

  • The villa and gardens look beautiful! It is such a long time ago that I visited Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – loved the restaurants on the seafront. Next time I visit I make sure to include a little culture and visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

    • We had a great meal on the seafront as the restaurant at the villa was closed. You’ll love the villa, I’m sure

  • Wow looks absolutely stunning, what a beautiful looking spot!

  • This is just idyllic Suze – looks like the kind of gardens where you could sit for an afternoon to wash away all your stresses and just unwind 🙂

  • Truly stunning and beautiful! The temple is so sweet and the whole garden is breathtaking. The restaurant looks tempting to try!

    http://leftbankgirl.blogspot.com

  • Gardens and the interior decorations and those great fountains were amazing. Congs for this well-written post. cheers,