Cap Ferrat is one of the three major capes of the French Riviera and probably the most beautiful. Half way between Nice and Monaco it separates the bay of Villefranche and that of Beaulieu. It is also one of the most expensive parts of the coastline in terms of real estate, consisting many Belle Epoque style villas of the rich and famous who first discovered the Riviera in the 19th century.
One of the most prominent of these villas and the only one open to the public is the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, built between 1905 and 1912 by a member of the Rothschild banking family – Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild. It is hard to believe that this was a home of essentially one person – the Baroness herself. She picked one of the best sites on the Cape, at the top of a narrow isthmus dominating the sea that provides stunning views both east towards Beaulieu and Italy and west towards the deep waters of the Bay of Villefranche and its ancient harbour.
My Patrizia Peppe dress was a spot on outift for that day 😉
The villa consists of comprehensive and eclectic, if not slightly eccentric, collection of fine antiques, exquisite hand embroidered garments and luxurious furnishings. She had all the latest modern conveniences built into her house. Her silk dresses, huge collections of all sorts of porcelains, rugs formerly owned by French kings, furniture that had belonged to Marie Antoinette – you name it, she had it. A truly magnificent home of a fascinating, fin de Siècle, ‘modern’ woman.
The villa is surrounded by nine gardens, each on a different theme: Florentine, Spanish, Garden à la française, exotic, a stone garden, a Japanese garden, a rose garden, Provençal and a garden de Sèvres. They are classified by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France. In front of the villa is a long pond in which every 20 minutes fountains “dance” to classical music in a hypnotic and entrancing fashion. It is such a unique and incredible setting!
Villa and Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild are certainly worth a visit if you have an appreciation for beauty. The gardens are nothing short of spectacular and the views are breathtaking. The villa itself is carefully preserved to a very high standard to allow anyone go back in time to experience the ambience of bygone era.