If you are planning a trip to Nice the Beautiful this summer, you must visit the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa. Opened everyday all year round, this beautiful villa is worth the detour. Located right between Nice and Monaco, the villa enjoys a perfect location alongside the French Riviera coast of the Mediterranean Sea. During the Belle Epoque, the baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild decided to build her luxury villa on the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula. She fell in love with the coveted location and stole it from the King of Belgium Leopold II. Dividing her time between Paris, Monaco and Deauville, she established her wintering quarter there.
If you are fond of history, here is a little reminder of who the Baroness was. Daughter of the banker de Rothschild, she married the Russian-born banker and friend of the family Maurice Ephrussi. She spent her life travelling the world to acquire paintings and antique furniture. As the couple was childless, Beatrice who died at age 69 bequeathed her villa and its art collections to the Beaux Arts Academy. Now that it has been converted into a museum, the villa is open to public.
Known to be a great art collector, the baroness spent her life gathering an extraordinary collection to decorate the various apartments of the villa. As the Rothschild family was one of the shareholders of the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranean seaside National Railway Company, she directly chose on the Beaulieu train station platform the works of art she wanted in her villa. According to her motto “ars patraie decus” meaning “art is an honour for the mother country”, she only bought the best works of art of each era to furnish her villa in spite of the interior layout style.
Therefore, if you are seeking for inspiration, this breath-taking villa is offering an exquisite selection of masterpieces and works of art realised by the most famous painters of the past centuries. Discover this tasteful décor of the inside by wandering through the multiples rooms of the Italian-style villa built in the early twentieth century and laid out as white to pale yellow or pinkish brown coloured private salons, vaulted galleries, cabinets, balconies, bedrooms, and boudoirs. The former dining room has been converted and is currently used as a Tea room – restaurant to offer a relaxing time to the visitors. Break for a tasty snack or a light meal with beautiful views over the Bay of Villefranche. When the summer is nice, visitors can sit under the orange trees on the charming terrace.
Alternatively, if you are seeking for relaxation, take a stroll in the magnificent tree-filled and flowery gardens full of Greek-style statues and columns, marble pavilions, shaded walkways bordered of palm trees and succulents, carved fountains, and fish-filled ponds. With her epicurean taste, the baroness loved flowers and brought them from all of her exotic travels. As the stony ground was not ideal, it took 7 years to build the gardens. After the death of the baroness, Louis Marchand, fascinated with botany, was commissioned to restore the gardens of the villa. Taking advantage of the huge 4 hectares of surface area, the large field has been divided into several parts to reproduce the famous French gardens but also the Japanese, Spanish and Italian gardens.
Several events and exhibitions are regularly held in this fabulous villa. One event called “A day with the Baroness” has been divided into 2 workshops of approximately 35 minutes. Discover first how the daily-life of Beatrice was during the Belle Epoque period thanks to two actresses dressed in traditional costumes who will mimic people’s daily lives as well as some scenes of the past as closely as possible. Also discover the many secrets hidden among the garden paths thanks to an actor dressed as the Gardener of the Baroness who will explained to you in detail all the different species that adorn the gardens.
The sixth edition of The Rose Festival will be held in the beginning of May (2nd and 3rd of May) where professionals will meet you to share their passion and their knowledge of flowers. Beginners or disciplined gardeners, whether young or old, will find their happiness among the large species of flowers and trees.
To make the most of your visit, an audio guide is given for free at your arrival. Learn great stories and comments on the area’s history, on Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild’s life and her love for art collections and her hobbies, as well as useful information on the French Riviera during the Belle Epoque. Lightweight and convenient, these audio guides are available in 9 languages including English, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Russian.
At the entrance of the villa, a booklet of games is delivered to each 9 to 12 year old child free of charge. It is aimed at encouraging them to learn while having fun and to discover a historical site through games and mysteries. They will be escorted by Hugo and Lea, two mischievous children who know the villa like the back of their hands.
The official new app of the villa is now available on the AppStore and Google Play and includes 1h30 of voice commented visit, a geo-localized tour of the gardens, an illustrated glossary of the different plant species, 3 interactive maps and more than 150 zoomable pictures. Download the app directly on-site thanks to a free Wi-Fi connection.
In a nutshell, the villa is worth the trip and will provide you with a lot of stunning views of the sea and a labyrinth of small paths full of colourful and fragrant flowers.
Wishing you a pleasant visit!
Visit the website: http://www.villa-ephrussi.com/en/home