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Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its gardens, la vie en rose

Opened to the public in 1938, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is born of the Belle Epoque daydreams of Beatrice Ephrussi, daughter of baron Alphonse de Rothschild. Lovers of Italian Rococo delight in its decors, as do amateur gardeners, in awe at the nine gardens of this immense domain, an excess fitting to its illustrious owner. Visit the pink jewel of the French Riviera.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, the pink jewel of the Côte d'Azur with Hiddenist

Venitian palace on the French Riviera

Halfway between Nice and Monaco, in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is as eccentric as its owner, one of the first socialite: excessive in its decoration, forward-thinking, the incarnation of glitz and glamor.

Heir to the vast fortune of the Rothschild baron and wife of banker Maurice Ephrussi, Beatrice is an art collector who loves travelling. After a trip to Italy, she decided to build a Venitian-style palace in the South of France. All she had to do was find the perfect location. One evening, on her way back from Monte Carlo casino, she finds a plot of land for sale on the isthmus or Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a few miles away from Menton. She simply fell in love with the place and bought the 7 acres of land, beating then king of Belgium Leopold II to it.

It took five years of Herculean work to build the villa from the ground up. It towers over the sea, on a rocky spur with Villefranche Bay on one side and the bay of Beaulieu on the other. Quite the difficult terrain to build on, especially with the impossible demands of the billionaire, who fired no less than fifteen architects.

In 1912, Beatrice de Rothschild is finally able to settle for the winter in the villa she dubs “Ile-de-France". For ten years, she’ll stay there regularly, when she’s not in Paris, Deauville, or abroad. After the death of her husband, her visits on the French Riviera become more scarce and her Côte d’Azur "extravagance" often stands empty. One year before her death, she gave her property and its art collection to the Beaux-Arts Academy, specifying in her will that the museum had to keep the spirit of a salon. Indeed, the villa is among the rare museums in France that have remained as they were in the past, except for the facade of the building, painted pink – Beatrice's favorite color - after the second World War.

The style of Rothschild: excess et eclecticism

Villa Ephrussi boasts over 5000 objects and artworks collected by baroness Beatrice de Rothschild on her journeys abroad. A stunning backdrop to an eclectic collection of paintings by masters, furniture, porcelain, tapestries: an assortment that decoration and architecture specialists have dubbed "Rothschild style".

Like every Rothschild family member before her, Beatrice aimed to collect the best artwork from each period in history, with a personal preference for royal artworks from Louis XIV to Louis XVI (mid 17th century-18th century).

She strived to find only the best and it shows in the grand salon, with a royal Louis XIV Savonnerie carpet or Marie Antoinette’s very own game table; an impressive collection of Sèvres porcelains beautifully presented in the dining room; and Gobelins tapestries in the petit salon, with illustrations from Don Quichotte.

So much ostentation is almost too much to bear, until you get to baroness Beatrice’s boudoir, with the slippers she loved wearing around the house preserved in a display case. A touching glimpse into the woman behind the art collector.

The Villa Ephrussi and its superb art collections with Hiddenist

The gardens of "Villa Ile de France"

As luxurious as the inside, the gardens imagined by Beatrice de Rothschild boasts some of the most expensive, rarest varieties of plants and flowers, like "the venerable", an 1897 banyan tree planted by the gardener of Monte Carlo casino. The baroness had a passion for botany and animals, all her properties having their own aviary.

She was as much of a perfectionist planning the gardens as she was for the inside of the villa, dividing the 7 acres into regions she had visited (Asia, Italy, Spain) as well as respecting the structures of the French formal garden, or jardin à la française.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild has nine gardens in total. A French formal garden, next to a vast rose garden; an exotic garden next to a Japanese garden; followed by the Spanish and Florentine gardens. The main area was made to look like an ocean liner overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. National Geographic was right to put the Ephrussi gardens in their list of the 10 Best Gardens in the world.

When Spring arrives, this green paradise is the place for magnificent weddings and themed soirées, organized by the Ephrussi Foundation de Rothschild, as an homage to the elegant parties the baroness used to be famous for on the French Riviera.

The Rose Festival, happening every year in May, is a staple of the Ephrussi gardens. It celebrates the coming of Spring and the "Beatrice Ephrussi" rose, a variety created in 1911 to honor the baroness.

With all its precious treasures and glamor, the "pink" villa is a dazzling marvel sprung from the imagination of her owner, a modern woman with a profound love for art.

The famous gloriette in the Ephrussi de Rothschild gardens on the Côte d'Azur


Discover the Rothschild Villa and Ephrussi gardens

with Hiddenist exclusive itineraries

Our Chef’s Escapes, imagined with Michelin-starred Chef Mauro Colagreco include a visit of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its gardens, as well as a picnic in the French formal garden.

Our private gastronomic trips are immersive, bringing you into the world of Mauro Colagreco and the culinary traditions of the French Riviera and the South of France. They include numerous tasting sessions, cooking classes and culture visits. Experience all the flavors of French gastronomy!


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