Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild acquired this beautifully located land in 1906. At the time, it was just a bare rock nestled between two unremarkable fishing towns. But she had a determined vision of what she wanted. After refusing projects proposed by many famous architects such as Claude Girault (architect of the Petit Palais in Paris), or the winner of the Prix de Rome, Henri-Paul Nenot, she finally retained Jacques-Marcel Auburtin, who closely followed each of her requirements. It took 5 years to build this amazing villa.
Beatrice loved art and beautiful objects and filled her home with more than 5000 works of art that she acquired from all over the world. Aubusson carpets, Boucher paintings, Fragonard drawings, Gobelins tapestries, Sevres porcelain as well as many medieval and renaissance works of art.
Miracles were also achieved outside the villa. The bare rock was progressively transformed into 9 fabulous gardens of very eclectic styles: Spanish, French, Florentine, Stone, Japanese, Exotic, Provencal, Sevres without forgetting the traditional Rose garden.
Sadly, Beatrice didn’t see all of them. She died in 1934 and her property was willed to the Institut de France. And today, visitors worldwide can enjoy most of the vision that Beatrice had and acted upon.
Beatrice herself designed this beautiful French garden as a ship’s deck with the cupola in the distance above forming the prow of the ship– the location of her land providing fabulous views of the Mediterranean Sea on both sides .
In order to visualize the design she had in mind, she organized “living garden” parties where employees were dressed up as cypress trees, flowerbeds, ponds or pathways !
The lawns are symmetrically adorned by large Italian Renaissance urns surrounded by rose bushes and flamboyant begonias.
At the opposite end of the French garden, overlooking waterfalls and the parterres, is this beautiful Temple of Love
leading to a stunning Cascade surrounded by fern and Mexican Daisy (Erigeron Karvinskianus)
In turn, leading to the main channel of the garden, regularly bordered by an alternance of Mealy-Cup Sage (Salvia Farinacea) and begonias.
Such an enchanting moment when the fountains are dancing at the rhythm of the classical music being regularly played during the day.
Here is an alley bordered by Marigolds (Tagetes Petula), New Guinea Impatiens and high standing Cannas,
that leads to the ravishing Spanish Garden where Dragon Wing Impatiens and Canas are enjoying the shade offered by the Angel's Trumpets (Brugmansia Suaveolens).
Art is everywhere at Ephrussi. Not just in the villa but everywhere in the gardens.
Antique vases and jars…
A shady path bordered by Lilies of the Nile (Agapanthus), delicate sage and spreading bougainvillea takes us
to the central horseshoe staircase of the Florentine Garden.
A flamboyant red Firecracker Plant (Russelia Equisetiformis) is softening the path corner and softly replicated in the low begonias at the bottom center of the staircase, contrasted by the blue Lilies of the Nile (Agapanthus), the silver foliage of the lavender and the purple heads of the Pickerel Weed (Pondeteria Cordata) preceding an admirable noeclassical statue
The shady Stone Garden includes an incredible collection of bas-reliefs, gargoyles, arches.
And we have now arrived to the Japanese garden whose name, Cho-Seki-Tei means ‘garden where one can calmly listen to the pleasant sound of the waves at twilight “. What a wonderful program ! The Koi carps are surely enjoying it….
A beautiful alley along the sea, bordered with colorful lantana bushes and asparagus ! What a nice effect !
The Exotic Garden displays a rich collection of succulents and cacti of impressive size.
Many different species of agave and aloes will not disappoint any amateur of exotic garden ! Some plants are really amazing like these funny ones....
Let’s have a tour of the rose garden with its hundreds of fragrant white, pink, purple roses surrounded by the low boxwood hedge
English Austin roses, there is even an Hybrid rose tea wearing Beatrice’s name !
At the top of the garden an antique goddess keeps marveling at this roses kingdom.
It also leads the way to the Provencal garden via a romantic path of silver Tree Germanders (Teucrium Fruticans) and blue Lilies of the Nile (Agapanthus),
And after a long delicious walk under the unrelenting sun of the Cote d’Azur, there is nothing more pleasant than a sip of fresh lemonade (or rosé !) in the Sevres Garden of the property !
A fabulous experience ! If you are planning a visit to the French Riviera, you should definitely visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.