The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a large residence on the French Riviera, with nine gardens. When you visit this property, it is hard to believe how comfortably aristocrats lived during the la Belle Epoque period.
I had doubts about whether it was worth spending 15 euros to see how the aristocracy of the Cote d’Azur had once lived. Fortunately, my curiosity won out, because villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is an amazing place! This property is made up of a beautiful villa and nine surrounding gardens, each in a different style.
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its nine gardens
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is located on the Cap-Ferrat peninsula, just a few kilometers from Nice along the coast towards Monaco. It was built between 1907 – 1912 for Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, who bought land for the construction of the house there as soon as she learned that the plot was free. The king of Belgium, Leopold II, had also planned to buy this area, so the decision had to be immediately. No wonder, because it is one of the most beautiful places on the French Riviera. Because of this, we can today admire a very richly decorated villa from the la Belle Epoque period. It is worth noting that Béatrice was an extremely demanding client for her contemporary architects – she rejected many designs for her future winter home.
Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild was the wife of a Parisian banker originally from Russia. The marriage didn’t produce any descendants, and the relationship broke up after 21 years. Béatrice died in 1934. A year earlier, she transferred the ownership of the property and her collections to the Paris Academy of Fine Arts, who still manages the building on the French Riviera today.
There are nine gardens on the estate, each in a different style – allowing you to admire the blooming vegetation at any time of year. For visitors, there is even a special table with information on when each garden is best to see. We have started our journey through this unique estate by visiting the green areas. The route leads through gardens: the Spanish, the Florentine, the stone (lapidarium), the Japanese, the Exotic, the rose, the Provencal, the French, and the Sevres (I have no idea how to translate it …) gardens. In the French garden, located directly in front of the villa, fountains dance to the rhythm of music (every 20 minutes).
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – practical information
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is open daily from 10am to 6pm, and from July to August, from 10am to 7pm. For details, visit villa-ephrussi.com. It is worth spending a minimum of one hour to visit the gardens, and a second hour to see the house. You can rent an audio guide for the villa for free (visiting time if you listen to the recording is about 1.5 h).
The admission ticket costs 15 euros. You can also buy a ticket for 20 euros and visit the nearby villa Kerylos, which is built in the Greek style – I think it’s worth visiting too.
The Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa can be reached easily by public transport from Nice. If you choose the train, get off at Beaulieu-sur-Mer station, and if you take the bus (No. 81), get off at the Plage de Passable stop. If you are traveling by car you can leave it in the parking lot located on the property.
There is also a café and restaurant in the building, so you can spend a few hours there without unnecessary rush.