Travel bucket list idea:
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France|www.villa-ephrussi.com|
This delightful pink pastiche of an Italianate villa was built in 1912 by the flamboyant art collector Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, to house her fabulous collection of 18th-century art and furniture. Set on the highest point of high-net-worth playground Cap Ferrat, it’s a gilded, fondant fantasy for fans of kitsch design and architecture, and a fun stop on a tour of the Cote d’Azur.
The villa’s gardens, terraced out of the rock, are equally remarkable, divided into little worlds of their own: exotic, English, Florentine Spanish, Provencal, Japanese, and French, with a musical fountain that plays every 20 minutes.
Getting there & doing it
The nearest train station is Beaulieu-sur-Mer, but it is a 20-minute walk from there. Alternatively, take the local 81 or 100 bus, or a taxi. If you’re driving, there’s free car parking onsite.
A 1.5-hour audio guide tour comes with the ticket, or can be downloaded from the website onto your phone before you go. There’s an activity book for kids aged 7-12.
Be sure to have drinks or light snacks in the tearoom (the Baroness’s former dining room), which has beautiful views over the bay of Villefranche.
When to do it
The villa is open to visitors all year round, seven days a week.
April, May or June are the best months to go, when the gardens are in bloom. In early May, the villa hosts a rose and plant festival, while in late September there’s a cactus festival.
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