Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild | France - Atlas Obscura

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

A place to see how French aristocrats lived in the early 1900s.  


A magnificent pink mansion sits atop a hill on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a French peninsula near its border with Italy. The villa is not well known to tourists to the French Riviera, but is a gem of the region, tucked away on a small peninsula between Nice and Monaco. And it is not necessarily easy to get to. One needs to take the bus, or an Uber, or simply walk some distance from the nearest train stop (located in Beaulieu-sur-Mer).

What makes this villa so unique is its history with the French aristocracy. The woman who lived there, Beatrice de Rothschild, bought the land and had this architectural landmark built over five years. With a free audio guide, visitors can make their way through the mansion’s many decadent rooms and halls on their own. Among the countless stories of de Rothschild are tales of her particular taste, as well as the many exotic animals she owned (including a pet monkey), and her penchant for collecting, art, antiques, china, and wigs. In today’s terms, she might be considered a hoarder.

Even more enchanting than the building are the gardens that surround it—actually nine gardens that stretch as far as the eye can see, each with a different theme. All the flowers and greenery are still perfectly curated and maintained, with fragrant whiffs of roses and phlox. A koi-filled stream that leads from the villa to a gazebo at the back of the property. Every 20 minutes fountains shoot out streams of water to the classical music, and from the center of the garden, the Mediterranean Sea is visible on either side of the estate. It’s about as close as one can come to a fairy tale come to life.  

Know Before You Go

Wear sunscreen and bring a pair of sunglasses, as you will be spending much of your time outdoors.

One can take bus 81 from Palace Garbaldi in Nice, to the villa entrance

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