On the Road at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
If you ever find yourself in the charming village of Saint Jean du Cap Ferrat on the Côte d’Azur, definitely make time to visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild— a new Garden Collage favorite.
The Villa and gardens are perfectly sited to maximize the views out over the Mediterranean Sea, and Garden Collage recently paid visited in the late afternoon, which was an ideal time. We took a beautiful stroll, essentially alone, through the villa’s iconic garden, which is made up of nine beautifully-themed European gardens, all of them beautifully maintained. There’s a Spanish garden, a French garden, a Rose garden, and more– each with small terraces that line the coastal property and allow for phenomenal views of the ocean below. The sun glistening off the sea, which itself was dotted with big and small boats, is a captivating image to behold: this is the place where the bold greens of several lushly-planted gardens and the deep azures of the ocean collide. The view, combined with the warm ocean breeze ruffling the trees, makes this one of the most gorgeous views on the French Riviera.
Beatrice Rothschild fell in love with the property in 1907, and purchased what would later become Villa Rothschild despite the rocky terrain. It took her seven years of moving mounds of earth into and around the landscape in order to transform the rugged overlook into the manicured garden of today, but the process was well worth it, as the rose gardens, umbrella pine, and cypress trees make Villa Rothschild feel like a little slice of heaven on Earth. The size and health of these trees alone is incredibly impressive, given the blight and rough pioneering that this portion of Europe has suffered throughout the years.
While some of the gardens are incongruously designed given the architectural and landscape design of the villa, most of the uniqueness stems from cultural appropriation over the years (the Spanish garden, for example, wasn’t established until after Rothschild’s death in the 1930’s, and every twenty minutes the French garden has a musical water show, which is actually great for kids). Rothschild used the Villa as her winter home until her death in 1934, at which point the property was bequeathed to the Academy des Beaux-Arts, who maintain jurisprudence over the gardens to this day.