Inheriting a vast fortune upon the death of her father, and being separated from her husband, Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild decided in 1906 to purchase a plot of land. Nothing more at the time than an arid rock, she fell in love with the view as many people visiting Cap Ferrat today also do. In 1907 after much debate and discussion from an apparently temperamental and demanding owner, work began on the villa that is today one of the most important properties along the Riviera – Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Béatrice passed away in 1933 but her distinctive gardens were as yet incomplete. She insisted only the gardens visible from the house were completed first. Using staff to stand in place of plants and waterfalls, moving around to emulate the flow of water, she designed the French garden, closest to the house, herself. The Baroness bequeathed the entire property and all of its contents to the Institut de France and in 1934 Louis Marchand was commissioned to complete the remaining gardens. During the second world war Cap Ferrat was entirely vacated and so the villa and gardens left unkept. However all survived and in 1945 Louis Marchand who thankfully survived the war returned to restore and complete these magnificent gardens. For such a vast space reaching completion under the same watchful eye of the man who designed them was quite a feat and adds to the beauty of these gardens and they are kept more or less the same today.
Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild inherited a love of art from her family and collected the best of the best from each era, including furniture, paintings and fabrics. Not always matching and being equally aesthetically appealing to the eye when combined, this monumentally valuable and unique collection has been under the ownership of the Institut de France since the death of the Baroness. Under the careful management of Culturespace, this amazing art is curated and cared for, for the benefit of everyone and is one of the most important collections still intact.
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is open year-round.
1 Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
Tel. +33 4 93 01 33 09 Web. www.villa-ephrussi.com