Saturday, April 14, 2012

On Top Of The World At The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

This gorgeous pink villa and garden

is another one of those that I have come to know and love from seeing first in a book of famous gardens.  So it was definitely exciting and I was feeling lots of anticipation when I unexpectedly discovered I would be able to visit this garden.  

           The visit includes a tour of the Villa as well, which of course would be the natural progression to the garden. But in my excitement I looked only briefly at the main rooms and found myself heading straight for a door that leads outside.  I couldn't wait.

          And then, voila, I'm in the middle of it; it seems a little bit unreal for a moment.  I am on a peninsula in the south of France, a long way from San Diego, and in the small town of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. I am surrounded by a beautiful, symmetrical formal garden with green grass, fountains, well-groomed flower beds (pink, of course) and hedges. It doesn't disappoint. In fact, it feels like the top of the world. Like always, beautiful gardens help untangle the frayed mess of my emotional state, at least temporarily.

What I didn't know about this villa is that it has superb views of the Mediterranean Sea 

on either side.  The stars couldn't have lined up any better for the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

        And then all at once the fountains start up and they are coordinated with classical music playing in the garden for the next fifteen minutes or so.

          The villa was built between 1905 and 1912 for Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild, the daughter of a wealthy banker who married a wealthy banker, Maurice Ephrussi.  The Baroness loved to gamble and liked to spend time at her homes in Monte Carlo and as well as Paris, in addition to her pink villa. The villa is filled with art, tapestry, porcelain and beautiful furniture. Ah, the life of a baroness.  When she died she bequeathed all of it to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. (Score!)

          And the villa's garden doesn't stop with what is known as the French garden. Walking past the fountains and up the stairs

past this beautiful statuary there is much more, in fact there are nine gardens around the villa, though none as exquisite as the French garden.

 There is a Spanish and Japanese garden, an Italian garden and a rose garden.

The Baroness was said to be influenced by Italian design, especially that of Venice and Florence.

Walking back through the garden there is yet another stunning view of the villa, this time 
against the backdrop of  mountains.

Finally, after walking through the gardens, I did tour inside the Belle Époque villa.
No surprise, my favorite room is the large
terrace facing the French garden. 

Sitting on this terrace I was thinking about what it would be like to live here, looking at the garden from here first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Given the artwork, the furniture, the architecture, its history and of course location, location, location the value of this home must be a crazy amount of euros, because the ultimate luxury--this view of the garden in the middle of the Côte d'Azur--is
This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2012.