Cap Ferrat is one of the most stylish and up-scale areas on the Cote d'Azur. It is perhaps fitting then that this is where the Villa Ephrussi is located. It has been called the "dream villa" of Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild (1864 - 1934), and the collection of fine art and gardens can be attributed to her.
The Villa is a fascinating museum, with a wide collection of items including drawings of Fragonard, porcelain, furniture, and tapestries. As strange as it might seem,there is even a collection of shoes from China, including some from the times when women had their feet bound. The museum itself does not require a length visit.
However, the most impressive part of the Villa visit is the extensive gardens. They are divided into several sections representing different geographic and climate zones (Spanish, Provencal, Exotic, Florentine, Roses, and others). There are lovely walkways, some covered with trellises and vines, benches from which you can admire the view, statuary, and a huge reflecting pool, all amid gorgeous gardens. There is a truly amazing variety of flowers and foliage, beautifully organized and displayed. Given the heat, some areas might seem to be a bit in need of water, but overall, the effect is still well worth a visit. In fact, the gardens have even been the subject of garden shows on international television.
The Villa is an oasis from the usual crowds of the main cities nearby and is just a short hop from Nice, between Nice and Monaco. Having visited there in the spring and summer, there never seem to be be too many people.
Once you have enjoyed the Villa and the gardens, resplendent in their size, layout and beauty, stop in the Villa's tea room with a wonderful high ceiling, for a refreshing and relaxing break and pamper yourself. Sit back and even if only for a moment, imagine that it is your dream villa!