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Villa Ephrussi visitor guide

Photo of Villa Ephrussi in Cote d'Azur (Provence region)
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Visit Villa Ephrussi, France

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Villa Ephrussi is a lovely villa surounded by extensive gardens on the Cap Ferrat peninsula, to the south of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer. It is one of the most visited villas on the French riviera.

Villa Ephrussi guide

France This Way comment: stunning even among the other villas in the area around Cap Ferrat, a visit to Villa Ephrussi is a lovely way to spend an afternoon - allow yourself plenty of time (at least two hours) to enjoy the villa as well as to stroll around the gardens, there is a lot to enjoy.

Villa Ephrussi (also known as the 'Villa Ile de France' and 'Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild') was built by Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild in the early part of the 20th century. The villa, one of the finest on the riviera and surrounded by exceptional gardens, is open to the public.

In the main salon in Villa Ephrussi

Your visit starts inside the villa, with a series of grand rooms radiating off a large open two-storey central area - essentially a light and airy covered central courtyard. This 'courtyard' is surrounded by marble columns and is a lovely centerpiece for the villa.

The rooms accessed from here include salons, bedrooms and other rooms tastefully if opulently decorated with 18th century furnishings, tapestries and paintings, and smaller rooms containing some of the collections amassed by Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild such as porcelain or drawings by Fragonard (and a tea room).

It is from the rooms upstairs in the villa that you can best appreciate the French style gardens directly in front of the villa: these gardens are designed to be seen from above and represent the shape of a prow of a ship.

After exploring the villa your tour continues in the extensive gardens around Villa Ephrussi. Including both formal and informal areas of garden, these are divided into separate garden areas, which both adds interest and also ensures that whatever time of year you visit there will be something interesting to see.

These include Provençal, French, Japanese and Spanish gardens and others dedicated to exotic plants and roses. There are frequent views across the coast and villas below as you explore.

Every 20 minutes there is a 'music and fountains' show in the French gardens in front of Villa Ephrussi which adds a nice touch to a visit and helps bring to mind what it would have been like here 100 years ago.

Gardens and pergola in Villa Ephrussi

Visitor information

If you are exploring the riviera without a car you can walk to the villa from the train station in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and there is also a bus from the train station that stops outside the gardens, useful if it is a very hot day. Beaulieu-sur-Mer train station is easily accessible from Nice and all the other resorts along the riviera.

The admission charge is around 14 euros. If you are also planning to visit the Villa Kérylos at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 800 metres to the north of Villa Ephrussi, you can buy a reduced price entrance ticket that includes entrance to both of the villas.

Other activities and sights

Elsewhere on Cap Ferrat you can follow the coast path around the peninsula (one of the most picturesque walks on the riviera), spend the day on the beach and visit the small town and port at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. See Cap-Ferrat for details.

You can also enjoy a stroll around two charming resorts close to Villa Ephrussi: Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer.

You can find more travel ideas in the Alpes-Maritimes guide and the Provence guide.

See also: 

Photos of Villa Ephrussi

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Map of Villa Ephrussi and places nearby

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