Villa Kérylos, Alpes-Maritimes visitors guide
Visit Villa Kérylos, France
Villa Kérylos is an impressive villa on a peninsula in the town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the French riviera. The house is named after the Greek word Kérylos, which means "swallow of the sea" and is a reference to the flying fish that used to be seen in the water here.
Explore Villa Kérylos
Villa Kérylos is a most unusual idea: at the beginning of the 20th century (from 1902-1908) the architect Emmanuel Pontremoli designed a villa for his client, Théodore Reinach, that was a recreation of a Greek villa.
Both Mr Reinach and Mr Pontremoli were enthusiasts of Ancient Greece and their goal was to combine the main elements of a Greek villa of the 2nd century BC as found on the island of Delos with the furnishings and comforts of a belle epoque villa, the more common architectural style in France at the beginning of the 20th century.
The project started by selecting a very impressive location, on a headland on the French riviera in the town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer with views across the Mediterranean and across to Cap Ferrat. It was thought that the site was similar to the coast that would be found in Greece. The views from the villa are a significant part of the appeal of the project.
Although the outside of Villa Kérylos appears rather basic (and modern in design), no expense was spared on the interior which includes various features based on marble, alabaster and exotic woods, all work carried out to a very high quality.
Among the most obviously Greek elements in Villa Kerylos is the arcade room, with its marble columns around the edges. It is the surfaces of the rooms that is the most impressive, with almost all surfaces having received great attention to detail, from the mosaics on the floor and the frescoes on the walls, to the carefully painted wood beams of the ceilings. Numerous statues, vases and other decorative elements also help to recreate the epoque of the Ancient Greeks.
Although the combination of early 20th century furniture with Greek architecture does not always seem ideal, the furniture is based on items of real furniture from Ancient times as found in Pompeii and the project works very well.
Among the unusual features, the dining room has beds rather than chairs so that meals could be enjoyed while lying down, and the desks are designed to be used while standing up instead of sitting down! The salons dedicated to art and music are also among the highlights of a visit, and the bathrooms are also quite extraordinary and luxurious.
Visiting Villa Kerylos
The Ville Kerylos is open all year except January 1, May 1, November 1, November 11 and December 25. It opens at 10.00 each day and closes between 17.00 and 19.00 depending on season (the later time is from June to September).
Admission was rather expensive (about 12 euros) but although a visit to Ville Kerylos only takes about an hour, it is so unusual and well designed, especially the mosaics and the views, that we recommend you visit the villa when you are in the area. If you are also visiting Villa Ephrussi a reduced price ticket is available to visit both villas.
We visited in June and Villa Kérylos was very quiet, so I don't think you need be concerned about crowds spoiling your visit. The main photo that we have used above requires that you pass a closed gate with a 'no entry' sign and walk out along the edge of the port. The gate was unlocked when we visited so we could get passed it...
The principal attractions nearby are the charming resort of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and the Cap Ferrat peninsula. Note that on Cap Ferrat you can also visit the Villa Ephrussi, surrounded by garden and very different in style to Villa Kerylos, and also well worth visiting.
Map of Villa Kérylos and places nearby
Visit near Villa Kérylos with France This Way reviews
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild: remarkable garden
- Parc zoologique du Cap Ferrat: zoo or wildlife park
- Nice: secteur sauvegarde (5 km)
- Jardin botanique: remarkable garden (5 km)
- Tete de Chien: site of natural beauty (6 km)
- Cascade de Gairaut: site of natural beauty (7 km)
- Trophy of Augustus: national monument (7 km)
- Parc Phœnix: zoo or wildlife park (10 km)
- Sainte-Agnes: most beautiful village (15 km)
- Serre de la Madone: remarkable garden (16 km)
- La citronneraie: remarkable garden (16 km)
- Palais Carnolès: remarkable garden (16 km)
The French version of this page is at Villa Kérylos (Francais)