This Spring began for me, along the Mediterranean coast. I was few days in Nice and went to visit a jewel of the “Belle époque”. Situated on the presqu’ile of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat you find the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild which is a nice attraction for both the villa and the gardens.
In the 30’s the baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild decided to built a villa in the Italian renaissance style. She had a passion for travelling and was a fine art collector. Her villa was a place to put her collections and the garden was designed in nine thematic areas linked to travelling.
On the top of the hill the garden and villa offer a splendid view of the sea surrounding the cape. The grounds are on a North-South axe and the seven of the nine gardens are on the west side: the Sevres garden, close to the building, inspired by the Porcelain factory of Sévres.
A Spanish garden and its Andalusian inspiration, with arcades and colons as well the
the essential water.
The third garden is the Florentine garden. Composed of statues, stairs, and pergolas hidden by a climbing rose.
From the Italian garden the stone and Japanese gardens begin with a traditional stone bed ophiopogon and bamboo. The Japanese maples complete the atmosphere.
The exotic garden with succulents and cactees is amazing with a mix of plants from America, South Africa and Asia. The red flowers of the Aloe give a warm colour and the banana tree emphasise the exotic ambience.
The length of the gardens ends in the rose garden and its temple of love situated opposite side of the villa. The garden is terraced and from the temple offers a view of splendid cascades of roses when they are flowering.
On the east facing side and the highest point in the villa gardens there is the Provençal garden and a woody area with a small Temple from where a stream flows down to the large basin of the French garden in front of the villa.
The French garden is organized along a central axe made by a path and basin dividing the area in symmetrical parts. The beds are made by lawn surrounding by frames,
sandy paths or annual flowers. A belt of round boxes frame the first lawn and the second lawns have fountains in their middle and cordylines or palm trees in the corners.
The musical fountains give you the sensation of walking through Versailles while Louis XIV is giving a fête grandiose.
For more information about the villa and the gardens : http://www.villa-ephrussi.com
Words and photographs : Maxime Carton