Villa Ile-de-France, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
With the development of the railway, the French Riviera had become popular with European high society, and Béatrice Ephrussi (née de Rothschild) built or renovated no less than four houses along the coast.
The most impressive of these was the villa Ile-de-France designed by Aaron Messiah, a local architect. Between 1905 and 1912 Béatrice worked closely with the architect to produce a partly Italianate, partly Spanish villa with a pink and white façade and red pantiles. Each room was arranged specifically to show off her collection of objets d’art to their best advantage. The drawing-room was Louis XV style and the dining-room was Gothic, while all the other rooms were Regency. The gardens surrounding the house were particularly beautiful, and were laid in varying styles to include a Spanish, Florentine, stone, Japanese, English and French garden. However, the overall effect was more of a museum than a domestic house, and Béatrice rarely lived there.
When Béatrice died in 1934, she left the house complete with contents and gardens to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. It is now a museum and may be visited by the public.Return to Estates listing