Private Rothschild Foundation and Villa Kérylos
Departing from the pier you will drive along the Corniche to the exclusive Cap Ferrat peninsula where you will visit the Rothschild Foundation. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a seaside palazzo constructed in 1912 by the Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild. A member of the Rothschild banking family and the wife of the wealthy Russian banker Baron de Ephrussi, Beatrice de Rothschild built her rose-colored villa on a promontory on the isthmus of Cap Ferrat. The Baroness filled the mansion with antique furniture, Old Master paintings, sculptures, objets d'art, and assembled an extensive collection of rare porcelain. On her death in 1934, the Baroness gifted the property and its collections to the Academie des Beaux-Arts. Today, several of the main floor rooms and salons are open for you to admire. Here you will see furniture from the middle ages, the Renaissance and 18th century, which was the Baroness's favourite period. You will also be able to view pieces from her outstanding collection of French and German porcelain from Sevres, Vincennes, and Meissen. The gardens are classified by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France. There are nine gardens, each with a different theme: Florentine, Spanish, French, exotic, a stone garden, a Japanese garden, a rose garden and a garden de Sevres, with porcelain decorations. The garden was conceived in the form of a ship, to be viewed from the loggia of the house, which was like the bridge of a vessel, with the sea visible on all sides. It was inspired by a voyage she made on the liner Ile-de-France, and the villa was given that name. The thirty gardeners who maintained the garden were dressed as sailors, with berets with red pom poms.
A short drive takes you to nearby Beaulieu-sur-Mer, where French archaeologist Theodore Reinach, a relative by marriage to the Baroness de Rothschild, built his Villa Kerylos in the early 1900s. The design is based on an Athenian villa built in the 2nd century B.C. on the Island of Delos. The arrangement of the rooms, the stylistic details of the decor with its wall paintings and furniture, the beautiful garden and numerous views of the Mediterranean Sea lead you back to ancient Greece. The property was gifted to the Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1928 and is now a museum. After your tour of several of the rooms on the main floor, you will rejoin your transportation for the drive back to the pier.