by BobP

Since Globe Bleu opened its satellite office in the Cote d’Azur this April, we have been exploring the region more intensively. 

There are three routes à corniche or “roads on a ledge” along the French Riviera – la basse corniche – close to the water’s edge where you can visit lovely seaside villages such as VilleFranche, Saint Jean de Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu, la moyenne corniche – mid mountain – where towns like Eze are situated and la grande corniche – way up in the hills – which affords spectacular views of the coast from Nice to Monaco.

Many private villas lie along the serpentine roads leading from the basse and moyenne corniches. Along the coast, two of our favorite properties are the Greek-style Villa Kerylos in the chic town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and the pink Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in the terribly exclusive cape at St Jean. 

Villa Kerylos – this Grecian villa  is one of the most extraordinary sites on the French Riviera. It was built in the early 1900s, in the period the French call the “Belle Epoque”, and is a unique and extremely luxurious re-creation of an ancient Grecian dwelling, complete with wall decorations and furniture. It stands as the tribute to Greek civilisation of two great enthusiasts for Ancient Greece : Theodore Reinach, an archaeologist and patron of the arts, and Emmanuel Pontremoli, an inspired architect. Based on the design of noble houses built in the 2nd century B.C. on the Island of Delos, the Villa Kerylos invites visitors to step right back into Ancient Greece. Everything inside, from the arrangement of rooms to the stylistic details of the décor, was designed to recreate the atmosphere of a luxurious Grecian villa.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – built on the narrowest part of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat promontory, this sumptuous palazzo, one of the finest listed buildings on the French Riviera, has views over the Bay of Villefranche on one side and the Bay of Beaulieu on the other. It was in 1905 that Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild chose this spot to build her personal “folly” inspired by the great Renaissance palaces of Venice and Florence. The Villa is set among nine magnificent themed gardens. Today, Villa Ephrussi is the only great house open to the public on the Riviera to give some idea of the magnificent summer residences built by the very wealthy during the Belle Epoque.  A particularly enjoyable lunch or afternoon tea is served in the conservatory (all seasons) and adjacent garden (summer months).

GlobeBleu offers day tours and shore excursions from Monaco, Villefranche and Nice featuring the Villas & Corniche of the Riviera.  For more information, view our website and contact your travel agent.

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