The most beautiful villas in Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat
Сrédits Photos Yann Vernerie. This small peninsula that starts from the town of Villefranche-sur-mer to get lost in the Mediterranean Sea is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after places on the French Riviera. It is here that we find unbelievable villas, the prices of which can sometimes be stratospheric. Nevertheless, the architecture of these exceptional residences reminds us that everything here is exceptional and unique in the world. There are even rumours that the most expensive square meters in the world are found in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Indeed, the prices for exceptional properties often reach the fateful bar of 200,000 euros. Obviously these stratospheric prices include the price of the park (the land itself), private access to the sea, swimming pools and other greenhouses or winter gardens.
The Villa Ephrussi, the most famous of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
This exceptional villa located on a peninsula of the French Riviera is one of the most beautiful residences in the Mediterranean basin. This is a small palace near the sea, which is located on a wooded ground featuring a large swimming pool and some privileged accesses to the sea.
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is sometimes called “Villa Île-de-France”. It is built in an inimitable style that oscillates between the colonialist style that can be found in Southeast Asia and the Italian Renaissance style, with Spanish accents. This villa alone embodies the French luxury that is traditionally found between Cannes, Antibes, Nice and Menton. In the center of the villa there is a huge covered patio that functions as a large skylight, somewhat resembling the great Ryads of the Middle East.
Concerning the construction of this extraordinary Mediterranean hermitage, we must go back to Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, to the very beginning of the 20th century. To build this house, Baroness de Rothschild called on no less than six architects. The result is splendid and this building is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villas in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Construction was launched between 1911 and 1912.
Address: 1 avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild / cadastral reference of the Villa: 1993 AB 45, 46
Villa Santo Sospir, a villa open to the public but which remains closed
If this villa is out of the ordinary, it is undoubtedly thanks to the prestigious guests and the artists who have been there. The greatest and most famous of them is none other than Pablo Picasso. Indeed some works of Picasso ended up there thanks to Francine Weisweiller. She is a great patron of the 20th century who became the owner of the place with her husband Alec in 1950. It was during a cruise in 1948 that the couple discovered the existence of this haven of peace from the sea. This is what will push them to buy one of the most beautiful villas on the coast. It is thanks to Madame Weisweiller that Jean Cocteau exercised his talents as “chief decorator” at the Villa Santo Sospir. Indeed the villa is embellished with many mosaics and many ornaments. So much so that one of the nicknames of this villa is none other than “Tattooed Villa”.
The short story of the tattooed villa
The famous Jean Cocteau had initially been invited for a period of six months at the Villa Santo Sospir. However, he quickly began to get bored. During his golden vacation and with the agreement of the owner of the place, he let his overflowing imagination take over. When he finally leaves, nearly 10 years later, the interior of the house will have been completely transformed. There are now large mosaic frescoes on the patio walls. However, on the wise advice of Matisse and then Picasso, Cocteau continued his business throughout the rest of the house. The walls of rooms, hallways, stairs and even doors are decorated. In the end, Cocteau will have left nearly 200 sketches. The Parisian artist liked to call these drawings as his tattoos. Inspired by this place, Jean Cocteau will even shoot a short film there. A film was simply titled “Villa Santo Sospir”.
Over time the villa, which will have seen the stars parade, is abandoned. Francine Weiweiller and Jean Cocteau lost touch. Madame Weisweiller lived there until her death in 2003. A certain Eric Marteau, the owner's private nurse man, became the caretaker of the Villa. It is from this period that it will be open to the public. However, over time, the daughter, Carole Weisweiller was forced to part with the premises in 2016. The residence was sold to the highest bidder because it could no longer bear the financial burden.
It was at this time that a Russian citizen, a certain Marina Mélia acquired it. His son took on the task of finding the best craftsmen to renovate it and open it again to the public in 2019. Something went wrong. Today, the villa is still being restored while waiting to find a new destiny. The house, which was to remain open to the public, is still under construction. The new owners were no longer interested in making their new acquisition available to everyone. In the press, they no longer hesitated to declare that they now wanted to avoid “ice cream cone” visits. It’s difficult to understand the logic of the investment and what will be the intentions of the owner of the premises. “It’s for me, for my mother. Santo Sospir will never be for sale again,” Ilya Melia told Le Figaro. (The indelible beauty of Santo Sospir, article dated March 22, 2018)
On the territory of this exceptional property, in addition to the villa, you will find a workshop, an artificial beach, a swimming pool, as well as a concierge.
The history of this villa dates back to the very beginning of the 1930s. The architect remains unknown to this day. Nevertheless, the sponsor of the Villa was a certain Martial Housez. The name of the villa came from the discovery of the old name of a cape found on a nautical chart dating from the 12th century.
Address: 14 avenue Jean Cocteau/cadastral references: 1986 AH 11, 12, 13
The Villa la Vigie
We owe this splendid villa to a certain Charles Bermond, an architect by trade. The sponsor was none other than Émile Fourneyron, a Lyon industrialist specializing in steel. Émile Crozet-Fourneyron was an influential man of the late 19th century and early 20th century. His friends were none other than Waldeck-Rousseau or Léon Gambetta. This small town in the south-east of France has always attracted the most influential people of the moment.
Today the heirs of Charles Bermond still occupy the premises. But it is evolved, the huge villa has now been divided into four large apartments following a restoration that would have taken place between 1950 and 1975.
As a reminder, the villa was built in 1898. It has the specificity of being oval in shape and that is what makes it so charming.
Villa la Vigie in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is built on three levels. Its roof terrace (the fourth floor) offers a fabulous and panoramic view of the surroundings.
Address: 24 avenue Denis Semeria, cadastral references: 1986, AB 151,156, 157, 216, 217, 219, 222
(Not to be confused with the Villa la Vigie in Antibes, nor that of the Côte d'Opale in Wissant)
Villa Maryland, one of the most beautiful villas in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
It was at the very beginning of the 20th century that a certain Arthur Wilson decided to build a sumptuous residence in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The sponsor was a British who was close to King Edward VII. The architects were Aaron Messiah (1858-1940, architect in Nice) and Harold Peto (1854-1933, British nationality)
Then an American was the master of the place. Indeed Paul Allen (1953-2018), co-founder of Microsoft, bought the villa, which he regularly reached by boat. Paul Allen was also the owner of the Octopus (2003), a 126 meter long yacht worth nearly 300 million euros.
One of the strong points of the villa is undoubtedly its Roman garden. Impeccable pergolas, paths and plantations punctuate the discovery of the place. This terraced garden has been remodeled at least twice to offer splendid exteriors. It must be said that the estate covers nearly four hectares.
Address: 42 avenue Denis Semeria, cadastral references: 1986, AB 106 107 108 109, 115, 116, 150
How many villas are there in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat?
There are approximately 600 villas in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat of which only 50 are particularly sought after and therefore practically inaccessible. Among this small pool of villas, all of them are classified as historical monuments.
Approach the world of villas in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Whether your project is to buy a villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat or whether your project is to live a dream vacation, now you have a possibility to approach the life of the privileged owners of this little piece of the French Riviera. Indeed, over time villas have been transformed into luxury hotels.
Among these exceptional places accessible to the general public, there is the villa Rose Pierre which is operated by the hotel chain Four Seasons. The only problem is that you have to rent the entire 550 square meters of the villa. You can find proposals to buy or rent villas at https://hermitagerivera.com