At Essential Sailing, we love the history, culture and cuisine of the places we visit almost as much as the sailing to get there. Our Captain’s Blog brings you a taste of what to expect from our luxury crewed sailing holidays around the French and Italian Riviera. In this blog we enjoy the finest Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on the French Riviera.

Sit back and be inspired.

The rose-pink, belle époque palace, the Île de France, owned by Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild is considered to be the finest on the French Riviera.

The flamboyant Béatrice, Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild (1864-1934) and daughter of the Bank of France’s director, was a woman of seemingly unlimited wealth who had a passion for travel and fine art. She created her dream villa here in 1912, in the glorious style of the great palaces of the Italian Renaissance, set in immaculate gardens. It took seven years to build and has sea views on all sides. She named the villa after a memorable voyage on an ocean liner, the Île de France, and designed the main garden in the shape of the ship’s deck with a Temple of Love on the bow. She even made her 35 gardeners dress as sailors.

The interior of the villa is lavishly decorated with rare furniture (including some pieces that once belonged to Marie Antoinette), set off by rich carpets, tapestries, and an eclectic collection of rare objects d’art, and one of the world’s most beautiful collections of Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain. Despite being filled with priceless works of art, the villa has retained the atmosphere of an occupied residence.

The villa is surrounded by delightful theme gardens such as Spanish, Florentine, stone, Japanese, exotic, Provençal and rose.

Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing and if you have been inspired to relax on a luxury sailing holiday, why not make this idyllic world your reality.

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