Villa Ephrusi de Rothschild

French Garden
French Garden

Be sure to see both the video and photo gallery below.  This garden has been on my list for many years.  I’d traveled to Nice on both business and pleasure and it was after one of these trips that I’d read about the gardens at the nearby Villa.  This garden is also tied to the history of a woman, Béatrice de Rothschild.  She was not officially royalty; the day when kings and queens ruled Europe was over; but all of the elements were there.  Disparities of income; excesses of the rich.  A single woman after her separation from her bankrupt banker husband, she raced horses and flew airplanes.  She must have had a considerable amount of spunk.

The garden was built in the first decade of the 1900s on a rocky, windswept promotory.  According to the Villa’s web site.  In a manner much like the garden designers for kings, they dynamited the rocks that were in the way and brought in enormous quantities of earth to create flat spaces for gardening.  If you visit, be sure to use the free audio tours to learn more about this woman and her times.  The pink, birthday-cake of a villa holds world-class museum collections of porcelin and art, among other things.

This garden also has themed spaces; the French garden forms a classic vista on the top of the hill, from the vila to a belvedere in the distance.  The reflecting pools between the rough formed water feature at the end of the garden play fountains, coreographed to music in the best Las Vegas fashion.  The other gardens play down the hill, below the French garden and as I wandered through them, I would hear a new piece of music play for the fountains and wonder, what are the fountains doing with that?  This short video shows the transition from the water feature where it drops from the level of the belvedere.[wpvideo YttGZv9u]

The desk person at my hotel in Bealieu sur Mer told me that I could walk to the gardens.  The benefit of adding a few miles of walking to my day in the garden was a wonderful pedestrian-only cliff walk, along the edge of the ocean, most of the way to the gardens.The phot gallery starts there. [oqeygallery id=27]

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