|Cap Ferrat à Pied?|
|Baie des Fourmis|
|The Ephrussi Palace|
The Ephrussi Palace
If the Cap is an ear-ring, its jewel is without doubt the Ephrussi Palace - or, to give it its full name, the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa and Gardens.
Built for the Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi, daughter of multi-millionaire banker Baron de Rothschild during the Belle Epoque, it is now a museum housing the Baroness's art collection, but it still has the feel of a residence. And if the architecture is a jumble of Italian Renaissance, Gothic, and Romanesque, the end result is harmony.
Note from the editor:
After receiving Ted Jones' piece about Cap Ferrat, Nigel and I couldn't resist doing the walk ourselves a few days later. This is a delightful walk, made more so by the beautiful views across the bays and surrounding lush aromatic mediterreanen flora. As a byline - the Ephrussi Palace only has 60 parking spaces so, if you are going by car, you may want to avoid visiting this incredible place during the very height of the tourist season.
Inside, overlooked by a gallery, supported by pillars of pink Verona marble, is a covered patio from which lead off six opulently-furnished rooms - one of them a Salon de Thé - containing such treasures as Gobelins tapestries, eighteenth-century paintings and Sèvres porcelain.
From its 4 hectare (10-acre) perch astride the narrowest part of the Cap, with the blue Mediterranean lapping its two shores, the impression of being on the bridge of an ocean liner is so strong that it is no surprise to learn that the Baroness named her folly 'Ile de France' and dressed up her 34 gardeners in sailor suits.
The gardens they created are a horticultural and architectural world tour, its seven contrasting themes ranging from formal French and sculptured Japanese to marble Florentine loggias, Moorish grottos and the informal aloes and olive trees of Provence. (The Provençal section owes its authenticity to the fact that the Baroness ran out of money, so had to leave it as it was.)