Monday, September 23, 2013

Ephrussi - Rothschild Mansion

Before you visit the mansion, visit the website:  www.villa-ephrussi.com
A visit to the Ephrussi - Rothschild Mansion located in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, was a must on our list of things to do.  We arrived by bus from Nice, about a 30 minute ride.  The estate is situated on a hilltop to take advantage of the wonderful views to the sea and the mountains.  Walking up to the front, it doesn't appear to be especially large, but looks can be deceiving.

The entrance to the gift shop where one purchases tickets.  The mansion doesn't appear to be that big.
Madame Ephrussi was a member of one of the wealthiest families in Europe when she married the much older M Rothschild.  She is the one responsible for the style, design and decoration of the house and garden, as M Rothschild died.  I would guess pink was a favorite color.

The main entry

The house is built around this main courtyard with natural lighting filtering through skylights in the attic.

The Main Parlor

A collection of clocks.

As in all these mansions, don't get so distracted that you for get to look up!
The public rooms are as expected, large, lavish, with uncomfortable, but stylish, furniture.  Obviously, no expense was spared to impress visitors.  Gilt is everywhere; edging the seating units, wrapping around the columns, highlighting the paintings on the ceiling.   These rooms have floor to ceiling windows that open to the seabreeze and the views.  Doors open to a terrace for alfesco drinks.

Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild's personal quarters, with her writing desk.

The furniture is a smaller scale as befits a smaller lady.  The two little chairs were for her dogs to sit upon.

Her collection of beautiful gowns.

There are several glass cases full of china plates, teacups, teapots; some match, others are one of a kind.  This is a close up of one of the designs Bill thought was pretty.

A collection of porcelain Monkeys dressed as humans.  There are muscians, dancers, and a gentleman with a wig!
Leaving the private quarters, we wander out onto the upper level of the entry area.  The arches have a large walkway and then a narrow one which is not easily accessible, presumably for maintenance.  We couldn't help but think this would be a wonderful place to be a child playing hide and seek.  While there were no children born to the Euphrussi - Rothschilds, there were several neices and nephews, so maybe.....

Beautiful from every window.

Upper tier of the entry way.

The door from a Chinese temple collected at her request.

The double spaces around the mezzanine.

This covered area, just off her bedroom, overlooks the beautiful gardens to the rear of the house.
When Madam Ephrussi - Rothschild was older, realizing that none of her heirs had need of the house, and probably wouldn't enjoy it's old fashioned style, she left it to France, with money to help with the maintenance.  During WWII, many of her family members were killed in the concentration camps.  An interesting book on the Ephrussi family which you might enjoy, The Hare with the Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal.

This beautiful carvied ceiling in the Ephrussi - Rothschild Mansion says simply, "Peace".

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