When Nice was in its infancy, the hills of the Côte d’Azur were where the poor people lived. The mountainous area with sharp cliffs was remote and without water.
Today, judging by the opulence of the towns that have sprung up, we wish we could be so lucky to live there.
Hills of the Côte d’Azur
The views on the drive out of Nice in our comfortable 20-passenger van gave the women of the Memories Tour 2019 a sampling of life on the Riviera as lived by the rich and famous. On one mountain is the chateau of Elton John. Another is the estate of Tina Turner. Imagine the neighborhood parties!
Our first stop was Eze, known as the “eagle’s nest” because of its lofty perch 427 meters (1,401 ft) above sea level. The adorable town, dotted with shops and cafes, was quite an uphill climb. The Jardin botanique d’Èze, with its gardens of succulents and cacti and its panoramic views of the Mediterranean, made it all worth the effort.
On to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild...
The lavish home of Charlotte Béatrice de Rothschild was built between 1905 and 1912 for the French banking heiress.
The rose-colored Venetian villa overlooking Cap Ferrat was a personal project of the Baroness. It is said she meticulously managed every aspect of construction, even though Aaron Messiah, architect of King Leopold of Belgium and designer of Villa Masséna in Nice, was in charge.
Gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Baroness Rothschild was a demanding client and a fanatic for detail. For example, when she imagined the villas’ nine gardens, she asked the gardeners to “pretend” they were trees and bushes. They would move around the garden as she directed her to create her fantasy of a perfect rose garden, a precise Japanese garden …
A most entertaining part of visiting the Rothschild Gardens is to see the fountains dance as classical music plays throughout the estate.
We’re having so much fun!
Next stop, Antibes.