12 Jan Villa Kérylos
Two passionate masterminds behind two grand projects of two extraordinary villas and there gardens, two dreamers with fascinating life stories, two prominent addresses, Beaulieu sur Mer and Cap Ferrat…
Today, although Cap Ferrat is said to be some of the most expensive real estate in the world (Beaulieu sur Mer is slightly cheaper), most of its grand homes are hidden away behind high walls.
Only two mansions in this area are opened to the public; Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and Villa Kérylos and the good news is, they are within a walking distance from each other!
History fans, Greek mythology buffs, Belle Époque and Renaissance admirers, architects, horticulturalists, or simply lovers of pretty things, whoever you are and whatever your budget is, put the visit of these villas on your itinerary while on French Riviera.
Rue Gustave Eiffel, 06310 Beaulieu sur Mer, Tel: 04 93 01 01 44, www.villakerylos.fr
History of Villa Kérylos
A passion for archeology and Ancient Greece lead its creator Théodor Reinach to the idea of building a perfect reconstruction of a noble villa from the Greek island of Delos from the 2nd century BC.
Théodor Reinach, born in 1860, was from a very wealthy French – Jewish family and a man of many talents since he was a child. He became a politician, lawyer, archaeologist, mathematician, numismatics and pretty much, anything he put his mind and heart in, he had always succeeded in.
It was no different when Théodor decided to purchase a very scenic plot of land called Pointe des Fourmis (Cape of Ants) in Beaulieu sur Mer. He hired a Niçoise architect and another archeology enthusiast Emmanuel Pontremoli to help him create his ideal home and since money was never an issue, the villa was built in 6 years (between 1902 – 1908). The name Kérylos means ‘sea swallow’, a poetic bird from Greek mythology which announced a good omen.
Théodor lived there till his death in 1928 with his second wife Fanny Khan, who was related to Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild. This is where Béatrice got her inspiration for building her mansion in nearby Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.
When Reinach died in 1928, he bequeathed the villa to Institut de France and his son Léon and his wife became keepers of archives at Villa Kérylos. Following the German occupation of France during the Second World War, the house was seized by the Natzis and Léon and his family was sent to a concentration camp in Auschwitz where they were murdered.
After the war other Reinach children and grandchildren lived in the villa until 1967.
By Hélène Grenier, from Wikimedia Commons
Villa Kérylos Today
The two floor villa is spread around a spacious courtyard with 12 columns in Carrara marble. The state rooms on the ground floor and bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs are furnished with the most precious materials and decorated in a lavish style. Mosaics, frescoes, sculptures and other art from Greek mythology make the villa as authentic as possible.
The most sumptuous is Théodor’s library, living room and private bedrooms of the couple. Mrs Reinach’s is themed on Hera, Greek goddess of marriage and family (but also known for her jealousy) while Mr Reinach’s includes wall paintings of Eros – a god of love and sexual attraction.
The bathing area, all in marble, resembles a typical Greek style bath where water used to be piped through holes in the middle of a hot tub just like a hot spring.
The gardens are not as big and lush as those of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild but well worth to take a walk around as they offer some splendid views and photographic opportunities.
January – April / September – December 10.00 – 17.00
May – August 10.00 – 19.00
Closed 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November, 25th December
Adult €11.50, under 18 years old go for free.
If arriving by TER train to Beaulieu sur Mer, present your train ticket to obtain a discounted fare €9.
There is a possibility to buy a joined ticket for Villa Kérylos and Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild for €20 (you have up to a month to visit the second villa).
With TER train discount you only pay €15.50 for the two tickets (you have up to a week to visit the second villa).
Free to visit 1st Sunday of month between November and March.
Free self guided tour
A free audio guide explaining each point of interest is included in a price of your ticket.
How to get there
If you decide to take a bus, you have two options. Bus number 81 leaving from bus stop called ‘Promenades des Arts’ located at the back entrance of grocery store Monoprix near Place Garibaldi. The bus takes about 25 minutes and you hop off at the bus stop called Kerylos. Alternatively you can take a bus number 100 direction to Menton from the Port and hop off at the same stop.
If you decide to go by train, take a TER train from any of the Nice train stations and get out at Beaulieu sur Mer. The villa is about 10 minutes walk from the train station.
If arriving by car, you can use a paid public parking ‘Parking de la Batterie’ next to the Town Hall. Paid hours are 9.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 18.00, free on Sundays. Tariff for parking is €1.40 per hour.