Built on a rocky promontory, high above the Bays of Villefranche and Beaulieu-sur-Mer, the awe-inspiring Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its nine themed gardens offer one of the best views in the French Riviera. While , owned several magnificent villas in the South of France, she is best known for the “pink palace” on the hill.
The Baroness was a passionate collector as reflected in her former home. She had a keen eye for design, and with a bottomless pocketbook, created a luxurious haven filled with priceless antiques. Here you’ll find a Savonnerie carpet made for Louis XV, an endless display of paintings by the great masters, porcelain from the Royal Manufactory of Sèvres, and so much more.
You’ll also find a Tea Salon-Restaurant in Béatrice’s former dining room which overlooks the Bay of Villefranche. It’s sumptuous, elegant, and fit for royalty. Of course, there’s a pea gravel terrace, and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat’s ideal weather begs you to enjoy a meal there, seated under the manicured orange trees.
Location: 1 Ave Ephrussi de Rothschild, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. Look up; you’ll spot the splendid pink villa easily.
Find Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat hotel reviews at rates at TripAdvisor here.
Menu: The Tea Salon-Restaurant serves a variety of elegant dishes. There’s an emphasis on beautifully created salads that are book worthy. For example, The Weigelia is a mixed salad with potatoes, smoked salmon marinated in dill, accompanied by a vegetable flan. While The Hortensia combines mixed greens with green beans, foie gras, caramelized onions, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. On the side, gingerbread toast with red onion chutney. One word. Imaginative.
Naturally, you’ll find a quiche with salad, and a plat du jour. If you’re in search of a sugar fix, look no further. There’s an extensive selection of pastries, ice cream, and sorbets to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The beverage list is impressive; you name it, they serve it.
Thoughts: I jumped for joy when the invitation was extended to visit the villa and gardens. Lunch was on my own, and I knew where I would eat; the villa’s own Tea Salon-Restaurant. I couldn’t pass on an opportunity to dine with history.
With temperatures in the 70s and brilliant sunshine, I chose a small shady table on the terrace. Although busy, it was intimate and would be a delightful spot for Valentine’s Day lunch.
My waitress quickly brought a carafe of water, and a basket of warm bread along with the menu. Glancing around, every plate in sight looked delicious; this was not going to be easy. I finally chose a dish from Les Plats; quiche of the day, mixed green salad, and of course, the requisite glass of wine.
The waitstaff was attentive; keeping a close eye on each table. If a water carafe needed refilling or an ashtray needed replacing, they were on top of it. Five-star service without the five-star price tag.
My personal size quiche was filled with crispy bacon, ham, and cheese, and cooked to perfection, Quite often the bottom is soggy; I was delighted to see this was not the case. The mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes was liberally covered with shaved Parmesan cheese and dressed with a light vinaigrette. I’d call this a delicious quintessential French lunch; perfect for a jam-packed afternoon.
My lunch was €23 or $26US.
Note: Allow plenty of time to view the musical fountains and gardens. The staff recommends touring the villa first, dine, then head out to visit the gardens.
Price Range: Salads €18-22, and Les Plats €16-20. Plat de jour with dessert is €23-27. Desserts are €10-4. Hot, and cold beverages are €3-6. Infusions, teas, and Tisanes are €5. Wine by the glass ranges from €7-13. Apéritifs are €7-20.
As hopeless Francophiles, she and her husband are planning to move to France; spring 2019.
Barb's articles have appeared in a variety of publications including The Good Life France Magazine, International Living, Fund Your Life Overseas, and more.
She's a member of The International Travel Writers Alliance (ITWA).
Visit her blog at; Chasingthenextchapter.com
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