Crazy Stories Behind Famous Villas
A true paradise, the Côte d’Azur is widely renowned as one of Earth’s most luxurious destinations. For decades the world’s elite has descended on the French Riviera, drawing inspiration from its mesmerizing Mediterranean views as much as they do from the royalty, diplomats, actors, artists and entrepreneurs that rub shoulders there.
The South of France has been a revolving door of the super-rich for more than century. As their fortunes rose, industrialists, princes, and bankers built palaces along the Mediterranean, and as they fell on hard times—first the Russian aristocracy, then Americans after the 1929 stock market crash, then much of the European upper class after World War II—they sold them to the world’s next crop of newly wealthy.
Below you’ll find a series of short teasers about the French Riviera villas that have the most incredible or crazy stories attached to them. Each links to another article with the full story and more photos.
Los Rolling Stones y Villa Nellcôte en Villefranche sur Mer
Built in 1899, this villa has gone down in history as a temple of rock’n’roll. The villa has a fascinating history, including a bit part in WW2. In 1971, Villa Nellcôte was the temporary residence of the Rolling Stones band members, rented by guitarist Keith Richards. Upstairs, a beautiful entourage socialized, often illicitly. In Nellcôte’s many-roomed basement, the Rolling Stones recorded material for what became their most storied album.
Aquí está la historia completa del libertinaje eso sucedió mientras los Rolling Stones estaban grabando en la villa, y quién es el dueño de la famosa villa ahora.
King Leopold’s Villas
King Leopold II was obsessed with the French Riviera. After a few years of secretive purchasing, the king of Belgium found himself the owner of the whole of the west side of the Cap Ferrat –more than 50 hectares– closing off the land from the public with barbed wire.
He purchased many properties along the French Riviera including the Villa Radiana, the Villa Ibéria which is next to Les Cèdres, and the Villa Léopolda, which he bought as a gift for his teenage (prostitute) mistress. Her conspicuous consumption made her world-famous, and they married when he was 74. She inherited great wealth when he died only 5 days later.
Here’s the full, crazy story about the villas, Leopold, and the teenage prostitute-mistress he gifted them to.
Le Lepolda in Villefranche-sur-Mer
Once owned by King Leopold II of Belgium, this villa was later owned by Lily Safra, a woman suspected of killing two of her four extremely wealthy husbands, who hosted lavish parties at the villa. The publisher John Fairchild later wrote about one of the Safra’s parties in his book Chic Savages and described the occasion as “the ultimate in conspicuous consumption.” The president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, and Prince Rainier III visited the Safra’s at the villa.
Lily and Edmond Safra’s story is one that’s almost too crazy to believe. Here’s the whole crazy story about La Leopolda, lavish parties, murder in a Monaco penthouse, and a deadly scandal.
Les Cèdres in Cap Ferrat
King Leopold II set his mistress up at Les Cèdres: a golden prison with panoramic sea views lost in the midst of luxuriant vegetation. Blanche spent her days at Les Cèdres alone, waiting for her royal lover who forbade her to go out or to receive other visitors.
The villa was later owned by another King, the Grand Marnier company, and then sold to a criminal Ukranian oligarch as he was being investigated for murder, for €200 million (it had been on the market for €1 billion).
Aquí está the full story about Les Cèdres and its criminal owners.
Sean Connery’s Villa Le Roc Fleuri in Nice
This villa was the longtime French Riviera home of actor Sean Connery. This six-story Belle Epoque villa (dating from 1928) is set in exquisite surroundings with views of the city of Nice and the sea. Connery purchased the mansion, known as Le Roc Fleuri, in 1970 and lived there for “a dozen or so years.”. It is still referred to as “Sean Connery’s house” by neighbors.
Connery was the first actor to portray James Bond, and this villa played a role in the actor’s final turn as James Bond, 1983’s Nunca digas nunca de nuevo, que rodó por toda Niza y en los vecinos Villefranche y Mónaco, incluso en la propia villa.
Verificar nuestro post sobre la famosa villa de Sean Connery para más detalles, video y muchas más fotos.
Villa Les Rose de Bono en Èze
Bono, el cantante principal de U2, adquirió la propiedad de lujo en Èze junto con el guitarrista principal de la banda allá por 1993. El costo rumoreado en ese momento era de solo 3,8 millones de euros, ya que necesitaba muchas renovaciones. Hoy en día valdría unos 20 millones de euros. La lujosa mansión rosada de cuatro pisos junto al mar se llama Villa Les Rose, y fue el sitio del video de la canción de U2 Electrical Storm.
Bono también es vecino de Adam Clayton (bajista de U2) y Larry Mullen Jr. (baterista de U2). Se unen a él en la villa para practicar en su estudio de grabación y descansar y ensayar entre conciertos. Según los informes, los fanáticos estaban grabando y filtrando algunas de sus pistas inéditas cuando se ponían demasiado ruidosas.
Echa un vistazo a nuestro guía de la vida y la villa de bono en y alrededor de Èze.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild en Cap Ferrat
Banking heiress Beatrice Rothschild had this villa built in 1905, to celebrate her divorce from her cheating, gambling, lying ex-husband (Maurice Ephrussi), and to accommodate her ever-growing art collection. She made it into a hub for art of all kinds: literary parties, music, gatherings of art collectors, and riveting conversation.
Decorated with the treasures of the baroness’s collections, it is now open for visits and events. More than 5000 works of art are displayed, together with an impressive collection of furniture, lamps and carpets. The villa is most famous for its nine themed gardens.
In a deeply sexist move, the villa was renamed from Béatrice’s chosen name of ‘Ile de France’ to ‘Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild’, by the French association she donated the villa to upon her death. Beatrice’s horrible ex-husband’s name was added before hers, forever entwining their history in the public eye and unjustly giving him credit for a villa he had nothing to do with — in fact, he had never set foot in it!
Verificar nuestra guía de la villa, la extraordinaria vida de Beatrice y cómo visitarla.
E-1027 y Le Corbusier en Cap Martín
E-1027 is the kind of house that by now we may have seen before, but which no one but Eileen Gray could have dreamed of in 1926. Without any clue that she was creating a masterpiece years ahead of its time — Gray oversaw every detail of construction of the house.
Enter Le Corbusier, who often visited Eileen Gray and her partner at her seaside idyll. Whether he was or was not threatened by her talent, most scholars agree that he was obsessed with Gray and her triumphant E-1027. So much so that in 1938, after the bisexual Gray split with her partner and returned to loving women, Le Corbusier, with the consent of her erstwhile partner, took it upon himself to paint—some say defile—the interior walls with eight garish murals depicting charged lesbian imagery. To add insult to injury, he took photos of himself doing so, wearing nothing but his trademark glasses.
When she heard about this brazen act of disrespect, Gray was horrified and vowed never to return. At E-1027, the drama turned to tragedy. During World War II, Nazi soldiers looted the house and used it for target practice. In 1996, its morphine-addicted owner was murdered there. The villa was abandoned and left for dead, battered from disrepair, appropriated by squatters, junkies and drifters. Until…
Lee la loca historia completa de la relación de Le Corbusier y Eileen Gray... y lo que ha sucedido con la propiedad desde entonces.
Las villas de Picasso
Pablo Picasso bought Villa La Californie in Cannes in 1955 and lived there with his last wife until 1961, when they abandoned it because another building was built that blocked his sea view. It was here that the Spanish artist created his masterpiece ‘The Bay of Cannes’. After Villa La Californie, Pablo Picasso and his wife bought another villa, this time in Mougins, where Picasso lived for 12 years, until his death in 1973 at age 91.
Aquí está la historia completa (y fotos) de las villas de Picasso, el tiempo en la Riviera, y la leyenda –y el lío– que dejó atrás.
Santo Sospir in Cap Ferrat
Heiress socialite Francine Weisweiller was one of the prettiest, wealthiest, and most stylish women in Paris. The haute-bohemian villa Santo Sospir was built shortly after the war and was purchased by Francine’s husband Alex in 1946, as a prize for surviving the war. Alex spent most of his time in Paris living with his mistress, so Francine lived in the villa alone, and passed the time by throwing lively parties filled with celebrities and royalty.
Her friends and lovers, Jean Cocteau and his young boyfriend, arrived for what was to be a few days, and wound up staying there on and off for twelve years while he completed other commissions, including St. Pierre Chapel. Cocteau designed the Cartier ring with three colors of gold as a symbol of their threesome. Together, they became addicted to opium, and Cocteau ended up tattooing nearly all of the walls of the villa.
Here is the full story of villa Santo Sospir and the crazy events that transpired there.
Le Grande Jardin on Ile St Marguerite
Le Grande Jardin is the only private residence on the Lerins Islands. In 2008, it was purchased (via a bank loan which he defaulted on) by the Indian business magnate known as the “King of Good Times”. Since then, he has become a fugitive and is the subject of an extradition effort by the Indian Government to return him from the UK to face charges of financial crimes in India. It’s now owned by a hotel group who is renovating it and turning it into a luxury hotel and event space.
Aquí está la historia completa de esta increíble propiedad y el estafador que lo compró.
La Fleur Du Cap / Place David Niven in Cap Ferrat
A magnificent piece of architecture in a vibrant shade of candy-pink, La Fleur Du Cap was built in 1880 by the son of an arms dealer. This villa has had many famous occupants, including King Leopold III of Belgium, and his successor and nephew of Léopold II. It was then purchased by David Niven, the famous actor. Since at least 1999, it has been home to the parents of New Zealand-born billionaires who bought the house for their mom, as a gift in a heart-warming fairy-tale story.
Aquí está la historia completa de esta villa, las fiestas que se ven y las personas que lo han tenido.
Castillo de Napoule en l'Esterel
El castillo de la Napoule fue construido en el siglo XIV por la condesa de Villeneuve. A lo largo de los siglos fue reconstruida varias veces. En el siglo XIX se convirtió en una fábrica de vidrio. En 1918, fue comprado por el fideicomisario estadounidense Henry Clews Jr., quien lo renovó con su propio estilo único.
Los Clews rara vez abandonaban el mundo de cuento de hadas que crearon en este castillo. Henry diseñó trajes de época medieval, no solo para él y su esposa Marie, sino también para las criadas y el mayordomo senegalés, que usaban todos los días. Llenaron el castillo y el jardín con pavos reales, flamencos y otras aves exóticas, y organizaron elaboradas fiestas para la sociedad europea y los expatriados estadounidenses. Les encantaba organizar cenas dramáticas y elaboradas que, para los desconcertados invitados, parecían sacadas directamente de una película de Hollywood.
Aquí está the full, decadent story.
La Mauresque en Cap Ferrat
Around 1900, the former missionary and chaplain to Belgum’s King Leopold II, Félix Charmettant, purchased a parcel of land on Cap Ferrat and had this villa constructed. In 1927, British novelist Somerset Maugham (who famously called the French Riviera a “sunny place for shady people” —a prescient remark, given the villa’s recent history) purchased the property. He was the wealthiest author of his time.
Rodeada de jardines y terrazas, esta villa ha recibido una larga lista de escritores y celebridades. La alta sociedad de la Riviera consideró que una invitación a la mansión de Somerset Maughaum en el Cap fue todo un golpe, y un flujo constante de luminarias vino a visitarla. Sus hazañas en esta villa están grabadas en la historia.
Desde entonces, Dmytro Firtash, un oligarca ucraniano con estrechos vínculos con Vladimir Putin, ha comprado la villa.
Aquí está el llenoyo, increíble historia de esta villa y sus únicos dueños.
Palacio de la burbuja de Pierre Cardin en Théoule-sur-Mer
Less of a crazy story and more of a crazy property, the Palais Bulles (“Bubble Palace”) was owned by Pierre Cardin, the Italian-born French fashion designer. He became the second owner of the house after the first died during construction. Over the years, Bubble Palace has hosted many swanky parties and events; MTV hosted James Bond’s birthday party, Dior held a fashion show, and Assouline published a book replete with beautiful pictures from the mansion and estate.
aqui mas fotos y detalles sobre este palacio loco.
Villa Les Camelias en Cap d'Ail
No longer a private residence, this villa now a museum that It gives the public the opportunity to explore the Cap d’Ail archives – from the time the town’s incorporation in 1908 and throughout the 20el century.
Les Camélias’ mesmerizing garden level is dedicated entirely to the history of Cap d’Ail. Photos and other exhibits recall the lives of the people who lived in Cap d’Ail: most of the locals were Italian émigrés, but the international gentry wintered here too, followed by many celebrities from the world of arts, politics, and literature.
The museum tells us about the town’s “hôtels de passe” (short-stay brothels). At the well-known “Loup Blanc” sexual services were paid for using tokens stamped “bon pour le paradis”, meaning “ticket to paradise”.