It seems to have taken me ages to get my Nice Blog done! I think it's the combination of a new job (well a job move) and decorating that has held me back. But anyway here's the last instalment of my Nice blog, hope you enjoy it.
|Deb and Me Enjoying our Champagne Lunch|
The Italianate-style Villa, built by Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild between 1907 and 1912, is a sea of pinkness and white on the outside set in fantastic gardens. But first, before looking round, we decided to go into the Tea Room as we were hungry and I'd heard the food was lovely there. It was an almost circular room with huge windows that looked out over the bay of Villefranche or the patio shaded by orange trees. The walls were a peachy colour and there was ornate stucco and woodwork, the floor had beautiful mosaic on it and the chairs were golden! Apparently this was where Beatrice had her dining room.
After that we took the audio tour around the house. I enjoyed the tour as you could get really close to everything and go at your own pace. Beatrice was part of the megarich Rothschild family and she married a rich banker called Maurice Ephrussi. The marriage did not go well as Ephrussi was a gambler and amassed huge debts. After 21 years of marriage they parted, there were no children. It was after this that Beatrice started building the Villa which became her winter home from 1912. In 1933 a year before she died she bequeathed the Villa and all her collections to the Academie des Beaux-Arts.
The tour started in the patio, which wasn't a patio as we understand it, it was a large, square colonnaded area with a gallery running round the first floor level. The ceiling of the column's arches were painted with designs inspired by a Venetian palazzo. Beatrice often held grand concerts in this area.
Also on the ground floor are Beatrice's apartments. I found her bedroom touching as it felt quite personal with family photos on the table and one of her dresses lying over a chair - she must have been a small woman! There was a large Venetian bed with silk bed linen facing a huge rounded opposite window that looked out over the Bay of Villefranche, what a view to see from your bed!
|Another View of the Bedroom Showing the Tiny Chairs|
In the bedroom amongst the chairs there are two very small chairs, miniature versions of the full-sized ones. These were for Beatrice's pet dogs and mongoose. She seemed to be a bit eccentric and always had lots of animals around her. Once she had a sumptuous wedding for two of her favourite dogs with the animals dressed as bride and groom and guests and their dogs had to also come suitably attired! Seems pampering and treating pets as humans is not a new phenomenon! True to her memory, animals still lived in the Villa, there were large cages with budgerigars in the patio area.
The rest of the rooms were primarily filled with her extensive collections from all around the world. Rooms full of Meissen and Sevres porcelain, Louis XVI furniture, Chinese articles, works by Fragonard, priceless tapestries to name just a few of the collections. There was a lot to see and but I still wondered what was in all those rooms not open to the public that we passed by on the tour.
|The View of the Formal Garden to the Villa|
We were there for ages, but it was informative and fascinating, and also not too busy which meant you could wander parts of the garden without others being around which I liked. If you would like to read more about the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild visit its website here
We got the bus home and I think the driver must have been finishing his shift as he careered around the tight bends and stopped for the minimum times to pick up or drop off! I spent most of the trip hanging on for dear life lol!
That night was the last Debbi and I would have together in Nice. Her airline (we travelled separately) had cancelled Saturday's flight and she had to go home either the Friday or Sunday, she reluctantly went for the Friday so lost a day of her holiday. We'd done well with our money (Nice is not at all as expensive as they say) and decided to treat ourselves to a meal at the swanky Les Pecheurs close to our apartment. But we found it was fully booked, we'll know for next time! We decided to check out places on the way to our little favourite, Le Barbecue in the Old Town, and if we found nothing we fancied we'd stop and eat there. As it was we did end up there once more and had a delicious, good value meal and the best wine we'd had in Nice (and I'm sorry French people, it was Portuguese!)
Up early to see Debbi off, it felt really strange to see her walking away and I felt a bit "lost" for a while. But I was determined to make the most of my last full day and first went out to the local patisserie for a baguette, croissant and raspberry cake. Whilst having breakfast ship's horns, hooters, whistles etc started going off in the Port, no idea why, it went on for about two minutes. I later realised that it was probably to welcome a cruise ship that I later saw moored there.
After breakfast I walked up to Place Garibaldi, bought a Chantilly Meringue in Serain Cappa for later and then walked into the Old Town. I pottered around the shops, bought a few last things. I then walked through to the Promenade des Anglais by the sea. It was a lovely day and a breeze from the sea made it not too hot for me. I walked round Castel Hill, past the beautiful War Memorial cut into the rock of the hill and on to the Port. It all looked so lovely glimmering in the sunlight.
And that was about it for my holiday too. I had the trip from hell home next day, but I won't bore you with all those details here! When we were in Nice three years ago we saw a U2 360 gig so that's one day used up for that and then we were in bed much of the next day as we stayed up so late, so that's two days not devoted to Nice. This time I felt I really got to know the place much better and was able to really enjoy and savour it's many delights. I know I'll be back!
|One of the Many Delights of Nice|