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Life.Style Journal

Interior design inspiration in the South of France

13 Jan 2020

If you are looking for interior design inspiration for your Riviera home, it might help to know that there are three distinctive styles which characterise…

If you are looking for interior design inspiration for your Riviera home, it might help to know that there are three distinctive styles which characterise interior design in the South of France. Firstly, there is Neo-classical, where the colour palette mimics the coastal beauty of the French Riviera. This means an array of blues and pale greys. The walls are dressed with period light fittings and classic artwork, and furniture is usually antique of either dark ebony or mahogany.

Defining French Riviera style

Secondly, Contemporary style interiors can be found throughout the apartments and penthouses at Parc du Cap. For instance, this minimalist interior style includes windows letting in natural sunlight and allowing sea and mountain views to take centre stage. White is the predominant colour, providing a spacious, clean feel. This is accentuated by mirrored or glass tables. Elsewhere, warm creams and pastel coloured stone make up the floors and bathrooms. 

Mediterranean influences

Thirdly, there is Mediterranean style which is also characteristic of Southern France. This rustic and charming style utilises a neutral palette. This means earthy tones of terracotta, deep coffee and splashes of gold, contrasted with white walls, exposed stonework and tiled flooring. Furthermore, the key to this style is statement furniture, such as large dining room tables and four poster beds in darker woods. Take a look at our six spacious apartments at Les Oliviers to explore this style further.      

Exploring interiors on the Côte d’Azur

Beyond the beauty of your own home, there are many impressive houses to visit on the French Riviera. Whether you enjoy marvelling at spectacular architecture or are inspired by outstanding design, we share our top three in the surrounding area.

1. Villa E-1027, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

1 hours’ drive from Parc du Cap

In 1929 Irish architect Eileen Gray completed Villa E-1027, a pioneering architectural work of the modern movement. Perched above the rocky coastline on the Côte d’Azur, the entire composition of the house was based on Gray’s studies of wind and sun.

Gray talked of creating “a dwelling as a living organism” serving “the atmosphere required by inner life”. As a result, she designed several pieces of furniture for the house, always maintaining close attention to their interaction with the senses. For example, pieces include a tea trolley with a cork surface to reduce the rattling of cups, and the E1027 table whose height is adjustable to suit different situations. Moreover, Gray carefully positioned the fireplace next to large glass doors so that firelight and natural light could be seen at once.

After Eileen Gray moved out of the villa in 1932, Swiss-French architect and painter Le Corbusier spent time there throughout the late 1930s. During his visits, Le Corbusier painted a series of vibrant murals on the walls of the villa. Consequently, the house was listed as a UNESCO heritage site and it opens to pre-booked guided tours through Cap Moderne.

2. Villa Kérylos, Beaulieu-sur-Mer

50 minutes’ drive from Parc du Cap  

In the early 1900s, French archaeologist Theodore Reinach built a unique home on the French Riviera. The style is both in keeping with the modern-day Belle Epoque and plays homage to the ancient world. Most importantly, Reinach specifically chose a location which he felt provided a similar feeling to that of coastal Greek temples. He then drew on architecture, interior design and art influences from Rome, Pompeii and Egypt to create the Villa Kérylos.

Reinach used precious materials in constructing the villa. These included ancient stucco, Carrara marble and exotic wood for the furniture. In addition, he created mosaics and frescoes inspired by famous scenes, illustrating the great legends of gods and classic heroes. Upon his death in 1928, Reinach bequeathed the property to the Institut de France. The house is now listed as a historical monument is open to the public all year-round.

3. Villa Noailles, Hyères

1.5 hours’ drive from Parc du Cap

Villa Noailles was one of the first modernist residences in France, designed in 1923 for Charles et Marie-Laure de Noailles, patrons of the arts. The villa was an early work of influential French architect and designer Robert Mallet-Stevens, and includes a cubist garden designed by Armenian architect, Gabriel Guevrekian. Today, free guided tours run throughout the year as well as regular exhibitions on and festivals and workshops about fashion, design, architecture and photography. Furthermore, the permanent exhibition demonstrates the history of the villa and previous owners through a collection of furniture and artworks. You can view works from Dalì, Man Ray, Cocteau and Buñuel, spanning the 1920s through to the 1960s,

If you are more interested in art than interior design, click here to learn more about the artists who were inspired to make the French Riviera home.

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