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Life.Style Journal

Glorious gardens of the French Riviera

12 Apr 2021

The Côte d’Azur is a true paradise for both flora and fauna enthusiasts and those who just love the outdoors. Here at Parc du Cap,…

The Côte d’Azur is a true paradise for both flora and fauna enthusiasts and those who just love the outdoors. Here at Parc du Cap, we are lucky to have access to our own wonderful grounds. Residents can enjoy approximately 5000m2 of private, beautifully landscaped gardens. Scented with colourful plants and exotic trees, the outdoor space here makes for the perfect retreat for relaxation.

In addition, the area surrounding Parc du Cap boasts around 80 gardens and parks open to the public. Each and every one is well worth a visit, offering opportunities to plunge into the colours and aromas of Provence. From Antibes to Cagnes-sur-Mer, Gourdon to Grasse and Nice to Beaulieu, there is a wealth of styles to satisfy everyone. This blog explores a handful of our favourite gardens which are a stone’s throw from your Parc du Cap home.

Les Jardins Eilenroc

Set 30 metres above the sea, this 19th century mansion and gardens have exceptional views across the Bay of Antibes. The property symbolises the luxury and glamour of the ‘Belle Époque’ – or ‘beautiful age’. It has been nurtured and enjoyed by many international owners from both Europe to the United States. And each has left their mark in this stunning 27-acre garden. Acquiring the villa in 1927, the last owners Mr and Mrs Beaumont brought the gardens back to their former glory. The American couple hired a famous landscape architect, Jacques Gréber, to redesign and restore the vast gardens. That is to say, they filled the garden with lush vegetation and a remarkable variety of different species of plant.

In 1982, Mrs Beaumont bequeathed the property to the town of Antibes Juan-les-Pins. As a result, the council commissioned extensive work to restore the buildings, furniture and gardens. The work included creating a fragranced rose garden to reflect the area known as the “the rose capital of France”. In addition, Eilenroc’s olive grove was restored in 2000 and has since been producing its own olive oils. Find out more the house and gardens here.

Jardin botanique de la Villa Thuret

Similarly located in Cap d’Antibes, the botanical gardens at Villa Thuret were created in 1856. The gardens cover an area of more than 3.5 hectares. A popular spot for diplomats and artists, French novelist, George Sand, described them as “…the loveliest garden I have ever seen…”. Moreover, they have been a scientific research site for over 160 years. With a special emphasis on plant acclimatisation, the gardens house over 1,600 different species of exotic trees and shrubs. This impressive site has been the lifetime work of French botanist, Gustave Thuret, and his successors. The introduction of these exotic species helped create the landscape of the Côte d’Azur as we know it today. Further, the diverse collection has enhanced the popularity of Mediterranean horticulture. Find out more about visiting this garden here.

Villa and Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild

The rose-pink painted Villa and Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild were constructed by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild in the early 1900s. An array of nine unique gardens make up the villa which is perched at the summit of the Cap Ferrat peninsula. Each garden is individually themed: Florentine, Spanish, French, exotic, a stone garden, Japanese, rose, Provençal and a garden de Sèvres. Established landscape architect, Achille Duchêne, was called in to design the main gardens – part of his brief was to create a design that replicated the deck of a ship! With its spectacular ocean view on either side of the garden, the baroness required each of her gardeners to wear a navy beret. As a result, she could imagine herself aboard a ship travelling the world! Now a museum, the property and its gardens are one of the most popular attractions in the region. Find out more about opening hours here.

Jardin Exotique d’Èze

Finally, the Jardin Exotique d’Èze not only offers spectacular panoramic views but is also of historic and artistic significance.  It is nestled on the site of a medieval fortress, 429m above the Mediterranean Sea. With one side facing south and the other north, the garden comprises various species from different climate zones. On the southern side, a number of species of desert origin thrive, such as succulent plants and xerophytes, otherwise known as cacti. However, the shadier and wetter north side, with its caves and rocky waterfalls, is planted with Mediterranean species. Along its twisting paths with helpful about Èze’s history are numerous places to sit and take in the breathtaking views. For art lovers, there are charming statues dotted throughout the garden. It is unsurprising the Jardin Exotique d’Èze has received two awards: the ‘Prix Spécial Régional du Fleurissement’ and the label ‘Jardin Remarquable’. Find out more, here.

To sum up, the many local gardens and parks in the Côte d’Azur deliver a true feast for the senses. They are ideal places to enjoy the aromas and explosions of colour offered by the flora of this region. If you would like to see more gardens, why not check out Festival of the Gardens of the Côte d’Azur. This magnificent botanical event takes place in April each year.

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