Fête des Roses, 2019 at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
This post was initially published on FranceToday.com.
Every year for the last 10 years, rose lovers have been gathering at the Villa Ephrussi-de-Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to celebrate not only the queen of the flower kingdom, but also the woman behind the story: Béatrice Ephrussi, née de Rothschild.
The owner of a considerable fortune, Béatrice commissioned the building of the Renaissance-style villa after visiting her cousin’s Villa Kerylos in nearby Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and falling in love with the beauty of the area. She then had the villa surrounded by several gardens, each with its own theme. Florentine, Japanese, and French gardens beautifully coexist with a stone garden, as well as an exotic one, filled with tropical plants. At the far end of the property, the Roseraie, or Rose Garden, is home to a dizzying array of rose varieties, and offers unparalleled views over the Mediterranean.
The first weekend in May, Béatrice’s home was once again filled with flowers, colour, and sound, to the delight of the thousands of visitors that attended.
The event featured several workshops, for both children and adults. There was classical music played in the French gardens, while two pastel-dressed ballerinas danced gracefully by the fountains. There were several local artists displaying their creations. Among them, Jean-François Gaulthier presented his beautiful paintings of flowers and passionate dancers.
Catherine Levesque amazed visitors with her wrought iron, botanically-inspired artworks. Confiserie Florian offered a delicious selection of preserves and sweets, as well as a rose-flavoured barbe à papa, which was an absolute hit with the youngest visitors. A Fragonard ‘nose’ taught an olfactory workshop centered on learning how to discern between the three pink scents: pink flowery, pink musky, and pink fruity.
Maison Louisette’s quaint CV2 was cleverly parked in front of a rose wall, making a perfectly Instagrammable background.
A duo of flute and harp virtuosos, dressed in dreamy blush-coloured dresses, charmed visitors with their beauty, grace, and musical skills alike. Tours of the gardens, led by Jacqueline Manciet, guide-lecturer of the Villa, were offered at various times throughout the day, taking visitors through the various landscapes and lush sensory experiences.
At the end of the day, all the ladies present were given a rose or two as a souvenir of a truly enchanting event. It was a perfectly orchestrated pink dream. Béatrice would have been proud.
If you want to go:
Villa Ephrussi is open all year round, 10AM to 6PM except for July and August when it’s open from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. From November to January: from Monday to Friday from 2 p.m to 6 p.m. / weekends and holidays from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Tickets: €15
Address: 1 Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Bus 81 from Nice stops right outside of the Villa.