Saint Jean Cap Ferrat: A Hidden Gem on the French Riviera

What an amazing trip. Not only was the Design Leadership Summit a great experience for me as a designer, I learned so much about the region, artwork and art history along with breathtaking walks along the coast, I can’t wait to share it with you! 

Before the Summit began, I arrived a couple of days early with 2 other designers to acclimate and explore.  We  stayed at the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel, which was built in 1908 when the area was first being developed. The hotel is set on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean and is steeped in history with visitors such as Elizabeth Taylor to Winston Churchill. The infinity pool was picturesque, set down close to the Mediterranean with sweeping views. We sipped rosé while taking in the spectacular terrain and Sea.

We had such a relaxing time, soaking in the last of the sunny days. Here are some facts about Saint Jean Cap Ferrat to give a little background.

There are 3 beaches: Paloma Beach on the southeast port, Passable beach on the northwest and Cro de Peï which is the largest beach between the main peninsula and the smaller Saint Hospice Peninsula. The topography of Ste. Jean Cap Ferrat can be described as having lush vegetation and rocky beaches. I hiked around the cliffs on the peninsula and can attest to the varying types of vegetation and spectacular views from pretty much every point.

As with any coastal area, the local cuisine is made up mainly of a variety of seafoods cooked in garlic sauce and capers but also dishes made of beef and wild boar and of course, foie gras! 

Being in this area before our summit, we decided to visit the Musée Île-de-France, which is also known as the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. It’s an Italian-style villa built between 1905 and 1912 by the Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild and contains a large art collection and fine furnishings. It is a must see and not only for the interiors but the gardens are beautiful and unique as well. They were designed in seven different styles: French traditional, Florentine, Spanish, Exotic, Lapidary, Japanese and Provençal. We had a grand dinner planned as part of our Design Summit, but we knew we’d miss the gardens. We’re so glad we went ahead of our dinner and happily spent the day enjoying the gardens and fountains.

I highly recommend you put this on your bucket list of vacation spots, it’s well worth the trip.

There are so many riches of art, artists and art history between Nice and Monte Carlo on the French Riviera and I will delve into those in next month’s blogs so stay tuned!

I will leave you with a fun fact learned from a film I saw at the Villa Ephrussi:

The Baroness Rothschild and all of her wealthy friends would spend the warmer months on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and would hold parties in their respective gardens. Their days were filled with parties during all hours of the day and they dressed the part. Money was no obstacle for them so they went all out on their outfits for each event. There was a morning, afternoon luncheon and evening event almost every day. What I found interesting was that the most expensive outfit for them would be for the afternoon gathering as they would be seen by more people than in the evening. Where we might spend a little more on an evening gown, they made sure their afternoon gowns were made of the finest materials and were typically quite expensive.


Hi, I’m Kristen Rivoli. I design premium homes customized to your tastes and needs. I live with my husband, two sons, and dog just outside of Boston.