How a Greek dream began in southern France
Built in 1908 by archaeologist Théodore Reinach, Villa Kérylos is a reproduction of a wealthy 5th century BC Athenian home.
The Villa has a prime location overlooking the Bay of Beaulieu, Baie des Fourmis and St Jean Cap Ferrat with sea views from most rooms.
The gardens have herbs and Mediterranean plant and flower specimens, and are signposted with plant names.
The Villa is a time-capsule of Greece transplanted on the French Riviera – there are great examples of mosaics, ironworks including chandeliers, marble, ivory and bronze statues.
Layout and accessibility of the Villa
- Entrance for ticket purchase: Contains a small gift shop and is flat, ground level and accessible.
- Entrance to the Villa: This is via 5 large steps, see photo below
- Interior of the Villa: The interior is laid out over a few levels. Ground level has the marble bathroom with sunken bath with mosaics, courtyard, library and salons and is entirely accessible for persons with reduced mobility.
- There is a first floor which unfortunately is accessed via stairs only so not accessible for persons with restricted mobility, and this contains bedrooms, bathroom etc.
- The basement level has an antiquities gallery and is used for ceramic workshops; once again accessed via stairs.
- Villa grounds: The outdoor areas are flat (excluding a small area of steps by the garden to a lookout area over the adjacent port), and the ground surface is gravel chip so bear this in mind. The ground surface is manageable with baby strollers, but may be harder to manoeuvre in a wheelchair.
How to get to Villa Kérylos
- By car: There is no onsite carparking at Villa Kérylos, and very limited carparking on rue Gustave Eiffel as it is used by residents in that street. The best option is to park at the nearest public carpark named ‘Place de la Batterie’ located on boulevard Maréchal Leclerc, and the Villa is then less than 5 minutes walking distance.
- By bus: From Nice, with Lignes Azur take bus number 81 (click here for timetable ligne 81 current at July 2014) – there is a designated bus stop to get off at named ‘Kérylos’. From Monaco or Menton, bus number 100 (click here for timetable, Bus 100 Menton-Monaco-Nice current at July 2014), get off at bus stop ‘Gare SNCF Beaulieu’. You can also take bus 100 from Nice but get off at stop ‘Kérylos’ as the routing is different in both directions.
- By train: Villa Kérylos is located less than 10 minutes easy stroll from the Beaulieu-sur-Mer train station.
My tips for visiting Villa Kérylos
- Beaulieu Tourist Office is located right outside the Beaulieu-sur-Mer train station if you require maps or local information.
- When you purchase your entry ticket at the Villa, ensure you receive the free audioguide (it is available in 7 languages.). It is excellent for providing history about the exhibits and rooms at the Villa and brings the Villa to life. The audioguide is a hand-held unit and it’s easy to use for any techno-phobes not confident with technology, and the best part is you can wander the Villa in your own time and listen to only the commentaries of exhibits you like or skip to the next commentary if a particular item is not interesting enough for you.
- There is no onsite restaurant at the Villa so take your own food/beverages. There is however a coin-operated vending machine selling drinks at the entrance. The Villa has seating outside overlooking the bay, but please respect the Villa grounds and take any rubbish away with you.
- If you are arriving by train, there is a Casino supermarket (a French-chain) on the way from the train station to the Villa that sells sandwiches, fruit, cold drinks. It is located on avenue des Hellènes.
- There are accessible ground-level toilets at the entrance to the Villa. These are the only toilets at the Villa.
- For families, there is a public playground located 5 minutes from Villa Kérylos at the park on avenue Fernand Dunan .
- For a discounted entry price to Villa Kerylos, take advantage of 2 options:
1. If you also intending to visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild you can purchase a combined entry ticket for both Villas at the ticket office which gives you a discount, it is called ‘2 Pass Villas’.
2. If you have arrived to Beaulieu by train using a local train (TER SNCF) from any origin along the Côte d’Azur using either an unlimited daily ‘Zou pass’, or a stand alone sector ticket, show them your validated train ticket at the Villa’s ticket counter and ask for the discounted entry price. You must visit the Villa on the same day as your train travel. More info here: http://www.ter.sncf.com/paca/loisirs/promos-bons-plans/villas-kerylos-ephrussi
Have you visited Villa Kérylos before? If not, have you found my blog article useful for insider tips and local knowledge? Share these tips on Facebook, retweet on Twitter and leave your comments with your own travel stories.