Musée National du Sport in Nice

The Musée National du Sport is an excellent place to go for families visiting or living on the French Riviera.  Located at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, it is the only national museum in France dedicated to sport.

Musée National du Sport

The Musée National du Sport (National Sports Museum) in Nice is the only national museum in France dedicated to sport

What is on display at the Musée National du Sport

The museum has a wide collection of different sports memorabilia dating from the 16th century to modern times spread across 2500m2 of exhibition space.

You will see historic sports items including Olympic medals and torches, team uniforms, sports equipment, postcards, photographs, posters, sculptures and trophies.

It is a great place for children to see recreational items which are not in use today such as vintage bicycles and wooden skis. 

national sports museum nice

musee national du sport

There are displays for cycling, snow sports, running, boxing, fencing, racquet sports, football, rugby, handisports, martial arts, sailing, skateboarding and motorsports.

There are also interactive sports animations such as trying a game of fencing, Wii controllers, baby football tables and a Formula car simulator.  A film room screens sports footage and documentaries.

The museum has a room dedicated to the OGC Nice football team with signed shirts, supporters gear and a jukebox with team chants. It is called Café des Aiglons but isn’t actually a cafeteria; there is a snack vending machine though!

The museum is excellent for families with kids of different ages because it has a good mixture of cabinet displays as well as interactive educational screens to keep children entertained.  It is in my opinion one of the more modern museums you can visit on the Cote d’Azur and is definitely underrated for families!

national sports museum nice

Temporary Exhibitions

As well as many permanent collections, the museum holds temporary exhibitions throughout the year.  There is a dedicated zone of 500m2 where you can explore different displays based on specific themes or subjects.  You can buy entry just for the permanent collections, or purchase a combined entry for the permanent and temporary exhibitions – the difference in price is €1 – €2 only.

Currently, the temporary exhibition at the museum until 11 March 2018 is ‘Jouez’ which is a fantastic showcase of games and toys, with a special focus on vintage items.  You’ll see retro game consoles, vintage wooden toys and games and modern video games.

vintage toys

The current temporary exhibition ‘Jouez’ has some excellent vintage games and toys including a ping pong set from 1901, a pinball machine from 1933 and a steeplechase game from the 1850’s

Slot cars and toys from the 1950’s and 1970’s

Mattel figurines from the 1960’s

atari nintendo pong intellivision

Games consoles from 1975 onwards – who remembers Pong, Intellivision, Atari and Nintendo?

What other things do they offer?

The museum offers guided tours for individuals, groups, or associations; guided tours are additional to the cost of museum entrance.

They run children’s workshops throughout the year (including school holidays and Christmas).  They also host kids birthday parties where you choose between several options that can include a visit of the museum, a sport-related activity and snacks.

Onsite, just to the right in the museum entrance foyer you’ll find a boutique selling items such as football shirts, books and posters.

(image: Insep)

Additionally, they have a huge collection of sports brochures, books, tickets, photos and films that have been collected since the 1960’s and the public can access this research area by pre-reservation every day (except Tuesday or the weekend).  Find out more here:  Le Centre de Researche et Ressources du Sport

You can also combine a visit to the museum with a tour of Allianz Riviera stadium; the cost varies between €8 to €13, reserve this via the museum site.  The tour goes for 1.5 hours and is hosted in French language, tour participants must be minimum 6 years of age.

Another thing to note (which parents will appreciate) is that the toilet facilities include a baby change table. Such a small consideration, but it is not so common to find a baby change table here on the French Riviera so it is a much appreciated amenity.

How to get to the Musée National du Sport

By car:  Getting to the museum is very simple.  If you’re driving, simply come off the A8 autoroute at Sortie 52 (Saint-Isidore) and follow the signs to the stadium and/or museum which is located on boulevard des Jardiniers.  There is free car parking right outside the museum entrance.

By train: Note, the museum can not be reached by train from either Nice Ville train station or Nice Saint-Augustin train station so don’t be led astray.  You can get the Chemin de Fer de Provence train line from the Gare Nice station (4 bis rue Alfred Binet) to Saint-Isidore stop, and then it is a 10-minute walk from Saint-Isidore to the museum.  See this map for the route from St Isidore station to the museum/stadium:    Chemin de Fer de Provence also have special fares when matches are on at the stadium too.


By bus:  The museum’s brochure says you can get there using bus lines 11 and 59 that stop at Saint-Isidore.  🙂 However, for a tourist it’s not so easy to find more information online about these bus lines and where they travel to/from.  So, to make things easier here is the information you need if you want to go by bus!

Bus 11:  Travels between Carras / Frémont and Saint-Isidore. The line is called ‘Carras / Frémont – Centre Commercial Saint Isidore’ with Lignes Azur.  For the museum, you can get off at stops ‘La Carrière’ or ‘Saint-Isidore Église’ and walk less than 10 minutes.  The timetable at February 2018 is here:

Bus 59:  Travels between Nice and Plan du Var.  The line is called ‘Plan du Var-Trésorerie-Cathédrale Vieille Ville’ with Lignes Azur.  For the museum, you have to get off at stop ‘Les Baraques’ and walk 10 minutes to the museum/stadium.  It’s important to note that the roads around this area are part of a semi-industrial area and can be quite busy with the autoroute nearby, so be cautious walking along here and crossing roads.  The timetable at February 2018 is here:

Note:  These bus routes have changes until the end of February 2018 because of roadworks and Nice Carnival, so check on the Lignes Azur website before you travel on these buses.

Opening hours / entry prices for the Musée National du Sport

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays).

Between October and April, hours are 11am to 5pm.

Between May and September, hours are 10am to 6pm.

Ticket prices:

The best tip I can share is that on the first Sunday of every month the museum is free of charge for everyone. 

They also participate in the yearly Journées Européennes du Patrimoine held each September when museums open their doors to the public for free (or a very low cost).

Every other day, children under 18 years of age get free entry.

Groups, 18-25 years of age or job seekers = €3 for one exhibition, or €4 for permanent + temporary displays.

Adults = €6 for one exhibition, or €8 for permanent + temporary displays. There is no special rate for seniors.

If you are visiting the French Riviera for 3 days or more, the museum participates in the Côte d’Azur Card sightseeing pass.

The National Sports Museum is an excellent option for travellers on a budget, families looking for an interesting attraction or rainy day activity or anyone interested in history of sport.

Watch the promotional video of the museum below (video credit:  MuséeduSport / YouTube):

Accessibility information

The Musée National du Sport is suitable for persons with restricted mobility and is wheelchair accessible.  The museum is on the ground floor with no interior steps or steep inclines and there are wheelchair accessible toilets in the main entrance foyer.  I forgot to check if there are mobility spaces in the carpark but I’m 99% sure there will be some and the entrance path to the museum is flat and paved.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post about the Musée National du Sport in Nice!  Please do share this post on social media if you found it useful, or for more information about the Sports Museum in Nice, go to their website


8 Boredom Busters for the rest of March

Is it just me or does anyone else feel a slight lull after Festival February that saw some major events here on the French Riviera – Nice Carnival, Fête du Citron, Fête du Mimosa etc??   Personally, I enjoy that each month there is always so much to see and do from food and wine fairs to cultural festivals to family-friendly events.

While February certainly set the bar high in terms of events, there’s still plenty of things to do for the remainder of March:

1. Saturday 19 March in Mougins from 10am-5pm:  A free family day ‘Fête du Jeu’ at Complexe sportif Roger Duhalde with video games, giant wooden games, sports, pedal cars, face painting, bouncy castles and dedicated play areas for babies through to 6 years of age.  There is a free shuttle from parking at the Cabrières school.

2. Sunday 19 March in Eze Village at 10.30am:  Easter Egg Hunt from Parc de la Revère.

3. Saturday 19 March in Antibes from 8.30pm:  The Antibes Sharks basketball team play Strasbourg at AzurArena.

4. Saturday 19 March in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat from 8.30pm:  One for the adults (if you manage to get a babysitter), you can experience ‘Fête Bavaroise’ at the Espace Neptune at the port where German-themed entertainment will have you Oompahing all evening.  Reservations in advance via the Comité des Fêtes (in French) on phone 06 37 06 74 35. Tickets are €25 which includes choucroute (sauerkraut), dessert and a beer or glass of wine.

5. Sunday 20 March in Cagnes-sur-Mer from 10am-2.30pm:  Very popular, the ‘Dimanche Malin’ family days take place on the seafront road and are free of charge.  The road is blocked from 9am-3.30pm but you can park anywhere near the Hippodrome or take the train to Cros-de-Cagnes and it is merely a 5-minute walk to the seafront.

Dimanche Malins, Cagnes-sur-Mer (

Dimanche Malins, Cagnes-sur-Mer (

The days feature lots of fun activities such as pony rides, bouncy castles, baby gym, face painting, trampolines, mini golf.  They also have quad bikes though last year the queues for the quad bikes were extremely busy, and if you have under 4 year old kids they unfortunately had to queue with the older kids so bear in mind patience may be necessary!

The next editions are on 24 April and 22 May so diarise those if you can’t make the 20 March date.

For the map and programme, please download here:

6. Sunday 20 March in La Colle-sur-Loup from 10am-6pm:   Easter festival with an Easter Egg hunt, animal petting farm, Easter crafts workshops, chocolate stalls and free chocolate fountain.

All animations are free except the kids workshops are €3 a session, or €5 including one session and the Egg hunt.

For further information, visit the La Colle tourism site:

Marché de Paques, La Colle-sur-Loup

Marché de Paques, La Colle-sur-Loup

7. Until 21 March in Nice:  Head to the Musée des Arts Asiatiques for the last remaining week of the ‘Du No à Mata Hari’ exhibition which showcases around 300 objects from theatre in Asia including kimonos, masks, puppets, paintings, and tapestries.  The exhibition includes work from famous artist Itchiku Kubota and costumes from the Beijing Opera.

It is a beautiful and unique exhibition with pieces that have survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Kids may find it too in-depth  (though the masks and puppets are interesting), though entry is free to the Mata Hari displays and then you can visit the adjoining Parc Phoenix too for just €3.


8.  Wednesday 30 March in Cannes from 8pm: There is a concert ‘Les Quatres saisons de Vivaldi’ at the Église Notre-Dame des Pins with 10 Cannois Conservatoire students and 5 other students from music Conservatoires in Nice, Toulon and Marseille.

The concert is organised by the Lions Club of Cannes and the Cannes Appassionata Association who fund international travel for exceptional students who finish their studies at the Conservatoire de Cannes.

It is a great opportunity to support promising young musicians.  Tickets can be purchased 1.5 hours before the concert on the night – Adults are €10 each, €5 for children and under 10 years are free when accompanied by parents.

For more information about the Conservatoire events, you can see here:

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Free entry tonight at French museums – Nuit Européenne des Musées

Tonight, take advantage of free entry to many museums across France as part of the Nuit Européenne des Musées.

La Nuit Européenne des Musées (image: official website)

La Nuit Européenne des Musées (image: official website)

This initiative is a lovely way to experience some of the French Riviera’s best museums as the sun sets and the buildings and displays are illuminated.

Some participating museums on the French Riviera include:

  • Picasso Museum (Antibes)
  • Musée National Fernand Leger (Biot)
  • Musée Renoir (Cagnes sur Mer)
  • Musée des Beaux Arts (Nice)
  • Musée National Marc Chagall (Nice)
  • Musée de la Citadelle (Villefranche sur Mer)

The listing of participating museums in the Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur region is  downloadable here:  Programme_PACA

For full downloads of France-wide participating museums, see the link here:

Top tip: I have visited the website and the geo-locating and search is not very specific, so for the best user experience I recommend you click on the Programme_PACA link above, or for a general search go to ‘Accéder Au Programme’ or ‘A Proximité’ and zoom into the map of France, then the French Riviera region.  Click on each pin to see details of each participating museum including opening hours this evening.


Vote for the trees to line the Nice Tramway route!

Have your say on which trees are planted the length of the East-West tramway in Nice.   Around 2,500 trees will be planted beside the tramway line and in front of adjacent buildings and the public is being invited to submit their suggestion by 19 May 2015 on which trees to use.

How to vote

It’s free, quick and easy!  Go to and click on the headings at the top:

La Concertation has an overview of where the trees will be planted.

Les Essences has descriptions and photos of the trees.

Je Vote is self-explanatory!

My vote goes to the pretty jacaranda and orchid trees!

Vote for which trees you think should line the route for the Nice Tramway (east-west)

Vote for which trees you think should line the route for the Nice Tramway (east-west)

The most photographed (and controversial) fountain on the French Riviera

Have you ever wondered what the most photographed fountain is on the French Riviera?

I have, so I set out to uncover which fountain is the most photographed in this region and it seems there are quite a few contenders that make the cut.

The winner though is far from a noble and gracious fountain with an unexciting past; quite the opposite – this marble and bronze masterpiece crafted in 1956 by Alfred Auguste Janniot has stirred up debate with Niçois residents since its inception.

The magnificent Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain) or Apollo’s Fountain as it is known locally, sits on the edge of Place Massena in Nice and has quite a controversial past.

About the Fontaine du Soleil

The fountain was unveiled in 1956 to a less-than-warm reception in Nice.  It seems that Apollo’s job was to carry the sun across the sky pulled by a chariot drawn by 4 horses – however, the Nice fountain didn’t have a chariot and the 4 horses were miniature statues atop his head.  Not off to a good start with the locals.

Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain), Nice

Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain), Nice

The bad news didn’t stop there.

Apparently, Apollo’s ‘manhood’ was deemed immoral and too large by some conservative Nice citizens, so the sculptor took to his glory to resize things.   This still proved to be inadequate to appease a local Catholic women’s league who gathered enough support to have Apollo (in all his nude splendour) and his naked bronze deities removed in the 1970’s.

Apollo was shipped off to a nearby location where he was less likely to offend anyone, and the 5 bronze statues representing Earth, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and Venus started to gather dust in a water treatment plant.

Many years later, a reporter was at the water purification plant and was intrigued by the statues.  Huge public interest followed and after a €90,000 facelift Apollo was reinstated in 2011 on his fountain to watch over Nice.

Where to find the Fontaine du Soleil

The fountain is centrally located on the edge of Place Massena and Vieux Nice.  It is easily found and the ground surface is flat and paved (baby stroller and wheelchair-friendly), and it is near to the tramway and main Nice bus hub.  Other nearby attractions are the Promenade du Peillon green area and children’s playground, MAMAC art gallery, Vieux Nice and Promenade des Anglais.

Here are 6 of the other most photographed fountains on the French Riviera:

The fountain at Casino de Monte-Carlo / Bulb fountain in Saint-Paul-de-Vence / Water fountain jets at Place Massena

The fountain at Casino de Monte-Carlo / Bulb fountain in Saint-Paul-de-Vence / Water fountain jets at Place Massena


Fontaine Clemenceau in Vieil Antibes / Fountain of the Sèvres garden at Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild / Florentine fountain at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Fontaine Clemenceau in Vieil Antibes / Fountain of the Sèvres garden at Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild / Florentine fountain at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Image credits:  Casino de Monte-Carlo (geolocation), Place Massena (Homeaway), Fontaine Clemenceau (Wikimedia). All other images Access Riviera


Free museum entry for Nice residents

If you’re lucky enough to reside in Nice or one of the 49 communes of greater Nice (Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur) you are entitled to the pass ‘Pass Musées de Nice” that gives you free access to 14 of the city’s municipal museums and galleries.

Pass Musées de Nice - free entrance for Niçois and residents of the communes of Métropole Nice

Pass Musées de Nice – free entrance for Niçois and residents of the communes of Métropole Nice

To obtain one you need to show:

1)  A valid passport or national identity card and

2)  Verification of your address (dated less than 3 months)

Take your 2 verifications to the reception at any museum or municipal gallery where you will be issued a pass. The pass is valid for all residents over 18 years of age, and is valid for 3 years.  (Children and under 18 years of age are free anyway).

The list of the 49 communes can be found here:’Azur

Communes of Métropole Nice Côte d'Azur

Communes of Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur

ST JEAN CAP FERRAT (Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild)

A must-see tourist attraction on the French Riviera, here is my review of this splendid site.

History of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild:

Built in the early 1900’s by Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, this imposing pink-hued Villa occupies a prime site on the peninsula at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Béatrice was the daughter of the banker and art collector, Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, and at 19 she married a wealthy Parisien of Russian origin, Maurice Ephrussi. Her marriage eventually collapsed after 21 years, and when Béatrice inherited a large fortune after her father passed away she decided to build the Villa.

No expense was spared in creating a mansion suited to her tastes. Tapestries, porcelain, furniture, artworks, frescoes are of the highest standard and craftsmanship, including a writing desk in the boudoir built for Marie-Antoinette.

She was an avid travel enthusiast, had a love of horse racing and casinos and her sometimes eccentric personality was notable in her choice of pets including a menagerie of poodles, an Indian mongoose, Peruvian parakeet, monkeys and gazelles.

Today, the Villa is owned by the Académie des Beaux-Arts who work alongside Culturespaces to defend and promote French artistic heritage.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Layout, accessibility and attractions:

The ticket reception (and attached gift boutique) where you purchase your entry ticket is accessed via 5 steps. Persons with restricted mobility however can access the Villa grounds via a double-entry vehicle gate, directly outside the ticket reception. There is a panoramic view from the entrance driveway of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, the Corniche mountains and stretching across to Monaco.

The entrance into the Villa is via 3 low-height steps, see photo below:

image copyright and reproduced This French American Life

image copyright and reproduced This French American Life

The interior of the Villa is set over two levels. Ground level has an interior patio courtyard with pink Verona marble columns, Béatrice’s boudoir with Marie-Antoinette’s writing desk, a bedroom and attached salon with mini chaise seats for pets, a dressing room with displays of Chinese robes and 18th century silks, bathroom with hidden cupboards and travel memorabilia, dining room and porcelain displays, tearoom, two salons with rare furniture and furnishings and is entirely accessible for persons with reduced mobility. This ground level also has accessible toilets located off the central patio courtyard.

patio arches

patio arches




There is a first floor that is accessed via stairs only so it’s not accessible for persons with restricted mobility.  As you walk up the staircase, notice the vintage photographs mounted on the wall that show the construction of the Villa and places Béatrice used to frequent, such as La Jettée Promenade that you can read about here

This level contains a film room, Directoire bedroom, a tapestry room, a unique and bizarre room decorated with monkey panels and figurines, another bedroom decorated in blue furnishings,and a Chinese-themed room with lacquered panels and displays of jade and rose quartz. The first floor has a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the French gardens, great for photos.


French gardens seen from the first floor terrace

French gardens seen from the first floor terrace

chandelier in the Blue bedroom

chandelier in the Blue bedroom

The grounds and gardens of the Villa are unfortunately not entirely accessible for anyone who has mobility issues. The entry courtyard in front of the villa, and the French gardens with musical fountains are accessible. The ground surfaces for these accessible outdoor areas are not concrete-paved, it is small gravel chip.

The rest of the gardens are interspersed with stairways and steps, particularly the path through the Japanese Garden, Exotic Garden and from the Provençal Garden down to the French Garden. If you are wheelchair-bound, or with a heavy or large-sized child buggy/stroller I must be honest and say your options are limited to visit all of the themed gardens.


The gardens are lovely, and due to the hill-top location of this attraction there are expansive views from the gardens across to Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer. There are 9 themed gardens including:

– Spanish garden with water features, fish pond and pergola with vines




– Florentine garden with water feature, statues, topiaries and lavender plantings


– Japanese garden with traditional elements such as raked sand garden, wooden bridge, zen sculptures, koi pond and bamboo plantings

– Stone garden with gargoyles, arches, columns and statuettes

– Exotic garden with cacti, succulents and foreign trees

– Rose garden



– Provençal garden with olive trees, herb and lavender plantings

– French garden with topiaries, urns and the musical fountain that performs every 20 minutes


– Sèvres garden

Best time to visit the gardens? Between May and July when spring/summer flowers are blooming, and the heady scents of the pines, Mediterranean olive trees, lavender and herbs drift on the breeze. The garden would appeal during all seasons due to the large number of trees, shrubs and water features. I would like to visit again on a rainy day as I believe it would exude a lush tropical ambience.


What do you think my favourite garden was? I loved the Spanish garden with it’s water feature grotto, striking ‘bird of paradise’ plants bordering a central fish pond, a pergola with a stone bench shaded by the vines, and stunning pink bougainvillea crawling along marble columns. Just stunning, don’t you think?


Béatrice wanted the Villa built in the Italian Renaissance style, and I think the pink hue highlights the impressive design. I also liked the fact the Villa exterior is not ‘perfect’ – there is peeling paint on the pink exterior which lends to the idea it was a lived-in homestead in a coastal location subjected to temperamental winds and salt air, rather than just a display museum.


The interior will appeal to fans of Moorish and French Louis XV and XVI-style, with patterned, painted, upholstered, golden, brocaded, and decorated everything. It is definitely a visual overload that may not appeal to everyone. For those visitors who are not aware of the prestige and craftsmanship of the Villa’s exhibits, I recommend the free audioguide to learn the history behind the exhibits and glimpse into Béatrice’s personality and family put the Villa into perspective in a modern world.



The Villa holds regular events during the year including Rose Festivals, costumed theme days and garden seminars so check their website under ‘Events’ if you have any special interests.   You can even have your wedding reception there – can you imagine how gorgeous the wedding photos in the gardens would be?

Did you know? The Villa was used in interior scenes to portray ‘Palmyra’ (Largo’s base in North Africa) in the 1983 Bond movie ‘Never Say Never Again’. Exterior scenes for Palmyra were filmed at the Citadelle in nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer.  Read more about Villefranche-sur-Mer here

image copyright from James Bond Locations

image copyright from James Bond Locations


Opening hours:

The Villa is open every day.

February to October : 10am-6pm (peak season months July and August the opening hours are 10am-7pm)

November to February: Weekends and school holidays 10am-6pm / During the week: 2pm-6pm

Last admission is 30 minutes prior to closing time.

detail in one of the Salons

detail in one of the Salons

Cost (current as at June 2014, subject to change):

Regular admission: 13€

Reduced admission: 10€ (children 7-17 years, students, holders of Education Pass, jobseekers)

Free admission: Children less than 7 years of age, journalists and tourism industry professionals (on presentation of identification)

For more tips on other reduced admission prices, continue reading below in my section ‘Other tips’.

Admission notes: There is no reduced admission price for either seniors, or persons of physical/intellectual disability.

How to get there:

By car: Access is via the Basse Corniche (N98). There is free onsite carparking at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, though limited numbers. There is no designated disabled carparking space for those persons with reduced mobility, however you can drop off at the gate at the top of the driveway near the ticket office and persons with reduced mobility can enter via the vehicle gate.

By bus: From Nice or Beaulieu-sur-Mer, you can take bus number 81, get off at the stop ‘Passable’ which is directly across from the entrance driveway to the Villa. This bus also has stops for the Beaulieu-sur-Mer train station, and Villa Kérylos if you also intend to visit there. Timetable (current at June 2014, but subject to change) is here ligne 81 (au 10 02 14)

From Monaco, Roquebrune-Cap Martin, Eze-sur-Mer or Menton, take bus number 100, get off at stop ‘Pont St Jean’ and the Villa is 10 minutes walking distance.   This bus has a designated stop for Villa Kérylos too. Timetable (current June 2014, subject to change) is found here 100

By train: Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is located 25 minutes walk from the Beaulieu-sur-Mer train station. Follow the coastal pathway Promenade Maurice Rouvier (flat, paved path with no stairs), then you will see the brown sign to turn right up a side street. The last 10 minutes is uphill through residential streets. It is not strenuous but bear in mind Beaulieu has one of the highest sunshine hours on the Côte d’Azur so take a bottle of water on hot days, and also to exercise caution if you have a baby buggy/stroller or you are wheelchair-bound as there are no footpaths on the residential streets. Villa Ephrusssi de Rothschild is situated on the hill-top, you can’t miss it.

promenade Maurice Rouvier to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (flat, paved path with no stairs)

promenade Maurice Rouvier to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (flat, paved path with no stairs)

My other tips :

– For maps and information about the local area, the Beaulieu Tourist Office is located right outside the Beaulieu-sur-Mer train station. Or, you can visit the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Tourist Office located at 59 avenue Denis Semaria, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

blue shutters, local house

blue shutters, local house

– When you purchase your entry ticket at the Villa, ensure you receive the free audioguide (it is available in 9 languages – French, English, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Japanese and Chinese). It is excellent for providing background information on the Baroness Rothschild, her 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 that interest you. Bear in mind, the Villa is a popular attraction and if there are cruise ships berthed at nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer it is often a day-trip destination for cruise passengers so if you visit the Villa in the late afternoon there may not be any audioguides available.


– There is an onsite tearoom at the Villa. Menu samples – 2,80€ for an espresso; tea and a pastry of the day 9,50€; salads average 16€ – the view from the tearoom and adjoining terrace is magnificent. The tearoom opens at midday for full lunch and ‘a la carte’ service, but if you want to stop by for a coffee or cake only you have to wait until after 3pm as preference is given to sit-down lunch patrons. Note: The tearoom has the same opening hours as the Villa, except between November and February the tearoom is open only on weekends, school holidays and bank holidays. I don’t have a photo of the tearooms unfortunately because the day I visited it was very busy and I didn’t want to disturb other patrons.

– If you are arriving by train to Beaulieu, there is a supermarket on the way from the train station to the Villa that sells sandwiches, fruit, snack foods, cold drinks. It is located on avenue des Hellenes, it is a ‘Casino’ supermarket (a French chain of supermarkets).

– There are accessible ground level toilets in both the grounds and interior patio of the Villa. You will receive a map of the Villa and grounds when you purchase your entry, and toilets are clearly marked on the map.


– For a discounted entry price to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, there are a few options:

– Offre famille: Free entry for the second child (7-17 years) with 2 adults and 1 child paying. Free child ticket must be used the same time as the other paying family members.

– If you also intending to visit the Villa Kérylos, you can purchase a combined entry ticket for both Villas (‘Pass 2 Villas’). The usual admission would be 24,50€ to visit both attractions separately, this combined entry discounts the price to 15,50€. You have one month to visit both Villas (single visit to each Villa only) from the first date of purchase (all pricing and conditions subject to change). Ask at the ticket counter.

– 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.

– A ‘Carte Privilége’ is an annual pass you can purchase for unlimited entry. Costs €55 for a single, €95 for 2 people to share a pass (conditions apply).

– The Villa has Free Wifi. Also, you can download their mobile applications on the App Store and Google Play for iPhone / iPad / iTouch and Android. The mobile applications have commentary and interactive maps, though the only language offering is French at this current date.

mobile application (image copyright from Google Play)

mobile application (image copyright from Google Play)

– Free activity booklets are available for children visiting the Villa. Aimed at children aged 7-12 years, they have games and treasure hunt clues that educate about the Villa and gardens with the help of a mascot, a little mouse named Filou. I forgot to ask for a copy so I’m unsure if they offer this booklet in a language other than French? Will update this post when I find out.

free activity book for kids at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

free activity book for kids at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

– One of the exhibit rooms at the Villa has Fragonard drawings (with ink and wash). Jean-Honoré Fragonard was a French painter and printmaker born locally in Grasse, and Béatrice had a likeness for his artwork. Interestingly, Fragonard completed over 500 paintings in his career, of which only 5 are dated. In 1926, a perfume factory in Grasse took the name Parfurmerie Fragonard in honour of him. If you’re visiting the region and intend to stop by the Fragonard factories at nearby Eze Village or Grasse, you can obtain a 10% discount in the Fragonard perfume shop by showing them the Fragonard perfume leaflet obtained at most local Tourist Offices.

Closing comments:

I highly recommend a visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Whether you are interested in history, Renaissance architecture, art, furniture, you are sure to be dazzled by the Villa interior. I know I felt quite privileged to view the collections there.

The gardens, statues and sculptures are beautiful, and being a popular tourist attraction there may be crowds but sit in the gardens, soak up the views and enjoy the experience.

I hope they expand their mobile applications to be downloadable in more languages, and I hope also that one day people who have restricted mobility can enjoy the experience as much as an able-bodied person like myself. Perhaps one day they will incorporate something similar to the amazing Norio robot in operation at the Château d’Orion.

Have you visited Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild yet?




Sightseeing – NICE (A tourist attraction that’s no longer there)

Descending by airplane to Nice Airport one of the first things you notice is the beautiful turquoise colour of the sea against the landscape – in fact, the colour lends to the name of this region, the Côte d’Azur (Azure Coast).

Not far from the airport is the end of the main waterfront road – the promenade des Anglais – which is dotted with Belle Époque hotels, beach restaurants and wide paths for strolling, rollerblading or cycling.

Nice once had a Belle Époque pier, la Jetée Promenade, that was constructed in 1882 and extended from the promenade des Anglais (opposite what is today the Ruhl Casino Barriere de Nice) and housed a casino, restaurant and arcades.

Casino Jetée Promenade

Casino Jetée Promenade

The Jetée Promenade was a dream of the Marquis d’Espouy of Saint Paul, after the Marquis visited the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.  Looking at vintage photos it reminds me of the Brighton Pier and West Pier in East Sussex, and similar to the West Pier the Jetée Promenade also fell victim to fire damage.

Sadly, the casino and jetty structure were demolished in 1944, during World War II, by German troops, and all the bronze, copper, brass, metal wiring components and anything of value was taken by them for scrap metal.

You can find black and white vintage postcards of la Jetée Promenade at flea markets and souvenir stores.  There is an antique postcard market held in Nice on the 4th Saturday of each month, at Place du Palais de Justice.  Look for postcard markings for Sauvaigo, Rostan & Munier, G. Lemaitre & Cie, and ‘Giletta Frères, Nice’ who were three brothers renown for their photographs and making tourist posters and postcards.

A local Riviera architect has created a 3D virtual model of la Jetée Promenade Casino, as it would have looked in 1891 against a view of today’s promenade. You can view his amazing replication work at