Les Cèdres: The Most Expensive villa in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Les Cèdres: The Most Expensive villa in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

What is villa Les Cèdres?

Villa Les Cèdres, situated on the prestigious French Riviera in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, is a historic and ultra-luxurious estate constructed in 1830 by a family of carpet merchants from Nice. Spanning 18,000 square meters, the villa features 14 bedrooms and showcases extravagant elements, including a vast library with over 3000 books, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an impressive bronze statue of the goddess Athena, a spacious horse stable, and the world’s largest private botanical garden. With a storied past, the villa has been owned by royalty and billionaires alike, standing as a significant symbol of Cap Ferrat’s opulence and grandeur.

Where is Les Cèdres located on the French Riviera?

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Villa Les Cèdres is situated in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera, often referred to as the “Golden Triangle” for its esteemed status as one of the most prestigious and exclusive areas in the region. Ideally located, Les Cèdres is within a 30 minute drive to other prominent destinations such as Monaco and Nice, adding to its allure as a prestigious location on the Mediterranean coastline.

What makes Les Cèdres a famous villa in Cap Ferrat?

Les Cèdres stands as a legendary property and a significant piece of Cap Ferrat’s history. Renowned for its status as the world’s most expensive piece of private real estate, Les Cèdres boasts another remarkable feature—it is home to the largest private botanical garden globally. This expansive garden, a testament to King Leopold II of Belgium’s botanical passion, showcases an extraordinary array of flora. The combination of its historic significance, extravagant architecture, and the sprawling botanical haven contributes to Les Cèdres’ fame, making it a truly exceptional destination in the South of France.

What are some interesting facts about Les Cèdres in Cap Ferrat?

After Belgian King Leopold purchased this waterfront estate in Cap Ferrat in 1904, the villa was given its current name, ‘Les Cèdres.’ The king, accompanied by a trusted team of designers and architects, including Aaron Messiah, expanded the villa by adding a whole new third level, adorned it with decadent statues and decor, and constructed an impressive Olympic-size swimming pool, skillfully carved into the bedrock of the property.

One of the most intriguing facts of this villa is its historical association with King Leopold II of Belgium and his sixteen-year-old mistress, Caroline Lacroix. The young Caroline, considered the apple of the king’s eye, resided in Les Cèdres almost like a prisoner for five years, unable to leave or receive visitors during her stay. Les Cèdres, in this context, functioned as a golden prison for the young woman. Caroline also gave birth to one of the king’s illegitimate children during her time at villa Les Cèdres.

What is the history of villa Les Cèdres?

Originally known as ‘Les Oiseaux,’ villa Les Cèdres in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat was a private home constructed by the Jewish, Nice-based family Pollonnais. Its transformation into a prestigious estate and adoption of the current name happened in 1904 when Belgian King Leopold II purchased the property, using it as an illustrious second residence. Notably, during World War I, Les Cèdres served as a hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1924, the estate changed hands and was acquired by Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle, the creator of Grand Marnier. The ownership transitioned to Gruppo Campari and, in 2019, the villa was sold to Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov for $200 million, adding another chapter to the rich history of this remarkable property.

Who is the current owner of villa Les Cèdres in Cap Ferrat?

The current owner of villa Les Cèdres in Cap Ferrat is Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov. In 2019, Akhmetov acquired the property from Gruppo Campari for a reported $200 million.

How much was Les Cèdres sold for?

Les Cèdres in Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat was sold to the richest man in Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov, in 2019 for a reported $200 million.

Has Les Cèdres ever hosted celebrities?


Villa Les Cèdres in Cap Ferrat has indeed hosted numerous celebrities over the years. This luxurious estate, with its opulent amenities and privacy, is a sought-after destination for high-profile guests. While many VIP visits to the villa have been kept confidential, A-list celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Taylor have graced Les Cèdres with their presence.

Who designed the villa Les Cèdres in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat?

Villa Les Cèdres in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat was originally designed by the architect Hans-Georg Tersling in 1830. It then underwent significant renovations and enhancements by a team of designers and architects led by Aaron Messiah after its purchase by Belgian King Leopold II in 1904. The lavish additions and landscaping of the stunning gardens of Les Cèdres were under the supervision of Jules Vacherot and Harold Peto.

For more information about villas for rent or sale in Cap Ferrat, contact Cap Villas.

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