Celebrities, royalty, artists, politicians and wealthy industrialists are among those who have found themselves seduced by the charms of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The town is located in Southeast France, about 6 miles out of Nice and is often seen as the apex of the French Riviera's "golden triangle", which also comprises Beaulieu and Villefranche. Although you can't count on brushing shoulders with stars, the attractive seaside town enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with very little rainfall during the summer months. Some say that being European, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has more history and culture to offer than preeminent places such as Beverley Hills and Malibu. Indeed, it has character and soul, with beautiful beaches, but one of the downsides is surely that it becomes very crowded in summer.
For art-lovers, keen gardeners and those who are culturally-minded, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is an Italian-style villa which contains an extensive collection of paintings, porcelain and furniture. It was Béatrice de Rothschild who decided to build the pink-tinted palazzo and the construction was completed in 1912. In 1933, one year before her death, she left more than 5000 works of art to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. The villa is open to public visitation all year round. The gardens are seemingly the highlight of visits to the villa and there are nine of them: the rose, the exotic, the provençal, the Japanese, the stone, the Florentine, the French, the Spanish and the Sèvres gardens.
You could walk along the Promenade Maurice Rouvier, named after a former mayor of Cap Ferrat. It stretches from the Royal Riviera Hotel to the beach and harbour, and along the way you'll discover the late actor David Niven's former residence.
In the vicinity you will also find co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen's villa, Maryland; walk past the entrance and you'll notice a sign which bears the warning: "Chien Méchant" so make sure your curiosity doesn't get the better of you!
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat was once exclusively the home to the rich and famous, with only royalty being able to afford to holiday there. Described as unrelentingly opulent, the small southerly town is a steadfast option for sun seekers as well as those looking to indulge.
As for reaching Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat by plane, the nearest airports are Toulon-Hyères, Nice-Cote d'Azur and Marseille-Provence.
You may have seen the site of the zoological gardens in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat guidebooks or online, but unfortunately they are currently closed.
Avoid run-ins with the authorities by only parking your car in designated parking areas. Furthermore, note that barbecues and dogs are prohibited on the beaches, although you will catch many people flouting these rules, allowing their pets to swim and sunbathe on the shoreline.
With its coastal location, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat's cuisine is mainly based around seafood. Dishes to try include sea bass in lime, cod in garlic sauce as well as wild boar and beef fillet cooked with foie gras. Le Cap is the main restaurant at the Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat.
A stay at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat might burn a rather large hole in your pocket; after a stay in an upscale hotel and dining out, you might not have very many pennies to bring back with you!