Villa Les Cèdres

A living room at Villa Les Cèdres. Photographer: Ambroise Tezenas for Bloomberg Businessweek

Photographer: Ambroise Tezenas for Bloomberg Businessweek

When it comes to an estate such as the 187-year-old Villa Les Cèdres in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera, it’s a challenge to come up with enough superlatives. Somehow, magnificent, sumptuous, and grand don’t seem superlative enough!

Situated between Nice and Monaco, Cap Ferrat is graced with a 560-berth harbor, white sand beaches, seaside pathways, and some 600 mansions whose occupants have included (or currently include) such dignitaries as Charlie Chaplin; Microsoft’s Paul Allen; W. Somerset Maugham; Count Hubert de Givenchy; French playwright, poet, and artist Jean Cocteau; and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Currently the world’s most expensive property, listed at €350 million ($410 million), the 18,000-square-foot mansion sits on 35 manicured acres “considered among the top 10 botanical gardens worldwide,” that include 14,000 plant species and 25 greenhouses. The 14-bedroom residence’s pedigree dates from its construction in 1830: purchase in 1850 by the mayor of Villefranche-sur-Mer, subsequent ownership by Belgian King Leopold II, the Marnier-Lapostolle family (producers of Grand Marnier), and its current ownership by the Italian distiller Davide Campari-Milano SpA.

For an inside (and outside) peek at Villa Les Cèdres – the 3,000-book botanical library, the dazzling chandeliers, the rooftop panorama of the Maritime Alps, the pond with Amazonian lily pads, and the lavish decor – have a look at this article in Bloomberg News.