It’s All Greek to Me

Yesterday Jared and I decided to explore the Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu. We had seen signs for the villa and had caught glimpses of the exterior on our walks over to Beaulieu, but what really piqued my interest was that the villa’s owner, Théodore Reinach, was the brother-in-law of Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild and was the reason she chose to build her mansion on the Côte d’Azur.

The overall impression that we came away with was that Théo (we’re on a nickname basis) was really into the details. He was an archeologist and wanted to incorporate as many traditional ancient Greek details as he could into his house. Where Béatrice was into quantity, Théo was into quality, and the result is a surprisingly restrained and perhaps (dare I say) even more impressive villa.

We learned from the orientation video that “Kerylos” is Greek for Halcyon, the mythic bird that made its nest on the waves and is said to calms the seas. It’s also fitting that the name is also used to describe an idyllic time gone by, such as the turn of the century on the Côte d’Azur, when this villa was built.





As you walk in, the mosaic floor depicts a rooster, hen and chicks meant to represent the family unit, and incorporates a traditional Greek greeting that translates as “enjoy yourself.” There is a traditional marble bath to the left of the entrance that is also intricately tiled.

The entryway leads to a central open-air courtyard flanked by marble columns and mosaics depicting Greek myths as well as sea life to acknowledge the villa’s setting and namesake. The roof tiles collect rainwater to be used in the house, and the tree in the center is an Oleander, the plant of Apollo.

Next is the impressive library. I’m not going to describe the entire place room by room, but the library was obviously Théo’s favorite room and where he spent most of his time, so it’s worth mentioning. He surrounded himself with quotes from Greek philosophers, and the chairs and chandelier are replicas of famous Greek ones (most of the details around the villa are replicas of a famous Greek statue or piece, or depict a Greek myth).

It sounds like Théo and his wife had some pretty good parties. The dining room had beds next to the table, in traditional Greek style, and sometimes the guests would dress up in togas.

That last photo hints at my absolute favorite feature of the villa: the ceilings. Each room had a different ceiling and each ceiling was a different design (I checked) of intricately painted beams. They were all gorgeous.

I also really liked the details incorporated into the Mme Reinach’s boudoir. Her shower was particularly gorgeous, and featured several nozzles to direct the direction and flow of the water.

ladies getting dressed adorn the walls

dream shower

And finally, no villa around these parts would be complete without some excellent views.

We really liked Kerylos. It was understated and well-designed, and the attention to detail was astounding. Most of the rooms had names and were then decorated in themes corresponding to the name (the master suite was the Erotes room and was painted Pompeian Red with hearts and depictions of Eros everywhere, for example). Whereas most of the architecture and decor of the time was overly ornate and fussy, this villa embraces clean lines and sparse yet purposeful interiors. And if you haven’t seen enough and are interested in even more beautiful photos of the Villa Kerylos, check out this post.

Though we’re leaving on Sunday, I’m going to do my best to keep posting on our last few days here since we have some cool stuff planned!


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