Dominating the cliffs of Mont Boron on the edge of Nice, Villa Beau Site’s belvedere embodies both the heritage and majestic décor of this rare gem. Now listed as a monument historique, the property has a unique south-west facing position, and is surrounded by a solarium terrace and verdant gardens looking out towards the harbour and beyond.
Built in 1870 by an Italian entrepreneur, the villa was bought 20 years later by British merchant Achille Larrey, who renamed it Beau Site and commissioned local architect Sébastian-Marcel Biasini to enlarge and refurbish it. This marked a turning point for the property – it became one of the most grand in the region, displaying a mix of Victorian and classical Neo-Pompeian architecture.
A series of narrow terraces was later added, and two garden villas, Villa Hyacinthe and Villa les Roches, were built for guests and staff. In 1910, Madame Larrey added a third, Villa Isba, which she used herself during her final years.
Villa Beau Site was eventually sold in 1948 to Gisèle Tissier, a renowned artist, poet and harpist, and the owner of a high-fashion store in Paris. Ten train carriages were reputedly needed to transport her possessions from her Paris home, including her collection of 18 harps and three pianos. She spent the rest of her life in the property, transforming it into a sanctuary of music, opulence and style.
Today, Beau Site needs a new owner to write its next chapter. The main property and the three additional villas now need refurbishment, but one feature can never be bettered: those incredible sea views over the Baie des Anges.