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938km (583 miles) S of Paris; 10km (6 miles) E of Nice
This place has been called “Paradise Found”—of all the oases along the Côte d’Azur,
none has quite the snob appeal of Cap-Ferrat. It’s a 15km (9-mile) promontory sprinkled
with luxurious villas, outlined by sheltered bays, beaches, and coves. The vegetation
is lush. In the port of St-Jean, the harbor accommodates yachts and fishing boats.
GETTING THERE Most visitors drive or take a bus or taxi from the rail station
at nearby Beaulieu. Buses from the station at Beaulieu depart hourly for Cap-Ferrat;
the one-way fare is 1.80€ ($2.35). There’s also bus service from Nice. For bus information
and schedules, call & 04-93-85-64-44. By car from Nice, take N7 east.
VISITOR INFORMATION The Office de Tourisme is on 59 avenue Denis-
Séméria (& 04-93-76-08-90).
SEEING THE SIGHTS
One way to enjoy the scenery here is to wander on some of the public paths. The most
scenic goes from Plage de Paloma to Pointe St-Hospice, where a panoramic view of
the Riviera landscape unfolds.
You can also wander around the hamlet St-Jean, a colorful fishing village with bars,
bistros, and inns.
Everyone tries to visit the Villa Mauresque, avenue Somerset-Maugham, but it’s
closed to the public. Near the cape, it’s where Maugham spent his final years. When
tourists tried to visit him, he proclaimed that he wasn’t one of the local sights. One
man did manage to crash through the gate, and when he encountered the author,
Maugham snarled, “What do you think I am, a monkey in a cage?”
Once the property of King Leopold II of Belgium, the Villa Les Cèdres lies west
of the port of St-Jean. Although you can’t visit the villa, you can go to the nearby Parc
Zoologique, boulevard du Général-de-Gaulle, northwest of the peninsula (& 04-93-
76-04-98). It’s open May to September daily from 9:30am to 7:30pm; April and October daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm (closed Nov–Mar). Admission is 12€ ($16)
for adults, 8€ ($10) for students, 8€ ($10) for children 3 to 10. This private zoo is
in the basin of a drained lake. It houses a wide variety of reptiles, birds, and animals
in outdoor cages.
Musée Ile-de-France (aka Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild) Built by Baronne
Ephrussi de Rothschild, this is one of the Côte d’Azur’s legendary villas. Born a Rothschild,
the baronne married a Hungarian banker and friend of her father, about whom
even the museum’s curator knows little. She died in 1934, leaving the Italianate building
and its gardens to the Institut de France on behalf of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
The museum preserves the wealth of her collection: 18th-century furniture; Tiepolo
ceilings; Savonnerie carpets; screens and panels from the Far East; tapestries from Gobelin,
Aubusson, and Beauvais; Fragonard drawings; canvases by Boucher; Sèvres porcelain;
and more. The sprawling gardens contain fragments of statuary from churches,
monasteries, and palaces. An entire section is planted with cacti.
Av. Denis-Séméria.&04-93-01-45-90. Admission 8.50€ ($11) adults, 6.50€ ($8.45) students and children 7–18.
Mar–Oct daily 10am–6pm; Nov–Feb Mon–Fri 2–6pm, Sat–Sun 10am–6pm.
WHERE TO DINE
Capitaine Cook PROVENÇAL/SEAFOOD Next door to the fancy La Voile
d’Or hotel (see above), a few blocks uphill from the center of the village, this restaurant
specializes in seafood served in hearty portions. Diners enjoy a panoramic view
of the coast from the terrace; inside, the decor is maritime and rugged. Oysters, served
simply on the half shell or in several creative ways with sauces and herbs, are a specialty.
Roasted catch of the day is the mainstay, but filet mignon is also popular. The
staff speaks English.
11 av. Jean-Mermoz. & 04-93-76-02-66. Main courses 18€–29€ ($23–$38); fixed-price menu 23€–28€
($30–$36). MC, V. Fri–Tues noon–2pm; Thurs–Tues 7:15–11pm. Closed mid-Nov to Dec.
Le Provençal FRENCH/PROVENÇAL With the possible exception of the
Grand Hôtel’s dining room, this is the grandest restaurant in town. Near the top of
Nice’s highest peak, it has the most panoramic view, which can sweep as far as the Italian
border. Many of the menu items are credited to the inspiration of “the Provençal”
in the kitchens. Selections include marinated artichoke hearts beside half a lobster, tarte
fine of potatoes with deliberately undercooked foie gras, rack of lamb with local herbs
and tarragon sauce, and crayfish with asparagus and black-olive tapenade. The best way
to appreciate the desserts is to order the sampler, les cinq desserts du Provençal—five
dishes that usually include macaroons with chocolate and crème brûlée.
2 av. Denis-Séméria. & 04-93-76-03-97. Reservations required. Main courses 35€–50€ ($46–$65); fixed-price
menu 72€ ($94). AE, MC, V. Apr–Sept daily noon–2:30pm and 7:30–11pm; Oct–Mar Wed–Sun noon–2:30pm and
Le Sloop FRENCH/PROVENÇAL Le Sloop is the most popular and most reasonably
priced bistro in this expensive area. Outfitted in blue and white inside and
out, it sits at the edge of the port, overlooking the yachts in the harbor. A meal might
begin with a salad of flap mushrooms steeped “en cappuccino” with liquefied foie gras,
or perhaps tartare of salmon with aioli and lemon crepes. You might follow with a filet
of sea bass served with red-wine sauce, or a mixed fish fry of three kinds of Mediterranean
fish, bound together with olive oil and truffles. Dessert might include strawberry
soup with sweet white wine and apricot ice cream or any of about seven other
choices, each based on “the red fruits of the region.” The regional wines are reasonably
Au Nouveau Port.&04-93-01-48-63. Reservations recommended. Main courses 22€–32€ ($29–$42); fixed-price
menu 28€ ($36). AE, MC, V. July–Aug Thurs–Mon noon–2pm, Wed 7–9:30pm,Thurs–Tues 7–10pm; Sept–May Wed
7–9:30pm, Thurs–Tues noon–2pm and 7–10pm. Closed mid-Nov to mid-Jan.