From the end of the 19th century, the Cap Ferrat peninsula established itself as a holiday resort: families from Nice would go there for a picnic in a horse-drawn carriage. Very quickly, the infrastructure began to develop, along with the first hotels and restaurants around the port.
Wealthy foreign families and crowned heads made it a popular destination in the early 20th century. Then it was artists who fell in love with the peninsula, in particular Matisse, Chagall, Picasso and Cocteau.
The museums of the Côte d’Azur testify to a cultural richness and a very interesting history. The Belle Epoque period left wonderful architectural testimonies, such as the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, which today has become one of the most visited museums in the area.
From archaeology to contemporary art and a wonderful natural environment, the tourist offer of Cap Ferrat is extremely varied.
Béatrice de Rothschild, born in 1864, was the daughter of Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, Regent of the Banque de France and a great art collector. She married Maurice Ephrussi in 1883 and became Madame Ephrussi de Rothschild. After her divorce she continued her interest in art and started to build up her private collection, which was of inestimable value.
In 1905, the noblewoman discovered Cap Ferrat and had a monumental villa built there, in which to store all the works of art she had collected over the years: inspired by the Italian Renaissance, this palace brings together all styles and eras with strong Lombard, Venetian and Spanish influences.
Today at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, you can visit the ceremonial rooms, Béatrice’s flats and discover the magnificent porcelain collection. Outside, nine themed gardens await you, one more marvellous than the other. The magical spectacle of musical water games, which animate the French garden every 20 minutes, accentuates the enchanting aspect of the place.
Inaugurated in 2004, this museum houses over 7000 shells, the largest collection in the Mediterranean, boasting many exotic specimens brought from all over the world. The museum is a real journey around the world and an immersion into the fabulous underwater world.
Young and old alike will be amazed by the 33 showcases in the exhibition, including one of micro-shells that can be observed through binoculars.
Built in the 11th century and restored in the 17th and 18th centuries, the chapel pays tribute to Hospitius, a Benedictine monk spared in 575 by the Lombards, thanks to the imperturbable calm he showed in the face of death.
A place of pilgrimage, today Pointe Saint-Hospice houses the marine cemetery, created in 1905. It overlooks the sea, offering an exceptional panorama.
Also below the chapel is the Belgian military cemetery, which holds the graves of soldiers housed in the Villa Les Cèdres, which belonged to the King of the Belgians and was converted into a military hospital.
Built in 1732 on the site of the former fire tower erected in the 16th century, the lighthouse has been listed as a historical monument since 2012. Destroyed during World War II, it was rebuilt but can no longer be visited today.
A stone’s throw from the lighthouse is a 153-metre-high tower/signalling device built under Napoleon III. Its function is to monitor maritime traffic, but also to give early warning of possible forest fires on the peninsula.
Built by the convicts of Villefranche-sur-Mer in the mid-19th century, it runs along the Lindbergh quay. Since 1972, the new marina has accommodated more than 500 boats.
The village is concentrated around the harbour and offers a large pedestrian zone, laid out in 2017, which allows people to walk in the shade of lush vegetation.
A tribute to Greek civilisation, Villa Kérylos stands on the rocky tip of the Baie des Fourmis in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. Built between 1902 and 1908 by the talented architect Emmanuel Pontremoli, it is nothing more than a reconstruction of a luxurious palace on the island of Delos, Greece: in fact, it exactly reproduces the features of an ancient Greek residence, modelled on the noble houses of the time.
During your visit, you will be enchanted by the frescoes and mosaics that adorn the walls of the building. The peristyle, the vast inner courtyard, is surrounded by 12 columns of Carrara marble. Classified as a historical monument in 1966, Villa Kérylos is one of the must-see museums in Cap-Ferrat.
Jean Cocteau, an artist of many talents, was a faithful guest of the Côte d’Azur and there are many towns that bear the imprint of his passage. In 1950, when the poet had just finished shooting his film Les Enfants Terribles, he was invited by his friend Francine Weisweiller to spend a few days at her villa in Cap-Ferrat. Seduced by the beauty and magic of the place, Jean Cocteau stayed there and became a regular guest.
During his stay, subjugated by boredom, he will begin to tattoo the bare white walls of the villa, painting with charcoal. What was supposed to be a simple drawing of Apollo turns into a series of incredible frescoes, which will gradually cover all the walls and ceilings, creating a priceless decoration.
Calm, peaceful and reserved, the five beaches of Cap-Ferrat are an excellent reason for recreation and relaxation, in a delightful natural setting. Equipped with all amenities, they are enchanting coves nestled among the pine trees and rocks.
As its name suggests, this beach lies near the port, in the heart of the village. Also called Cros deï Pin, it was the first beach in Cap Ferrat established in 1932.
Here you will find games for children and a beach volleyball court in the summer season. An on-site nautical centre offers activities for older children. Popular with families, it is one of the largest beaches in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
Surrounded by lush vegetation, La Paloma beach is a real gem: facing east, it offers a breathtaking view of the cliffs of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Eze. Very popular for its unique location, it is also the starting or finishing point of the Pointe Saint-Hospice trail.
Divided into 2 parts, public and private, La Paloma has always been a favourite beach of celebrities such as Matisse, Cocteau, Roger Moore, Churchill, Sean Connery, Elton John or Tom Cruise.
The restaurant on the beach serves Mediterranean cuisine and is open from Easter to the end of September for lunch and dinner. The establishment has showers, changing rooms, beach towels, deckchairs, parasols and a bar.
On the other side of the peninsula, in the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Plage de Passable is one of the best places on Cap Ferrat to admire the sunsets.
Thanks to its ideal location, it enjoys perfect exposure and lush vegetation. The beach is equipped with all amenities: a restaurant offering modern and fresh cuisine based exclusively on seasonal products, parking, showers, changing rooms, deckchairs, parasols, a lounge bar, shops and water sports equipment rental such as water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding and buoy towing.
With a mixture of sand and small pebbles, the Plage des Fosses stretches south of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, on Pointe Sainte-Hospice, from where there is an exceptional view of the villas and the old quarry on the peninsula.
It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area and offers holidaymakers an idyllic setting: it is here that you will find the old municipal washhouse, now closed, and the departure point of several trails.
Don’t forget your mask and snorkel, the seabed is full of fish, perfect for snorkelling.
More reserved than its bigger sister, Plage des Fossettes is one of the best beaches in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for sunbathing in solitude.
In fact, located below the Jardin de la Paix at Pointe Saint-Hospice, it is without doubt the most unspoilt and discreet beach on the peninsula. It is appreciated for its tranquillity and the richness of its seabed, much loved by snorkelling enthusiasts.
The ideal way to discover and fully appreciate the beauty of Cap-Ferrat is to follow at least one of the various hiking trails: suitable for all levels, they will take you to truly marvellous vantage points on the coastline, sweeping your gaze from the Estérel to Italy.
This magnificent walk allows you to reach Beaulieu-sur-Mer from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in about 20 to 30 minutes. Entirely asphalted, it is also easily navigable by pushchairs or persons with reduced mobility.
The trail begins with a magnificent view of the port of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the beach of Cros deï Pin and the tip of Saint-Hospice. After passing pointe Fontettes, you can see the islets of punta Rompa Talon. To the right, on the heights of the cliffs, the picturesque villages of Eze and La Turbie stand out, while below, the town of Cap d’Ail looms along the coast. On a clear day, you can even see Italy on the horizon.
You will arrive at Place David Niven, so named in memory of the great actor who was a fan of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat until his death. You will also reach the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild by taking the small crossroads on the left. The route continues along the Baie des Fourmis, with the Greek Villa Kérylos on your right, until you reach the beach of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and its Port des Fourmis.
From the Jardin de la Paix, follow the interpretive trail that, thanks to its 6 observation stations, invites you to discover the riches of the coastal heritage.
Walking surrounded by fragrant maritime pines, you will arrive at the Pointe du Colombier with its landscape of limestone rocks. A little further to the left, the Edmund Davis road allows you to reach the top of Pointe Saint-Hospice to discover the Saint-Hospice chapel, its bronze Virgin (1903), the Belgian military cemetery and the marine cemetery (allow another 20 minutes round trip).
Continue the walk to the point from which you will see Cap-Martin, the Principality of Monaco and even Italy on your right. Finally, you arrive at the Scaletta cove, home to the Paloma beach: from here you join the Chemin de Saint-Hospice, after climbing a flight of stairs. Complete the tour by walking to the Peace Garden, where the COEXIST fountain is located.
The trail begins on the chemin de la Carrière, so named because of an old quarry from which the stones used to build Monaco’s port were extracted. Follow the coastline, passing below the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat and its famous seawater pool, before reaching the lighthouse and the point of Malalongue.
You will then follow the coast to the lighthouse, passing on the other side of the peninsula, with a beautiful view of Nice and the Bay of Villefranche. You can admire several coves nestled at the foot of the cliffs, accessible by stone steps and perfect for a break with a refreshing swim in the sea. The walk ends at Passable beach, from where you can return to the starting point in the village.
This hike stands out as one of the most beautiful walks to take in Cap-Ferrat. The route is not always linear, but just follow the signs.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Since the Cap-Ferrat peninsula is relatively small, accommodation fills up quickly during the high season. The promontory is home to three five-star resorts, the Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat, the Voile d’Or and the Royal Riviera. Even if you are not looking for such unbridled luxury, you should know that the hotel scene in Cap-Ferrat offers mainly high-end hotels: the price of accommodation is truly remarkable, even for a B&B or a rented flat.
For those wishing to visit Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat at a lower cost, we recommend staying in the towns of Nice or Antibes, whose urban centres are less than 15 kilometres away. Another solution is to discover the hinterland during a stay in a Provençal B&B in the countryside.
Located only 17 kilometres from Nice, 37 from Antibes, 43 from Cannes or 28 from the Italian border, the Cap-Ferrat peninsula has gained international notoriety, offering its visitors the charm of an exceptional and preserved site.
If you are travelling by plane, the nearest stop is undoubtedly Nice airport: after hiring a car on site, you can set off to explore the peninsula. The exit is No. 58 (Monaco – Eze): then you will have to cross Beausoleil and Cap d’Ail to reach the Basse Corniche, then follow the sea as far as Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
For those travelling by train, the route will involve arriving at the SNCF station of Nice Ville: from here you will have to take the TER train in the direction of Monaco-Menton, stopping at Beaulieu sur Mer. Finally, the last leg will be by bus No. 15 (direction Port de Saint-Jean), stop Gare Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
What's the weather at Cap-Ferrat? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Cap-Ferrat for the next few days.
Cap Ferrat is an enchanting peninsula nestled between Nice and the Principality of Monaco.