It is a veritable oasis on the Côte d'Azur, full of greenery and boasting over three hundred days of sunshine a year. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the perfect holiday destination, with beaches, restaurants, hiking trails along the coast, hotels, splendid gardens and stately villas overlooking beautiful natural surroundings...
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has been a prestigious resort since the late 19th century. Initially the dry, stony land was only home to a little fishing and farming cottages attached to the church and port. The village was called Saint-Jean and was part of Villefranche-sur-Mer commune.
#1. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat artificial reservoir
In 1876, the Compagnie Générale des Eaux water supply company created an artificial reservoir of 6,800 m3 with an island and a waterfall in the middle of the forest park. The water is taken from the River Vésubie. Thanks to this new source of water, the vegetation on the Cap-Ferrat peninsula has become more lush and varied.
At the same time, Cap Ferrat became a favourite destination for walks: families from Nice would come here in horse-drawn carriages, picnic in the pine olive groves or dine in the restaurants that opened close to the port.
#2. Villa Natacha by Henri Matisse
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat was also home to famous artists. The publisher Alec Teriade often hosted Henri Matisse at his Villa Natacha. In fact, the artist created a stained-glass window for the dining room of the villa and designed a ceramic wall.
Other authors with whom the publisher has worked have also visited here, including Chagall and Picasso, as well as his compatriot Odiseas Elitis, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979.
#3. Historic Hotel Belle Aurore
German-born Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon lived for two years at the local Hotel Belle Aurore (now Hotel & Spa La Villa Cap Ferrat), where she created her most famous work, "Life? Or Theatre?"
#4. Villa Santo Sospir with frescoes by Jean Cocteau
But of all the artists, Jean Cocteau left the most significant mark on the history of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. He was a frequent visitor to the Villa Santo Sospire and painted its walls with magnificent frescoes.
A fresco of his work can also be seen in the wedding hall of the town hall. Since then the unique charm of the place has always attracted crowned heads, artists, politicians and wealthy businessmen.
#5. Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Don't miss a unique visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. The magical atmosphere of this Belle Epoque palace will leave no one indifferent. It takes around two hours to explore the villa and gardens. To get to know Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat better, take a walk along the path around Cape Saint-Hospice or along the Maurice Rouvier Promenade.
#6. Seashell Museum
Here you can see 7,000 shells, including more than 400 specimens that are unrivalled in the world. It is the largest collection of Mediterranean shells to date and a unique collection of exotic specimens.
The visit begins with a six-minute film, after which you can move on to thirty-three showcases. Special microscopes are used to examine the smallest of shells.
Finally, decorative and collectible shells can be bought in the shop. The museum is open daily from Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, and on weekends and public holidays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm (opening hours subject to change).
#7. St Hospice Chapel
The Chapel of St Hospice was built in the 11th century on the ruins of a temple. It owes its name to a Benedictine monk named Hospitius, who settled in the tower around 575. The monk is credited with numerous miraculous healings.
In the seventeenth century, the chapel was fully restored by Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy. Later, in the 18th century, it was enlarged, and an altar was erected. The portico dates from 1826.
The chapel used to be an important pilgrimage site. Its interiors are decorated with paintings by the artist Louis Marchand de Roo, telling the story of the life and miracles of Saint Hospice.
The bronze statue of Our Lady next to the chapel (11 metres and 40 centimetres high) was commissioned in 1903 by a wealthy Nice merchant who made a vow to the Virgin Mary. It was created by the Italian sculptor Tranquillo Galbuzieri.
#8. COEXIST Foundation fountains
Two fountains located at the foot of the lighthouse and at the beginning of the St. Hospice promenade, respectively. The fountains were inaugurated in September 2007 in the presence of COEXIST Chairman James Kidner, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie Blair and lead singer of the rock band U2 Bono.
The logo of COEXIST unites a Muslim crescent, a Jewish Star of David and a Christian cross, which reflects the Foundation's mission of strengthening ties between different religions.
#9. Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste
The Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste (Saint John the Baptist) dates back to the 11th century. It is very simply decorated, but not without charm. It was enlarged twice in the 19th century and the rectory was built in 1846.
From 1992 to 1998, it underwent extensive renovation work, during which the building gradually acquired its present appearance. Every year, on 24 June, the town celebrates the feast of its patron saint with a procession carrying the statue of St John the Baptist to the pier of the old port.
#10. Lighthouse and signal tower
The lighthouse was built in 1732 to replace the former 16th century "fire tower". It was destroyed in 1944, and then rebuilt in its present form after the war. There are unique panoramic views from here: from the Esterel Mountains to the Italian coast.
The signal tower was built in 1862 on the orders of Napoleon III. Nowadays, it belongs to the French Navy and is used for regulating maritime traffic and fire control of the coast. The tower is 143 metres high.
#11. Old Port
The village of Saint-Jean grew and developed around the port, as fishing and related activities were the main occupation of its inhabitants.
Today the old port is called Quai Lindbergh. It was built by convicts imprisoned at Villefranche-sur-Mer from 1840 to 1876. It is home to Charlie Chaplin's shops and concert hall.
Book a scenic сatamaran cruise to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Signature Sailing Charter offers boat trips to Cap Ferrat, not only from Monaco, but also from Nice and Cannes. You can book a boat trip to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat online on website:
- It could be a 1-day itinerary to the resort town;
- A 2-day itinerary for a weekend or at a time of your choice with an overnight stay on a catamaran;
- You can also choose an itinerary of 3 or more days for a boat trip to the Côte d'Azur with a visit to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for 1 day.
Signature Sailing Charter offer a full range of services to organise your holiday on the Côte d'Azur!
Book it now and travel later! Your sea cruise will be in complete comfort, accompanied by a crew of three: a captain, a chef and a stewardess.
Signature Concept for 8 guests with comfortable cabins;
Signature Vision for 10 guests with comfortable cabins.
Take advantage of our special offer:
A boat trip to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for 1, 2 or more days with a discount of 5 to 10%. Find out more at the link.
Our service offers convenient dining options: either on board a sailing catamaran or on the shore in a restaurant recommended by us. Ask our manager about cruises organised by Signature Sailing Charter.
We wish you a fabulous holiday!