Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is renowned as the quietest and most fashionable resort on the French Riviera because much of it is made up of luxury private villas, closed to the public. The resort is situated close to Nice on the picturesque Cap Ferrat peninsula. There are coves of white sand, where the cliffs drop steeply to the sea and the shores are lost in thickets of pine trees.
A bit of history
This fertile area of pine and eucalyptus groves was discovered by King Leopold II of Belgium, who in 1902 built a villa on the peninsula for his beloved, Caroline Lacroix. In the mid-twentieth century it was owned by Italian industrialist Giovanni Agnelli. Film buffs know it well from post-war movies: "Red Shoes" (1948) and "To Catch a Thief" (1955).
The Villa Leopold, which has been declared the most expensive in the world, is now protected by the French state as a cultural and historic monument.
Following in the wake of the Belgian crown, the aristocracy of the Old World also appreciated the charm of this coastal location. Now only the wealthiest settled here, who liked to surround themselves with artists, poets and intellectuals of their time.
Isadora Duncan, Somerset Maugham, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Cocteau and the Rothschilds loved to stay on Cap-Ferrat. Today it is a cosy world of Mediterranean natural luxury, which you can enjoy as you stroll along the many coastal paths.
Along paved paths winding from the sea to pine groves and well-kept villas, you'll walk around Cap-Ferrat leaving behind 14km of stunning views, several rocky promontories, the Napoleon III lighthouse with a panoramic view of the Côte d'Azur, the old port and the Boulevard Maurice Rouvier, built with "great wealth" villas and stretching to Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
The views from the sea are spectacular, and you can enjoy them on a catamaran cruise from Monaco to Cap Ferrat on the Signature Sailing Charter.
On the way you will also come across the Chapel of Saint Hospice, built in the 11th century on the site of the ruined tower of the Saint Monk. It was entirely rebuilt in the 17th century by Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy, and later, thanks to the generous hand of King Charles Félix, it became a pilgrimage site for sailors who venerate Saint Hospice as their patron saint.
In 1900 a bronze sculpture of the Virgin Mary by Italian sculptor Tranquilo Galbuzzieri, known locally as the 'Black Virgin Mary', was installed alongside the chapel.
But the two most impressive sights in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat are the Grand-Hotel-du-Ferrat and the Villa Beatrice Ephrussi-Rothschild.
The famous Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat
A fine example of Belle Epoque architecture, the Grand Hotel Palace is situated on the highest point of Cap Ferrat, in a beautiful park with several enfilades.
A cable car takes you to Le Club Dauphin, the hotel's beach oasis, with its summer outdoor restaurant and heated pool hovering above the sea.
The legendary Golden Book of celebrity guests includes Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, Roger Moore, Jack Nicholson, Eddie Barclay, Paul McCartney, Boy George, Elton John, Tina Turner, Emir Bahrain, King Beaudoin, The Duke of Connaught.
Main hiking trails
- Maurice Rouvier Promenade
- The trail around Cape St Hospice
- The trail around the Cap Ferrat peninsula
#1. Walking route: the trail around Cape St. Hospice
This educational trail provides an insight into the heritage of Cape St. Hospice. It has a special status thanks to its six observation stations. Walk along the harbour and past the Hotel La Voile d'Or to Paloma beach, where the coastal path begins.
Descend a few steps, and you'll see the bay of Scaletta, the towns of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Eze on the seafront and Cap d'Ail. Another part of Eze, Eze-Village and the town of La Turbie can be seen on the mountain.
As you continue towards Cape St Hospice, you can see the Cape of Martin and the territories of the Principality of Monaco and Italy on your left. The path winds along the seashore between rocks pitted by salt and sea spray, with the sea stretching out to the left.
Follow the Edmund Davis path to the right, which leads to the chemin de Saint-Hospice, at the end of which is an 11th-century chapel, a bronze statue of Our Lady (1903) and a Belgian cemetery from the period 1914-1918.
Turn back onto the Edmund Davis path leading to the seafront, turn right, pass the Pointe du Colombier, go through the pine grove, and you'll find yourself on Avenue Claude Vignon.
Turn left and follow Avenue Claude Vignon past the bays of Le Fossettes and Le Fos (Anse des Fossettes, Anse des Fosses), where there used to be a public laundry. The avenue will take you into the centre of town.
DISTANCE: 1.8 km
DURATION: 40 min (1 hr with visit to the chapel)
POINT OF STAY: Paloma beach or Jardin de la Paix
PARKING POINT: Place du Centenaire or plage Cros deï Pin.
LEVEL OF DEFINITION: Easy.
#2. Promenade Maurice Rouvier
The Promenade Maurice Rouvier begins at City Hall. It offers panoramic views of the bay of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and the marina, the beach of Cros-dei-Pin and Cape Saint-Hospice, with the Chapel of Saint-Hospice on top.
The picturesque towns of La Turbie and Eze can be seen on the high ground to the right and the town of Cap d'Ail below. The last promontory on the horizon is in Italian territory. Place David Niven is named after the great actor who regularly visited Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for the rest of his life.
Turn left at the crossroads, and you will reach Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a shady road that continues on to Furmi Bay, where the Greek Villa Kerylos (now a museum) can be seen on the right.
The last bend takes you to the beach at Beaulieu-sur-Mer and the port of Fourmi. On the left is the five-star Hotel Royal-Riviera, one of the best on the Côte d'Azur. Note: The road is completely paved and, without steps, suitable for walks with prams or for those with reduced mobility.
DISTANCE: 1.3 km (there)
DURATION: 20 minutes.
PICK UP: opposite the town hall of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
PARKING: Place du Centenaire or plage Cros deï Pin
LEVEL OF DEFINITION: Very easy.
#3. La Carrière road: a promenade around the Cap Terre peninsula
From the Place de la Santénère, head up the shopping street. Pass the bank and turn left into Avenue Claude Vignon. Behind the petanque court, 50 metres away, starts the road to La Carrière. The road goes by the sea below the Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat and its Olympic-size swimming pool (33 m. Still a standard) and leads to the lighthouse and the Pointe Malalongue.
At the foot of the lighthouse, on clear days, you have a magnificent view of the Nice headland and the Esterel mountain range. You are in the western part of the peninsula.
The route goes through several coves and leads to the beach of Passable opposite the Villefranche-sur-Mer raid with its ancient fortress and Mont Alban fort.
- At the end, the route follows the steps.
- Turn left, walk to Passable beach, climb the beach steps and follow the Chemin de Passable to Avenue Denis Séméria.
- Turn right, pass the Tourist Office and then continue on Avenue Denis Séméria towards the town.
How to get to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is accessible by catamaran sailing boat from Monaco. Book in advance for the Signature Sailing Charter catamaran to sail from Monaco harbour in the morning or afternoon.
From 6 to 18 in the evening, you can enjoy breakfast or lunch on board the catamaran, sunbathing, a sailing masterclass or even some on-the-water entertainment. And all these extras are available for free, with special offers in March, April, May or June.
The Signature Sailing Charter catamaran offers boat trips to Cap Ferrat, not only from Monaco but also from Nice and Cannes.
You can book a scenic сatamaran cruise from Monaco 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 hot 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 sea cruises organised by Signature Sailing Charter.
We wish you a fabulous holiday!