Belonging to a collection of exclusive and legendary properties on the French Riviera, the ‘Castle of la Croix des Gardes’ is at once the largest estate in the area, and unequivocally the most outstanding.
‘La Croix des Gardes’ is positioned just a few minutes from the port of Cannes and the ‘Palais des Festivals’, and proudly stands overlooking the historic region that resonates with the glorious 19th century heritage of the French Riviera.
In 1835, Lord Henry Brougham erected the first historic dwelling of the area: ‘Villa Eléanore-Louise’, named after the daughter of the famous British writer and politician. Two years later, the British General, John Taylor, initiated the construction of the ‘Castle Saint-Georges’ just a few steps away. Thus – along with a multitude of outstanding villas such as ‘Villa Rothschild’, ‘Castle Vallombrosa’ and ‘Villa Romée’ – the ‘Quartier des Anglais’ was born.
In 1919, a Swiss gentleman, Paul Girod, purchased the top of the hill and forged a magnificent Florentine style property at the heart of10.2 hectares of authentic hanging gardens that would of course come to be known as the ‘Castle of la Croix des Gardes’.
Six years later, Mr Goldman, the owner of Burma jewelry, purchased the unique property, which he would not sell until 1960 and to no other than the man who would turn water into gold; the owner of Perrier.
Extended and redesigned by the English architect, Alan Gore, in a neo-Palladian style that echoes the ‘Wrotham Castle’, this sumptuous property (now measuring roughly 1200 sqm) offers a guest house, staff accommodation and outbuildings.
In 1927, William Crot, the chief gardener, replaced the Paul Girod lawn tennis court with an oriental-style garden. The sublime grounds somewhat recall Harold Peto’s English creations as well as Achille Duchêne’s design for the Roman garden of the ‘Castle Lou Seuil’ in Eze. Later, in 1970, the garden was restored and an orangery was replanted in the eastern pavilion, together with a winter garden and a Turkish lodge. The grounds are complimented further by a 33 meter long swimming pool designed by Alan Gore under the guidance of the renowned architect André Svetchine. Indeed, today, the garden continues to grow and reflect the creative skills of its initial designers.
Sitting at 213 meters above sea-level, the castle offers unsurpassed panoramic views of both the Mediterranean Sea and the snowy mountains. The castle is breathtaking. Essentially, it has become a true fantasy that embodies the legend of Cannes itself.
It was thought that the famous International Film Festival would host the castle’s opening legendary event, but, in fact, it was with Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous film, ‘To Catch a Thief’, that the castle first served as an unforgettable backdrop. In 1995, the production of the film proudly welcomed Grace Kelly, who is said to have immediately fallen under the spell of the mythical Chateau.
Then, in 1961, Alain Resnais, too, fell in love with the ‘Castle of La Croix des Gardes’ and employed it as the setting for his film “Last Year in Marienbad”.
Today, the chateau is the only remaining castle to overlook the Bay of Cannes from sunrise to sunset. While it certainly enjoys the modern benefits of an uncontestable location and the splendors of immaculate surroundings, the ‘Castle of La Croix des Gardes’ will at the same time, undoubtedly, transport its future owners back to the glorious hay-days of the French Riviera.
This French Riviera castle is now on the market for $53.5million