Friday, February 15, 2013

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

This magnificent seaside palace was built in between 1905 and 1915 for the Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild. The villa, named Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, overlooks the Mediterranean.
Ephrussi was the Baroness' married name. It is located on the Cap Ferrat which is a narrow isthmus surrounded on both sides by the sea. It is one of 3 major capes on the French Riveria In 2012 the Cap Ferrat was the second most expensive residential location after Monaco.
The Rothschilds were so well know for designing their palaces with extravagant interiors that their style became known as "Gout Rothschild" This detailed and elaborate style of interior decorating was emulated by many of rich and powerful families of the 19th Century.
There are nine gardens surrounding the home designed by Achille Duchene. The gardens have received the moniker of one of the "Notable Gardens of France" by the French Ministry of Culture.

Below are my favorite rooms in the villa.

The Grand Salon

The Grand Salon is a splendid example of Le Gout Rothschild.  The outside provides views of the the Baie des Fourmis at Beaulieu-sur-Mer while the inside surrounds you in sumptuous wall panels from the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. Louis XVI furniture, beautiful drapery and carpets  completes the palatial salon.
While the spectacular furnishings and accessories are great, I take pause at the painted vines on the pillars. It seems like a departure from the elegance that anchors the rest of the Salon.

The Small Salon

The Small Salon. With its two alcoves, this room was designed for after-dinner conversation beneath 18th century tapestries woven at the royal Gobelins Manufactory in Paris and depicting scenes from the adventures of Don Quixote.

The Tapestry Room
 This room takes its name from the huge tapestries that hang on the walls. Again, like in other rooms of the palace, the tapestries are from royal Gobelins Manufactory.

 Cartoons by François Bouche inspired two of the tapestries that show pastoral and romantic scenes. The racy subject matter includes a young couple among the trees with the woman's breast exposed.
To see and learn more about this estate, visit the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa and Gardens website.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Evening of Masquerade

On January 26th  Hand Made Events, an event planning organization out of San Francisco, hosted an Evening of Masquerade at Fort Mason in the Marina.  Over 1,500 participants attended the black and white gala with wagons,baskets and rolling carts in tow containing dinner plates, stemware,candelabras, floral arrangements and pretty much everything needed to create their own personal and elegant setting on bare tables and chairs that awaited guests the freedom to embellish.

photo courtesy hand made events
I purchased tickets in advance. Unfortunately, I overlooked the "no children allowed" print so had to give away the tickets. The coordinators originally started as Le Diner San Francisco which is a sort of outdoor dining flash mob.    The event coordinators select a public location for a 4 hour dinner party. The location is kept confidential until 2 hours before the start time. Interested attendees join a limited guest list and are only given the date and time months in advance of the gathering.
photo courtesy hand made events
The idea was inspired by Diner en Blanc which is an international event that originated in France by François Pasquier over 25 years ago.
photo courtesy hand made events
 The Paris event currently assembles nearly 15,000 participants each year.  Diners gather at the city's most beautiful public spaces dressed in all white carrying everything they need from food and wine to portable tables,chairs and any accoutrements necessary to create an unforgettable and elegant dining experience under the stars.
photo courtesy hand made events
 An Evening at the Masquerade followed the same idea of keeping secret the event location until 2 hours beforehand.  However, the planners reserved the location and space ahead of time instead of adhering to the Diner en Blanc's tradition of spontaneously filling a public space.
photo courtesy hand made events
But, by withholding the information they maintained the anticipation and excitement that is characteristic of original flash mob idea.

photo courtesy hand made events

Reserving the space and charging a fee allowed the organizers to provide entertainment,alcoholic beverages,tables and chairs for the attendees' convenience   Participants brought their own food,tableware and decorations.
photo courtesy hand made events

Hand Made Events will resume it's outdoor flash mob dining on September 27th at a secret location in San Francisco.  For more information visit