We had a wonderful vacation staying at the Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche during the last week of October. How fast a week goes by! October turned out to be a great time to go – sunny weather but not too hot, and no tourist crowds. As long as we avoided commute hour traffic through Nice, we could speed along the city, mountain and coast roads, just like in the movies. Villa Hippocampo should be in architecture magazines. The house is strikingly beautiful and has everything. Every room has interesting and unique design details, and most have stunning views. Our two boys each quickly picked their favorite room to stay in. We loved the large master bedroom on the pool level (each room is like a master with its own bathroom). The view through the giant bedroom windows over the pool and across the cove to Cap St Jean Ferrat was so beautiful that we could never bring ourselves to close the shades lest we miss a moment of the gorgeous nighttime view of the moonlit shimmering water, or the morning sunrise. It is a happy house, and Villefranche is a charming town. Walk to everything. The pastries at the boulangerie down the steps and to the right, across from the park on the corner of Avenue Albert 1er and Ave du General de Gaulle, were so good we had them for breakfast every day! The first one up in the morning would go down and bring back a selection for the family. Be sure to have at least one meal at a restaurant on the water. We went to and enjoyed Carpaccio and La Mere Germaine. Our favorite find was Le Serre on the rue de May, just a couple blocks up from the water. Great food, low prices, and charming service. Like nearly everywhere, seating is available inside and outside. An unexpected delight in the village of Villefranche was discovering the tiny Chapelle Saint Pierre church, inside which Jean Cocteau painted the walls and ceilings with local themed scenes – in the way only he can paint. We’ll go back! Very soon we all hope!
Villa Hippocampo was actually suggested to us by friends who have stayed there and I must say they talked it up so much that my family and I arrived with really high expectations. The fact that the villa delivered on all counts is testament to a winning combination: magnificent home set in splendid surroundings in what is probably one of the most glorious bays on the Côte D’Azur. What more could one want? The classy yet unpretentious decor suited our taste, and the feeling of roominess and lack of clutter were perfect when holidaying with a family of eight. Everyone has their privacy and space to move around in. The kitchen was also perfect—not gigantic but joined with the main room so that we could cook together and never get in each other’s way, or have to leave someone in another room when we prepared meals—just brilliant. The home is set on three levels, which may have been a problem had I decided to take my mum along; the steps would’ve been a challenge with her new hip! Perhaps families with young children may need to consider this too, but for us it was no problem at all; the exercise was really needed considering we spent our entire time feasting on the delights of Villefranche-sur-Mer! As hard as it may be to leave the villa for meals out (because there is no better view, even in the best restaurants overlooking the Bay), you really should check out some of the restaurants in town, there are some real gems there. Our favourite by far was L’Aparte, a small exquisite restaurant just a block back from the harbour. We gorged on their delectable mixed seafood grill and everyone just fell in love with the baked Camembert! Wonderful service, superb food presentation and super friendly owners made this a real highlight for us during our trip. We ate there more than a few times! Overall, our holiday in Villa Hippocampo was textbook perfect and, as much as we love visiting a different place every year, we’re seriously considering returning here next year. There is still so much left to do.
Villa Hippocampo was an oasis for my friend and me for our very first trip to Cote d’Azur. The villa has an extraordinary view of the harbor at Villefranche Cap-Ferrat and when you look out from the balconies, it seems almost like you are dreaming in blue. The villa is well-equipped and it is easy to enjoy each day without worrying about how to use the appliances and the pool. Patrice (the local contact) was able to help us to learn to use local transportation at the bottom of the hill. We shopped locally and ate at many of the small restaurants in the village. I would recommend this villa to families because of the lovely pool, media room, easy and safe access to the town and beach. It is a home away from home in an unforgettable setting. Update from Patricia’s second stay: “When I stay at this villa, I feel like I am at home. I feel like I am on vacation. I see beauty all around me. I am excited. And I am at peace. I never want to leave.”
The villa is situated on a hill above the old town, with a view of a lovely small harbor. In fact, floating in the infinity pool, you feel as if you’re in the sea itself. Divine. The building must have been completely refurbished because it is all new, with modern baths, a well-stocked kitchen, and fresh, simple and clean modern décor throughout. And complete privacy. I never saw a neighbor. To see the surrounding area, visitors have a choice of getting their exercise by walking down an enormous, long public stairway that leads directly from the villa to the old town, or driving down the hill. The farmer’s market in the old town plaza is good for fresh food and bargains. For serious shopping, the bus at the plaza takes 15 minutes to get to Nice. A brief walk back towards the harbor finds the train depot with very short rides to Monaco, Nice, Antibes, or longer rides to anywhere. I do recommend using the car for a beautiful drive to Eze or St. Paul de Vence, which were lovely, but the local sights are easy to walk to and charming. A friend brought me here when I needed a rest. When I left, I realized I had chosen to be busy the whole time, but busy doing interesting, fun, and beautiful things, and I left refreshed. I will return to this little bit of heaven.
Before you get taken in about renting a villa in the midst of the “beautiful people” of St. Jean Cap Ferrat, do some research on Villefranche-sur-Mer. I have rented in St. Jean for the past ten years, but finally gave Villefranche a try. Perhaps it was because of the glorious villa (Villa Hippocampo) we rented with unbeatable views (including all of the houses we rented in St. Jean Cap Ferrat) or perhaps it was because the weather was amazing for the winter months or perhaps it was because my kids were so mesmerized by the “cool pool” at the villa whose side wall is a window to the lower floor video room, but we had our best winter vacation ever. Villefranche is more accessible, more friendly, and interesting than St. Jean Cap Ferrat which is beautiful but limited, especially since all of the estates are walled off and not visible to outsiders. Try renting a kayak in Villefranche Harbor, taking a tour of the old castle and fort, rummaging through the small outdoor antique and food market on Saturdays, or hopping on a train to just about anywhere on the coast in either direction without worrying about parking. We were two related families—five adults and two children who travel together each winter. It was ideal. Thank you!
I’ll start by admitting that my sister and I had a few reservations about booking Villa Hippocampo without seeing it in person first, especially as we planned to stay there several weeks. We could not afford to make a mistake! We’d been planning a trip to the South of France since we were teenagers (quite a few years ago now) and by the time we managed to get our act together and start researching a suitable place for both our families (4 adults & 4 kids) all we heard about were holiday rental disaster stories. But we took the plunge and I’m just so happy we did! Jimmy and his wife Anna are great communicators and we felt taken care of right from the first email. Yes, Villa Hippocampo looks magnificent on the net, but just wait till you see it for yourself! It’s really something out of a movie…splendid water views from every room, ample room for the kids to chill out in and a gourmet kitchen that makes eating in a joy. The villa is so gorgeous we (almost) found it a challenge to walk out the door every day; it really is the dream Côte d’Azur villa everyone fantasises renting when they finally can afford it (and it’s not expensive compared to affording a hotel for 8!) Villefranche-sur-Mer is the ideal location to explore the coast, and the town is quaint and exquisitely picturesque. We loved walking down to the local food market every day and buying supplies from local growers; they were so helpful too, especially when we asked how to cook certain things (like aubergine) which we’d never tried before. Oh, while we were there, we also took French classes at the Institut de Francaise in Villefranche-sur-Mer (yet another teenage dream ticked off) and, while our language skills still leave a lot to be desired, the whole experience was just wonderful. The kids kept themselves busy with kayaking and water sports in the mornings while we were in class, and we spent the afternoons touring nearby towns like Nice and Monaco. Funnily enough, our 18yo boys only agreed to come along once they heard the villa had wi-fi, yet it’s the first time in years we haven’t seen them glued to their i-phones, so there you go! Thanks again Sage for taking care of us and for hiring such a helpful concierge as we found in Jimmy. It was an absolute breeze to organize our outings with his help. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better holiday.
Our party of 4 stayed here for 2 weeks and had a wonderful time. The house is clean, spacious, comfortable and beautifully decorated. You can tell the owner spared no expense in renovating this home. But the best part of this villa isn’t inside—it’s outside! The view alone is worth a million dollars! Not a day of our vacation went by without sitting outside and enjoying the view and the pool. By the way, the media room with a view into the pool is so cool!! We really enjoyed the location as well. It was fun to leisurely explore the many little villages, shops and markets within close distance. And only a few minutes to the beach! The concierge was so friendly, professional and helpful which made our stay effortless. Everything about this place was fabulous. We had a great stay and would definitely recommend it to any of our friends and family. Thank you!
Our family had the great opportunity to visit and vacation at Villa Hippocampo in early fall and we cannot express just how beautiful everything was. The villa and its décor was so chic and modern yet comfortable. The views from all rooms were breathtaking and picturesque and had me pinching myself in case I was dreaming. My two growing teenage boys had plenty of room to stretch out and relax while my daughter enjoyed having her own suite. The media room and the underwater pool view from inside was a hit with the kids. We love to cook and were able to take advantage of the gourmet kitchen for some home cooked meals using fresh produce from the local market. The town was incredibly charming and we felt safe with the children walking into town or to the beach by themselves. We explored the beaches and went kayaking on Villefranche harbor. The sights were amazing and colorful during our cycling along the coastal trail. I have never seen such beauty. We had a chance to drive to Nice one day and Monaco the next. Everything was incredibly close and convenient. There was not one day where we were at a loss for something to do from snorkeling on the beach to dining at the seaside restaurants where the ambiance and cuisine were wonderful. We are already planning our next trip to Villa Hippocampo very soon. We can’t wait!
I’m not sure if I can find the words to describe how amazing Villa Hippocampo is but I will try. First, the pictures on the website are what sold me on planning this vacation. Yes, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a beautiful town but Villa Hippocampo truly took our vacation up a notch! It is even more stupendous in person. The views alone could have kept us occupied most of the day. And the pool with the glass wall that looks into the video room—WOW!! The design and décor of this house is so modern and clean that it immediately puts you at ease which is exactly how you should be on a vacation. The location of Villa Hippocampo is so convenient. Walking distance to beaches and a quick trip to Nice or Monaco made for fun days. We especially liked the flower and produce market in Cours Saleya in Nice where we would get ingredients for that night’s meal—served on the beautiful terrace of course! We made great memories from this vacation that will last us a lifetime. We can’t thank you enough! We will be planning a return visit soon!
Our stay at Villa Hippocampo was perfect in every way. The views are truly breathtaking, from each of the four suites to the expansive living and dining rooms and the lovely lanais. Each room is so well appointed, beautiful, comfortable and clean. The infinity pool overlooking the Cote d’Azur was probably our favorite part of the villa and where we spent the most time. I must admit we loved the villa so much we did not spend a lot of time in the charming and quaint town below, Villefranche-sur-Mer, but what we did see of it was exactly what you would hope for in a village on the french riviera. Do yourself a favor and check an item off of your bucket list by booking your stay at Villa Hippocampo today.
My family just got back from Villefranche and the Villa Hippocampo and I had to write. The weather (which has apparently been very rainy until recently,) could not have been better. The views from the villa—from every room, are exquisite. It is at least as fun to stay home as to get out and site see. The beaches– which we walked to easily—were filled with locals happy to celebrate spring. We ate on the many terraces at the house and even took advantage of the pool, even though it was a bit chilly (we decided not to have them heat it, but should have.) It was great for all of us– me, my husband, and twin eight year olds. We’ll be back next year for Spring Break.
We decided to rent a vacation property on the Cote d’Azure instead of staying in a hotel this time for many reasons, and price and privacy were at the top of our list. Villa Hippocampo was exactly what we were hoping to find. I can sum up the location and property in one word—stunning! The views are breathtaking! I don’t see us ever staying in a hotel again! Thank you for allowing us to spend time in your beautiful home. We can’t wait to come back!
Our family had the great opportunity to visit and vacation at Villa Hippcampo in early fall and we cannot express just how beautiful everything was. The villa and its décor was so chic and modern yet comfortable. The views from all rooms were breathtaking and picturesque and had me pinching myself in case I was dreaming. My two growing teenage boys had plenty of room to stretch out and relax while my daughter enjoyed having her own suite. The media room and the underwater pool view from inside was a hit with the kids. We love to cook and were able to take advantage of the gourmet kitchen for some home cooked meals using fresh produce from the local market. The town was incredibly charming and we felt safe with the children walking into town or to the beach by themselves. We explored the beaches and went Kayaking on Villefranche harbor. The sights were amazing and colorful during our cycling along the coastal trail. I have never seen such beauty. We had a chance to drive to Nice one day and Monaco the next. Everything was incredibly close and convenient. There was not one day where we were at a loss of something to do from snorkeling on the beach to dining at the seaside restaurants where the ambiance and cuisine were wonderful. We are already planning our next trip to Villa Hippocampo very soon. We can’t wait!
For our first trip to France, my family and I couldn’t have been more impressed. Villefranche-sur-Mer is such a splendid city and Villa Hippocampo is such a beautiful home! I just had to write about it! Most notable was how easy this vacation was from the planning stages to our time spent in Villefranche. Although I was a little nervous about booking the home sight unseen, the process was simple and the home was stunning. We like to have very relaxing, simple vacations and Villa Hippocampo delivered. We didn’t have to worry about a thing thanks to the attentive concierge and ease of getting around. We did a little sight seeing around the area but our favorite time was spent on the beach, lounging at the pool, or my son’s favorite, kayaking. We were so sad to leave but will cherish our time spent at Villa Hippocampo! Thank you! Can’t wait to come back!
Simply stunning! We were very fortunate to be able to use Villa Hippocampo over Christmas and on reflection, it was one of the best family Christmases we have had for years. This was largely due to this fantastic house in Villefranche-sur-Mer. We arrived late at night and the vista over Villefranche Bay was absolutely enchanting with Cap Ferrat lit up and the lighthouse in the distance. However, the view truly came into its own as the sun rose over the headland on Christmas morning. Our rooms were bathed with an incredible light which teed us up for a splendid day, plus we had that treat every morning from then on. Yes – the supposed prime time to be in that part of the world is May to September, but without a cloud in the sky for 6 days straight and temperatures in the mid-teens (early 60s in Fahrenheit), the Riviera is a great place for Christmas too. The home has been beautifully designed and appointed. No expense seems to be have been spared on fixtures and fittings and while none of us were brave enough to jump in the pool, the TV room downstairs benefited from a calming blue light that streamed through the water into the room. We went to the Christmas market in Monaco which had sensational crepes, headed to Auron in the mountains for lunch and rolled out of a restaurant specialising in mushrooms in Italy. The concierge, whom Sage has employed locally, was extremely helpful too. It was a privilege to have been able to stay and we will definitely be back given the chance.
We just wanted to tell you how much we loved our trip! Your house made it all possible. We just fell in love with your spot directly in the middle of the bay. WOW! I understand why you chose such a magnificent space to build your dream house. Everything in the house has been planned and each room has its own style. With the spectacular view in the living room and kitchen while cooking, again wow. It all feels like a dream now back into reality! We have been doing a lot of promotion for you about the house here with our friends in Québec. We loved it so much that we might come back in the next year. Thanks again for the basket of delicacies that you put in the house and the Fragonard product. Really considerate of you! It’s been a pleasure.
We are back in Boston doing our normal routines and keep thinking about the wonderful time we had in VilleFranche Sur Mer at your beautiful home. Everyone had a lovely time and we could not have had a better space to enjoy the south of France.
I wanted to tell you that our visit to Ville-Franche was magical. It was above and beyond everything I imagined and I enjoyed every second of it. The last day, I made a mini-video of all of us; I asked everyone to say what was their favorite moment of the trip and why. When my time to do so came, I was kind of speechless ….however I realized one of my favorite moments was when we arrived to Villa Hippocampo. The anticipation was building up, traffic was bad that day, we were late and I was grumpy and tired. But when the garage gate opened and the pictures I had seen became my own air, I had tears in my eyes. I believe you have to be a wonderful human being because the little things I have learned about you through your villa, .your Mom and your words are just too special. I can’t wait to meet you -in person one day and I hope that we can stay in touch. We’d love to do that.
Magnificent! The house overlooks one of the most magnificent bays of the world, and is a stones throw to Monaco and Nice. The area is simply amazing. The house itself literally left me speechless when the concierge showed me through it. I will always remember each of the 5 mornings that I woke up overlooking the swimming pool and beyond to the bay. I would like to sincerely thank Sage for this life changing opportunity.
I wanted to thank you for introducing us to Villa Hippocampo. Because it is a new property, we were a bit nervous to rent it sight unseen. We could not have been happier. It is brand new, with very tasteful and high quality furnishings. The location just can’t be beat. We drove to Nice, Cannes, Antibes, St. Paul du Vence, and Mougin for short morning or afternoon trips—they were that close. One day, we drove 1.5 hours into the mountains and there was still snow. We could have gone skiing! Another day, we drove to Monaco (only 20 minutes) and then on to Italy in time for the weekly market day in Ventimiglia. On our rest days, we just walked to town, relaxed at the beach and seaside restaurants.
I was worried that one month in one spot would be a mistake. I was also worried that the traffic would be horrific along the coast. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry about either. Yes, there were backups occasionally, but with the view along the coast, it was no big deal. There was so much to do—locally in Villefranche, in the neighboring communities of Beaulieu and St. Jean Cap Ferrat, in Nice, Monaco, the Italian border towns, and then all of the lovely villages from Nice and east to St. Tropez, including Cannes. We started the vacation looking for things to do in all towns within an hour or so; we ended up wanting to spend a lot of time in and around the villa and Villefranche. We sunned, we swam, we barbequed, we napped, we cooked, we partied—the entertainment was endless. One month was not quite enough. We can hardly wait to return.
My friend and I stayed in the villa over the Easter holiday with our combined four children—all teenagers. As its inaugural residents [the villa had just been completed], we found it absolutely ideal. The kids could safely walk to town down the public stairway near the villa, they could go to the beach by themselves, and we even let them take the bus or train both to Monaco and to Nice. The pool and the big underwater window were a big hit with all of us. My friend and I made great use of the outdoor terraces and we joined the kayaking club at the Bay—a great 10 days.