The only modern villa right at the water’s edge on Cap d’Ail, offering living space of about 500 m2 including 6 bedrooms with their own bathrooms. It also features a gym, elevator and swimming pool, all in grounds of approx. 1,600 m2. More than 20 M €. John Taylor (04 97 06 65 65).
At the gateway to Cannes, this villa of approx. 350 m2 nestles in a wooded park of approx. 2,500 m2 offering a large free-form pool. It benefits from protected access to the sea, not easily accessible, a guest apartment and a house for guardians. Between 6 and 8 M€. Waterfront Property (04 92 99 09 01), co-agency Engel Völkers Mougins.
With private access to the beach and a breathtaking view of the Lérins Islands and Estérel hills, this early 20th-C. villa benefits from a spectacular location. Its amenities include a swimming pool, sauna, wine cellar, bar-discotheque, 3-car garage... 32,5 M €. Burger (04 93 38 50 33).
Properties at the water’s edge : a micro-market
The Côte d’Azur, an Eldorado for fans of villas right at the water’s edge ? Yes, indeed. An idyllic climate and enchanting scenery make it a land blessed by the gods in general, and Poseidon in particular...
A rare and highly sought-after commodity which estate-agents mention with caution, villas “at the water’s edge” are to be distinguished from those merely on the front row. They alone give direct access to the sea, by a path or steps. Another characteristic specific to the genre : the use of a landing stage, thanks to a decree authorizing temporary occupancy of the public seafront area. These two assets combined with the rarity of such properties on the market justify very high prices. There again, caution is required. For both buyers and sellers insist on total discretion bordering on secrecy as regards prices. On the shoreline in the Alpes-Maritimes, for example, people talk about prices over and above 20 million euros, without any further details. “In 1988, we listed 1,957 villas right at the water’s edge, between Monaco and Saint-Tropez,” say Sonia Kovac and Michel Chassagne of Waterfront Property, an agency specializing in this type of product. Today, it has about 50 on its files, including three examples in Théoule-sur-Mer : villas with living space of 250 to 350 m2, in extensive and magnificently landscaped grounds (from 1,300 to 2,500 m2) with swimming pools, of course, and very refined appointments, at prices ranging from 6 to 14 million euros.
The Alpes-Maritimes has four main capes - Cap Martin, Cap Ferrat, Cap d’Ail and Cap d’Antibes -, which draw a very wealthy international clientele, very fond of properties at the edge of the sea. The most prestigious, and also the most expensive, is Cap Ferrat which separates Beaulieu-sur-Mer from Villefranche-sur-Mer. Nicknamed “the millionaires’ cape” and protected by French law regarding shorelines which avoids any risk of excessive construction, the cape can be discovered along an 11-km path taking you all around it from the Passable beach to the village of Saint-Jean. One property of 400 m2 in grounds of 3,000 m2 sloping down to the sea is awaiting a new owner at a price over 20 million euros. Since the beginning of 2012, Cap d’Ail has seen several villas arrive on the market, including a survivor from the “Belle Epoque”, offering living space of 500 m2 with 6 bedrooms, which has been owned by the same family ever since it was built. Also renowned for its villas at the water’s edge, Cap d’Antibes developed around the middle of the 19th century. It was then that wealthy Englishmen and Russians had luxurious residences built. Here again, a coastal path, “le sentier du Tirepoil”, goes all around the cape from the car-park of La Garoupe to the Villa Eilenroc. On the west side, one discovers the charming little harbour of L’Olivette where the lucky few moor their traditional “pointu” boats. Stars and celebrities have either made the address their second home or spend idyllic vacations here, entertaining lavishly well-hidden from prying eyes. One of these very wealthy personalities is Roman Abramovitch, the Russian billionaire, owner of the Chelsea football club, who acquired the Château de la Croë in 2004. This example of a Victorian-style castle with living space of 2,000 m2 was built in 1927 and played host to King Edward VIII after he abdicated from the throne. Other examples of outstanding properties right at the water’s edge are the Villa Médi Roc and Château de la Garoupe. “On this micro-market, the starting-price is never below 5 million euros and may attain 100 million euros. But whatever the price, the sale is always handled with the utmost discretion,” says Aurélien Monnier of the Agence du Cap d’Antibes. Currently, one of the rare offerings - if not the only one - on Cap d’Antibes is an historic residence of 1,000 m2 shared out between the main home and houses for guests and guardians, on approx. 2.96 acres of land with a private beach and access for tenders. 100 % of these villas are holiday homes and the majority of the clientele is comprised of foreigners. In the 1990’s, oligarchs discovered the Côte d’Azur and its exclusive residences. Today, the Russians are active on the market more than ever, though they are now mostly self-made businessmen. Estate-agents mention the return of German buyers and good interest on the part of the Swiss, Belgians, Dutch, American, Chinese and Italians. And what about the French ? They consist of company bosses, usually directors of firms quoted on the CAC 40 stock market. Often a yacht-owner, the typical client loves the sea and is often making a long-term family investment. “This micro-market is stable despite the crunch, with a steady volumes of sales and prices that tend upwards,” notes Mathias Debois-Frogé of John Taylor Real Estate. Stocks and availabilities are limited, with potential buyers waiting a year or more before finding their dream home at the water’s edge. The new owner is prepared to be patient, knowing that the Côte d’Azur will then offer both him and his family the opportunity to relax and take full advantage of a wide variety of leisure activities, serenity they do not always experience in their countries of origin, and an environment they appreciate as a little corner of paradise.
By Cécile Olivéro