Belle Époque architecture
In 1898, whilst Camille Blanc was President of the Société des Bains de Mer, the Compagnie Internationale de Grands Hôtels et Wagons-lits started building the Riviera Palace Hotel, the height of luxury, following plans drawn up by architect Georges Chedanne. He was winner of the Grand Prix de Rome in 1887, and project manager of the lavish and highly classical Palace Hotel on the Avenue des Champs Elysées and the extravagant Hôtel Mercedes, 9, Rue de Presbourg in Paris.
The Riviera Palace, built of concrete with a stucco finish, has an elegant south-facing facade, a plain surface featuring a large number of windows, bow-windows, corbels and balconies with ceramic balustrades, and was completed in 1903.
The Winter Garden and its magnificent glass dome
Created through the popularity of 18th century botany scholars and the development of the iron and glass industry in the 19th century, the greenhouse gardens are real gems. Built on two levels, the Riviera Palace Winter Garden is exceptionally large at over 900 m2, and 20 m in height, and from an aerial perspective combines a gallery and rotunda, a gothic vault and dome, and walls made of stone, glass and rock.
Holiday Resort and Society Life
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Riviera Palace, like a magical liner cruising 180 m above sea-level, played host to a rich clientele from Russia, Austria-Hungary and then England in whose honour lavish parties were held, as did the prestigious Hôtel de Paris. It immediately became a holiday hotspot and magnet for society life. It was “praise for the building’s Italian beauty, combined with the sophisticated art of French hospitality.” The building has been listed as a Historic Monument since 14th December 1989.
Famous people who have stayed at the Riviera Palace
Leopold II, King of Belgium, the Russian Imperial family, the Shahs of Persia, the great Russian dancers and musicians Diaguilev, Nijinski and Stravinsky, Colette, the woman of letters, and Winston Churchill who used to “invite himself” to the residents’ rooms.
Free guided tour lasting about 90 mins, by appointment only.
27 Boulevard de la Turbie
Free guided tour all year round
Tel: 04 93 78 01 55