By virtue of birth and then her marriage, Madame Ephrussi would become one of the greatest collectors of her time. Daughter of Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, she grew up in Château de Ferrières and it was here that she was introduced to art in the form of James de Rothschild’s fabulous collection.
In 1883, she married Maurice Ephrussi ("Frousse", as she affectionately called him) and became part of a family of bankers and wheat exporters originating from Odessa, who were themselves collectors and friends of the Rothschilds. One of her husband’s cousins was none other than Charles Ephrussi, patron of the impressionists.
In building the Villa, she combined the talents of a wide range of experts and businessmen, who were family friends. They must have provided her with excellent and effective advice judging from the rooms on display here. So began her exhilarating and discerning search across the globe and these searches bore fruit: the Baroness ordered works to be brought to Beaulieu by train and made her selection on the station platform. In fact, one day, she bought chapel ruins only to keep one fresco!
In the course of her travels, as well as her passion for art, she indulged her love of nature. Verona, Florence, Venice to name but a few, everything fascinated her, from exotic gardens to deserts. So it was natural, in the same way as she surrounded herself with works of art, that she should make the Villa a reflection of her many interests.
Somewhere between good taste and fantasy, the Baroness lived her life, being such a pretty, extravagant flower herself. Béatrice Ephrussi would greet suppliers, dressed completely in pink from her silk parasol down to the tip of her boots; even including her crocodile skin handbag. Pink, more pink, everywhere pink.
A villa built in rose pink, every room had to be pink like the mythical rose itself. Madame Ephrussi worshipped this colour. After all, her villa in Monte Carlo was even called "Rose de France". Elisabeth de Gramont described her as follows: "She was beautiful and from the age of twenty, her hair turned white making her look as if she had been dusted with powder. She almost always wore pink gowns and seemed to be eternally on the verge of leaving for a lavish ball."