Located on the beautiful lagoons of the French Riviera in France, Villa Leopolda is the world’s third-largest home. It is spread across a massive 8 acres of land and offers the best sea views imaginable. The house has always been a massive part of European history as it has a blend of royal history and a modern touch of masterful architecture and interior design. While the home’s interior hasn’t been viewed by many, it is known to have antique artworks that are rare in the world. Villa Leopolda has been owned by many people over the years who have constructed, restyled, and decorated it according to their tastes.
From kings to businessmen, the villa has been a residence for many elites over the years. Being the most expensive home in Europe gives it a luxurious feel. Let’s see what features truly make Villa Leopolda so beautiful.
5 A Deeply Embedded History
The history begins with royalty as the home was constructed for the Belgian King Leopold II, who bought the property for 1 Franc in 1902, as stated by Amazing Zone. The home was purchased for his mistress Blanche Zélia Joséphine Delacroix, paying her regular visits. After Leopold passed away, Blanche was evicted from the property, and the king’s nephew King Albert I, overtook the property. In 1915, the property was used as a hospital to treat the injured and sick during World War. The home was purchased by the owner of Italian auto brands Fiat and Ferrari Giovanni Agnelli in 1950. Later on, Edmund Safra and his wife Lily purchased the property. After Safra’s tragic death, Lily was seeking a potential buyer.
Luxury real estate entrepreneur Ignace Meuwissen wanted to get his hands on the property, and he made several attempts to persuade Lily. After he offered her $555 million, Lily caved in. However, the 2008 economic downturn saw Meuwissen unable to pay more than the $58 million deposit he made. When he withdrew the deposit, a battle ensued, but the French court ordered him to pay the amount. Villa Leopolda is currently owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov who bought the mansion for $750 million in 2008.
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4 The Stunning Architecture
Ogden Codman was the architect who imagined the majestic property and brought it to life between 1929 and 1931. He designed the villa in a Neo-Palladian style by purchasing existing structures to create the landscape. The first pictures and artworks designed by the architect are preserved at the New England Antiquities in Boston, Massachusetts. As mentioned by Alux, after the Safras purchased the property, they commissioned Lorenzo Mongiardino, who is known for his art decorations on movie sets to create the interior design of the property. The couple also asked acclaimed designer Mica Ertegün to decorate the second-floor bedrooms of the villa.
3 A Museum-Like Artwork
Just a few miles away from the Mediterranean Sea, the home features artwork inspired by the beauty of France. The home has 19 deluxe bedrooms, antique furniture, and 14 bathrooms. The interior also has a bowling alley and multiple dining rooms. Along with a movie theatre, the home also has old piece artworks and valuable marble sculptures that give austere to the luxurious villa. The vintage aura of the home has made it an important part of European history.
2 Stunning Views From Everywhere
This 50 acres of sprawling property offers fantastic sea views from the terrace that overlooks the French Riviera. It also gives a glimpse at the 1200 trees from different varieties that surround the property. According to The Richest, the home has 50 full-time workers that work hard to keep the vegetation fresh and well-maintained. The outdoors also has a greenhouse for guests to relax in and multiple gardens and courtyards. From the aerial view, the home gives a glimpse at the glorious blue pool with a lounge area for leisure. The manicured hedges and well-sculpted statues give a feel of true luxury. It is reported that the home also consists of additional pools inside. The exterior also has a fountain, a sports court, helipad, and exterior staircases for easy travel from one spot to another.
1 Featured In Several Movies
The private residency is registered as a French Monument due to its impact on Europe and pop culture. Red Shoes, the 1984 classic film sees the lead character climbing the stairs of the gorgeous villa, thinking she was invited to dinner but is instead given a role as a ballet dancer. Alfred Hitchcock used the backdrop and set of Leopolda for his film To Catch A Thief starring legendary actors Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The story revolves around a retired cat burglar who plans to catch a jewel thief. Along with movies, Leopolda was mentioned in the memoir Red Notice where banker Bill Browder detailed his experience about visiting the villa.
From gorgeous views of the blue lagoons to the breathtaking interior that offers every amenity possible, the most expensive private residence in Europe, Villa Leopolda, stands true to its name. The home is a pinnacle of European luxury and has become an iconic structure. Given its popularity, the French Historic Properties has also dedicated a website to Villa Leopolda.
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Sources: Amazing Zone, Alux, The Richest, Villa Leopolda
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