The art of the Garden in Cap Martin

More than in Boulogne, here the banker acted as a genuine upper-class patron who invested and transformed a privileged place. He had the Danish architect, Hans-Georg Tersling, build a majestic villa overlooking the sea; then he bought two more villas, also by Tersling.

On the peninsula acquired in 1889 by the Englishman George Colvin White for the purposes of a real estate development, Kahn was one of the largest landowners with 13 hectares pieced together between 1897 and 1925.

After some work by the Duchênes, around 1910 the park was entrusted to the care of Emile Quigrat, master gardener and experienced botanist. This was not a landscaped garden in the literal sense: the exotic environments dissolved into one another and were less clearly defined. Palm trees and cacti emerge from the pine forest (conserved according to the real estate development’s regulations).


This was the perfect place to receive friends, business relations, an entire political and intellectual world. Students from prestigious universities were invited to re-energize themselves here with dips in the sea. However, the estate kept its distance from the true social events of the Belle Epoque and Roaring Twenties, in the image of its owner.


The Serre de la Madone park in Menton, the gardens at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat, the gardens of the Villa Hanbury near Ventimiglia: these sites have become mythical places on the Riviera thanks to their fortunate preservation. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Albert Kahn’s former home in Cap Martin, showered with praise by the press in the 1920s and then sold after the banker’s bankruptcy.