Brief Overview of St Jean Cap Ferrat
St Jean Cap Ferrat might be a small village, but it has a big reputation. Since the 1900s it has been the vacation resort of the world’s elite, thanks to its perfect position on the coast between Nice and Monaco. This is old-school French Riviera glamour at its best. Beautiful Belle Epoque villas are tucked away in leafy private estates all over the peninsula with stunning views of the Mediterranean. There is a laid-back permanent holiday feel to the village, the port has some excellent restaurants, and the private beaches are ideal for spending a lazy summer evening out with friends.
The village centre is compact with one street full of cute boutiques selling designer clothes and decorative items for the house. Pick up some must-have purchases and then grab a bite to eat, because shopping definitely burns calories. Although there are less than 2000 permanent residents in St Jean, the town centre has some lovely restaurants and bars. Place Clemenceau is a sunny terrace in the heart of the village where you can sit overlooking the port while you eat. Look out for the sculptures and statues dotted amongst the restaurant tables which change regularly during the year. The Place is also where the Christmas market is held. With a different wintery theme every year, it’s well worth a look if you’re visiting in December.
Directly beneath the Place Clemenceau is the Port de Plaisance area with more shops and boutiques, and lots of places to eat. Very popular with charter guests coming ashore from the superyachts that line the quay, the port has a lively atmosphere. During the summer months, most restaurants open late into the evening, perfect for a leisurely meal or an after-dinner stroll with an ice cream. The port is also home to some of St Jean’s most glamorous but very discreet residents, a colony of brightly-coloured African Lovebirds. They go largely unnoticed by visitors, but if you look upwards into the palm trees and lampposts surrounding the quay, you’ll see these pretty little parrots cuddling up to each other overhead. According to local legend, a pair escaped from the now-closed St Jean zoo a few years ago and founded a colony which has been hanging out in the port ever since.
Just a few steps away from the port, there are 12 km of walking trails around the headland of the peninsula. The easiest trail is the Promenade Maurice Rouvier, a lovely, gentle stroll around some of the prettiest parts of St Jean. The walk takes about 30 minutes from St Jean to neighbouring Beaulieu Sur Mer and takes you past the marina, the bay and the Cros deï Pin beach. Keep an eye out for the pink villa on the seafront at the Beaulieu end of the walk. It has been variously owned or lived in by the Duchess of Marlborough, the King of Belgium, Charlie Chaplin and David Niven over the years and even starred in a Pink Panther film in the 1980s. Finish your walk with a drink on the terrace of the Royal Riviera Hotel in Beaulieu and enjoy the views over the Mediterranean and the mountains, all the way down to Monaco.
If you fancy something a bit more energetic, put on your sturdiest shoes and head for the Sentier Littoral, a coastal path which runs the whole length of St Jean Cap Ferrat. It takes roughly 3 hours to walk the entire path and can be tricky in parts, but it is definitely worth the effort. Take in some of the most breathtaking views of the Riviera surrounded by greenery and sweet-smelling jasmine flowers. Only a few minutes away from the main road to Monaco, standing by the Cap Ferrat lighthouse, it feels like a completely different world with a panoramic view from Nice to Italy.
If you prefer sunbathing to hiking not to worry, St Jean Cap Ferrat has got you covered, with three beautiful beaches and some fabulous private beach clubs. The beaches tend to be quieter than in nearby Beaulieu and Villefranche as they are tucked away on the peninsula well off the main road. Go for a swim in the sheltered cove of Plage de Passable or spend the afternoon on a sunlounger at the old-school Paloma Beach Club before enjoying a massage at their in-house spa. The beaches in St Jean are a fine shingle rather than sand so remember to take your beach shoes for the walk back to the sun lounger from the sea.
Best Time to Visit St Jean Cap Ferrat?
St Jean Cap Ferrat is definitely a year-round destination. In summertime enjoy the lovely beaches or catch some sun on a terrace in the little port. With Cannes and Monaco just a short hop away, the peak season runs from May to September. Have a day out at the Film Festival or Grand Prix, then leave the crowds behind and head home to the peninsula and your luxury villa. July and August are a particularly good time to visit for social butterflies, as some of the most exciting events of the year are held at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St Jean itself.
And a visit in winter is just as nice. Enjoy the Mediterranean climate and guaranteed sunshine on the coast or head up into the mountains for a few days in the snow, a couple of hours away from your villa. There are lots of festivals and concerts during the winter period, so you’ll have plenty to do and see while you’re on vacation.
Whenever you decide to visit, you won’t be able to resist falling under the spell of St Jean Cap Ferrat, they don’t call this little village the pearl of the French Riviera for nothing!
How to get to St Jean Cap Ferrat?
Getting to St Jean Cap Ferrat is easy as the town is perfectly placed between Nice and Monaco. St Jean is just a short drive away from Nice Airport, and the route takes you along some of the prettiest coastal roads on the Riviera.
- By plane: Fly into the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport
- By rail: Travel by train to Nice then transfer to St Jean Cap Ferrat
- By yacht: We have partnerships with local yacht brokers if you would like to reserve a yacht berth during your stay
We can organise a car service to pick you up and take you directly to St Jean from anywhere on the French Riviera.
For more information, please contact us directly.
Top Events in St Jean Cap Ferrat
St Jean Cap Ferrat might be smaller than neighbouring Nice or Monaco but the little town has a very busy social calendar. There are numerous events and festivals organised throughout the year. Here are some of our top picks which may catch your eye while you’re in the area:
- Comiques en Scene ~ Year Round
- Saint Jazz Club ~ Year Round
- La Fête des Roses ~ May
- Journée des Peintres ~ June
- St Jean Baptiste ~ June
- Classiques de Juillet Concerts ~ July
- Bal des Fleurs ~ August
- Opera Azuriales ~ August
- Prestige Car Festival ~ September
- Pumpkin Festival ~ October
- Christmas Festival ~ December
Luxury Villas in St Jean Cap Ferrat
The villas in St Jean Cap Ferrat are nothing short of spectacular. This is one of the most exclusive addresses in France, and we have a selection of some of the most outstanding villas and apartments on the peninsula available for rental.
Experience village life when you stay in this Belle Epoque villa, right in the heart of St Jean. Located just a few minutes walk from the sea, and with 5 guest bedrooms plus accommodation for staff, this is the perfect holiday home. The entertainment room, heated swimming pool and barbeque area will ensure you don’t have time to get bored, while the roof terrace provides a great space to relax. Turn up the music, get the jacuzzi bubbling and enjoy a romantic evening under the stars in the rooftop summer kitchen and bar.
This exceptional property located near the centre of St Jean Cap Ferrat ticks all the boxes for a stylish holiday rental. Set in a beautifully landscaped Mediterranean park, the property can sleep 16 people comfortably. The master suite is stunning with a private terrace and sea view plus a double dressing room for all those essential holiday purchases. Entertainment comes in the form of a home cinema room and the sauna, hammam and gym will ensure you stay in shape while you’re on holiday. There is a heated swimming pool and pool house with a fully-fitted kitchen to grab a quick poolside snack or drink before dinner. With all this on hand to enjoy during your stay, you may never want to go home.
If you’re really looking to unwind during your stay in St Jean Cap Ferrat, this modern residence has everything you need. Lie in bed and watch the sun rise over the bay through the picture windows before stepping out onto the tier of terraces to take in the view. The garden infinity pool offers a swim with a great view over the bay, and there is a Balinese-style pool house to cool off in afterwards. Entertain friends and family on the incredible roof terrace which has a second infinity pool and space to host 16 guests for lunch or dinner. Spend a cosy evening on the terrace watching the golden French Riviera light fade to a glorious sunset while the candlelit feature wall flickers beside you. Vacations seriously don’t get much better than this.
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Must See and Do in St Jean Cap Ferrat
There’s lots going on in St Jean Cap Ferrat. There are quite a few lovely little restaurants and bars for eating out, and some of the French Riviera’s most beautiful coastline to explore. The town organises social events throughout the year, and neighbouring Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche are just a short walk away if you fancy a change of scenery. To help you make the most of your stay, we’ve put together a list of suggestions with our favourite things to do in St Jean Cap Ferrat and the surrounding areas.
Discover the blue planet
St Jean is the perfect place to go scuba diving. The sea is calm and inviting, and chances are you won’t even need a wetsuit to get into the water. There are lots of interesting sites to explore around the peninsula, whether you’re a complete beginner or have been diving for years. Pop down to the Cap Ferrat Diving School in the port and ask for Olivier who will organise your underwater adventure. Check out the grottos and underwater caves just off the shore and keep an eye out for the giant groupers and sunfish swimming about on the seabed. Bonus points if you manage to spot one of the many shy conger eels hiding amongst the rock ledges.
For such a small town, St Jean Cap Ferrat has a great selection of restaurants to choose from. For a simple, tasty meal, reserve a table at the Bar-Restaurant du Port in the old port. The place is a bit of an institution and very popular with the locals who come for the lunchtime set menu and the view. The cuisine is classic Mediterranean with an emphasis on fish dishes, usually the morning’s catch, food doesn’t get much fresher than that. Sit inside and soak up the lively bistro atmosphere or grab a table on the sunny terrace and listen to live music as you wait for your dinner to arrive. Our top tip: if you arrive before the lunch service begins at 12, order a plate of the excellent frites to nibble on while you sit in the sunshine and enjoy the wait.
Go back in time
You can’t come to St Jean Cap Ferrat without visiting the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its wonderful gardens. The pink Belle Epoque palace was built by Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild and is now a museum with an impressive collection of art, antiques and porcelain. Spend a day exploring the 7 separate garden areas which were all designed in a different style by the Baroness. Once you’ve walked around the property, stop off at the lovely tea rooms for a pot of tea and a chance to watch the beautiful musical fountains on the main lawn. In April, the museum organises an event called ‘A day with the Baroness’ with actors in period costumes playing the part of the Baroness and her house guests. Spend the day as a 19th Century French socialite and take part in a treasure hunt for the Baroness’s pearl necklace, followed by a guided tour of the house and gardens. You won’t get much closer to the glory days of the Belle Epoque than this!
Shop 'til you drop
If you like to shop, make sure you head over to Beaulieu-sur-Mer for the traditional Saturday morning market. Stroll along the Promenade Maurice Rouvier from St Jean then up to the Place Marinoni in the centre of Beaulieu to discover the Provençal market for yourself. Stalls are bursting with fresh fruit and veggies, olive oils, tapenades and cheeses and some delicious homemade bread that you won’t be able to resist. Once past the food stalls, you’ll find handmade jewellery, leather bags and clothes on offer, plus traditional straw baskets perfect for carrying home all that bread and olive oil. Once you’ve found yourself a bargain, stop off at the socca stand for some fast food Niçois-style, an absolutely delicious chickpea pancake served with lots of black pepper. The locals tend to follow up a visit to the market with an early lunch in the sunshine, and we definitely think they’ve got the right idea. Market day only comes once a week after all .
If you would like more ideas about places to visit in and around St Jean Cap Ferrat, please contact our concierge team who will be more than happy to provide you with further suggestions and recommendations.
If you’d like any further information about the properties mentioned or about the area of St Jean Cap Ferrat, please get in touch with our team.
We will be very pleased to organise your stay in one of our St Jean Cap Ferrat villas.