A little history of Villa Thompson

The villaThe villa | ©Miniwark / CC-BY-SA

The dolce vita!

Let’s go back in time: rich people, noblemen, came in Côte d’Azur to take their winter quarters here, in Nice especially.

Oh, yes, while France was shivering with cold, here, they had an easy time: winter was so nice!

The nice breeze, playing in the palm-trees, the golden sun, the shiny Mediterranean sea...

A real heaven of earth, where the English and Russians came in the 19th century.

A Russian prince in Nice

A Russian raised our house: Leon Kotschoubey, a prince, tsar Alexander II’s councillor.

He wanted a real palace! So he asked architect Constantin Scala to build a villa inspired by Razumovsky palace, in Ukraine.

The building site began in 1878. Unfortunately, our prince died in 1881: his masterpiece wasn't complete... Only walls and façade were raised.


Bored by this big empty house, Kotschoubey’s widow sold it to a rich American, James Thompson, in 1883.

This industrialist didn’t spare his money to complete the villa!

He beautifully decorated the apartments: the huge marble staircase, or the ball room, paved with mosaic, with a platform for a 20 musicians orchestra!

Our American made sumptuous parties for all Côte d’Azur’s upper crust...

But World War I expelled everyone. Goodbye, Mr. Thompson! City of Nice owned the abandoned estate and opened here a Fine-Arts museum, in 1928.