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 shivered 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 Englishmen and Russians came in the 19th century.
A Russian raised our house: he was Léon Kotschoubey, a prince, tsar Alexander II’s councillor. He wanted a true 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 end 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 the World War I expelled everyone. Goodbye, Mr. Thompson! City of Nice owned the abandoned estate and opened here a Fine-Arts museum, in 1928.