This beautiful window was one of many on the pink villa once owned by David Niven on Cap Ferrat in the South Of France.
Take the beach path from Beaulieu, known as Promenade Maurice Rouvier, to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and you pass one of the oldest villas on the Cap. Originally called Lo Scoglietto (Little Rock) with its private harbour, this beautiful pink Italianate villa was built in 1880 by Alfred Bounin, the son of an arms supplier to the Sardinian army, himself an olive oil trader from Nice.
In 1920, the villa was rented by Duchess of Marlborough, Mme Balsan, originally Consuelo Vanderbilt. It was extended in the 1950s and rented by Leopold III, King of the Belgians, one year before his abdication. Leopold had grown fat on his shameless exploitation of the Belgian Congo, a story which was later to influence the writing of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Later Lo Scoglietto was bought by the great Charlie Chaplin, and in 1960 he in turn sold it to the film actor David Niven, who was very much part of Princess Grace’s social scene. Known for his gentlemanly appearance and clipped English accent, Niven had already enjoyed an immensely successful career starring, for example, in the Powell and Pressburger film A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and winning an Oscar for his performance in Separate Tables (1958).
The house itself is also a movie star, having appeared, with a cameo from Niven, in the otherwise unwatchable Trail of the Pink Panther (1983) . Peter Sellers had died, and Niven was dying, so the film is a morgue-like stitching together of old clips of Sellers, while Niven has his voice dubbed by someone else.
The small square in front of the villa is named Place David Niven as a tribute to the late actor. Although the ownership of the house since then has been less well documented, there is an unsubstantiated local story that it was briefly owned by Dodi Fayed, who of course was the ill-fated suitor of Princess Diana.
Recently restored at a reputed cost of €10 million, the villa is now known as La Fleur du Cap.
Camera used is a Panasonic Lumix TZ7
Photo is exactly as I took it.