Villa Kérylos – a tribute to Greek Antiquity
The Greek Villa Kérylos was built in the period 1902-1908 by the French architect Emmanuel Pontremoli. And despite the fact that it was built in the period of the golden Belle Époque, the architectural style is quite different.
The villa is, instead, a true tribute to Greek Antiquity and the Greek Gods. However, Belle Époque has got its own role to play.
The creation of Villa Kérylos
It was the German archaeologist Théodore Reinach, born in 1860 in a banker family, who wanted to build a summer residence on the French South coast where he and the family could spend their vacations.
Théodore was, in many ways, a little different from the rest of his family with his center of interests. He had a keen interest in archaeology, history, mythology and mathematics. His great passion was for Greek antiquity and he was considered one of the most prominent Hellenists of his time.
Hellenism: a term for a period of ancient history in which Greek culture established itself as a world culture.
With the construction of the Villa Kérylos, he wanted to embody his love, his interests and his knowledge about Greek Antiquity and Greek mythology.
What does “Kérylos” mean?
The villa was named Kérylos, which in Greek means “kingfisher”. In many cultures, the kingfisher is a symbol of freedom, courage, adventure and balance.
In Greek mythology, it was a poetic bird and a symbol of “good luck”, which fits beautifully with this amazing villa.
Villa Kérylos’ décor
The actual interior design of Villa Kérylos is obviously a study about Greek Antiquity and mythology. However, Belle Époque’s modernities have crept in and made their mark on the functional side of the décor.
There are more than 15 decorated spaces to explore – both indoor and outdoor. Each room/area has its particular Greek name and is dedicated to the Greek mythology and its gods.
At the entrance, you will be given a small leaflet, which in the finest way describes the different rooms and, at the same time, serves as a good tour guide around the villa.
The legacy of Théodore Reinach
Théodore Reinach died in 1928, leaving Villa Kérylos to the French Institute, of which he was a member.
His children and grandchildren continued to reside in the villa until 1966, when it transitioned to becoming a historical monument.
Today, Villa Kérylos is a significant testimony and reference to our knowledge of Greek culture and its history.
How to experience Villa Kérylos
The villa is open to the public and can be visited during normal opening hours – see this at the end of the article.
You can also visit Villa Kérylos on a 5-star day trip including private tour with GetYourGuide. On the tour you can also experience Villa Ephrussi, Villefranche, Monaco & Èze.
Read more about this wonderful day trip here: Day trip Côte d’Azur extraordinary villas
By Tommy Sverre – 2022