Les Cedres, the St Jean Cap Ferrat trophy home set for sale

Les Cedres, the St Jean Cap Ferrat trophy home set for sale
Les Cedres, the St Jean Cap Ferrat trophy home set for sale

Villa les Cedres, the grand estate at St Jean Cap Ferrat, is set for imminent sale and then becoming off limits.

The longtime owners, the Grand Marnier Group is selling their liquor company along with their grand 1800s family home.

But Davide Campari Campari-Milano SpA - the makers of Campari - don't want the prize 14 ha estate.

So the listing of the world's priciest residential offering now looms.

Set on the peninsula to the east of Nice, Villa les Cedres is surrounded by a botanical garden dating back to the 1920s.

The Marnier-Lapostolle family has opened it up for small tour groups of green thumbs several times a year, so it was on Title Tattle's bucket list.

The unexpected sharemarket announcement will see an abrupt end to that quaint possibility when some Russian oligarch or US tech billionaire locks it up behind hedges of high security.

The nearest villa is Maryland where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stayed as guests of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. With the Cannes film festival underway this month, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom were snapped on the luxury Eclipse mega yacht off the coast in what is dubbed the bay of billioniares.

Having holidayed in the region since the late 1980s, and spotting Robson Green there one Easter, I made the dash earlier this month to get through through the elaborate gold leaf gates - a bit like Willy Wonka but with an eye more on the house rather than the Theobroma Cacao, aka choco tree. 

I was pretty impressed by the garden and the estate's tallest tree, an Australian bunya pine (araucaria bidwillii) and also their most recent planting of an historic wollemi pine.

Alexandra Connolly, who runs a local real estate brokerage, suggests it could fetch 200 million euros to 350 million euros, though it’s hard to estimate given the diminished buying power of Russian billionaires who have previously snapped up anything the region in recent years.

A mansion outside Paris fetched a world record price of more than 275 million euros recently.

Nearby Villa Leopolda, on the hillside south of France vantage point, went close to a world record but the deal fell over. Set above Cap Ferrat at Villefranche-sur-Mer, widow Lily Safra accepted an unsolicited Euro 385 million offer from Russian nickel miner Mikhail Prokhorov, who pulled out of the deal and lost his deposit on Leopolda. Russia's richest man then took proceedings for the return of his 38 million deposit, arguing he didn't get a seven-day cooling off period. Safra donated the deposit to charities after a Nice judge ruled in her favour.

Campari plans to keep 80 million euros of the Villa les Cedres proceeds after taxes and brokerage fees, and divide the rest equally among the holders of Grand Marnier’s 85,000 shares so long as the villa sells by June 30, 2021, according to the takeover offer.

This villa, built in 1870, belonged to King Leopold of Belgium from 1904 to 1924.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Trophy Listing Villa

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