Travel

Holiday like Downton Abbey with this spiffing guide to luxury French Riviera villas

Pictured top, Harry Hadden-Paton stars as Bertie Pelham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith and Allen Leech as Tom Branson.

In the new Downton Abbey movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Lady Violet Crawley, played by Dame Maggie Smith, inherits a spectacular villa in the South of France

The gift, from a gentleman she once spent a few days with (ahem), is the perfect excuse to take the cast regulars on vacay. Carry on Abroad indeed!

The film was partially shot on location on the French Riviera, in the Villa Rocabella in Le Pradet. The nineteenth century property offers stunning coastal views, and has become a popular wellness retreat. 

Created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey: A New Era lands in cinemas April 29. Joining the principal ensemble cast for this new romp are Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West.

Pictured top, Harry Hadden-Paton stars as Bertie Pelham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith and Allen Leech as Tom Branson.

To help you plan your own Grand Escape, here are six more villas to shortlist as compiled by luxury travel company Red Savannah…

La Casella, Cote D’Azur 

With 6 Bedrooms, and set within the rolling French countryside, La Casella is just a stone’s throw from the Riviera and villages of the Côte d’Azur’s arrières-pays. Once the home of former Colefax & Fowler Chairman Tom Parr, La Casella is a neoclassical pavilion with one of the most exceptional gardens in the region. The sunlit drawing room is perfect for pre-dinner drinks, before dinner is served in a wisteria-draped pergola. The villa boasts one of the most renowned gardens, created by Claus Scheinert, in the South of France and it provides the most exquisite backdrop to a family celebration to remember. For more, click here.

Chateau Margui, Cote D’Azur

The Chateau Margui Cote dAzur villa

Offering 18 Bedrooms, this estate is palatial proportions. It’s within easy reach of the boulevards of Aix-en-Provence and the beach clubs of St Tropez, and features an award-winning vineyard, oak woodland and swathes of olive groves. The Chateau itself offers accommodation divided between the Bastide, Moulin and Bergerie. Facilities include a wine cellar, games room, gym, sauna, tennis court, pool and yoga studio. There’s even a bijou 18-seat movie theatre.  

Villa Mont Charles, near Monte Carlo 

A view from the pool of villa mon charles

Three miles from the glamour of Monte Carlo is Villa Mont Charles, an elegant six-bedroomed villa located in the hills of Cap d’Ail, with views to the Cap Ferrat peninsula and Mediterranean Sea. Guests will enjoy breakfast served on the terrace and cocktails as the sun falls over the Mediterranean. Living areas are bright and modern with direct access onto a terrace with heated infinity pool and landscaped lawns. All bedrooms have private en-suite bathrooms. Three bedrooms are located in the main house, with a further three located in a guesthouse offering further privacy.  There’s a state-of-the-art fitness room with cardio machines, treadmill, stepper, upright fitness bike and Satellite TV; a Philippe Starck shower bathroom ensures luxurious pampering after an afternoon workout. The villa also has its own private cinema. The famous Casino de Monte Carlo, Alain Ducasse’s Michelin three-star restaurant and Le Louis XV à L’Hotel de Paris are all within a few chauffeur-driven minutes.

La Bergerie, Cote D’Azur

The grand looking Villa La Bergerie reflected in the villa's pool

With its grand, double-height entrance, La Bergerie sets expectations high. The triple-aspect drawing room is elegantly furnished with a blend of antiques and contemporary pieces. The wine cellar, cinema, open plan kitchen and living area are equipped with the latest touch-pad technology; there’s a Sonos music system providing background ambiance. All six bedrooms in the main house are ensuite and lavishly furnished. There are a further two bedrooms in La Petite Bergerie for extended family or guests seeking privacy. Outdoors, 1.4 hectares of landscaped gardens comprise lawns, fruit trees and a kitchen garden. There’s a shaded dining area, pool house, outdoor living areas and 18 metre pool surrounded by cosseting daybeds.

Villa Bayview, Villefranche

A view from the loungers at Villa Bayview at sunset

Just a few minutes’ walk from the chic restaurants and boutiques of Villefranche, Villa Bayview is a state-of-the-art showpiece of a villa with monochrome interiors combining stone, glass and floor-to-ceiling windows with occasional splashes of vibrant colour. The contemporary Villa offers breath-taking views over St Jean Cap Ferrat. There’s an infinity pool with stunning Mediterranean views, south-facing landscaped gardens hewn into the hillside and even a vehicle ‘turntable’ to turnaround your supercar

Villa Napoleon, St Maxime 

The Villa Napoleon looks spectacular as seen from the air

Located near St Tropez, Villa Napoleon occupies an enviable position close to the bustling marina of Sainte Maxime, with its exciting beach clubs, restaurants and white sandy beaches. Spread over three floors with numerous terraces looking out over the Gulf of St Tropez, all 11 bedrooms are generously proportioned, with ensuite bathrooms and private terraces. There’s also a games room and gym, three dining terraces, a cinema suite and outdoor kitchen, pool table and table tennis. St Maxime is within walking distance.

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