Half-Day Programme from Monaco
Duration of Activity: 3 to 4 hours
Possible days: Daily except SUN – Best days: TUE, WED, THU,
FRI. MON & SAT subject to availability
Languages: English, French
Other languages available by special request
Minimum number of participants: 5
Maximum number of participants / guide: 20
Three Empresses for one Cape
Cap Martin is a fragrant, romantic pine and olive covered peninsula, which once lured the Empress Elizabeth of Austria to winter in its hotel. Cap Martin offers some of the most fabulous real estate of the Mediterranean, including the Villa Cyrnos built for Eugenie, last Empress of France. Queen Victoria of England, Empress of India, also came here in the winter from nearby Menton. The footpath following the rocky coastline amidst traditional Provencal vegetation offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and the Principality of Monaco.
We propose for you the 2 following possibilities:
Option #1 – 3 hours: Transfer by minivan / small coach to the train station in Roquebrune where your expert tour guide awaits you, and 15-minutes’ walk to the log cabin for a private tour. Same way back. Total walking time: 30 minutes.
Option #2 – 4 hours: Transfer by minivan / small coach and guide to the Carnoles area, for a complete walking tour of the Cap Martin peninsula, private tour of the log cabin with local expert, and finally meet up with the minivan / small coach at the train station in Roquebrune for a short transfer back to Monaco with your guide. Total walking time: 2 hours.
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, one of the major architects of the 20th C, was better known
under the name Le Corbusier. He discovered the Cap Martin peninsula just as he was master planning the city of Bogotá and his work on his Marseilles Unité d’Habitation, his vertical concrete garden city (one of the major buildings of the 20th C – or a hellish abomination, according to taste), was coming to an end.
He was drawn to the area because the Anglo-Irish designer Eileen Gray had already built a much reported and photographed modernist villa there, the Villa E-1027 (1926-29). Le Corbusier sketched a tiny holiday home as a birthday present for his wife, Yvonne, of Monegasque origin. Even the earliest, most free-hand sketches show a maniacal attention to dimensions and proportions.
The “cabanon”, or log cabin, was built in 1952 and has been a national historic landmark since 1996. It is a favourite pilgrimage for many an architect, something you would never expect when you see the unpretentious structure from the outside: a simple, rather rough log cabin showing no architectural ambition whatsoever. But this is certainly one of the architect’s major works, for it is a perfect illustration of his theories about proportion, known as the Modulor, the human-based system of proportions he invented in 1943, conceived to create a maximum comfort in man’s relations with his vital environment.
The masterpiece is inside! During your very private tour (we will open the cabanon especially for you!) you will be amazed by the small size (a mere 16 square metres) of this incredible plywood cocoon, with square ceiling panels of different colours, built-in furniture, fittings from railway carriages, a work table, and innovative window shutters partially mirrored to bring the beautiful landscape inside. An early “eco-shed”, since there’s plenty of recycling in this tiny holiday home!
“On 30th December 1951, on the corner of a table in a little café on the Côte d’Azur, I drew, as a birthday present for my wife, the plan of a little hut which I built the following year on top of a rock lapped by the waves. The drawing took three quarters of an hour to do.” These words by Le Corbusier will not only touch the hearts of many women wishing for a wild and romantic hut in the Mediterranean for their birthdays, but also touch the hearts of most architects.
You will also visit the adjacent, small architect’s studio, and, except during July and August, the next-door private property of the Rebutato family, featuring the former “guinguette” (“L’Etoile de Mer”, the restaurant from the 1950s left as it was) as well as the 5 bungalows or camping units, which were intended as a prototype for a holiday village that was never realised.