Château de l’Aighetta, Eze
Château de l’Aighetta is said to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ following one of his stays in Eze and indeed, this château has a fascinating history.
The next time you plan on visiting the beautiful medieval perched village of Eze, do climb up to its magnificent Jardin Botanic to marvel at the absolutely stunning views of the Mediterranean. While there, take a moment to turn away from the sea view and walk across to the other side facing the countryside. When you do you’ll notice the enormous and quite magnificent Château de l’Aighetta.
The story goes that between 1882 and 1908, Alfred Tennyson, the nephew and heir of one of the most popular and prominent English poets of late Victorian England, bought 14 hectares of cultivated land from a Monsieur Etienne Bermondi, consisting of a house, outbuildings and bread oven. In 1901 Tennyson called in a local builder and a Niçoise architect, to enlarge the house and turn it into the gothic style château as it looks today. Sadly, Tennyson’s love for the roulette tables of Monte-Carlo forced him to sell this domain after the First World War. In 1926 it was sold to a David Hay Edie, an American, who made a few modifications to the Château, but sold it eight years later to the Société des Bains de Mer of Monaco, who planned on turning the grounds into an 18-hole golf course. When this idea was scrapped Château de l’Aighetta was left abandoned.
It then fell into the hands of the German troops during the Second World War, who seemingly destroyed little of what was left. After the Liberation, Château de l’Aighetta remained empty for several decades, slowly turning into a ruin. Squatters only enhanced its dilapidation.
In 1993 it was bought by a private estate agency that planned to turn it into a magnificent mecca for prestigious and international gastronomy. Restoration work started in 1999 and continued over a period of eight years.
This remarkable property and historical legacy is now currently for sale and while its asking price is high (in the region of €19 million with an extra €7 million to complete renovation work), its location is sublime. While it is impossible to visit the Château and grounds (now private property unless you wish to buy it), you can get a sneak peak from the small parking area located further up the road to the left – which comes with some rather fine views of Eze village too.