It was at the beginning of the Presqu’ile de Saint Hospice that the Italian-German banker Carlo Wedekind chose to build a castle to his name in 1899. In the middle of a 10,000m² piece of land, the architect Charles Bermond created a magnificent demeure of a Venetian neogothic style, with a richly decorated façade.
A vast hall of 200m² which is lightened by a canopy, painted ceilings, pillars and marble stair cases with wonderful sculptures, a bathroom with a huge bathtub of 1.60 metres deep and three meters long, with large windows decoration with stained glass, all gave an aspect of a truly spectacular demure.
Decorated with an artificial lake, a park planted with luxurious vegetation, falling on to a private port with a garage for boats with an apartment for staff built above.
In 1909 the Villa Wedekind was sold to a Hungarian princess, Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghy. Her husband, a Russian prince, whom she divorces very quickly, leaves her a considerable fortune. A well known painter, she made many paintings of members of European Royal families, including the Prince of Wales and received a golden medal from the Fine Arts Academy in Berlin in 1894.
A strong activist for the protection of animals, she took long walks surrounded by her dogs, cats as well as her lion cub Goldfleck and organised in America and Europe charity events for animal protection societies.
In her new home, that she renamed Chateau Saint Jean, the princess always maintained a true household, which was not always of the taste of her close neighbours.
After the Second World War, the domain was acquired by the American Gloria Thompson who renames it Chateau Gloria, then is passed into the hands of Rosemarie Kanzler, whose husband, Ernest was a close collaborator and friend of the Ford Family, the famous car maker.
She decided to renovate the Chateau, calling in some of the most famous decorators of the epoque. The new owner also buys an old Sicilian palace in order to recover some of the decorative elements such as the sculptured wooden doors which she places in the chateaus library.
She takes out the stained glass windows and creates large terraces on the south side. Today, perfectly kept, the Chateau Saint Jean remains one of the most beautiful and most original villas of the Cote d’Azur.
- A fascinating article about the life of Rosemarie Kanzler
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