Originally named Villa des Palmiers, Le Plantier de Costebelle was built in 1857 by the Hyères architect Victor Trotobas for the Baroness of Prailly (in Lorraine) who came to Hyères in search of a better climate for her delicate health. The neo-Palladian villa lies in a stunning botanical park, an example of the exotic plant acclimatisation movement that appeared in Hyères in 1832.
The tour includes a visit of the 2 hectare park home to a fabulous collection of trees and exotic plants from all over the world.
But Le Plantier de Costebelle is also key to the Côte d’Azur's architectural and historical heritage. Countless famous names stayed here including Queen Victoria who spent five weeks here in 1892. Then the writer Paul Bourget made it his home in 1896 and had countless authors here to stay: Edith Wharton, Joseph Conrad, André Gide, Henry Bordeaux etc.
Renaud Lugagne has been its passionate owner since 2005 and has looked after the garden, the historical home and its adjoining chapel.
He began opening his property to the general public in 2010 and takes groups on tour himself (booking required). The path through the park peppered with pretty enamelled plaques detailing the history of the villa, its owners and famous visitors leads to the villa where you can see an incredible collection of paintings, period photos, African hunting trophies and rooms in their original condition... as if time has stood still.
An exciting visit which is a privilege to experience.
Duration: 1.5 hr
Tours: early April-late September (exc. August), booking required Thursday or Friday morning 9-11am.
Participants: 5-30 people
Prices: 5€ adult and child (free for under 3s)
Bags are left at the entrance to the property in the gatekeeper's house (handbags and camera bags included)