It is perhaps the most perfect place in the world to enjoy a 'shaken, not stirred' martini.
The longtime French Riveria home of actor Sean Connery has come to market: a six-story Belle Epoque villa dating from 1928 and set in exquisite surroundings with views of the city of Nice and the Mediterranean Sea.
While the 30 million euro ($33.87 million) price tag is substantial even by the ultra-exclusive location's standards, the property comes with undeniable bragging rights, having actually played a role in the actor's final turn as James Bond, 1983's Never Say Never Again.
One veteran film writer for local newspaper Nice-Matin recalls how the 1983 film shot all around Nice and neighboring Villefranche and Monaco, "even at the villa itself. I had a set visit to the house," he tells PEOPLE, "It was a long time ago but it made an amazing impression. The entire day was Sean Connery, Kim Basinger and the most incredible views of the Mediterranean I've ever seen."
Connery purchased the house, known as La Roc Fleuri, after his 1970 marriage to painter Micheline Roquebrune. The newlywed couple lived there for "a dozen or so years," and it is still referred to as "Sean Connery's house" by neighbors, according to realtor Mikael Zwaans of Knight Frank Cap Ferrat real estate agency, who describes the cliffside property "a unique and astonishingly beautiful location." Overlooking the old harbor at Nice, it faces west with sweeping views of the Bay of Angels.
The style is resolutely retro, with decor incorporating Art Deco elements with natural materials from the region. The main gathering spaces or "salons" are spacious and airy, featuring large windows bringing warm light into the house. And as the realtor's prospectus suggests, "there are numerous amenities which are comparable to the luxurious destinations where James Bond would stay."
The villa sits just at the edge of Nice in a dominant coastal position halfway between Cannes and Monaco. It's among the last great seaside villas built by English visitors along the Cote d'Azur between the first and second World Wars.
It presents an impressive Louis XVI-inspired facade with contemporary additions, maximizing its property line's steep drops to the sea below. The original 10,764-square-foot villa contains five bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a gym and spa, gourmet kitchen facilities, and a rooftop terrace. The master bedroom (which comes with two baths) comprises the mansion's entire top floor and is accessible by a private period-appropriate cage elevator, "decorated with wrought iron flowers and filigree," the listing states.
The extended property is equally impressive with terraces and trails running around landscaped floral gardens. An overhang sea walk and integrated walkways lead to the lower garden.
Roc Fleuri's present owners increased its size since Connery's time there, purchasing two adjacent properties and combining the enlarged grounds to just under 1.25 acres, while creating two guesthouses (from the existing period villas) and installing a circular outdoor pool.
"The physical layout is phenomenal," says Knight Frank Cap Ferrat CEO Fredrik Lilloe. "The lawn edge descends downward, close to a very small road below but the house itself is very high up on the cliff so it's remarkably quiet location and sunset there is just magic."
Specializing in the larger South of France luxury properties, Lilloe has known Roc Fleuri and its association for decades but says that since it came on the market, one week ago, he has been sought out "by people with fond memories of parties there, some who stayed there as weekend guests. It is unique in the way it affects people."
Describing it as "one of a kind," Lilloe suggests the property possesses an almost literary quality. "There's definitely some Bondness to it. Even some Gatsby. There's nothing like it and very few properties anywhere with this style, this size, with as large a plateau garden as this or the flows."
He continues: "Once you've visited, you can easily imagine yourself standing in the long drive when friends come by, greeting them with a bottle of champagne in your hand like Mr. Gatsby."
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