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Greek-style Belle Epoque gem

By CHEN WEIHUA | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-06 10:10
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Villa Kerylos, a house in the ancient Greek Revival-style overlooking the Mediterranean, was little known among the Chinese until French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan there on March 24, 2019, during Xi's state visit to France.

A 20-minute drive from Nice, the villa was built between 1902 and 1908 by architect Emmanuel Pontremoli for archaeologist Theodore Reinach, based on the model of the noble houses of the Greek island of Delos in the 2nd century BC. Kerylos means "sea swallow", a bird considered a good omen in Greek mythology.

Reinach commissioned the exact copies of ancient Greek chairs, taborets and klismos furniture that were kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy. The interior of the house integrated influences from Rome, Pompeii and Egypt. The house boasted all the latest 20th century features at the time, such as plumbing and underfloor heating systems.

Reinach spent his holidays there with his family. After his death in 1928, he bequeathed the property to the Institut de France, of which he was a member. The villa was listed as a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture in 1966, and is now a museum that is open to the public.

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