Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to host an event at the villa?
The price will vary according to the specific needs of each event, but we can make 3 promises to you:
- Our event staff will put together a budget estimate promptly after receiving a clear brief;
- We are confident that any fees we charge are more than compensated by savings we can make on your behalf;
- We always offer value for money whatever the budget, with no hidden costs;
Will everything be set-up in time?
Yes of course, and that’s our problem, not yours! Our all-inclusive experiences are designed around the villas delivery schedule so everything will be on-time. For more complex set-ups, we’ll advise you if you need to request more time in your contract with the villa.
Can we have loud music outside?
You can have music that’s loud enough for a successful party.
Do we need to bring extra lighting outside?
We recommend it. The villa has some in-built lighting for the façade and key features of the garden, but you have no control over the colours and the intensity.
What happens if it rains?
It very rarely rains in the summertime – but nevertheless, we will always need to plan on a wet-weather option even during the hottest months of the year.
Do we need to add portable toilets?
There are already four toilets inside the main building and two more in the front courtyard. There’s no real need to add anymore, unless there are more than 200 guests. We can bring in VIP toilet units that fit discreetly in the gardener’s area next to the front courtyard.
Can we bring our own entertainment?
Yes, but we would need to provide a manager to oversee the artists from the moment they arrive on-site. We would also need to supply all their technical requirements and backstage facilities.
Do we need to bring in a generator for electricity?
Not necessarily! Most of our set-ups are designed around what electricity is already available on-site.
Do we have to use the approved suppliers?
Yes, and the good news is that they are all the best in their specialist field so there’s no need to look any further. More importantly though, the approved suppliers know the facilities at the venue perfectly – and the restrictions.
Can we be legally married at the villa?
The wedding ceremony is purely symbolic, so you’ll need to be officially married in a church, at the town hall or in your own country first. However, once the paperwork is done elsewhere, the ceremony at the villa will seem authentic hosted by a priest, rabbis or other officiant.
Do we need to hire a wedding planner?
That depends on what’s important to you. Riviera Organisation can manage all services related to events at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. We’ll oversee the overall design of the event, all logistics in advance, the set-up on the day and the event flow on the night. You can be reassured that everything is covered.
Do we need to add air-conditioning inside?
There is no AC on-site and it can get quite hot inside in the summer, but the roofs are high and with the doors open there can be a fresh breeze circulating. From experience, we find that small AC units and fans are more of a gesture than an overall solution, but the cost of installing a full professional solution is very high. Most clients will accept it for what it is, and get a breath of fresh air outside if ever it gets too hot.
Are fireworks allowed?
Fireworks are not permitted anywhere in the venue, but it is still possible to arrange an amazing fireworks display from a boat in the bay of Villefranche or Beaulieu. For the best view, guests would need to move to a terrace overlooking the bay.
Do we need to bring extra furniture?
Apart from a few garden benches, there is no furniture supplied by the villa, and most of what you see during your site visit is taken away. Your caterer will be best placed to advise on high tables for the cocktail, chairs for the ceremony and reception materials for the dinner. However, do bear in mind that if you use the same chairs for the ceremony and dinner, you will need to factor in additional staff to move them.
Can we build a stage?
Yes, for indoors, we have specially made staging that wraps around the columns. This can be up to 8m wide and 6m deep. However, you would need special permission from the villa to set this up before 5pm which makes it very tight for sound checks before 7pm. If the villa accepts for the stage to be set up in the morning, we need to factor in curtains and security ropes so as not to interfere with the daytime guest experience.
Outdoors, we can create some beautiful round or square stages on the water basin which is perfect for wedding ceremonies. These are set up in the morning.
In the upper gardens, the marble terrace is already slightly raised so we don't think there is a need for a stage here.
You can see different options for staging in our showcase gallery.
Should we bring additional heating?
Even on the French Riviera, it can get chilly outside the summer season. We can bring in electric parasol heaters but this means adding a generator and lots of cabling. Sometimes, just bringing some extras pachminas is enough. Gas heaters are not permitted anywhere in the venue.
There is some heating inside the patio area, but we would recommend adding a few small electric air heaters to the dining and backstage areas outside the summer months. This is a simple solution needing no major set-up or additional generators.
What about staff meals?
It is customary in France to arrange meals for all staff on-site at meal time. These are the people that make the event happen so we choose to look after them as best as we can, especially the technicians who have long days with some very intensive spells.
The caterers will usually prepare a cold meal tray which is generally fine although some artists may not accept this. A warm buffet option even microwaved food or takeaway pizzas are preferred. If you'd like us to arrange this, then we will deal with it at cost price as part of our service. Otherwise please arrange this directly with the caterer and we will send you a list of our needs in advance.
What backstage facilities are there?
There is a general technical area next to the kitchens downstairs space for staff to change and WC facilities. This is where all staff meals are served.
With the villa's permission, we can use the upstairs TV room after 6pm which is conveniently placed for access to the stage area. Artists should be warned that there is a strict no smoking, no eating and no alcohol policy here otherwise you may be charged a hefty cleaning fee.
Alternatively, we can used the tea room area if this is not needed for the event. This would only be available after the villa is closed to the public
We can add basic backstage facilities such as clothes racks, mirrors and an iron upon request.
Do we need to add carpets and flooring?
Many of the paths are gravel which some clients find awkward, although some cheap online heal protectors my be an easy solution. Of course we can arrange partial or full carpeting and flooring providing there is enough set-up time.
Often we are asked to carpet the path the bride will take as she enters the ceremony, so that she is sure to stay steady in her shoes and, of course, it keeps her dress clean.
We can also arrange false grass on wooden flooring to fill in the gaps in the dining area. This is recommended for larger events outside to even out the flooring so that the tables are steady.
How long can parties go on until?
Weddings and private parties can continue until 3am or 4am depending on your contract. At the end of the evening you would need to stop the music 10-15 minutes before the cut-off time to be sure clearing the venue in time. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate extra hours on the night until 4am at the latest, but please be aware that on top of the villa's charge, there may be overtime for artists, technicians and catering staff as well.
How do we get guests to and from the venue?
First impressions are so important so you will want your guests to arrive fresh and in the right frame of mind. Getting them to the venue is therefore an important part of the planning process. Whether you want 50 seater coaches or luxury limousines, we will be able to recommend a professional transport service.
Getting them back in even more important. You cannot rely on the local taxi services at 3am in the morning unless they are pre-booked. Often the best solution is a regular shuttle service from midnight, but make sure you have enough seats for the end of evening rush. Also, make sure you book your driver for at least half an hour after the scheduled finish time - just to make sure that the last one's out aren't left stranded.
If we are asked to book the transfers, we will always arrange for on-site coordinators at every key point. Transport is far too important to just leave to chance.
Can you help with the catering?
The venue will put you in touch with several excellent caterers, and we have a healthy working relationship with all of them. We have no particular preferences but we recommend you arrange tastings with at least 2 different ones. We don't get involved with the menu choices but we will liaise with the caterers in advance to be sure they are aware of the event brief and our staff meal requirements. We will also check their electricity needs to be sure there is enough power on-site.
The caterer will usually supply all the tables, chairs and reception material, although we can help if you are looking for something different.
Can you help with flowers?
There are many excellent florists recommended by the venue. Most of them speak English so we would recommend contacting them directly. We can assist if you need help and we would certainly intervene to coordinate the delivery schedule. We like to know the details of the floral decoration so we can adapt our lighting accordingly.
Should we add some candles?
These only add to the beauty of the gardens and we recommend them highly for all events. All candles must be protected and on stands and at least 1m away from the vegetation and we will always designate someone responsible to keep an eye on the candles making sure they are safe and always lit.
The ponds look beautiful when lit by candlelight at night, and we have plenty of stylish lanterns to line the walkways.
Indoors, we cannot use real candles - only LED ones with artificial flames.
You can see different options for candles in our showcase gallery.
How long does it take to plan an event here?
Even though the planning process for most events starts several months in advance, it is possible to put together events very quickly. This can be a matter of days if you use our tried and tested all-inclusive event experiences. By browsing through this site, we're sure you will have a clear idea what your options are. We can then cost everything up quickly and once you have made your choices everything will run very smoothly.
Oui, bien sûr. Nous sommes multilingues. Nous avons des chefs de projets francophones et nous pouvons préparer tous vos devis en français.
Can we film using drones?
Only if you have permission in advance from the local council. There are hefty fines for unauthorised use of drones.
Why is set-up time so short?
This is one of the biggest challenges at this venue, at it is always busy, often with more than 1000 visits each day. The villa is very proud of its heritage and chooses not to compromise their visitor experience. For this reason, there is only a very limited window for setting-up: after 5pm in the evening and before 10am in the morning. It is important to make sure that all deliveries are perfectly coordinated which is one reason why we will always have a designated site manager to avoid delays and bottlenecks.
For most events, we have the technique down to a tee by bringing in additional assistance during delivery and set-up. For more complex events we would set up production meetings in advance to put together a clear logistics plan.
For solid structure marquees or complex staging, you would need to book additional set-up time with the venue.