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A living room at Villa Les Cèdres.

A living room at Villa Les Cèdres.

Photographer: Ambroise Tezenas for Bloomberg Businessweek

Pursuits
Real Estate

Look Inside the Most Expensive House on Earth

An exclusive tour of Villa Les Cèdres, a 187-year-old mansion now for sale along the coast of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

The South of France has been home to a revolving door of the superrich for the past century. As their fates rose, industrialists, princes, and bankers built palaces along the Mediterranean, and as they fell—first the Russian aristocracy, Americans after the 1929 stock market crash, then much of the European upper class after World War II—they sold them to the world’s next crop of newly wealthy.

Now the owner of Villa Les Cèdres, a 187-year-old, 18,000-square-foot, 14-bedroom mansion set on 35 acres, hopes that its property will be the next to pass from old money to new. With a list price of €350 million ($410 million), the owner, the Italian distiller Davide Campari-Milano SpA, is betting that the house’s combination of history, luxury, and a prime location along the coast of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat will be enough to make it the most expensive residential sale in history.