Eccentric, she soon became so after her marriage at the age of 19 (1883) to Maurice Ephrussi, from a wealthy Jewish family in Odessa. They hardly love each other and have no children. She then took refuge in travels, got drunk on lavish receptions, made a hat for the 18th century and became bored with gambling at the Casino de Monte-Carlo.
To house her collections of 18th century objects, between 1905 and 1912, she had a villa built in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, on a promontory designed by Leopold II of Belgium, which she named “Ile-de-France”. Every day dressed in pink from head to toe, the villa had to be pink too.
The soil is terribly ungrateful. Anyway, she uses several garden architects, including Achille Duchêne. The ground is dynamited, terraced and filled by thousands of tons of good land that it brings in.
Its employees, wearing cardboard pyramids or stretching green or silver grey ribbons, move under its orders to fix the location of trees, grassed areas and water bodies.