Enchanté! The french villa in Downton Abbey: A New Era
For Downton’s second movie Downton Abbey: A New Era set in 1928, the Crawley family up roots from the English countryside to a gorgeous getaway pad in the south of France – the result of a mysterious inheritance.
Production Designer Donal Woods searched for a house in the French Riviera which reflected the right period for Violet Crawley (Dame Maggie Smith) to have visited as a young girl, so that needed to be around the mid 1800’s.
The house he and his team found and which became the shooting location for the french villa in Downton Abbey: A New Era is a real home that is available to rent for anyone with the budget! It’s Villa Roccabella located about an hour from Saint-Tropez.
This villa has extensive gardens, a heated outdoor pool, yoga deck and a private beach (used in the scene where Tom and Lucy go swimming).
The pictures below show the way the interiors of the villa look now, but most of the furniture had to be replaced for filming.
Designed in the late 19th century by Danish architect Hans-Georg Tersling, Villa Roccabella has marbled corridors, pink marble columns, many chandeliers and bright, open-plan spaces which act as a contrast to Downton Abbey itself (‘played’ by the real Victorian country estate Highclere Castle, located on 1,000 acres in Newbury, UK).
The brighter colour palette of pink walls, pink marbling and light filled rooms suited the exact contrast Woods was looking for.
Last time we were searching, we found a wide selection of vintage and antique French chandeliers on Etsy.
The Crawleys make use of the extensive gardens of the villa by dining alfresco.
The gold trim glassware on the table sets the scene beautifully – find similar here.
Read more about Downton Abbey’s mini makeover for the first movie in our feature Downton Abbey: A royal visit calls for a mini makeover.