The massive villa that once belonged to King Leopold II has recently been offered for sale for a rumored €1 billion. ‘Villa Les Cèdres’ is located in the heart of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, which is known for its lavish residences and luxury hotels.

The property currently belongs to the Marnier Lapostolle family. Featuring 10 bedrooms, a winter garden, a stable, concierge and a 50-meter swimming pool, the residence seems to warrant a premium price. €1 billion however, seems to be a steep price to pay for this property, also considering it has a 14 hectare botanical garden with 25 green houses and dozens of extremely rare tropical plants.

Although it wouldn’t be very surprising if this property were to go for such an estimated price. If anywhere in France, the French riviera seems to be booming in terms of real estate. Just back in 2008 a Russian billionaire paid $370 million for residence Leopolda, located in the hills of Villefranche Sur Mer, which is a town nearby. However, the record amount of $370 million seemed to be too good to be true after all as the financial crisis hit and the Russian billionaire breached contract. He was ordered to pay $39 million in fines instead.

The history of this villa in particular is quite rich indeed. It was built in 1830 and acquired by the mayor of Villefranche Sur Mer back in 1850. In 1904 the villa and its 14 hectares of gardens were sold to Belgian King Leopold II, who chose to live in Monaco instead. Les Cèdres was the home to his ‘friend’, Blanche Zélie Joséphine Delacroix, who he met when she was 16 years old back in 1899.

Twenty years later the villa was acquired by Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle, owner of the well known liquor ‘Grand Marnier’ and the vineyards of Château de Sancerre. Since the 70’ies the property has been mostly maintained as a project for growing different species of plants. The 25 heated green houses feature about 20,000 different species of plants, of which 14,000 are tropical.

Now check out the gallery below. Do you think this property is worth €1 billion?

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  1. King Leopold II of Belgium was a genocidal mass murderer. He was the worst mass murderer of the 19th century and the worst mass murderer ever in Africa. He amassed his huge fortune through his extremely brutal rule and exploitation of the Congo Free State, which was his personal property, through mass slavery, mutilations, mass executions and other atrocities, which caused the deaths of 10 million people (out of a population of 20 million people).

    It was genocide, pure and simple, since many of the victims also came from small ethnic groups who suffered huge population losses percentage wise. Leopold II was not only aware of the atrocities committed in the Congo Free State, which he never visited, he connived at these atrocities and tried hard to keep it a secret from the outside world. If he lived today, King Leopold II would have been charged and convicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity.


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