On a rocky outcrop of the Massif de L’Esterel mountain range on the French Riveria, the iconic Le Palais Bulles, or Bubble Palace, has resurfaced on the market following the recent passing of its owner, legendary designer Pierre Cardin.
The 13,000-square-foot Le Palais Bulles is embedded into a cliff at at Théoule-sur-Mer near Cannes.
The 2.1-acre property is spread out across six levels and includes gardens and three pools.
Cardin, who purchased the property in 1992 as a private events venue, was the second owner of the palatial property comprising a 13,000-square-foot luxury home with 29 rooms, a 500-seat open-air amphitheater overlooking the Mediterranean, a reception hall, and other amenities housed within a series of interconnected domes that inspired its name.
The cave-like domes were built from reinforced wire mesh spray-coated with a concrete mix.
"Its curves and its softness," said Cardin in Jean-Paul Hesse’s book Le Palais Bulles de Pierre Cardin, "makes me see the shapes of a woman, of a mother. That’s why I feel good there."
Le Palais Bulles includes 11 baths and 10 bedrooms, each individually decorated by different contemporary artists including the likes of Jerome Tisserand, Daniel You, and François Chauvin.
Constructed over 14 years and completed in 1989, the curvaceous compound was the magnum opus of avant-garde Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, who designed the home for one of his biggest patrons, French industrialist Pierre Bernard. Lovag’s interest in spherical architecture stemmed from his belief that straight lines are an "aggression against nature" and that curves were better suited to the mobility of man.
Le Palais Bulles was originally built for Pierre Bernard, who also owned the Maison Bernard, Lovag’s first "bubble" house in Théoule-sur-Mer. Unlike Le Palais Bulles, Maison Bernard is open to the public for guided visits and hosts an artists’ residence program.
The window pictured here next to the pool slides down to follow Lovag's concept of continuous circulation.
Lovag's celebration of circulation and motion is also represented in this three-tiered waterfall feature.
Although Cardin never lived in the sculptural house since he owned other property nearby, the legendary designer told the French newspaper Le Figaro that he had "known nothing but happiness [here], including magical evenings and unforgettable parties. I’ve hosted many celebrities here."
The central palm terrace is perfectly positioned for views of the sea and for hosting outdoor events.
After purchasing the property, Cardin added a 500-seat outdoor amphitheater that overlooks the Mediterranean. A large reception hall is located beneath the amphitheater.
In addition to hosting star-studded after-parties for the Cannes Film Festival and major fashion galas such as the Dior Cruise Collection 2016, Cardin rented out Le Palais Bulles for commercials and other events for approximately €30,000 a day.
A peek inside the large living room furnished with custom fabric furniture built by Claude Prévost.
The furnishings and artworks, which include custom creations by Lovag and Cardin, mimic the curvaceous architecture and are included in the sale.
The labyrinthine interior has few dividing walls and doors to allow rooms to merge together.
A look down one of the serpentine stairways.
"Clinging to the rocky Estérel, this palace has become my own bit of paradise," said Cardin. "Its cellular forms have long reflected the outward manifestations of the image of my creations. It is a museum where I exhibit the works of contemporary designers and artists."
Red Carrera marble floors used throughout match the domes’ dusty pink hue.
Elliptical and circular openings throughout the home frame views of the Mediterranean.
The colored fiberglass doors are also rounded.
A dome-shaped dining module swings open to connect with the outdoors.
Le Palais Bulles was originally listed in 2016 with an asking price of €350 million, which made it one of the most expensive properties in Europe at the time. The current price is undisclosed.
The porthole-like windows stem from Lovag's studies in naval architecture.
Skylights inserted into the tops of the domes can be opened up for access to the roof.
The French Ministry of Culture has listed Le Palais Bulles among its national historic monuments since 1999.