Abandoned villa at the entrance of Monaco to be brought back to life 

The Villa Dixie has been falling into ruin for some 30 years, but now the primely located property is to be given a new lease of life. Here’s what we know so far.  

The thousands of people who drive along the Avenue Prince Rainier III every day will know of Villa Dixie, if not by name, by sight. 

Dilapidated and falling to decay, a slowly crumbling wreck of a former home above the Moyenne Corniche, the Villa Dixie has been abandoned for as many as 30 years – possibly longer. Over the decades, as other palatial properties sprang up in Cap d’Ail and Monaco, this large property gradually fell into a state of serious disrepair.  

But then, sometime in May, a board announcing a valid building permit was erected at the perimeter of the property and soon after came the first construction vehicles.  

According to the Monaco Matin, a Monaco-based SCI purchased the plot in 2021. A building permit was applied for in its name, but was ultimately refused by Cap d’Ail’s town planners back in February due to “security reasons”.  

A complex project for many reasons

It will be an understandably difficult task to complete the major renovation works required in a site as complex as that of Villa Dixie. Commuters and visitors to the Principality pass beneath its façade in their droves every day; Avenue Prince Rainier III is one of the principal access routes into Monaco.  

And if access is one concern, the fact that the villa is in a “zone inconstructible” – land that cannot be legally built on – is another. Other than securing the path up to the property, the developers will be prevented from adding any extensions to the existing structure or modifying its foundations. 

Renovating the Belle Epoque façade will be high on the developers’ list, however. Then, behind the blockwork and graffiti tags is a property of several hundred square metres across multiple floors. Outside, underneath the thick blanket of weeds, should be a garden and even a pond or water feature.  

Whether anyone will ever call this place home again, though, is difficult to determine.  

Villa Dixie’s origins 

Little is known about its early days. The name Dixie suggests an American link, but the identities of the architect and the property’s first owner have been lost. There are stories of a wealthy diamond merchant from the north of France as one owner in years gone by, who is said to have sold the villa to a man who moved to South America. After his death, no heirs could be found. 

Villa Dixie’s precarious situation was further compounded by a serious rockfall in 1985 that, according to the Monaco Matin, killed a motorist instantly when a large block came through his windshield.

In 1992, a building permit was applied for by the owner at the time, but the Prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes turned it down, arguing that the land was in a “large scale hazard one”. A few years later in 1996, the plot was classed as being in a red zone.  

Whether anyone will ever call this place home again remains to be seen, but the construction site is certainly causing plenty of speculation.  


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