History of the Villa

Villa Helios has a unique cultural and historical value. The Villa is surrounded by a picturesque landscape with the red rocks of olcanic origin (Roches Rouges) that inspired many French artists and contributed to the development of post-impressionism and fauvism.

Claude Monet,  Albert Marquet (a close friend of Henri Matisse) and even Winston Churchill painted the red rocks near the Villa Helious. Their works are part of collections the renown museums around the world  (the Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, Musée d’Orsay in Paris and many others).

View of Agay, the Red Rocks (Villa Helios) 1905 Oil on canvas: 32 x 25 5/8 inches

Albert Marquet

27 March 1875 – 14 June 1947

was a French painter, associated with the Fauvist movement. He initially became one of the Fauve painters and a lifelong friend of Henri Matisse. Marquet subsequently painted in a more naturalistic style, primarily landscapes. The Roches Rouges were his inspiration and a topic of several of his paintings. He painted the Villa Helios back in 1905.

Antoine de

29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944

Antoine de Saint-Exupery proposed to his future wife, Consuelo Sunsin de Sandoval, not far from the Villa Helios and married her in the Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur church in Agay on April 12, 1931. Their love story was stormy and troubled, and never entirely happy. Following Consuelo's confessions in The Tale of the Rose, many critics now believe that The Little Prince is an allegory of Saint-Exupéry's life: his worries, his reflections, and regrets. The rose, vain but kind-hearted, represents Consuelo. Her fragility, the chronic asthma she suffered from.

Winston Churchill during etude

Painting by Winston Churchill against
the backdrop of the rocks at Villa Helios

"Agay is a paradise where even the dust is perfumed"

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry