The Curious Chronicles of
Villa Nellcote

A mysterious villa on the French Riviera. The Rolling Stones rented it. The wealthy and eccentric owned it. And the Nazis occupied it. But are all the rumors really true?



The Curious Chronicles
of Villa Nellcote

Geir Hørnes


The Curious Chronicles of Villa Nellcote is an exclusive 400-page book about the legendary Riviera-mansion Villa Nellcote. The Rolling Stones rented it. The wealthy and eccentric owned it. And the Nazis occupied it. But are all the rumours really true?

Produced in collaboration with the families having owned Nellcote, the book includes first-hand accounts, and exclusive, new contributions from the Rolling Stones´ entourage adding further insight about the bohemian recording of Exile on Main St. at Villa Nellcote in 1971.

Lavishly illustrated with architect drawings, personal journals and more than 250 photos from private archives, The Curious Chronicles of Villa Nellcote is unparalleled in scope and the most authoritative document on the history of Nellcote.

“Mme Keller did not realise to whom she was renting the villa. She thought a successful young pianist would be living there and had no idea who the Rolling Stones were. When she finally mentioned the name of Keith Richards, I nearly fainted.” 

- Barbara Lee

The villa

Villa Nellcote is located on the French Riviera, where the facades of sand-coloured houses and swaying palms reflect off the surface of the Mediterranean Sea.

Built by the French wine producer Eugène Thomas-Piétri in 1899 and ruled over by the mighty Bordes family for generations, Villa Nellcote boasts a history shrouded in mystery and speculation. 

All its residents were exceptional people: One drove the fundraising campaign for the Statue of Liberty. Another survived the Titanic disaster. A third worked, in secret, both for the Nazis and Allied during World War II.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones is to blame for Villa Nellcote having pop-cultural celebrity status today. 

In 1971, guitarist Keith Richards arrived at Nellcote. Worshipped by fans, hounded by the police, and hated by the establishment, the Rolling Stones had been banished from Britain. Now they wanted to make music – in the land of the old enemy, France! The mythical recording sessions for Exile on Main St. turned Nellcote into a musical place of pilgrimage on a par with Graceland and Abbey Road. Daily, visitors arrive, take photos, and post them online as a ‘bucket list’ experience. And it doesn’t stop there: A Napa Valley wine brand ‘draws its inspiration’ from Villa Nellcote. A Chicago restaurant is decorated to resemble its interior. A hip Swedish perfume is curated to smell like its garden. Why is Villa Nellcote so alluring? And why has its full, fascinating story not been told – until now? 

Join author Geir Hørnes as he travels the globe and uncovers Villa Nellcote´s fascinating past on three different continents. 

The Curious Chronicles of Villa Nellcote takes you inside the mythological villa, from its construction in 1899 up through the 20th Century.  


The Curious Chronicles of Villa Nellcote includes:

• A vast selection of rare and unpublished photos, maps, drawings and ephemera.
• Architect drawings of Nellcote – including the basement where The Rolling Stones recorded.
• The original Nellcote guestbook from World War I, reproduced for the first time ever.
• The never-before-seen journal from the Titanic, written by one of Nellcote´s owners.
• Exceptional images of the German soldiers in Villefranche-sur-Mer during World War II.
• Private snapshots and colour slides of Nellcote in the post-war years.
• Georgia Bergman´s personal journal from 1971, offering a rare glimpse into the real chronology of the events at Villa Nellcote during the Stones stay.
• Mick McKenna´s custom-made technical drawings of The Rolling Stones Mobile  in 1971.
  Images of the 1971 Nellcote phonebook, displaying the names and numbers of the power players and celebrities visiting the villa.
• The Nellcote Chronicles offers new interviews and exclusive contributions from the 1971 Stones entourage: Marlon Richards, photographer Dominique Tarlé, author Robert Greenfield, Stones office administrator Georgia Bergman, record producer Robin Millar, artist Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, Nellcote chef Gérard Mosiniak, Rolling Stones Records´ European Label Manager Trevor Churchill, International Label Manager at WEA France Dominic Lamblin, Stage and Lighting Technician Bruce Byall, as well as the siblings Jake and Charley Weber.
• Contributing museums and art collections: Sotheby´s New York, Arts et Métiers Paris, New York Public Library, New Orleans Historical Collections, Staatsarchive Zurich, Swiss Federal Archives Bern, National Bibliothèque France, Military Archive Freiburg, Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Jerusalem.

• The Curious Chronicles of Villa Nellcote is written by award-winning Norwegian TV- and filmdirector Geir Hornes.