The Massive French Villa Where Elton John Goes to Relax: "He Is King of That Hill"

Scott Frances/OTTO

It's so big, you can see it from the Promenade des Anglais. Here's what the locals — and house guests — say about the singer's luxury abode near Nice.

When Elton John attends the world premiere of Rocketman on May 16, he won't have to travel far. Cannes is just a 20-mile drive along the A8 from his luxury villa in nearby Nice.

John has owned the sunbeam-yellow summer home, a Belle Epoque villa surrounded by the parklands of Mont Boron, since the 1990s. The neighborhood was once part of an artists' colony but is now one of the toniest on the Côte d'Azur, boasting multimillion-dollar mansions with views stretching across the Bay of Angels (locals call it the "Bel Air of Nice"). And John's villa is among the largest in the area, so big it can be seen from the waterfront Promenade des Anglais.

Nice is a bit of an usual habitat for a star of John's magnitude. "It's quite unique for a celebrity like him to have bought here," says local interior designer Bjarni Breidfjord. "No other celebrities live up there. He is king of that hill."

While he mostly stays out of sight — and in his garden tending to his plants — John has been known to entertain. Says David Burtka, who's partied at the house with husband Neil Patrick Harris, "Elton is a little more uptight in his real world, but in Nice he just relaxes. He's so fun and he laughs with his kids and has a good time. He just forgets about the madness of his life."

This story first appeared in the May 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.