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It's 007 on the double with two former homes of James Bond star Sean Connery being offered for sale in Ireland and France


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Le Roc Fleuri in Nice

Le Roc Fleuri in Nice

Exterior of the Nice mansion where part of Never Say Never Again was filmed

Exterior of the Nice mansion where part of Never Say Never Again was filmed

Stairway of the Nice property

Stairway of the Nice property

Grounds and views

Grounds and views

A bathroom

A bathroom

The indoor pool of the Nice mansion

The indoor pool of the Nice mansion

The living room of the Nice mansion

The living room of the Nice mansion

Sean Connery as Bond

Sean Connery as Bond

The drawing room with its dark timber features in Wicklow

The drawing room with its dark timber features in Wicklow

The exterior of Violet Hill, Connery’s former home in Bray, Co Wicklow

The exterior of Violet Hill, Connery’s former home in Bray, Co Wicklow

The Wicklow hall with Turkish-style arches

The Wicklow hall with Turkish-style arches

Sunset views from the €30m property

Sunset views from the €30m property

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Le Roc Fleuri in Nice

Back when Sean Connery was on the crest of his fame as the world's most famous secret agent, the Scot was enjoying high living and the finer things in life just like James Bond, including two luxury homes in Ireland and in France.

Today it's 007 on the double with both being offered for sale simultaneously on the international market. Violet Hill, his former home at Herbert Road in Bray, Co Wicklow is for sale seeking €1.495m, while at the same time a whopping €30m is being sought for Le Roc Fleuri, a magnificent 1920s Art Deco cliff-top villa with two swimming pools that overlooks the old harbour and beaches of Nice in the south-east of France.

Goldfinger star Connery bilocated between both of these properties in the 1970s as he dipped his toe into acting again after a premature early retirement.

Located high on the edge of a rocky precipice on Cap de Nice, Le Roc Fleuri translates as 'the flower-covered rock'.

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Grounds and views

Grounds and views

Grounds and views

Built in 1928, it has 10,700 sq ft over six wisteria-covered floors and comes with its own home gym and two other guest residences, all on a site of 1.25 acres. It has colourful terrace gardens and a semicircular saltwater infinity-type pool that runs to the very edge of the cliff, suspended over the Mediterranean.

Built in 1928, Le Roc Fleuri has at its centre a grand salon with floor-to-ceiling windows and exits to the extensive terrace gardens. Its other features include a solid marble staircase and a period elevator servicing the upper floors.

The main level also houses a family room and another room and kitchenette currently being used as an office. The dining room and main kitchen are located on the lower floor and open to a garden terrace. The bottom floor has a fitness complex with gym, hammam and large indoor swimming pool that opens to the gardens, shower and dressing areas.

There are five bedrooms in all and the master bedroom suite takes up the entire top floor with two bathrooms containing his-and-her bath tubs, a walk-in wardrobe, an extensive dressing room and a private balcony overlooking the grounds and the bay.

Outside, a path winds down through the rocks to the sea. Located above the two-car garage is a self-contained staff manager's apartment.

There's also an extensive indoor pool and west-facing views from the main rooms across the Bay of Nice and the famous Promenade des Anglais, named after the popularity of the location with the first English tourists who came during the Victorian era.

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Sean Connery as Bond

Sean Connery as Bond

Sean Connery as Bond

On a clear day, the view takes in the Cap d'Antibes and the snow-capped Alpes-Maritimes. Cap de Nice has always been popular with celebrity residents including Tina Turner, Elton John, Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso and Grace Kelly.

When Connery moved here, his wealth was calculated in tens of millions and at this point in 1971, the former milkman told the world he was through with acting and would never return to his Bond role because retirement "was so much fun".

But he would return to the big screen in 1973 to film John Boorman's sci-fi oddity Zardoz in which Connery, togged out in a red mankini, plays the last sexually potent man in a future world that is populated by eternal beings.

The big budget movie, which flopped badly, nonetheless took Connery to work at Ardmore Studios in Bray. He was back again in Bray to work on 1979's First Great Train Robbery, directed by Michael Crichton.

Through the filming of the latter, the parties at Violet Hill - where he took up residence for over a year - were legendary and included guests like Peter Sellers and fellow Scot Alistair MacLean. The hard-drinking author liked Violet Hill House so much that he later returned to rent the property after Connery had departed.

In 2013, an auction of Violet Hill House's antique contents included Connery's watch and croquet mallet, wielded on its lawns.

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The exterior of Violet Hill, Connery’s former home in Bray, Co Wicklow

The exterior of Violet Hill, Connery’s former home in Bray, Co Wicklow

The exterior of Violet Hill, Connery’s former home in Bray, Co Wicklow

By coincidence, Violet Hill House is also on the market today. It was constructed in the Gothic Revival style in the 1860s by the Darley-Millar family whose local brickworks was at its busiest following the arrival of the rail link to Dublin in 1854.

The house was designed by the architect William Fogerty to be a showcase for Darley brick. Its interiors contain unusual Turkish-style arches which echoed the famously elaborate Turkish Baths (long ago demolished) that once made Bray famous. The larger house was subdivided in the 1970s before Connery's arrival. This property comprises the principal wing and great hall of the original.

It sits on three-and-a-half acres and a long driveway sweeps up from a set of iron gates at Herbert Road. Along with the aforementioned arches, the main hall has an elaborately-carved Gothic staircase leading up to a galleried landing and comes with an open fire with a white carved mantelpiece with Gothic arch pattern and the ceiling is beamed like many of the main reception rooms.

The library has a pitch-pine floor and panelled ceiling with gilted decorative rope pattern cornicings. The drawing room has twin French doors either side of a decoratively-carved marble fireplace with a ceiling in thick set dark timber frame pattern with lighter panel work in between. There's an inner hall connecting the dining room to the kitchen from back in the day when servants did all the running. The morning room, with a marble surround fireplace, also features a pitch-pine floor and a kitchen/breakfast room with an oil-fired Aga cooker. Upstairs, there are five bedrooms with a bathroom off the master chamber.

The main bathroom also doubles as an en-suite off bedroom two. There's a sixth bedroom in the staff apartment on this floor which also has its own living room, kitchen and bathroom. The house is available for €1.495m through Sherry FitzGerald in Bray.

Of course, Connery didn't stay away from Bond. In 1983, at the age of 52, he was tempted back into the tux - he was impressed after seeing the script for the proposed film of the Ian Fleming Thunderball novel. His return to 007 would cause his wife, the French-Morroccan painter Micheline Roquebrune, to christen the film Never Say Never Again. Connery was still living at at Roc De Fleuri, which was used in several scenes, with the film being made mostly in Nice and nearby Monaco.

He and Micheline would sell their French villa in the late eighties, by which time they had also moved on from Violet Hill House. Despite his time spent living in Wicklow, Connery managed to take both first and second place in IrishCentral's Top Ten Worst Irish Screen Accents (for Darby O'Gill and The Untouchables). He did collect an Oscar for The Untouchables, three Golden Globes as well as Kennedy Center Honors in an acting career of over 50 years.

Priced at $33.87m, Le Roc Fleuri is listed with Edward de Mallet Morgan, Knight-Frank, Nice, France and can be viewed more extensively online at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.

Connery (89) and Roquebrune (90) moved to the island of New Providence in the Bahamas in the 1990s. Recently their mansion was spared the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. Although the Bond star is reported to have been shaken, he was not stirred and the couple remain in situ in the Bahamas.

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The Wicklow hall with Turkish-style arches

The Wicklow hall with Turkish-style arches

The Wicklow hall with Turkish-style arches

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