Robert Smith, an English colonel and engineer whose career had taken place in India, acquired more than two hectares of arid and desolate land at Cap de Nice upon his retirement.
He built a house there as well as a number of outbuildings and factories to decorate the garden, which he planted with numerous trees. Inspired by Indian buildings, the "folie Smith" - sometimes admired, sometimes mocked - became the emblem of the diversity of architecture imported by vacationers. The villa was raised by its second owner, Count Melchior Gurowski de Wezele, who turned it into a worldly place. It has since lost much of its original silhouette (closing of its arcades, changes in openings ...). The same is true of its color, which originally seems to imitate brick.
In 1927, a housing estate was opened in the park, served by the current avenue Jean-Lorrain.