Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)
Day 1 – Sunday, April 29
We meet in the lobby of the Hotel Novotel near the Nice airport and begin our Riviera adventure. Only a few minutes away is the former home of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, now an intimate museum featuring 14 of his works. From here we make the short drive to Cannes, famed for its yearly film festival, and check into our city-center hotel. In the afternoon, come along on a walking tour of the charming old city, followed by a WELCOME COCKTAIL and DINNER in town. OVERNIGHT – CANNES
Day 2 – Monday, April 30
This morning, after an orientation to the French Riviera (which locals call the Côte d'Azur), we depart by van for the hilltop village of Vallauris, with four outstanding museums housed in its renaissance-era château: Picasso Museum, Museum of War and Peace, the Magnelli Museum (abstract paintings) and the Ceramics Museum. After LUNCH in the nearby village of Mougins, we return to Cannes in time to visit its 19th century Russian Orthodox Church. OVERNIGHT – CANNES
Day 3 – Tuesday, May 1
We stay close to Cannes today, but the areas nearby are rich in sightseeing opportunities. We drive the curving coast road to swank Pointe Bacon, with villas scattered through the woods, and take in the view from the hilltop Garoupe lighthouse. Close by is pretty Antibes, with a vibrant old quarter and a château that houses a museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso. After LUNCH and free time in Antibes, we pay a visit to the Thuret Gardens, where acres of exotic plants are to be found. OVERNIGHT – CANNES
Day 4 – Wednesday, May 2
Just uphill from the Riviera is the perfume town of Grasse, where we visit a museum that houses the collections of the Fragonard perfume family. Climbing out of the coastal zone, we next come to tiny Gourdon, a ravishing perched village high in the Maritime Alps. Later, after a stop in picturesque Tourrettes-sur-Loup, we come to the small town of Vence and check into our quaint hotel. OVERNIGHT – VENCE
Day 5 – Thursday, May 3
A world-renowned museum of modern art, the Maeght, lies just downhill from Vence. Here you will find works by many important 20th-century artists, including Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Fernand Léger and Joan Miró. Following a visit, we make the short drive to the perched village of St. Paul-de-Vence and explore this utterly charming walled village. LUNCH today in St. Paul. OVERNIGHT – VENCE
Day 6 – Friday, May 4
In the morning we make the short drive to the Chapelle du Rosaire, designed and decorated by Henri Matisse in 1951. Its simple beauty will move you. There will also be time to explore Vence's weekly regional market, where you can shop for souvenirs or just people-watch. Walking the tiny streets of old Vence, a market town long favored by artists and art galleries, is a delight. OVERNIGHT –VENCE
Day 7 – Saturday, May 5
It's time to leave hilltop Vence and travel to the sea at Menton, near the border with Italy. Along the way we stop at the magnificent Trophée des Alpes, a Roman monument built at the direction of Augustus Caesar after Roman troops conquered no fewer than 45 Celtic tribes around the year 7 BC., thus cementing Roman rule in Provence. Soon thereafter we come to the tiny, pedestrian-only village of Peillon, an artist colony well worth an hour's exploration. Finally, we arrive in Menton, whose mild climate makes it a center of citrus production in France. We discover old Menton on foot, and visit the museum dedicated to writer-filmmaker Jean Cocteau. DINNER and OVERNIGHT – MENTON
Day 8 – Sunday, May 6
Menton's mild climate creates ideal conditions for exotic plants. We visit the botanical gardens of Jardin Val Rahmeh, exploring its 2.5 acres of flowers and plants. Val Rahmeh was created by a British army general, Sir Percy Radcliffe, and took shape between 1922 and 1966. At mid-day we have a special treat – LUNCH at Mirazur Restaurant, proud holder of two Michelin stars. If there is time late in the day, come along as we hop over the border to visit Ventimiglia, Italy. OVERNIGHT – MENTON
Day 9 – Monday, May 7
Ste. Agnès is an amazing perched village high above Menton. We explore its twisting lanes lined with stone buildings, then move on to the Villa Ephrussi-Rothschild, a lovely, antique-filled manor home and garden dating from the early 20th century. Late in the day, enjoy free time back in Menton to explore the twisting, medieval streets of its old town, or come along on a visit to the town's amazing old cemetery, rising in tiers above the town. Here are buried Russian princes, the inventor of rugby football and the aunt and uncle of Franklin D. Roosevelt. DINNER and OVERNIGHT – MENTON
Day 10 – Tuesday, May 8
We leave Menton today and experience one of the high points of our tour – literally. The soaring village of Eze (fancy boutiques and breathtaking vistas) is perched 2,000 feet above the Riviera. Then, descending to sea level, we take in the old port and stairstep streets of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Later we come to the independent principality of Monaco (old town, cathedral, exterior of the Prince's Palace, Monte Carlo Casino) for free time. At day's end we arrive in chic Nice and settle into our centrally located hotel. OVERNIGHT – NICE
Day 11 – Wednesday, May 9
There are loads of things to do in pretty Nice, many of them associated with art. Two major museums are on offer today – one dedicated to Marc Chagall, who created works in painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints; the other to Henri Matisse, known for his striking use of color and regarded one of the artists who helped define the visual arts in the early 20th century. There will be time between these two visits for a delicious LUNCH. OVERNIGHT – NICE
Day 12 – Thursday, May 10
On this, our final day of the tour, we enjoy a leisurely start before taking in the atmospheric streets of Old Nice and Nice's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. After that, the city is at your disposal: stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, overlooking Nice's pebbly beach, and window shop around toney Place Masséna. Ride the little tourist train for an overview of the city. OVERNIGHT – NICE
Getaway Day – Friday, May 11
After breakfast today we fly home from the Nice-Côte d'Azur airport.
MEALS – Tour includes breakfast every day, as well as eight other meals (lunches and dinners), as indicated in BOLD CAPS in the itinerary.
Hôtel Cavendish, Cannes
Auberge des Seigneurs, Vence
Hôtel Chambord, Menton
Hôtel Vendôme, Nice
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS are subject to availability.
ITINERARY – Details of this itinerary could change. A final itinerary will be issued closer to trip departure.
SIGHTSEEING – All sightseeing listed in the itinerary is included as part of the tour.
* TOUR PRICE of $3,995 per person is based on exchange rates at the time of publication, and could change if there is a significant decline in the value of the U.S. dollar vs. the euro. Ask us for details.
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