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Selected departures up to October 2016 & April to October 2017
No French region fires the imagination like the Côte d’Azur, with its unique blend of natural beauty, hilltop medieval villages and sophisticated resorts. The Mediterranean coast is at its most magnificent, with blood-red rocky coves and sweeping bays of shimmering azure blue water. Originally Greek, then Roman, Bourbon and Italian, but only French since 1860, all have left outstanding legacies. It became a retreat for 19th century European aristocracy and royalty and attracted many leading composers and artists of the era. Renoir lived in Cagnes; Cocteau in Menton; Chagall and Matisse in Nice; Picasso moved to Antibes. Today, only Paris has more museums than the Côte d’Azur.
No French region fires the imagination like the Côte d’Azur, with its unique blend of natural beauty, hilltop medieval villages and sophisticated resorts. It became a retreat for 19th century European aristocracy and royalty and attracted many leading composers and artists of the era. Renoir lived in Cagnes; Cocteau in Menton; Chagall and Matisse in Nice; Picasso moved to Antibes. Today, only Paris has more museums than the Côte d’Azur.
Follow in some famous footsteps on the ‘Promenade des Anglais’, after which all the world’s ‘promenades’ are named, lined by iconic fin de siècle and art-deco buildings.
The cuisine is legendary and the surrounding area is almost overloaded with fascinating places to visit: regal palaces and Monaco’s impossible opulence and its legendary F1 race circuit, quirky villas like the fabulous Villa Ephrussi housing eclectic collections; ancient towns like Antibes and Vence, fortified bastide villages, gorgeous gardens, perfumeries, marinas and the haunts of the rich and famous.
Our tour allows you to enjoy selected highlights of the area and plenty of time to explore as you wish. Whether you’re passionate about art, food, perfumes, gardens or simply enjoy the good life, join us in lifting the lid on one of the world’s foremost holiday destinations.
The price of this holiday is based on two people sharing a standard twin room. Single, city view and sea/garden view rooms are available at the relevant supplement. The price includes return flights, departure taxes and transfers, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and two dinners in local restaurants. All tours as mentioned, a guided walk of Nice and tour of Monaco, visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and the services of a Riviera Tour Manager.
Where the hotel features a swimming pool, pools are open May – Sept weather permitting.
Fly to Nice, ‘capital’ of the Côte d’Azur. You will be met and transferred to your selected hotel, either the four star Mercure Notre Dame, or the fourstar superior Le Meridien, both centrally located, for seven nights. Dinner is included on two evening in specially selected local restaurants
This morning we discover Nice on a guided tour. Named after their goddess of victory, Nike, it was originally an ancient Greek settlement, then Roman and extensive remains are still visible. Famously arcing its way around the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) is the iconic palm-lined Promenade des Anglais, backed by fine buildings. One of the highlights is the legendary flower market and its stalls laden with Provençal delicacies. The Place Massena is the heart of old Nice and lined by Venetian-style arches highlighting the city’s Italian heritage.
This afternoon we visit the region's finest gardens and art collection, the extraordinary Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. It boasts a stupendous yet eclectic mix including medieval and Renaissance works of art, Sèvres porcelain, Fragonard drawings and exceptional carpets and tapestries plus exquisite pieces from the Far East with everything world-class standard.
Today we visit incomparable Monaco, home to many of the world’s rich and famous, but there’s so much more to it than that. We call at Eze, an ancient village perched precariously atop a limestone outcrop, high above the clear blue waters. Monaco comes into view, its juxtaposition of elegant palace buildings, Belle Epoque finery, rooftop pools and modern concrete structures hemmed between the sharp blue waters and the dusky green and white of the mountainside. Our guided tour gives you a real insight into its history, the story of its royal family – the Grimaldis – and the key features of its unrivalled Grand Prix circuit. We tour the old town – Monaco Ville – a rocky promontory dominated by the magnificent Renaissance-style Royal Palace, which regularly hosted Napoleon. The old town is like an openair museum with picturesque squares and the impressive St. Nicholas cathedral where royalty including Prince Rainier and his wife Grace Kelly are laid to rest. Leaving its royal quarter your tour continues into Monte Carlo, with a drive around the dazzling marina.
Today is a free day to enjoy as you wish. Visit a museum, explore the flower market, have a leisurely lunch. Outdoor pool generally open May – September subject to weather conditions.
This morning we head inland to delightful Vence, another fortified hilltop settlement, offering astonishing views of the surrounding countryside. Next we explore the spectacular mountain scenery of the ‘Gorges du Loup’, a series of gorges full of cascading rivers, stunning waterfalls and rapids twists from a high mountain plateau to the plains below.
Finally, we make our way towards Grasse, the ‘Perfume Capital of the World’. We are guests of the historic Fragonard perfumery where we learn about this fascinating traditional art and its history. Heading back to Nice, we pass fields of violets, roses, lavender and a host of other aromatic flowers, the raw materials for the perfumes we have just experienced.
This morning brings us to another of the region’s delightful and historic coastal towns, Antibes, the former Greek Antipolis. Seafaring has always been a tradition here ever since ancient galleys sought refuge from the Ligurian hordes and Crusaders left for the Holy Land. There’s plenty more to interest the visitor here, especially inside the ancient walls of the Old Town, where Graham Greene once walked along the narrow cobbled lanes.
This afternoon we take the short drive to St Paul de Vence, a fortified medieval hilltop village where Chagall is buried. It has an artists’ community and a restaurant displaying works of art offered in payment by the then impoverished Picasso and Matisse amongst others. Further up the hillside, beyond the village is the Maeght Foundation, displaying modern art by Miro, Chagall and Leger under natural Mediterranean light.
Today you’ll discover one of the Riviera’s most delightful towns, a place where wonderful gardens abound amongst elegant boulevards and shambling medieval cottages. The journey is a scenic delight, showcasing magnificent Menton, nestling between the sheltering slopes of the Alpes Maritimes and the warming sea, half way between Paris and Rome. It is also blessed with one of Europe’s mildest climates. Its restorative effect seemingly worked miracles in the 19th century.
At lunchtime, enjoy superb fresh fish by the quayside, on the elegant arches of Quai Bonaparte, or perhaps dine al fresco in the cool of a shady square. The medieval town stands sentinel over the bay, centred on the baroque St Michel Basilica with its fine campanile towering above the terracotta roofs. See the old cemetery, visited not just for its superb views but for the fascinating, mainly English and Russian graves.
Today, at the appropriate time you will be taken to the airport for your return flight.
A very interesting and fascinating trip with moderate hotels. However the evening Buffet in Granada was really good. Our Tour Manager, Clive, was excellent and very knowledgeable .. [Read More]
Lovely people at Riviera
Another Birthday and to celebrate, another cruise. This was our third river journey with you and our sixth Riviera holiday. We knew we would not be disappointed, .. [Read More]
Roberta Davis and George Matthews
My friend and I have had the most amazing trip to Krakow. Vic, our tour guide, made everything run so smoothly and was so kind and knowledgeable. The lovely local Polish guide, Joanna, who took .. [Read More]
I’m recently home from my first holiday with Riviera and just want to thank everyone involved. The hotels and transport were excellent, comfortable and efficient. But the star .. [Read More]
We have had another wonderful Riviera holiday, which exceeded expectations. In no small part this was because our tour manager John was outstanding. He has a deep and extensive .. [Read More]
Many thanks to Paula who was a brilliant guide. We loved her friendly relaxed style and the care she took to ensure that everyone had the best experience possible. Organisation was faultless and .. [Read More]
Colin and Mary Millett
We have just returned from our wonderful tour of Sorrento, Capri ,Pompeii ,Vesuvius and the Amalfi coast. We stayed at the Villa Maria which was comfortable, great room service and excellent half .. [Read More]
Tony and Jane Richardson
Inspired by our 1st tour with Riviera a couple of year ago, we felt that we could not go wrong with booking this tour. We were not disappointed, everything was so well organized, hotels .. [Read More]
Mike & Tessa Parker
This was the first time that we have travelled with Riviera. We chose this trip as I had family In East Germany and wanted to know more of the history of this region. We were not disappointed. .. [Read More]
We have just returned from the Bruges tour which we thoroughly enjoyed. Our guide, Pete, was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He gave us a brief 30 minute walk on the evening of .. [Read More]
Peter and Sue Hawes
Just returned from fantastic South Africa Tour. It was we’ll organised from start to finish, our tour manager Janie and guide Ian were superb nothing was too much trouble. There we 41 of us .. [Read More]
Val & Pete Cornish
An excellent well planned tour. We thoroughly enjoyed it. the hotels were comfortable and food was good - masses of choice and lots of fresh fruit and salads. Above all we really appreciated our .. [Read More]
I wish to express our thanks for a most enjoyable holiday to Lake Como and the organised visits which were truly amazing. Our guide, Sev is to be congratulated for making the tour extremely .. [Read More]
My husband and I have just returned from our tour of Sicily ( Manchester 9th to 16th Oct.).It was our first visit to the island and we were not disappointed. This is a lovely tour, our 6th with .. [Read More]
We have just returned from the 5 day tour of Morocco based in Marrakech and wish to say how much we enjoyed it. We have never been to Morocco before and recommend this as an excellent introduction. .. [Read More]
John and Viv Scott and family
Dear Riviera Travel, I have just returned from your Sicily Tour. It was fabulous. The itinerary was perfect. All the major sites far exceeded my expectations - which were already high before I .. [Read More]
We have travelled several times before with Riviera and have always found the tours excellent. This tour to Berlin and Dresden was excellent.
The hotel were very comfortable and in .. [Read More]
Now that we’ve recovered from all the walking around Italy on our wonderful holiday with you I felt that I should e-mail you to say that our tour guide, Vanessa, was amazing! I .. [Read More]