Villas and Gardens of the Cote d'Azur Escorted Tour

7 nights starting from
£1465

  • Modernist gem Villa E-1027, Eileen Gray’s creation and home (October 2019 and March 2020 only) 

  • Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and Villa Kerylos

  • Villa Hanbury Gardens and the Villa Val Rahmeh

  • St Paul de Vence, Fondation Maeght and Renoir’s Maison les Collettes

Join Nicholas Merchant, Former Chairman of the Art Fund West Yorkshire Fundraising Committee, to explore the extraordinary array of rich estates on France's Cote d'Azur. Gain an insight into the world of the rich and glamorous in this playground of the jet-set for more than a century, with Nicholas using his expertise to help you delve deeper into the treasure trove of antiques that these sumptuous villas house. The group size on this tour is limited to 25 passengers to ensure that smaller sites can be visited and that you get a high level of attention.

Available Departures

From

28 - October - 2019 Limited Availability Travel Info Please Call

Provisional Timings

St Pancras

Departing: 28th October 2019 at 09:24

Returning: 04th November 2019 at 18:13

23 - March - 2020 Sold Out Travel Info On Request

Provisional Timings

St Pancras

Departing: 23rd March 2020 at 09:24

Returning: 30th March 2020 at 18:13

ITINERARY

Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris and onwards to Nice by TGV. On arrival transfer to hotel for check-in for seven-night stay on bed and breakfast basis. On arrival at the hotel there will be a small snack served in the bar.

Day 2: Serre de la Madone and Maria Serena Gardens
This morning we enjoy our first talk ‘The Creation of the Cote d’Azur’ by Nicholas Merchant, Chairman of the Art Fund West Yorkshire Fundraising Committee who has lectured extensively on the decorative arts both for branches of The Arts Society and independently in America, South Africa and Europe. Situated in the hills behind Menton, this 9-hectare terraced garden was the creation of Lawrence Johnston, better known for his creation of Hidcote in the Cotswolds. Plants from Burma, China and South Africa thrive in this gently and sunny climate. It has now been restored after a period of decline. This afternoon we will have a guided tour of the Maria Serena Gardens. Right on the sea front, and the last house before the Italian border, the Maria Serena Villa and Gardens, was constructed around 1880 for the family of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Today it is a guest villa for the city of Menton. The villa is surrounded by a hectare and a half of gardens, where tropical and sub-tropical plants thrive, including a large collection of palm trees and cycad trees. They command a splendid view overlooking the sea and the old city of Menton.

Day 3: Roquebrune and the Villa E-1027 and free afternoon in Menton
This morning we will have another talk from Nicholas ‘Eileen Grey and the Villa E-1027’ before departing for a visit of the Villa E-1027. A veritable icon of modernist architecture overlooking the sea, villa E-1027 was architect and designer, Eileen Gray’s first architectural creation and testifies to the thought and attention that she put into every detail of the design. It is tantamount to a manifesto both for its architecture and for the fixed and free-standing furniture, lamps and decorations that are inseparable from it. Eileen spent three whole years designing the furniture and working with her partner Jean Badovici on the plans. Le Corbusier was a visitor after Eileen Gray had left and painted murals on some of the walls, some of which remain in situ. After a long and checkered history, the villa has been carefully restored since 1999 and is now accepting visitors and offers a fascinating insight into its architect and the era. In the afternoon you will have some free time to spend in the town of Menton. A favourite resort for the English in the 19th century, including Queen Victoria, this town enjoys one of the most beneficent climates along this coast. Highlights include the Musee Cocteau, the Salle des Mariages in the Town Hall and the Basilica of St Michel is a magnificent example of baroque architecture.

Day 4: Full day Nice. 
This morning there will be a talk ‘Queen Victoria in the South of France’, by Nicholas before we then depart for our full day visit to Nice. France's fifth largest city, Nice has been a popular destination of the rich and famous including Queen Victoria for some 150 years. It is a wonderful city to explore with several distinctive districts, a wealth of galleries and museums, lovely port and famed Promenade des Anglais. Nice was Italian until 1860, reflected in the pastel facades and balconies of the old town which have a distinctly Italiante feel. Nice is overflowing with things to see and do - highlights include several museums including the Chagall, Matisse, Modern Art and Beaux-Arts, characterful flower market area, 17th century Palais Lascaris, Russian Church and much more.

Day 5: Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat and Villa Kerylos. 
Built in 1895 for the enormously wealthy Beatrice de Rothschild, this pink, treasure-filled palace sits atop the promontory surrounded by its own lush gardens. Lunch is included in the villa's elegant restaurant overlooking the bay. After lunch we visit Villa Kerylos, one of the most extraordinary villas on the coast. Designed as a recreation of an ancient Greek Villa, this houses teeters on the water's edge, its rooms filled with furniture and artefacts taken from images on ancient Greek Vases.

Day 6: St Paul de Vence, Foundation Maeght and Maison les Collettes. 
One of the great galleries of France, this privately funded establishment dating from 1964 has an enormous range of paintings, ceramics, stained glass and sculpture by Giacometti, Miro, Chagall, Calder and Braque to name but a few. Built by the Catalan architect Jose-Luis Sert, the building is itself an astonishing sight. Following some free time in St Paul de Vence, one of the most famous of the hill-villages of the region has proved a magnet for artists, and now contains not only galleries but also offers from its ramparts breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside and the sea. Return to Menton via Cagnes sur Mer where the Maison les Collettes contains ten of the paintings of Auguste Renoir who lived here up to this death in 1919.

Day 7: Villa Hanbury Gardens and the Villa Val Rahmeh. 
This morning we have our final talk by Nicholas, ‘English Gardeners in the South of France’ before we set off for our day of visits. An excursion just over the border into Italy takes us to the 100-acre Villa Hanbury gardens laid out by Sir Thomas Hanbury in the mid-19th century. A dramatic site on a promontory the garden is planted with a wide range of specimens ranging from succulents to rose and plants indigenous to the site. Afternoon return via Villa Val Rahmeh (above Menton) a garden created by an Englishman, Sir Percy Radcliffe, former Governor of Malta. A private domain, now an outstation of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. This evening we will have a farewell dinner all together at the hotel.

Day 8: Transfer to Nice station for return TGV to Paris and onwards by Eurostar to Ebbsfleet and St Pancras.

NB: Exact order of excursions and timings of lectures may vary according to local conditions and tour managers' discretion

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return standard class Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Nice via Lille/Paris 
  • Seven nights' bed and breakfast at the three-star Quality Hotel Mediterranee, Menton, based on shared occupancy of a twin room
  • Small cold plate at the hotel on arrival on the first night and a farewell dinner at the hotel on the last night
  • One lunch at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild 
  • Full coaching itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Talks and accompanied visits by Nicholas Merchant, Ex-Chairman of the West Yorkshire Art Fund
  • Tour manager throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement 
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Room upgrade to a Privilege Room
  • Standard Premier/1st Class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls
  • Porterage and gratuities 

PLEASE NOTE: as with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras, but bags do need to be carried onto the platform.

Please note that if you would prefer to fly to Nice, there is an option for clients to travel on a land-only basis, meaning that transport and transfers are NOT INCLUDED and the tour will start at the hotel. Travel can then be arranged independently. There is a reduction in price for this option, please contact us for more information on 020 7251 0045.

Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890.

HOTELS

Quality Hotel Mediterranee, Menton
This comfortable three-star hotel is ideally located in the centre of Menton. The hotel's panoramic terrace offers wonderful views of the gardens, hills and the sea as a backdrop, and the terrace bar provides a relaxing area opened daily - a great place to relax with a cocktail enjoying the view after a long day sightseeing. Bedrooms have private bathroom facilities, air conditioning, telephone, TV, minibar, hairdryer, safe, free wi-fi and tea/coffee making facilities. Alternatively you can upgrade to a Privilege Room (subject to availability) which has proved popular with our clients, as rooms are much more spacious and brighter, all have a balcony and the use of bath robes and slippers, as well as the above facilities included in standard rooms. Costing just an extra £49 per person for the duration of the tour.

Quality Hotel Mediterranee Website

MORE INFO - Please click here to see full details of this tour

 

We are delighted to have received this feedback from Ms Pamela Richardson who has taken over 30 of our tours...

...''It took precisely one day back in a cold, damp, dark London in late October to realise why wealthy Britons and Queen Victoria headed for the Cote d’ azur for the winter. Nicholas Merchant, our eminent lecturer, regaled us most mornings with stories of beautiful gardens, extraordinary villas and their often illustrious owners. I was most looking forward to Lawrence Johnston’s Serre de la Madone in the hills above Menton and the pink tinted Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat.  They didn’t disappoint. I’d done the Tour before, in the spring of 2015, so knew the direct route to the loggia of the villa Ephrussi where I sat, sheltered from the sun, to read A Life by Maupassant and to wait for the fountains to erupt and dance to the strains of Verdi, Mozart, Offenbach and Strauss.  As the fountains cascaded up and down and from side to side to the music I was reminded of the poem Absence by Elizabeth Jennings, ‘Nothing was changed, the gardens were well-tended, The fountains sprayed their usual steady jet’.  It was and they did, just as beautiful in the last days of autumn as it had been in the spring.  Menton is an ideal base for the daily excursions and the hotel was good.  Serge Bertini, our knowledgeable and endlessly patient Tour manager guided us daily from villas to gardens with a visit to Fondation Maeght to see the modern art collection.  This is a delightful Tour.  Would I do it a third time? You bet I would!''......

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A perfect week on the Cote d'Azur. The sun shone everyday, the sea as blue as promised, the hotel was comfortable and so central with restaurants, shops and sea close by. Nicholas Merchant's morning talks in the roof top bar were educational and set us up for the days visits. Serge our courier was as excellent as usual in looking after everyone in his calm and friendly way.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 25-March-2019


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The print out was necessary with the brochure We found it difficult managing the luggage especially having to use escalators Train travel from Paris to Marseille was delightful. Enjoyed the hotel

Review by Fowler who travelled 25-March-2019


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We were very lucky with the weather, we had glorious sunshine all week. Serge, the tour manager, was outstanding. He was informative on the sites and gardens, efficient in his administration and extremely kind and patient with the guests who had difficulty walking. Nicholas, the lecturer, was an amusing raconteur and he and Serge were an entertaining double act. The holiday was truly excellent.

Review by Parkinson who travelled 25-March-2019


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The regular talks by Nicholas Merchant were extremely informative and completely filled holes that I didn't know existed! The tour manager, Serge, was absolutely superb in every respect. There was a minor problem with our room at the hotel which I pointed out to reception (as I speak French). but nothing had been corrected by the time we left. On the whole, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile trip.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 25-March-2019


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Overall a very good holiday. The tour managers were excellent, itinerary was everything we expected and more and gave adequate time for free time. The administration was poor this time as the documentation we had been sent led to believe that we were travelling out on Eurostar via Paris which was incorrect. This was only highlighted when we phoned with a general enquiry and we were told we were travelling on a different train via Lille. Also we had paid an additional amount for a Privilege room at the hotel which was meant to have a larger size room with a balcony and view. The room was small and only had a view against the side of an adjacent building which we did not feel warranted the extra amount we had paid. Luckily we managed to resolve this with hotel without involving the Tour Managers or Travel Editions, but we feel that this should be noted to ensure in future that customers who pay this premium get what they ask for. Other than that the hotel was very good and the staff were friendly and very helpful.

Review by Cousins who travelled 22-October-2018

Travel Editions feedback:

We are very sorry you had these two issues with your booking and we did inform everyone about the change from Paris to Lille before departure. We were pleased to learn that teh hotel could resolve your room issue whilst staying which is always the best solution and glad you enjoyed the holiday overall.


Administation
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Accommodation
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Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

It took precisely one day back in a cold, damp , dark London in late October to realise why wealthy Britons and Queen Victoria headed for the Cote d’Azure for the winter. Nicholas Merchant, our eminent lecturer regaled us most mornings with stories of beautiful gardens, extraordinary villas and their often illustrious owners. I was most looking forward to Lawrence Johnston’s Serre de la Madone in the hills above Menton and the pink tinted Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat. They didn’t disappoint. I’d done the Tour before, in the spring of 2015, so I knew the direct route to the loggia of the Villa Ephrussi where I sat, sheltered from the sun, to read A Life by Maupassant and to wait for the fountains to erupt and dance to the strains of Verdi, Mozart, Offenbach and Strauss. As the fountains cascaded up and down and from side to side to the music I was reminded of the poem Absence by Elizabeth Jennings ‘Nothing was changed, The gardens were well-tended, The fountains sprayed their usual heavy jet’ . It was and they did, just as beautiful in the last days of autumn as it had been in the spring. Menton is a good base for the daily excursions and the hotel was good. Serge Bertini, our knowledgeable and endlessly patient Tout Manager guided us daily from villas to gardens with a visit to Fondation Maeght to see the modern art collection. This is a delightful Tour. Would I do it a third time? You bet I would!

Review by Richardson who travelled 22-October-2018


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 22-October-2018


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Loved the trip. Simply EXCELLENT tour manager and Lectures..

Review by Anonymous who travelled 22-October-2018


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Very enjoyable holiday with decent accommodation in the attractive town of Menton, excellent excursions and a mine of information from the expert lecturer and the tour manager, who together made a great team. Serge was outstanding: full of advice and information, first-rate organisation, but also very considerate and caring and aware of people's needs and potential problems.

Review by Roe who travelled 22-October-2018


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Excellent holiday overall. Tour manager Serge, very knowlegeable, helpful and very nice to deal with. The use of a smaller coach on some of the visits was a masterstroke! The coach driver for the holiday was very, very good as as many roads are narrow and tricky. The efforts made to cover the area by using different routes out and in gave us a real insight into the Core d'Azur when coupled with Serge's commentaries. Wonderful to see E1027 and the Wedding Hall in Menton. Whilst I appreciate you have to manage costs I believe a 4 star hotel would have been an improvement, similar to the Mercure for example used on other Travel Edition holidays we have been on.

Review by Tosh who travelled 22-October-2018


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Nicholas Merchant is an excellent lecturer who, in addition to his marvellous set-piece talks in the hotel, brought to life much of what we saw during our various sightseeing tours.

Review by Rodger who travelled 23-April-2018


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Review by who travelled 23-April-2018


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An extremely interesting tour visiting some beautiful locations. Serge our guide was patient and attentive, particularly with the less able travellers. Nicholas, our lecturer, was both informative and entertaining.

Review by Farrell who travelled 23-April-2018


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We were expecting to dine in local restaurants on two evenings but we only ate in the hotel, other than non organised dinners.

Review by Logie who travelled 09-April-2018


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Review by who travelled 09-April-2018


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Very informative and enjoyable tour. Because of poor weather, Nicholas amended the schedule, added an extra lecture, and made our week most enjoyable. He was assisted by Helene as a very able tour manager.

Review by Smedley who travelled 09-April-2018


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Very unusual rainy first 3 days; Nicholas Merchant & Helene rearranged things a little to good advantage so we were not out in the poring rain too much. Both were excellent guides,

Review by Button who travelled 09-April-2018


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Review by Lansdowne who travelled 23-October-2017


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Review by who travelled 23-October-2017


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Lovely way to spend my birthday week. We were a good group of tourists just the right size and mix and supportive of each other. All credit to the tour manager for setting the right tone and taking good care of us.

Review by who travelled 23-October-2017


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Thankyou my 60th birthday fabulous

Review by Mr Timothy Dowd who travelled 17-April-2017


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We flew down and were glad that we did. I would suggest that you provide this as an option

Review by Mrs Ann Partington who travelled 03-April-2017


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A very enjoyable tour with an excellent lecturer and manager. Coach driver very calm especially in very narrow roads(!) and helpful too.

Review by Mrs Gillian Scales who travelled 17-April-2017


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Review by who travelled 03-April-2017


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An enjoyable week.

Review by Mrs Margaret Ritman who travelled 24-October-2016


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I give administration 'poor' because, despite writing and phoning, I received a total of 11 sets (10 pages EACH) of final info!. And I have to mark accommodation as only 'satisfactory' as I found the bathroom lighting and fittings hopeless for an elderly person. The Tour Manager was excellent and so was the lecturer. They couldn't have been bettered.

Review by Mrs Jill Bristow who travelled 24-October-2016


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Review by Mrs Ruth Harrison who travelled 24-October-2016


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Review by Mrs Jill Hurdman who travelled 24-October-2016


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I cannot give you marks for administration since you sent me a total of ELEVEN 10-page-copies of final instructions despite writing and phoning (twice) to stop them coming!! And I did not use either flight/ferry or train. Both the courier and the lecturer were SO caring, kind and informative.. They couldn't have been bettered. You don't ask, but the hotel could have been ...............

Review by Mrs Jill Bristow who travelled 24-October-2016


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