With its seas of cobalt and turquoise, its skies of azure and cerulean blue - and its gardens of every colour under the sun - it is little wonder that the French Riviera has been the inspiration for countless works of art and a magnet for artists. Set in the lengthening shadows of a sun-soaked September, this new tour combines a spell-binding collection of art and architecture with a few of our favourite gardens, and promises to be a treat for the senses and a tonic for the soul.

We get off to a fine start with a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice, which houses a collection of paintings and sculpture spanning the last four centuries, before moving on to our hotel. Staying in Nice we tour the museums featuring the work of two great French artists, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, before calling in at the visit the exquisite gardens of the Fondation Ephrussi de Rothschild, surrounded by marvellous sea views.

In nearby Menton we visit the Villa E-1027, a remarkable modernist villa designed by Irish architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray in the twenties, and the luxuriant and exotic gardens of Serre de la Madone and Clos du Peyronnet.

We then drive up into the verdant hills for visits to the villages of St Paul de Vence, where Chagall is buried; Grasse, whose cathedral is home to three paintings by Rubens, and the tranquil gardens of La Mouissone. Visits to the Picasso Museums in Vallauris and Antibes and the Massena Museum and Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art in Nice complete an illuminating tour.

Our tour is led by the ever-popular Trevor Edwards.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Trevor Edwards

Trevor Edwards Tour Manager

Award Winning Garden Designer, Writer and Broadcaster Trevor Edwards in one of our busiest and most popular garden Tour Managers, and has led many garden tours around the world.

Today's Price

Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £425

Tour highlights:

  • Exquisite gardens at the Fondation Ephrussi de Rothschild
  • Museums dedicated to Matisse, Chagall and Picasso
  • The artists’ hillside village of St Paul de Vence
  • Rubens masterpieces in Grasse cathedral
  • Exotic gardens with great views over the sparkling Côte d’Azur

Tour details

Dates 8 September 2020 - 13 September 2020
Duration 6 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £425 Balance due by 16 June 2020
Activity Level
Tour code BRIA200908

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

8 September 2020: Itinerary

We depart from London on a direct flight to Nice (regional flight connections available on request at a supplement) and proceed to our first visit, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which houses a collection spanning four centuries, including works by Monet and Sisley.

We continue to our comfortable accommodation in Nice where the evening is free. There is a wide selection of restaurants nearby for dinner (not included).

Hotel: Hotel Le Grimaldi

After breakfast we stay in Nice and tour the museums featuring the work of two great French artists, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, both set in serene gardens in the Cimiez neighbourhood.

In the afternoon we visit the Fondation Ephrussi de Rothschild at St Jean Cap Ferrat, a garden designed as a series of compartments, each reflecting a different architectural style. The villa, now a museum, contains the collections of the Baroness de Rothschild and some of the artefacts associated with Marie-Antoinette including paintings by Monet and Renoir. The gardens are exquisite, with many interesting tender plants thriving in the favourable climate, surrounded by marvellous views over the sea.

Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Hotel Le Grimaldi

After breakfast we transfer to Menton, where we visit the Villa E-1027, a remarkable modernist villa designed by Irish architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray in the twenties.

We continue to the historic garden of Serre de la Madone, created by American Lawrence Johnston, who travelled the world over a thirty year period seeking plants to acclimatise here among the ancient olives. Johnston was also responsible for the quintessentially English garden at Hidcote Manor and the contrast with Serre de la Madone could not be greater. This is a place of luxuriant and exotic beauty, a tropical forest planted on the shores of the Mediterranean.

We conclude today at the private garden of Clos du Peyronnet. Our access to this private garden, not to mention a personal guided tour by the owner, is a Brightwater exclusive, and a real highlight of our tour. The garden has an enviable position on the slopes above the bay of Garavan, close to the Italian border. To one side of the house is a splendid water garden, where a long canal-like pool runs at right angles to the slope. Exotic flowers and foliage press in from all sides, giving the impression of a jungle only just kept at bay. On the eastern side of the garden is the specialist collection of rare bulbs with over 200 species.

Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Hotel Le Grimaldi

After breakfast today we depart for the village of St Paul de Vence, which has been a haven to writers and artists over the years, including Marc Chagall who is buried in the village cemetery. Within the narrow cobbled streets there are countless art galleries and studios and the viewpoint at the south end of the village offers a memorable panorama.

We continue to Grasse, synonymous with the perfume industry, and visit the Cathedral de Notre-Dame-du-Puy, where there are three paintings by Rubens.

We conclude today at the garden of La Mouissone in Grasse. The property is almost unique in this area in being distributed across the slopes of a hillside below le Bois de la Marbrière, with panoramic views of the coast. Spread over three hectares with 250 productive olive trees, the gardens reflect the attributes and restrictions presented by the terrain and the Mediterranean climate. There are tailored lawns and beds around the houses, and wilder grassland and woodland areas on the outskirts. You can also explore the shady bamboo garden, the prairie style garden and woodland walk.

Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Hotel Le Grimaldi

The town of Vallauris is our destination today, for a visit to the Picasso Museum, which is housed in an impressive medieval château. Picasso lived in Vallauris from 1948 until his death in 1955 and the building where he once rented a room later became a museum of ceramics as well as home to Picasso’s ‘War and Peace’ and works by Alberto Magnelli, a contemporary of Picasso.

We continue to Antibes which is also home to a Picasso Museum, also housed in a medieval château, with a collection of around 245 works by the artist.

Returning to Nice we visit the Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, which focuses on art of the post-war era.

Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Hotel Le Grimaldi

Our final visit takes us to the nearby Massena Museum, which is surrounded by stately gardens and sits next to the famous Hotel Negresco. The eclectic collection includes personal memorabilia from the Napoleonic era, such as Josephine’s cape and tiara and Napoleon’s death mask. We then transfer to the airport for our return flight.

Meals include: Breakfast

8 September 2020: Additional Info

8 September 2020: Accommodation

This property is a 7-minute walk from the beach. Located in the heart of Nice, Le Grimaldi is a 15-minute walk from Cours Saleya Flower Market and 500 yards from the beach and the Promenade des Anglais. It offers air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms. Free WiFi access is available throughout.

Each room is individually decorated and equipped with satellite TV and private bathroom.

Breakfast is served daily, made with fresh, local produce. In the afternoon Nespresso coffee and tea are available or you can enjoy a drink at the hotel’s bar.

The lively area offers many restaurants and shops.

8 September 2020: Enquiries

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