Cote Dazur

travel editions logoNicholas Merchant Guest Lecturer

Departure Date:
23rd – 30th October 2017


Tel: 0207 251 0045

No matter how many times one visits this part of the world it always delights. The sunlight on the azure sea, the gardens filled with luxuriant trees and exotic blooms, the sumptuous and sometimes bizarre villas and the douceur de vie which has beguiled visitors for many years. Visits include the Hanbury Gardens at Ventimiglia, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, (see image) Lawrence “Hidcote” Johnson’s garden at Serre de la Madonne and a day in the beautiful city of Nice.

During your stay Nicholas will give three talks; Queen Victoria in the South of France, The Creation of the “Cȏte d’Azur”, and English & American Gardeners in the South of France.

More information at

Your Hotel: Nice Riviera Hotel
Situated in the city centre only minutes from the beach, the 4-star Nice Riviera Hotel has been entirely renovated in 2012 with a brand new contemporary design. Facilities at the hotel include the Riviera Cafe, wellness area with an indoor heated pool, jacuzzi and sauna and spacious, comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone, air-conditioning, minibar, safe and hairdryer.

Price: From £1445


To book please contact Travel Editions on 0207 251 0045 or visit


For all enquiries regarding itineraries and talks, please contact Nicholas Merchant on 01423 340017 or e-mail

Day 1

Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Lille and onwards to Nice by TGV. On arrival transfer to hotel for check in for 7-night stay on bed and breakfast basis. Evening talk, ‘The Creation of the Cote d’Azur’, by Nicholas Merchant, Chairman of the West Yorkshire branch of the Art Fund who has lectured extensively on the decorative arts both for NADFAS and independently in America, South Africa and Europe. Dinner at local restaurant.

Day 2

Morning visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat. 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 3

Morning visit to Villa Eilenroc at Cap d’Antibes, with architecture recalling the Petit Trianon at Versailles. This villa evokes the glamour of the South of France between the two wars, its architecture set off by its elegant gardens. We continue on to the Villa Thuret, an unfamiliar garden to many, featuring many rare plants, among them the first eucalyptus grown on the Cote d’Azur set in four hectares.

Day 4

Serre de la Madonne The Orangery

Serre de la Madonne, The Orangery

Morning visit to the Serre de la Madonnne. 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. 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. Evening talk, ‘Queen Victoria in the South of France’, by Nicholas followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 5

A full day free to explore the delights of Nice at your own leisure. 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 6

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.

Day 7

A day of art today as we head firstly to St Paul de Vence and visit the Foundation Maeght. 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 Nice 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. Evening talk, ‘The Romans in Provence’, by Nicholas followed by a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 8

Transfer to Nice station for return TGV to Paris and onwards by Eurostar to Ebsfleet and St Pancras.


NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion.

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

Cost from £1445


  • Return standard class Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Nice via Lille/Paris
  • 7 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at the 4-star Nice Riviera Hotel, Nice, based on shared occupancy of a twin room
  • 3 dinners at local restaurants
  • One lunch at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
  • Full coaching itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Talks and accompanied visits by Nicholas Merchant, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Art Fund


  • Single room supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • 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.

Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called Carry My Luggage, where your suitcase can be picked up from you 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 a 20% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the Carry My Luggage service.

To book please contact Travel Editions on 0207 251 0045 or visit