Cote Dazur

Nicholas Merchant Guest Lecturer

Departure Date:
25th Mar – 1st April 2019


Tel: 0207 251 0045

An enchanting time to be in this beguiling part of the world. Warm breezes, beautiful gardens and alluring villas fill your days as we tour the area immediately adjacent to the Italian Border. Queen Victoria spent several holidays at Cimiez, above Nice, where we spend a day, and she visited many of the places on our itinerary.

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


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


Price: 7 nights from £1445

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 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

Morning visit to the Serre de la Madone with the afternoon free in Menton.
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. 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 3

Morning visit to Roquebrune and the Villa E-1027 and afternoon visit and guided tour to the Maria Serena Gardens.
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. 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.
(To be confirmed).

Day 4

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

Morning visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat and afternoon visit to the 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

A day of art today as we head firstly to St Paul de Vence and visit the Foundation Maeght with an afternoon visit to the 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

Full day tour to the 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 may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion.

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


  • Return standard class Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Nice via Lille/Paris
  • 7 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at the 3-star Quality Hotel Mediterranee, Menton, 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