Villas and Gardens of the Cote d'Azur

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Travel Editions

Join Nicholas Merchant, 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.

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More Info

Valid passport required by all, except:
(a) EU nationals holding valid national identification cards;
(b) Holders of national identification cards issued to nationals of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.

Are not required by EU citizens. All other nationalities should enquire at the French consulate (PO Box 57, 6A Cromwell Place, London SW7 2EW

Tel: (020) 7838 2000/1. Information Service: Tel: (0891) 887 733. Fax: (020) 7838 2046. Opening hours: 0900-1130 (and 1600-1630 for visa collection only) Monday to Friday (except French and British national holidays).

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 and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform. Porters are sometimes but not always available at St Pancras. The Eurostar and French trains are very long (18 carriages in the case of Eurostar and nearly 400 metres long) so there can be quite lengthy walks from the station entrance to your seat. On all legs of the journey you have reserved seat and carriage numbers which are shown clearly on your ticket.

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.

Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy.. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website, there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions. We strongly recommend that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy when you travel abroad.


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 £45 per person for the duration of the tour.

Quality Hotel Mediterranee Website

Places of Interest

Full details can be found in the detailed itinerary of this tour

Click here to go to the detailed itinerary

  • Europe
  • St Paul de Vence
  • Lille
  • Paris
  • Nice
  • Menton
  • France
Tour Types
  • Seniors
  • Rail Tours
  • Art/History Tours
  • Art
  • History
  • Flowers and Gardens
  • 50 plus
Departure Points
  • St Pancras

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. 

Day 2: Morning visit to the Serre de la Madone. 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 will be '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 NADFAS and independently in America, South Africa and Europe. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

Day 3: Morning visit 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. In the afternoon we will visit Antibes and the Picasso Museum.

Day 4: 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. Evening talk will be 'Queen Victoria in the South of France', by Nicholas followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 5: 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 6:  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 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:  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.  Evening talk will be 'English Gardeners in the South of France', 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 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 
  • Seven nights' bed and breakfast at the three-star Quality Hotel Mediterranee, Menton, based on shared occupancy of a twin room
  • One dinner at the hotel and two 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
  • Tour manager throughout


  • 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.

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.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
7 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
7 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
7 Nights
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Touring with Travel Editions

Offering a wide range of extended tours and cultural short breaks for the discerning traveller, Travel Editions was established in 1994 and is now one of the leading specialist independent escorted tour operators in the UK. The company started with the idea of creating itineraries that were not readily available on the high street, and the team still remains focused on offering escorted tours that appeal to travellers rather than tourists.

Over the years, Travel Editions has developed and diversified its range of escorted tours to include rail tours, air tours, history tours, Christmas tours and even specialist interest tours that have specific appeal for walkers, foodies, art lovers, music addicts and flower enthusiasts. From enjoying wonderful walks and tasty local cuisine in Crete to visiting the art nouveau buildings of Milan and exploring the architectural gems of the Netherlands, Travel Editions creates amazing tours to suit every budget and interest.

As rail transport is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel, the company has carefully developed nearly 30 exciting escorted rail tours that include trips to France, Spain, Brussels, Arnhem, Luxembourg and the Italian Riviera. Travel Editions believes that the journey becomes part of the holiday, and is why this specialist tour operator also offers a range of tours by air, such as Delphi and Mount Pelion in Greece, the beautiful Italian city of Florence, and Paphos, Nicosia and the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. Whatever the escorted tour or the destination, Travel Editions provides holidays that are packed full of cultural and historic treasures, as well as plenty of free time to relax and soak up the local atmosphere and the regional food and wine.

One of the best things about Travel Editions is that the team can tailor-make all tours to your group’s budget and specification, be it shopping till you drop in New York or tasting the most delicious gastronomic delights of Sicily. Not only can the activities be tailored to meet your requirements but so can the travel options, hotel selection (three, four or five-star hotel) and the whole itinerary. Alternatively, you can simply pick one of the many carefully curated escorted tours listed on the Travel Editions website.

In almost all cases, daily excursions are included in the price of a trip, and all excursions are taken by private coach. The size of the group varies depending on the escorted tour, and Travel Editions limits some holidays to lower numbers to suit the nature of the specific holiday. Walking, culinary and special interest tours are limited to approximately 20-30 passengers, and the Europe by Rail and Europe by Air holidays are limited to a maximum of 35 passengers. Then there’s the UK British Heritage Tours with a maximum capacity of 49, however, some are much less than this. No matter which tours you choose, you will never feel as though you are in a big group.

Travel Editions is passionate about delivering a personal service every step of the way, and its team of experts will arrange your holiday with minimum fuss and maximum effort. Customer service and attention to detail are at the heart of everything they do, plus you will always be treated as an individual and get the benefit of affordable prices by travelling as a group. Another bonus is that Travel Editions is ABTA and ATOL protected, which means your money and your holiday will be protected from the moment you book.

In addition to offering extended tours and cultural short breaks, Travel Editions offers a large range of special events in the UK that bring the culture and history of the United Kingdom to life. These events can be found in the Art & History Abroad programme and include expert speakers, entertaining concerts and impressive dinners in historic locations.




tour details

This tour is operated by Travel Editions

7 nights from pp; per Night
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Start:St Pancras
Finish:St Pancras
Group size:0 - 27
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