Starting with Queen Victoria until present day, the Cote D'Azur has always been the place to see and be seen. But even if that side of life doesn’t interest you, the region's fame is well deserved. It’s stunningly beautiful and dotted with castles and villas as well as world famous art and drop-dead gorgeous sea views. This is not just a tour of the obvious places during high season. We shy away from going in July & August to avoid the heat, the traffic and the crowds. In late September, the weather is divine, and the crowds have left. We're also venturing off the beaten track a bit, taking you to the picture-perfect seaside town of Cassis (my personal favorite on the entire coast). We’ll be staying in two amazing hotels during this trip, visiting with knowledgeable chefs, getting out on the water to see the land from the best vantage point, as well as venturing up north into Provence to visit some of the most charming villages in France. For a first timer to France or someone who is a veteran, this is the perfect trip.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the schedule
Arrive by mid-day via train or air to Nice. You’ll hop in a cab and check in to our hotel the 4-star Villa Victoria. Our hotel is situated right between the old town and the world famous Promenade des Anglais.
Meet up with your guide Nancy at 6:30pm for a cocktail or bubbly followed by dinner at the iconic Negresco hotel. The pink domed belle époque hotel has been famous for over 100 years hosting celebrities, royals, millionaires, and politicians.
We’ll begin our day with a tour of historic Nice in order to learn a bit more about the southern capital of France. Then we’ll venture up into the hills to explore the charm and near perfection of the medieval village of Eze. We’ll lunch here and pretend we’ve stepped back in time.
After lunch we’ll head down to visit the stunning Villa Rothschild imaged and designed for Béatrice de Rothschild from the famous French banking family. The castle sits pretty and proud in pink and its gardens are to die for.
After some rest back at our hotel, well head over to Chez Daviaknown for its sophisticated Niçoise cooking.
Today we’ll arise and after breakfast depart for our visit to the Cours Saleya market in the old town, which is a must-do when in Nice.
Then we’ll head over to the Picasso museum in Cap D’Antibes. The museum is actually built on the ancient Greek Acropolis of Antipolis which later became the Chateau Grimaldi in the 14th century. A real mix of ancient and modern.
Following our visit you’ll enjoy some free time in charming Antibes to shop or pick up a bite on your own.
This afternoon we’ll head over to Didier’s workshop. He’s a master glassblower and you’ll watch a demonstration of his art.
After an art and artisan filled day you deserve a petite repose - so we are heading to tea at the Belle Rives hotel, formerly the home of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
This is where he wrote his masterpiece, Tender is the Night. Something we highly recommend re-reading before your trip.
Tonight after a rest back at your hotel, we’ll head over to the pretty in pink Le Comptoir de Nicole for a bite.
Today we’ll head out to wander the grounds of the Maeght foundation. Their sculpture garden is legendary known for it collection of abstract works from: Calder, Leger, Jean Arp, Eduardo Chillida, Erik Dietman, Barbara Hepworth, Joan Miró and many more.
Then we’ll drive up to St. Paul de Vence and lunch at the celebrated Colombe D’Or. This is certainly one of the most famous restaurants in all of France. Be sure to order the crudité while you ponder the Matisse and Picasso paintings on the walls.
After our legendary lunch we’ll make time to stop and enjoy the scents and history of Fragonard, the perfume house who was at the forefront of making French perfume all the rave within the beau monde.
Tonight upon your return to Nice and our hotel, which by now feels like home, you’ll enjoy a night off to wander and find your own café or spend time reading and relaxing back at the hotel.
Today we’ll be checking out after breakfast and heading toward our countryside villa location in Fontvieille. Before checking into our hotel we’ll go over to Hostellerie Berard where we’ll take a garden tour followed by aperitif workshop with owner Chef Jeff. After our workshop we’ll dine at the eponymous Bistro Jeff at the same property.
This afternoon we’ll head down to Cassis for a boat ride to see the calanques (similar to fjords) which lie just offshore from this quaint harbor town. (Weather dependent)
Don’t worry we’ll leave time for you to pop in some shops here as there are a multitude of cute ones.
By now it will be time to check into our 4-star hotel, the Regalido where after some time to rest and refresh we’ll dine in the hotel in relaxing fashion.
Today we’ll head up into the Luberon to Uzès, an ancient market town where we’ll take a guided stroll with Deborah the Barefoot blogger. We’ll lunch together at Midi à L’Ombre, which translated mean noon under the shade.
After a final wander around this appealing town we’ll stop by Pont Du Gard, the ancient Roman Aqueduct for some photos.
Back in town after a rest we’ll dine at the colorful Le Patio in Fontvielle enjoying some proper Provençal food.
Today we’ll visit historic St. Remy de Provence where Nostradamus was born, where Van Gogh resided for a time and where Princess Caroline of Monaco summers. Most agree its a near perfect French village with shopping to make every ladies heart jump a beat.
We’ll start off with a market visit followed by lunch at Da Pepe for a change of pace.
This afternoon we’ll visit Van Gogh’s monastery just north of the walled town where he stayed for some time after the ear incident. You’ll visit his room and see where he painted so many of the 100 masterpieces he accomplished during his short stay here.
For our final meal together we’re going all out. We’ll be having an olive oil and a wine tasting at the gorgeous Chateau Estoublon followed by a stupendous dinner.
All things must come to an end. But your photos will endure keeping the memories of the magical time you had with your new friends in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Transfer back to Paris for your flight home via train from Avignon.
Born and raised bilingual in Quebec, Nancy was naturally attracted to France. She seized a work opportunity that brought her to the south of France which led to a love story that's lasted ever since.
After a career in corporate and international event management for the United Nations and Coca-Cola, Nancy had a desire to share her passion of this beautiful area with others. She's now having fun using her creative skills and local knowledge leading trips to Provence and the Cote D'Azur.
Nancy lives in Sète with her papillon spaniel, Jewel.
Good climate, beaches, medieval villages and luxury appeal
The south of France…the land of beautiful coastal cities, glitzy beaches, vineyards, lavender, and one of the world’s best cuisines. This is where the rich and famous come to relax and party. It is a land of luxury, with yachts dotting the shorelines, fancy hotels in every city, and epic parties you read about in magazines.
All meals unless stated
2 glasses of wine or beer with included dinners
All entrance fees, visits, tastings and guided tours
All transport while your trip
Transfer to Avignon TGV train station at the end of your trip
A boat ride
A perfume tour
An aperitif demonstration
A premium wine tasting
RT International Airfare
Train or air down to Nice and back from Avignon
Transfer to hotel in Nice
Additional wine or beer at meals beyond what’s offered
Any personal souvenirs
Any spa treatments desired
Tips for your driver
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
If you arrive by plane you will want to fly into Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. You can also fly into Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris and take the train.
The trip officially starts on the evening of September 28th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to France, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will take care of booking your room for you and make sure that you are kept in the same room as you will be in when the trip starts.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
Daily high temperatures decrease by 7°F, from 73°F to 65°F, rarely falling below 60°F or exceeding 77°F. Daily low temperatures decrease by 7°F, from 60°F to 53°F, rarely falling below 47°F or exceeding 65°F. .
Nancy McGee will be your trip leader.Born and raised bilingual in Quebec, Nancy was naturally attracted to France. She seized a work opportunity that brought her to the south of France which led to a love story that's lasted ever since.