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Gardens Of The French Riviera

from £899
Combine garden visits on the Côte d’Azur with charming local walks and experiencing the charms of the French Riviera.

The French Riviera is known for the rich and famous but the real stars are its gardens and the sheer beauty of the region. This is the land of permanent flowers, however, they are at their best in the spring when we visit. Under the Mediterranean sun, Nice and the Côte d’Azur cram a collection of garden gems into a relatively small area. Nowhere else in the world has such a stunning collection of gardens in such a lovely location.

Based in the centre of Nice, we’ll explore the narrow winding streets of the Old Town with a local guide. Garden lovers will enjoy the ‘Jardin Exotique’ in Eze and find Menton irresistible! Garden visits combined with short local walks show us the best of the French Riviera.

Stroll through the local countryside, exploring romantic hill towns, walk coastal paths and visit the villas of the rich and famous.

Holiday Highlights

  • The seven gardens at the Rothschild Villa on Cap Ferrat, overlooking the bays of Villefranche and Beaulieu.
  • The lush tropical gardens of the Val Rahmeh near Menton, with their air of the Arts & Crafts movement.
  • The terraced cactus gardens in the village of Eze, sensational from high above the Mediterranean.
  • Hanbury Gardens across the border in Italy, with its glorious explosion of subtropical plants.
  • A walking tour with an English speaking local guide through the narrow cobbled streets of Nice's 'Vieille Ville'.
  • Dinners in local restaurants, for a taste of Provence.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      En suite accommodation with breakfasts taken at the hotel
      Dinners taken at local restaurants
      Tour of old Nice accompanied by an English speaking local guide
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade SS/3

  1. Day 1

    Independent travel to the Hotel Vendome in Nice. Meet your travelling companions and Ramblers Walking Holidays Leader at dinner.

  2. Day 2

    A local guide will join us for the morning and help us to learn the rich history of Nice along the Promenade des Anglais and the park of Le Chateau. A typical route will take in Garibaldi Square, the Palais Lascaris and the Cours Saleya Market. Did you know Matisse once rented an apartment on the 3rd floor of the impressive building at the end of the ‘Cours Saleya’? Our tour of Nice will take us to finish at the sea front in time for lunch and an afternoon at leisure or your Ramblers Walking Leader will be able to take you further to discover more of this delightful city.

  3. Day 3

    Today we head for the Villa Hanbury at La Mortola. The gardens were started by Sir Thomas Hanbury (Allen and Hanbury pharmaceuticals) partly to test out plants that might be useful for their business. Dorothy Hanbury, Thomas’ daughter-in-law, made significant structural changes to the garden until WW2. The garden was badly damaged during the war but restored but then handed over to the Italian state in 1960. It has been looked after by the University of Genoa since 1987. There is an enormous variety of plants, attractively positioned on the steep slope down to the sea. It is very easy to spend a lot of time in these beautiful gardens.

  4. Day 4

    Half way along the Moyenne Corniche between Nice and Monaca is Eze, a beautiful ‘village perché’, commanding a magnificent location high above the coast, made up of steep winding lanes leading to an exotic garden. The views from here over the sea and coast are stunning. After our visit there is the choice of taking the short bus journey directly to Monaco or walking down the Sentier Nietzsche to Eze Bord de Mer (2.5km, 400m of descent mainly down steps). Once we are all in Monaco we see the famous Casino in Monte Carlo, take a ferry across the harbour full of billionaires’ yachts, see Princess Grace’s tomb in the Cathedral and have some free time around the palace and Oceanographic Museum.

  5. Day 5

    Menton is hemmed in behind a chain of mountains behind the bay which protects it from cold north winds, and so is known for its unusually warm climate. No doubt this attracted visitors to the Riviera to settle here. In 1861 it soon became a chic resort of villas and luxury hotels. We visit Val Rahmeh Gardens, an oasis of peace amidst plants and flowers from hot countries.

  6. Day 6

    We start our day at Matisse’s beautiful small Chapel de la Rosaire on the outskirts of Vence. We then visit the centre of the small walled town with its mix of small shops, ancient buildings and quiet hidden lanes and squares. A short bus journey brings us to the hill village of St Paul de Vence, somewhat touristy, but full of the bright colours and smells of Provence. Anyone feeling like stretching their legs can walk here through the countryside (3.5km, 150m ascent & 250m descent, 1 ½ hours) having a picnic on the way. On the way back to Nice there is the opportunity to visit Renoir’s house in Cagnes sur Mer.

  7. Day 7

    Just 10 minutes from Nice by train lies the beautiful bay of Beaulieu. Here, on the Cap Ferrat promontory, is the exquisite Rothschild villa with its seven distinct gardens. After the visit you have the choice of either walking around the peninsula (6.75km, 100m ascent & descent, 2 hours, mainly flat, but some steps up and down), or crossing the small bay to visit the Villa Kerylos, an early 20th century homage to Ancient Greece.

  8. Day 8

    It's is time to bid farewell to the beautiful gardens as we all make our own independent travel home.

Travel Details

Travel from the UK to Nice is not included in the holiday arrangements. Please contact us for a quote should you wish us to book a flight with British Airways from London. Transfers would not be included in the price but are very easy on public transport.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Hotel Vendome

Our home is the well appointed Hotel Vendome in either twin bedded or single rooms with en-suite. The hotel is in an excellent location in the new town, a few minutes walk from the Place Massena and the beautiful old town. It is a beautifully converted town house which maintains some great internal decoration. Within the hotel there is a elegantly decorated lounge with murals, mirrors and bright colours to relax in as well as a small cocktail bar with a cosy atmosphere. 

Room facilities include:

  • Ensuite bathroom with double wash basin and WC
  • Hair dryer
  • Shaver point
  • Magnifying mirror
  • Cable flat screen television and canal+
  • Direct telephone
  • Room Safe
  • Mini-bar
  • Individual Air-conditioning and sound-proofing
  • Hospitality tray
  • Free WiFi throughout the hotel
Breakfasts will be taken in the hotel, with dinners in local restaurants, giving us a great time to sample real Provence. Lunches are not included, but can be purchased by the group at local supermarkets, bakeries, cafes and restaurants en route.