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Europe’s cultural mosaic offers something for everyone – historic and artistic masterpieces, mesmerizing architecture, extraordinary cities and charming villages, a variety of cuisines, and remarkable geographic diversity. Whether a first-time visit to a previously uncharted territory or a many-times-over return visit, discover anew the thrill and enchantment of Europe with insider-access experiences.

Initiate your own independent odyssey by selecting destinations, cities, and regions you wish to explore. We will then connect the dots by designing an exciting and unique itinerary that encompasses your personal passions and interests. You will be escorted point-to-point by guides whose expertise enlightens and delights. Or you may opt to travel with a congenial like-minded group of old friends or new acquaintances. Whether the royal capitals and tsarist palaces of the north or the Mediterranean flavors and playgrounds of the south, embrace Europe’s magic with family and friends.

Monaco, the French Riviera & Provence


Monaco, the French Riviera & Provence  ~

Mediterranean Magic and the Best of the South of France

 

DAY 1:  Depart JFK via Delta non-stop to NICE - Business Class.

DAY 2:  Monaco - Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo Deluxe Junior Suite overlooking the City of Monte-Carlo

After clearing customs, Monaco Heli Air will whisk you off to MONACO, where you will arrive at 10:51am. Enjoy this short scenic flight along the beautiful French Riviera! The heli’s complimentary shuttle service will then transport you to the magnificent HÔTEL METROPOLE where you will check-in for a three-night stay.

This afternoon enjoy a stroll around Casino Square, perhaps taking in Monte-Carlo’s world famous casino with lunch at Café de Paris - perfect for people-watching .. OR you can enjoy a dip in Les Thermes Marin’s huge saltwater pool overlooking Port Hercule.

The Americain Bar at Hôtel de Paris features a delightful jazz trio most evenings. Music starts at 8:00pm.

DAY 3:  Monaco - Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo (B)

This morning taxi up or take city bus #2 the short distance to Monaco Ville, or Old Town - known to locals as The Rock - where you can explore the Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium constructed in 1910 by Prince Albert I. Thereafter, you can walk the short distance through Old Town’s picturesque lanes to the Prince’s Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard at 11:55am. Consider a leisurely Monégasque lunch on the Palace Square. Returning to Monte-Carlo, this afternoon might be a good time to peruse the shops of Les Galeries Metropole. Shops observe traditional Mediterranean hours, closing for a long lunch between 12:00 and 3:00pm.

This evening, enjoy a casual dinner at a local bistro ~ Bistro Rampoldi is a good choice.

DAY 4:  Monaco - Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo (B) 

Soak up some Mediterranean magic today at the classic Monte-Carlo Beach Club. Your SBM Gold Card entitles you access to the Beach Club as well as discounts at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for a morning of golf or tennis. Consult your hotel Concierge regarding reservations for sun-beds. [This must be done locally.] Your hotel also offers complimentary shuttle service within the Société des Bains de Mer resort.

Late this afternoon, taxi up to the medieval mountaintop village of EZE where you can explore its alleyways and quaint shops. Enjoy the sunset and spectacular view of the French Riviera while dining gourmand at Château de La Chèvre d'Or. Your table is reserved for 8:00pm.

DAY 5:  Saint-Paul-de-Vence - Le Saint Paul Hôtel (B) - Suite with Valley View and Private Terrace

This morning, your driver-guide for the day (Mercedes S-Class) will meet you your hotel. After breakfast, drive west along the picturesque coastal route, or Basse Corniche to the village of SAINT-PAUL-DE-VENCE, one of the most beautiful hilltop villages on the French Riviera. En route, make a stop at the quaint seaport village of VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER where you can explore its cobblestone alleyways. Continue on to NICE taking in the fabled Promenade des Anglais as you enter this seaside city. Located in the Villa Genoise in Cimiez, a tranquil hilly neighborhood in north Nice, you will find the Musée Matisse, donated to the city of Nice by the artist himself. The Museum consists chiefly of works Henri Matisse created during his stay in Nice along with a collection of personal artifacts and photographs. Following this and to make the morning complete, visit the nearby Marc Chagall Musée of Biblical Themes, which houses 17 large canvases, stained glass windows, lithographs and other works. A spot of lunch in Old Town is appropriate, after which you will continue on your way to Saint-Paul, where you will check in to the charming LE SAINT PAUL for a one-night stay. 

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is replete with small art galleries. This afternoon, you will want to stroll its charming lanes and perhaps purchase a favorite painting.

This evening, dine at Table d’Amis ~ in the town of Vence. A local taxi to and from the restaurant is best recommended. Your table is reserved for 8:00pm.

DAY 6:  Saint-Paul-de-Vence - Le Saint Paul Hôtel (B)

This morning, awaken to the serene and inspirational view from your hillside terrace with the Mediterranean in the distance. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your beautiful terrace. Thereafter, a short walk will take you to the world-renowned Foundation Maeght, which houses 20th Century works of artists Chagall, Miro, Calder, and Giocometti . . to mention a very few. Continue on to lunch at La Colombe d'Or ~ a restaurant famous for its rustic ambience and artistic history. Continue exploring the lanes and shops of Saint-Paul, then relax for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. 

DAY 7:  Saint Tropez - Résidence de la Pinède (B) - Sea View Junior Suite with Private Terrace

This morning, resume your Mediterranean journey. Your driver-guide will meet you at the foot of the hill, and your first stop will be to pay a visit to the Provençal home of August Renoir, where he retired to live out his elder years. His home in Cagnes-sur-Mer has been made into a museum housing a small collection of his works, sculpture, and personal possessions.

From here, continue on to the village of BIOT ~ renown for its colony of Murano-style glass-blowers. In the medieval hilltop village of Biot you will find shops featuring the wares of the local artisans. My personal favorite “verrier” is Raphael Farinelli. 

Continuing along the scenic coastal route toward CANNES, you will find yourself in the seaside town of ANTIBES ~ home to the renovated Picasso Musée at Château Grimaldi. The collection totals 245 works by Pablo Picasso, collected between 1952 and 2001. Most notably in this collection are his works The Goat and La Joie de Vivre

Continue on your Mediterranean journey with a detour through Cannes for a glimpse of La Croisette, Cannes’ glamorous boulevard and promenade by the sea. Beyond and a few miles west of Cannes, a delightful lunch at L'Oasis in La Napoule will be a highlight of your holiday ~ Chef Stéphane Raimbault's Two-Starred Michelin restaurant. 

Then, settle into your drive on to the once-sleepy fishing village of SAINT TROPEZ where you will check-in for a two-night stay at RÉSIDENCE DE LA PINÈDE ~ the only hotel with a private beach on the Saint Tropézienne gulf. 

This evening, enjoy a delightful dinner this evening at 8:00pm under the stars on Residence’s Terrace - 1 Michelin star.

DAY 8:  Saint Tropez - Résidence de la Pinède (B) 

This morning, stroll through the village and explore the shops and galleries of St. Tropez. Select your favorite painting from the many artists exhibiting their affordable works along the harbor. This afternoon is ideal for significant R&R. Relax on your private beach ~ and perhaps go for a sail. For the quintessential St. Tropezienne experience, spend a day at the beach on the famous beaches of the Baie de Pamplone.  

8:00PM - Dine this evening at Alain Ducasse’s Le Spoon located at Le Byblos.

DAY 9:  Aix-en-Provence - Villa Gallici (B) - Deluxe King Room Garden View with Terrace

On to AIX-EN-PROVENCE this morning and to the very heart of Provence. At Aix, check in to the charming VILLA GALLICI for two nights ~ serenely located on a hillside within walking distance of Old Town.

This evening, enjoy traditional Provençal cuisine with a fine French wine amidst Gallici’s Florentine garden ~ or walk down into town to one of Aix’s many cafés.

DAY 10:  Aix-en-Provence - Villa Gallici (B) 

Begin the day with a short visit to Cézanne’s “atelier”, or studio where in his elder years, he created some of his most famous works. You can taxi or walk to the atelier from your hotel. From here, walk the short distance into Old Town, whose streets are open to pedestrian traffic only. At city centre, you will come upon one of the most colorful markets in the South of France with its array of fresh flowers and produce. Boulangeries and inviting shops line the alleyways. Near Le Cours Mirabeau, you will find the ubiquitous carousel. Linger over lunch café-style and soak up the summer ambience. This afternoon, you may want to pay a visit to the Musée Granat or to the Musée du Vieil Aix before returning to your “villa”.

This evening, dine at Chef Jean-Marc Banzo’s Le Clos de La Violette ~ one of the finest restaurants in the South of France. Your table is booked for 8:00pm.

DAY 11:  Gordes - Les Bories (B) - Junior Suite with Terrace Pool View

Today, set out once again heading into the countryside north of Aix-en-Provence and into the Luberon Valley. Along the way, you will pass through picturesque Provençal village after village like BONNIEUX ~ en route to ROUSSILLON atop Mont Rouge, where you will want to stop for a light lunch Provençal. Roussillon is renown for its ochre or “red” sandy soil set against a backdrop of green pine forests and cherry orchards. Stop by the petite studio of artiste Françoise Valenti, whose paintings of the region delightfully capture its essence.

After lunch, drive on to the village of GORDES, often called the “Acropolis” of Provence. Its medieval castle houses works by artist Victor Vasarely. Here, you will check in to LES BORIES for two nights.

After a refreshing plunge in Les Bories’ inviting pool, taxi up to the village for a casual dinner bistro-style.

DAY 12:  Gordes - Les Bories (B) - Junior Suite with Terrace Pool View

This morning, you must rise early, for today you will experience a hot-air balloon flight over Haute Provence. The scheduled hour is 6:00am when the wind is most stable. Participate in the inflation of the balloon ~ and once aboard, you will float away for approximately 1 to 1½ hours over the magnificent countryside. At the end of your flight, celebrate with a traditional champagne toast. Returning to Gordes, enjoy the shops and sights of the village.

This evening, drive the short distance to Hostellerie Le Phébus [Relais & Chateaux]
for a delightful dinner overlooking the Luberon. Your table is booked for 8:00pm.

DAY 13:  Les-Baux-de-Provence - Oustau de Baumaniére (B) - Junior Suite (main building) overlooking the Pool

This morning, drive on through Provence making stops along the way at FONTAINE-DE-VAUCLUSE and ISLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE. In Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, there is the interesting Musée d’Histoire 1939-1945 featuring a collection of some 10,000 objects and documents depicting life in France during the German occupation. The museum, perched above a mountain stream, is dedicated to the Resistance movement. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is perhaps the antiquités captial of France with some 800 antiques shops. Canals meander through the old town with an occasional water wheel to move the streams along. On some mornings, second-hand bric-a-brac, or brocante dealers line the Avenue des Quartre Otages. True treasures are to be found.

Le Jardin du Quai is a popular spot for lunch.

Drive on to LES-BAUX-DE-PROVENCE, where you will check in to the very delightful OUSTAU DE BAUMANIÉRE for the last 3 nights of your epic journey.

Dine gourmand this evening at Chef Jean-André Charial’s award-winning restaurant Oustau de Baumaniére known for its exceptional food and wine cellar. Your reservation is confirmed for 8:00pm.

DAY 14:  Les-Baux-de-Provence - Oustau de Baumaniére (B)

This morning, you will want to explore the medieval hilltop village of LES BAUX within walking distance of your hotel. You can also drive a short distance to the charming, picturesque town of SAINT REMY, where you can explore its markets and shops. The town centre is open to pedestrian foot traffic only. Linger over lunch at one of the local bistros.

 

DAY 15:  Les-Baux-de-Provence - Oustau de Baumaniére (B)

No trip to Provence is complete without a visit to the historic city of AVIGNON. Your English-speaking private guide-driver will meet you at your hotel at 9:30am this morning for a half-day tour of the walled papal city. Upon your return to Les Baux, savor this last afternoon alongside Oustau’s beautiful pool, soaking up the Provençal sun.

DAY 16:  Les-Baux-de-Provence - Oustau de Baumaniére (B)

This morning, a driver will meet you at 8:30am to transport you to the local heli-pad. From here, your private heli will traverse the magnificent French Riviera en route to Nice airport, where you will check in for your non-stop flight homeward bound to JFK. Your flight departs at 10:50am. 

Au Revôir to the South of France ~ 

 

 


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SALLIE MASSIE for Destination MONACO
Four-Time Award Recipient - Condé Nast Traveler

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