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Gardens Of The French Riviera

Enjoy a week combing garden visits on the Côte d’Azur with charming local walks and experiencing the charms of the French Riviera.

From£929

  • France

  • 7 nights
  • Flora

    Sightseeing

  • Apr

Leisurely

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 10350

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Our holiday walking grades

Leisurely

Grade 3 Sightseeing

Easy countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day. You are unlikely to walk more than 6 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to 300m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.

Overview

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 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.

  • 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.
  • Travel to and from Nice
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

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.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to the French Riviera

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

Once you have made your own way to the Hotel Vendome in Nice it is time to meet your travelling companions and your Ramblers Walking Holidays Leader at dinner.

Day 2

Getting to Know Nice

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

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 finish on 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.

Day 3

The Villa Hanbury

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

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.

Day 4

Village Perché

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

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.

Day 5

Chic Menton

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

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.

Day 6

Chapel de la Rosaire and St Paul de Vence

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    1.5 hours

  • Distance

    2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    150/250m

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.

Day 7

Beautiful Beaulieu and Rothschild Villa

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Distance

    4 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    100m

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.

Day 8

Home Time

Meals

Breakfast

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

Departure dates for your selected tour

17th Apr 2021 - 24th Apr 2021 (7 Nights)

24th Apr 2021 - 1st May 2021 (7 Nights)

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.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

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, cable flat screen television and canal+, telephone, safe, mini-bar, individual air-conditioning and sound-proofing, hospitality tray and free WiFi throughout the hotel.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This holiday is graded Ss/3. A lot of the programme involves walking around the towns and villages of the French Riviera, many of which have cobbled streets and hilly parts. There is, for example, the walk from the ‘Chateau’ park above Nice back down to the centre of town, involving quite a lot of steps. The countryside walks between Vence & St Paul and around the Cap Ferrat Peninsula are on good paths with a small amount of ascent and descent. The walk from Eze down to the sea involves a lot of descent and may be best avoided by anyone with dodgy knees. All of these walks are optional and do not otherwise affect the sights you will see on those days. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 400m.

Walks & Excursions

In addition to visits to the gardens, walks will last two to three hours and be taken at a leisurely pace, allowing us to appreciate the wonderful views and any wildflowers we come across. 

To help us also appreciate the beauty of Nice even further we will be joined by a local guide for a half-day tour of this charming destination.

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Entrance Fees

It would be advisable to allow 50-60 Euros per person for Garden and Monument entrance fees.

Currency in France

The currency in France is the euro. 

Credit cards are widely accepted. You may be asked to provide ID if you can’t pay by chip and PIN. ATMs are widely available in most towns and villages throughout France.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Local Guides

To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied in some centres by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.

Your Travel Details

Due to the wide choice of flights and airlines operating to Nice (NCE) from regional airports, travel from the UK 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.

Your tour leader will be in the lobby of the hotel at 18.00 on the first day of the holiday meet you and your fellow travellers. 

A public bus service (#98) operates from 05:49 – 23:45 and is every 20 minutes between 07:15 and 20:48 from the airport to the City. The fare is approximately €6 (tickets from kiosk or the driver). Get off at Nice Cathedrale Vieille Ville. Cross the road (away from the sea), cross to other side of the park, and walk back in the direction the bus came from for 2 1/2 blocks to Rue Alberti, currently a shop on the corner called 'numericable'.  Turn up Alberti for 3 blocks and the hotel is on the right handside.

The taxi fare from Nice Airport to the hotel is approximately €30.00 each way.

If you are travelling by train to Nice Ville there are public and private transport options available to the hotel. By public transport you can take the tram line located on the main street, Avenue Jean Medecin (approximately 5-8 min walk from the station) then alight at the Centre Commercial Nice Etoile.  From here walk on the left hand side of rue Dubouchage and then take the third street on the right rue Alberti.  Walk up rue Alberti to the junction with rue Pastorelli, the hotel is on North East corner of this junction. A taxi from Nice Ville to the hotel will cost approximately €10.00.

Details of transport options from the airport can be found at: www.nice.aeroport.fr.

A printable guide to taking the taxi in English and French can be found at: www.nice.aeroport.fr/acces_stationnement_en/taxi/default.asp.

Taxis will travel direct to the hotel. If taking the airport bus collect a city map from Tourist Information in the airport.

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

General Passport Advice

It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.

Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.

General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.

Brexit Passport Advice

You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.

If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.

You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.

Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance. 

UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.

The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules  which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.

In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit

Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.

Meals

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.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Good quality waterproof walking shoes or trail shoes with a thick, moulded sole with a good tread and a low heel are likely to be all that is required for these holidays. If you are a frequent walker and are comfortable in good quality hiking sandals, these may be adequate for some walks. You can wear lightweight walking boots if you prefer.

Footwear As Hand Luggage

We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun screen
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the days activity)
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Reusable Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

French Swimwear

Please note that in French public swimming pools men are not permitted to wear baggy swimming shorts but must have ‘Speedo’ style trunks or tight fitting longer shorts. Men with incorrect swim wear will not be allowed into the pool.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Electricity in France

Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

Most local libraries now stock a selection of travel guides/books, which may offer you more information regarding this region of France.  You may also find the following website useful

French National Tourist Office

Web:

www.franceguide.com

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for France

No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to France.

You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.

You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.

See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.

Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.

Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.

EHIC Cards

Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance. 

For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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Useful Information

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France

  • Capital

    Paris

  • Currency

    Euro; CFP Franc

  • Language

    French

  • Time Difference

    UTC +02:00

  • Flight duration

    1.5hrs from UK

Visas and Passports

No Visa Required

Average weather

  • January

    4°C

    Avg. Rain: 65mm

  • February

    5°C

    Avg. Rain: 56mm

  • March

    8°C

    Avg. Rain: 55mm

  • April

    10°C

    Avg. Rain: 59mm

  • May

    14°C

    Avg. Rain: 66mm

  • June

    17°C

    Avg. Rain: 58mm

  • July

    19°C

    Avg. Rain: 51mm

  • August

    19°C

    Avg. Rain: 56mm

  • September

    16°C

    Avg. Rain: 66mm

  • October

    12°C

    Avg. Rain: 79mm

  • November

    8°C

    Avg. Rain: 76mm

  • December

    5°C

    Avg. Rain: 74mm

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