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A muse for all senses: from St Tropez to Menton

French Riviera

WHEN TO GO

MAY - JULY

IDEAL LENGTH

7 NIGHTS

PASSIONS

ART, FRAGRANCE, BOTANY

Home

Fragrance and South of France

Art and fragrance intertwine

With its azure sea, balmy climate and soulful landscapes, the French Riviera proved a fertile muse for Impressionist and Modernist artists. Matisse was one such devotee, writing to his wife Amélie back in Paris, “From my open window you can see the top of a palm tree” and “sky and sea blue – blue – blue”.

  

The natural beauty of works by Matisse, Picasso and Bonnard has captivated other creatives, from perfumers and botanists to glassblowers and chefs. Uncover the artistic allure of the region on an olfactory journey, guided by perfumers, artisans and art historians. 

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An empire in bloom 

Christian Dior described Château de la Colle Noire as his ‘true home’; in its expansive gardens, amid the trails of white jasmine, his passion for perfumery took root. The Château is open only by invitation to friends of Maison Christian Dior. In the company of a botanist, learn about the flowers behind the fragrances. A modern Dior scent pays homage to the most prestigious hotel on the French Riviera: discover why with a stay there.

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On the trail of the Modernists 

In hilly Le Cannet, the Belle Epoque former residence of Pierre Bonnard has been reimagined as the Musée Bonnard. Admire a permanent collection of paintings by the eponymous artist, including evocative depictions of his gardens, planted with orange and mimosa trees. In the company of an art historian, discover why Matisse’s friend was nicknamed ‘le peintre du bonheur’ (the painter of happiness). In Nice, explore the Matisse Museum and follow in the artist’s footsteps to Marché aux Fleurs, the Old Town and the streets he called home. 

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Creations in scent and glass  

The aromas of mimosa, May rose and lavender fill the air in Grasse: the perfume capital of the world. Guided by an expert nose, create a personalised scent in a renowned perfume atelier, and form a chic bottle to match at La Verrerie de Biot. How is this family-run glass factory inspired by imperfection?

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Fabled flora

The French Riviera’s botanic gardens are living canvases, vivid with colour and scent. An expert botanist explains the alchemical properties of the region’s climate, soil and terroir in settings such as the Domaine du Rayol and Eze’s Jardin Exotique. How have winemakers and chefs honoured the Côte d’Azur’s natural bounty? Seek answers in fine wines and sea-view aperitivi. The journey concludes with an al-fresco dinner in the gardens of the legendary neoclassical seaside mansion Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, also known as Villa Île-de-France, in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, accompanied by renowned British garden historian Deborah Trentham. Deborah will explore why the villa and its gardens is considered one of the Notable Gardens of France by the French Ministry of Culture. The villa is regarded as Aaron Messiah’s most famous creations and Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild lived in the villa until her death in the mid-thirties. 

Expert

Deborah Trentham

Learn more about the historic private gardens along the Côte d'Azur with Deborah Trentham, an expert in architecture and garden history. 

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Expert

Louise Ebel

Gain a greater understanding of the cultural influences on French art and architecture with Louise Ebel, an art historian based in Paris.

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From discovering the life of a classical composer with an acclaimed concert pianist, to unearthing treasures in Cairo with an archaeologist, our travel designers will create a personalised one-off journey, shaped by you.​

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