- Works by Henri Matisse
- Maeght Foundation
- Musée des Beaux Arts
- Musée National Picasso
Art on the French Riviera
- Small Group 25 or less
- VIP door to door
"When I realised that each morning I would see this light again, I could not believe my luck." Henri Matisse
The unspoilt natural beauty, sleepy fishing villages and rich natural light of the French Riviera drew a variety of artists to its shores during the 19th and 20th centuries. Based in Nice, with visits to Antibes and St Tropez, delve deeper into the area and the art it inspired accompanied by an Art Historian. Walk in the footsteps of Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and their contemporaries, explore the museums dedicated to them and dine at the restaurant they frequented.
- Included travel insurance
- Return flights and transfers
- 12 meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 2 dinner at hotels and 2 dinners in local restaurants
- Glass of wine with all included dinners
- Specialist lecturer
- Saga Tour Manager
- All excursions and visits listed
- Porterage at your hotel
Stella Grace Lyons
As a freelance Art History lecturer, speaker and writer accredited with The Arts Society, Stella has lectured across the UK, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Malaysia, and her online lectures are watched by guests across four continents. Stella gained her BA in the History of Art with a first class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol, and her MA in the History of Art from the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, three months studying Venetian art in Venice, and has attended drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil studios in Florence – a private atelier based on the leading ateliers of 19th-century Paris. Stella also occasionally works as an artist’s model for the internationally renowned figurative artist, Harry Holland.
- The Wild Beast of Art History: Henri Matisse
- Tangled up in Blue: The Paintings of Marc Chagall
- Straight to the Point: Neo-Impressionist Art
Day 1 UK to Nice
Fly to Nice in the morning and check in at 4-star Hotel La Pérouse before embarking on an orientation walk. In the evening, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. D
Day 2 Visit Musée Matisse and the Musée des Beaux Arts
Start day two with a lecture at the hotel on Henri Matisse, followed by a guided visit of the Musée Matisse, located in a 17th Century villa in the Cimiez district. For nearly 40 years, Matisse lived in and around Nice and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Along with the colours of the French Riviera, he was mesmerised by the light and painted some of his most colourful and sensual canvasses, depicting the light and the cosmopolitan nature of the city.
After free time for lunch in the old town, head nearer the coast to the Musée des Beaux Arts. This museum is located in the district of Baumettes in a residence built for a Ukrainian princess. It exhibits mainly paintings by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists such as Monet, Degas and Sisley as well as sculptures and ceramics from the ‘belle èpoque’ period.
Dinner is included at a local restaurant this evening. B, D
Day 3 Maeght Foundation
Begin your third day with a visit to the Maeght Foundation, a museum of Modern Art founded in the 1950s that overlooks Saint Paul de Vence. The collection features works by many notable artists including Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Fernand Leger, Georges Braque and Joan Miró.
Enjoy an included lunch at the renowned restaurant La Colombe d’Or which was the meeting place for artists who came to live on the Côte d’azur in the 1940s and 50s. Former guests, including Matisse, Miró, Picasso, Léger, Braque and Chagall, have all left their legacy through their artworks, often in exchange for accommodation and food.
After lunch, visit the stunning Chapelle du Rosaire, also known as the Matisse Chapel. Built and decorated between 1947 and 1951 under a plan devised by Henri Matisse, he considered it his life’s masterpiece. B, L
Day 4 Musée Picasso
The following day, drive an hour to Antibes and visit the Musée Picasso, housed in the Grimaldi Castle where Picasso lived for six months. It has approximately 250 pieces by the famed artist including paintings, drawings, and ceramics as well as works by other modern artists.
After free time for lunch, visit the Picasso Museum in Vallauris. The Musée National Picasso “La Guerre et la Paix” is a chapel decorated with a famous cycle of paintings, from which the museum takes its name, comprising 18 panels depicting war and peace, that were realised by Picasso in 1952.
On the way back to Nice, visit the Musée Renoir in Cagnes-sur-Mer where the artist lived for 12 years until his death in 1919 – his studios here are almost as he left them. B
Day 5 Musée National Marc Chagall
The next morning, listen to a lecture on Marc Chagall at the hotel, followed by a guided visit to the museum he opened in 1972. The museum contains the largest collection of the artists’ work. At its core is a series of paintings illustrating the first two chapters of the bible; Genesis and Exodus.
Enjoy the rest of the day with an afternoon at leisure before an early evening lecture on Neo-Impressionist Art. B
Day 6 St Tropez
A two hour scenic drive the following day takes you to the town of St Tropez which is renowned for being popular with famed artists. Paul Signac bought a house here in 1892 and introduced many other artists to the area.
Visit the Musée L’Annonciade – one of France’s finest collections of modern art – which features eight gallery rooms that beautifully illustrate the inspiration St Tropez provided for artists during the fin de siècle and early 20th century.
After visiting the museum, you will have free time for lunch and to explore the port area. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening. B, D
Day 7 Villefranche-sur-Mer
On your final full day, take a short drive along the coast to Villefranche-sur-Mer to the Chapelle St Pierre (patron saint of fishermen), which was entirely restored and decorated by the “prince of poets” Jean Cocteau. Inside are frescoes painted by Cocteau in 1957, depicting five main images – two scenes of Mediterranean life and three dedicated to the life of St Peter.
Continue to St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Built at the turn of the 20th century by Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, the villa has a rich collection of decorative and fine arts, and is surrounded by nine gardens, each with a different theme.
The afternoon is at leisure before this evenings’ special farewell dinner at prestigious local restaurant, La Reserve. B, D
Day 8 Nice to the UK
After breakfast join your return flight to the UK. B
Musèe Matisse is located in a 17th century villa in Cimiez, and was established by Henri Matisse himself in 1952. On a guided tour, you’ll see one of largest collections of his work, tracing his evolution from his beginnings through to his last pieces of work when he passed away in 1954. The museum consists primarily of the works created during Matisse’s stay in Nice, including paintings, gouache découpés, sketches, engravings and sculptures. This museum also displays some of the designs by Matisse for the stained-glass windows and other decorations for the Rosary Chapel in Vence.
Included on 7 nights itinerary
La Colombe d'Or
Have lunch at La Colombe d’Or restaurant and hotel, famous for the many paintings acquired during the years following World War I, when artists, unable to pay their bills, gave paintings in lieu of food and lodgings. Each room of Colombe D’Or features priceless works of art from such notable artists as Bonnard, Matisse, Chagall, Picasso and Braque. In the 1940s and 50s, this hotel was also a meeting place for artists and thinkers who came to live on the Côte d’azur.
Included on 7 nights itinerary
Musée de l'Annonciade in St Tropez
Housed in a 16th century chapel, Musée de I’Annonciade is one of the longest-established modern art galleries in France. It was created in 1922 and brings together an impressive collection of artworks dating from 1890 to 1950. When the neo-impressionist artist Paul Signac visited St Tropez in 1892, he decided to stay, and later invited his friends – Matisse, Dufy, Seurat, Bonnard, Dèrain and many others – to come and paint. He wanted to set up a permanent collection of their work (Impressionist and Fauvist) which is housed in this museum.
Included on 7 nights itinerary
This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Nice, conveniently close to the old town, and ideal for dining out in local restaurants on days when dinners are not included. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, fitness centre and spa with a sauna, jacuzzi and seasonal outdoor pool (April to September). There is a rooftop terrace with views across the Baie des Anges. Each of the 56 Mediterranean-style bedrooms is equipped with a television, safe, phone and free Wi-Fi.