In 1887 Monsieur Stephen Liegeard wrote a book about the Riviera which, recalling the Côte d'Or of his native Burgundy, he called ‘La Côte d' Azur’. The name quickly caught on in France and it is now as commonly used as 'Riviera'. By 'the Blue Coast' Liegeard himself meant the whole littoral from Marseilles to Genoa, but the term is now mainly used for the section which begins at Menton and ends at Hyeres – a strip of dramatic and beautiful coastline which forms the basis of this journey.
Although first tamed by the Romans, this part of the Mediterranean coast has long remained a world apart, ruled until the mid-19th century by the House of Savoy (Kingdom of Sardinia) and the Grimaldis of Monaco, and noted above all for its remoteness and poverty. At the end of the 18th century, bad relations with France brought first the English and Russians to winter here, just ‘outside’ France, in spite of the difficult roads. After 1864, as the area became part of France, railroads were built and development started on a bigger scale, with the building of many hotels and private residences. Within a few decades, a string of a few scattered fishing villages became one of the most fashionable winter destinations.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the area started to attract artists of the highest calibre with its beautiful light and colours – Signac, Picasso, Matisse, Cocteau, Bonnard, Legér, Maillol, Gray and Chagall. Their legacy is today on display all over the Riviera – in over fifty art museums, ancient and modern churches, private collections, hotels and restaurants as well as extensive public art displays. Together with the wealth of Modernist art, the region also hosts some of the grandest belle époque architecture in Europe. This visit, accompanied by art historian Nirvana Romell, provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the place that has inspired both the creation of wonderful art and magnificent art collections.
Maximum Party Size: 25