Modernism and the Côte d’Azur13 - 19 June, 2019

Trip Dates:
13 - 19 June, 2019
Trip Price: £1780
Single Room Supplement: £320
Trip Length: 7 days

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

Trip Leader: Nirvana Romell

After graduating from the University of Zagreb in Croatia with a degree in History of Art she moved via South Africa to England, arriving in Wilmslow in October 2003. She has been lecturing on the social history of Western art for 15 years. She also works on collection interpretations, museum staff training and creates unique cultural tours. Nirvana has successfully led Arts Society (ex NADFAS), ADFAS and other groups on study tours and consistently received highly enthusiastic and positive feedback. In her work, she links the past with the present by combining aesthetic, historical and social theoretical approaches to art and culture. Those who travelled with Nirvana have particularly praised her ability to engage the audience and use her solid grasp of the subject matter to impart a lasting understanding of the artists, artefacts and their broader context. Nirvana has given a series of lectures to the Friends of the Whitworth on the ‘Roots of Modernism’. She has accompanied four previous Friends of the Whitworth visits also organised by Distant Horizons.

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Modernism and the Côte d’Azur Trip Comments:

‘Nirvana was a wonderful scholar with a fantastic depth of knowledge which made the trip quite special.’
‘We enjoyed the trip immensely and appreciated the amount of planning that had gone into every detail of the trip.’
‘Meals included in the trip had been specially selected by Nirvana – we enjoyed a wonderful variation of local specialties and of such a high standard.’
‘We were very impressed with the professionalism and dedication of Distant Horizons and their colleagues to give superb service with the personal touch that makes all the difference.’