Visit France's opulent Côte d’Azur
Explore the famous sights of Nice with visits to some of the French Riviera's most picturesque resorts, such as Antibes and Cannes before unearthing hidden Villefranche-sur-Mer and the iconic principality of Monaco.
Begin your holiday at our Rail Discoveries' dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras where you will meet the rest of your group and your Tour Manager. Depart on the direct Eurostar to Paris before changing trains onto the high speed service to Nice arriving in the early evening. Here you stay at the Hôtel Monsigny. This recently renovated establishment is located right next to the city's equivalent of Covent Garden. The French Riviera is home to some of the most magnificent scenery in Europe and it makes for an ideal holiday location. Admire the deep blue Mediterranean Sea which is surrounded by pretty harbours and leafy trees as you relax in the typically warm climate on your rail holiday.
This morning, enjoy a guided walking tour of Nice taking in the city's key sights. Nice boasts many attractions, such as its cathedral and port area and offers a combination of both modern and traditional towns and our guided walk allows you to discover its rich culture and history, including the Old Town and Castle Hill which boasts views across the Promendade des Anglais. Following the tour, your afternoon is free for you to continue exploring at your own pace. The Old Town consists of a network of narrow passageways and small courts where you can stroll around quaint shops and enjoy a drink in a café. Perhaps take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and enjoy marvellous views of the glittering Mediterranean Sea.
Discover the charming harbour town of Antibes by train. Here you have time to discover the bustling marketplace where you can sample a wide array of local produce and people watch as the locals go about their daily lives. The market place has been the centre of local society for decades and it is still the same today. You could also see the fascinating Picasso Museum, formerly the Château Grimaldi. This impressive fortress was built upon the foundations of the ancient Greek town of Antipolis and was used by the Grimaldi family as their stronghold in 1608. Now it is the only museum in the world dedicated to the works of Picasso, and enjoys a scenic perch overlooking the Antibes' coastline. You may also like to visit the remarkably well-preserved Fort Carré, built in the sixteenth century as a border defence against neighbouring Nice which, at the time, was under Italian rule. Reached via a moderate twenty-minute walk from town, the four-pointed fort commands stunning panoramic views.
This afternoon, continue by rail to Cannes, exulted for its annual film festival. After time to relax, perhaps upon one of its palm-tree lined beaches as you soak up the dazzling sunshine - why not make a visit to one of the town's fascinating museums? There are plenty to choose from including The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence and the Musée International de la Parfumerie. Later return to Nice by rail for dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 4 is spent at leisure in Nice, and you are free to continue exploring. Perhaps visit the Musee National Marc Chagall or Matisse Museum.
Travel by rail to pretty Villefranche-sur-Mer. Hugging a hillside that sweeps down to a wide, deep bay between Monaco and Nice on south-east France's beautiful Cote d'Azur, this pretty town has long been a popular holiday resort thanks to its sunny Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches, excellent restaurants and picturesque setting.
Although inhabited since prehistoric times, Villefranche-sur-Mer's natural harbour, the deepest on any Mediterranean coast, proved useful both to the ancient Greeks and later the Romans who established settlements here. Today tourism continues to sustain the economy here; its harbour is the most visited by cruise ships of any in France. You could perhaps make the most of the laid-back atmosphere here and relax in one of the pavement bistros overlooking the tranquil water, before exploring the Old Town
Take a trip by along the spectacular coastline to the tiny principality of Monaco. We visit Monte Carlo before heading on our guided walking tour of Monaco. Settled by the ancient Greeks in the sixth century BC, Monaco was claimed as a Genoese colony in the 12th century, and later owned by the Italian Grimaldi dynasty. France regained control of the principality during the French Revolution, with Monaco's sovereignty affirmed by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. In 1863 Monaco's first casino was built. In addition to this, the arrival of the railway in 1868 significantly boosted Monaco's tourism sector, confirming the city's reputation as the resort of choice for the rich and famous. We return to Nice for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and take the high speed train to Paris. In Paris, connect with the Eurostar for your journey back to London.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Visit France's opulent Côte d’Azur