Itinerary – The Riviera Hillsides Experience

A European Experiences week has an ideal balance of structure and flexibility, activities with the group and time on your own. We may also adjust our plans based on weather, the interests of the group members, and unexpected opportunities. If there’s a special event during your week, we’ll likely rearrange things to be there.

We’ll describe a “typical” week on The Riviera Hillsides Experience, but no two weeks are ever quite the same! Your week might be organized differently, and experiences may be added or not included. And of course, there are a few surprises that we’ll wait to share with you when we’re together…

Day One

After meeting the group at the Nice-Ville train station, we’ll travel up into the hillsides to the authentic village of Le Rouret, our base for the week.

Once everyone has settled into their room at our small, family-owned hotel, we’ll head outside to play a fun game of boules, a recreation emblematic of the South of France. Afterwards we’ll enjoy a relaxed dinner together. This first evening offers the ideal opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and discuss the week ahead.

A fun game of boules on our first evening together

Day Two

The South of France has captured the imagination of artists since at least the 19th century, and today we’ll explore some of the same bucolic vistas that once inspired artists, poets, writers, and dreamers.

The village of St. Paul-de-Vence

Our day starts in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a small and popular village perched atop a hill. With the help of an art specialist, we’ll visit the renowned Fondation Maeght, an outdoor art center, one of the highlights of the week. Afterwards, the group will dine in St Paul de Vence, followed by a visit to a famous nearby chapel designed by the esteemed French painter Henri Matisse.

La chapelle du rosaire, Matisse’s creation in Vence

Toward the end of the day, we’ll also encounter another of the region’s great gardens, with a private tour of the grounds, with the owner, followed by an intimate, informal evening of appetizers and aperitifs at her home.

Day Three

Day three begins with a guided tour of one of the region’s great and historic gardens, listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of France’s premier Jardin remarquables (“Remarkable gardens”).

A special visit to a private “jardin remarquable”

Afterwards, we’ll take a driving tour through the region’s stunning countryside, enjoying views of valleys, canyons, and waterfalls found among the Vallée du Loup. We’ll savor our surroundings a little longer while enjoying a serene picnic from one of the area’s scenic lookout spots.

We’ll also enjoy a short tour and tasting at an historic candy factory, where we we’ll discover the art of sugared flowers and candied fruit, part of the former agricultural heritage of the area.

We end our day with a pleasant group meal in an authentic bistro only steps from our hotel in Le Rouret.

Day Four

Our destination today is the town of Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, to learn about the history and culture surrounding the fragrance industry. We meet an industry expert who takes us on a guided tour of an experimental garden and helps us to discover the finer points of producing fragrances.

Lunch today is on a nearby farm, where we’ll gain a greater appreciation for the region’s agricultural specialties.

We return to Grasse after lunch to explore the International Perfume Museum.

The experimental gardens at the International Perfume Museum

Travelers enjoy dinner on their own today and will have the opportunity to choose among the restaurants and cafés in Le Rouret.

Day Five

For another glimpse of the sea, paired with an art themed outing, we will immerse ourselves in coastal Antibes, which is also the site of the wonderful Picasso Museum. You’ll have free time to explore the little alleys and boutiques of this cute Provençal port village, while enjoying a lunch break on your own. Then we will head out of town to nearby Biot, a hub for traditional glass blowing.

The historic center of Antibes

We’ll enjoy a casual dinner tonight in a cafe in a nearby village.

Day Six

Our morning starts with a trip to the bustling farmer’s market in Valbonne.

Afterwards, we’ll head again to Grasse, where you’ll enjoy lunch on your own. You’ll find many options in this charming town.

Later in the day, you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at making a custom scent  of your own, using all natural extracts, at a legendary fragrance workshop in Grasse. Our groups tell us this is an unforgettable sensory experience!

Proud perfume-makers!

You will have dinner on your own in Le Rouret tonight.

Day Seven

It’s our last full day in the Riviera Hillsides! We start with a boat ride to the Ile de Lerins, a scenic island off the coast near Cannes. There, our group will take a leisurely hike while also appreciating the stunning blues of the Mediterranean and the open skies. A highlight of the island is its 11th-century monastery.

On the beautiful Ile de Lerins

Lunch today is casual and relaxing: a group picnic on the island, basking in the sunshine and sea breeze after our hike.

For tonight’s final dinner together, we’ll enjoy a farewell aperitif and a luxurious meal at a Michelin *1 restaurant in Le Rouret. What a great end to our week together!

Day Eight

Too soon it’s our last day. We’ll leave our hotel after breakfast and say goodbye to our travelers at the Nice Airport or the Nice-Ville train station. What a wonderful week we’ve had together!