Picasso and Modern Art on the French Riviera
Glorious light reflected from the glittering Mediterranean inspired a whole movement of 20th century artists, who made studios of sun-kissed villas slumbering in idyllic corners of the French Riviera. This was the playground of Picasso, who discovered ceramics in Vallauris, and Matisse, who designed the Rosary Chapel in Vence, for the Dominican sisters.
Chagall’s paintings coincided with the time he spent there, while Cocteau, Léger and Bonnard (among many others) all left their marks on the province - not to mention Renoir, who spent the final years of his life in Cagnes-sur-Mer. We travel along the enchanting coastal roads on a pilgrimage through modern art, touring museums that are dedicated to the giants of the scene, as well as the buildings they designed and decorated. Dazzling seaside villas reveal themselves as havens for masterpieces and objets d’art on this tour that is bound to bewitch all lovers of France and modern art.
- Enjoy a private recital
- Tour Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and Villa Kérylos
- Experience a private pottery demonstration and hands-on workshop in Vallauris
- Visit the ancient city of Antibes and The Picasso Museum
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
Our flight departs London and arrives in Nice. We transfer to our hotel, where we will be based for the entire tour, with terraces overlooking the Mediterranean. We enjoy a welcome talk and discover more about this wonderful part of France.
This morning, we depart for a grand tour of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which was opening in 1990 and is home to a significant collection of priceless works, including paintings by Warhol and Deschamps. In the afternoon, we take a tour of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a seaside gem that houses a collection of porcelain and sculpture. In the evening, we have dinner at a local restaurant.
Today, we drive west along the coast to the ancient city of Antibes. Upon arrival, we visit the nearby Picasso Museum, the first museum in the world to pay homage to the master of modern art. Here, in a castle built on the ruins of a Greek temple, Picasso created many of his celebrated paintings, drawings and ceramics. We continue to Vallauris, where we have lunch, and then we enjoy a private visit to a local pottery workshop for a chance to see the regional techniques thatinfluenced the artistic icon. There will be more time to explore the National Picasso Museum in the afternoon before dinner this evening back in Nice.
We find ourselves at Fondation Maeght this morning - otherwise known as the Marguerite and Aimé Maeght Foundation. This is a unique architectural complex that contains sculptures by the likes of Hepworth and Giacometti. Our next stop is Vence, where we take a break for lunch before visiting the Rosary Chapel, which was designed by Henri Matisse. We then enjoy a private piano recital.
To the picturesque town of Menton this morning, for a tour of the Musée Jean Cocteau. Famed for his writing and filmmaking, he was also a graphic artist and some of his work can be seen here. Next, we visit the stunning Villa Kérylos and then it’s on to the 14th century Chapelle Saint Pierre, which was lavishly redecorated with surreal and mystical scenes by Cocteau in the 1950s. Return to Nice for dinner.
This morning, we visit to the Chagall Museum, which was purpose-built to house the artist’s remarkable Biblical works. Afterwards, we spend time at the Matisse Museum in Nice. This is home to one of the largest collections of his work, including rare illustrated books and the artist’s own collection of stained glass and tapestries. After lunch by the sea, we have an afternoon at leisure and then meet for dinner.
Our final day awaits and we make the most of it with a visit to the Fernand Léger Museum, the Bonnard Museum and finally the fantastic Musée Renoir. Later, we catch our flight home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
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