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Backcountry Riviera

Backcountry Riviera

$4950 per person

Think French Riviera and think glamour, luxury yachts, and walking the red carpet. We’re here to show you another side of the sunny South of France, where you can escape the crowds and find the “real” magic of this iconic region. Behind the coast, the olive covered landscape rises above and offers authentic, perched villages and elevated views of the sea and surrounding hillsides. This is where artists such as Matisse, Chagall, and Picasso came to paint for the light and nature. Julia Child had a home here and picked “herbes de Provence” in her garden. We’ll enjoy unique local experiences and meet resident artisans. Grasse, with its perfume industry offers opportunities to make your own perfume, understand the history of this French speciality and stroll a perfumer’s garden with the owner. Depending on the time of year, will enjoy fragrant fields of violets, roses, jasmine or lavender. We’ll visit a private villa, discover an olive oil mill, take in art galleries and a glass blowers workshop, and accompany a chef to a farmers market where we’ll buy ingredients for our Mediterranean lunch,. The area is sprinkled with decorated churches, including a chapel where Matisse thanked local nuns by creating colourful stained glass windows. And we might just have one day out to the coast, to visit the islands located 15 minutes offshore from Cannes, where “The Man with the Iron Mask” was inspired by a 17th century fort and where monks still reside in an abbey, producing wine, honey and lavender. With its undeveloped beaches and breathtaking sea vistas, this truly is the authentic French Riviera.

 

Prices:

$4950 per person – private room

$4450 per person – shared room

 

2020 Dates:

June 6th – 12th

September 12th – 18th

Can’t make these dates? Let us know using the enquiry form.

 

0 Reviews
  • Departure/Return Location
    Nice city/train station or Nice Airport
  • Departure Time
    Collection from Meeting point from 3pm
  • Return Time
    Departure transfer from 11am
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Comfortable vehicles
    Experienced Tour Director
    Group Transfers
    Local Guides
    Most Meals
    Private Tours and Outings
    Tips & Gratuities
    Wines
  • Not Included
    Flights
    Travel/Health Insurance

Tour Plan

1
Our Hand Picked Location
Look up from the French Riviera coast and you’ll see an impressive landscape of dramatic hillsides, dotted with homes and perched villages and the Alps in the background. This area is only a half hour drive from the glitzy beach resorts, but feels like another place all together. The backcountry Riviera is considered part of the Provence region and shares many of the same characteristics, with stone villages and hillsides covered in olive trees and Herbs de Provence. We’ll base ourselves around one of the two popular market villages of Grasse or Vence. Both give access to all our activities and are located on hillside locations, offering views of the Mediterranean in the distance.
2
Your Home-Away-from-Home
This area of the world has been a haven for vacationers since the late 1800s when it became one of the first “resorts” for European nobility and British royalty. Thanks to its popularity, the wealthy clientele constructed vacation villas, planted with lush gardens featuring Mediterranean plants such as roses, bougainvillea, mimosa, olives and fig trees. Nowadays, these pretty homes with tiled floors and plenty of outdoor terraces have been updated with turquoise blue swimming pools. We’ll have a choice of one of these holiday residences or perhaps a renovated local stone house with all modern comforts. Depending on your choice, you’ll enjoy a private room or double room, and live like a local for a week in a wonderful, hand selected private residence, along with your new female friends.
3
What You'll Enjoy
With gardens, the perfume industry and all the art to appreciate in galleries and tiny chapels, the Backcountry Riviera really does appeal to the feminine senses. Add to that, bustling farmers markets, colourful Mediterranean cuisine, and breathtaking scenery and you’ve got a region to wake up all the senses. Our experience steps away from the glitzy coast to a sun-kissed landscape that offers peaceful villages and a chance to get to know locals. We’ll roll up our sleeves and get active with a cooking class and later a perfume making workshop. We’ll have an opportunity to paint local scenery. We’ll meet locals who will introduce us to the story of all the famous artists who made the most of this region. We’ll shop the farmers markets. We’ll taste wine. We’ll visit an olive oil mill. The hillsides behind the Cote d’Azur or “Blue Coast” will lay down their own unique red carpet for you to discover a surprising other side to this famous part of the South of France.
4
What We’re Cooking up for You
We’ll offer a mix of hands-on activities, meeting local artisans in their homes and places of work, and opportunities to visit special places most visitors don’t have access to. Here’s just a little taste of what we are busy digging up and planning for you (most, but not all, will be worked into the itinerary depending on availability):
  • rubbing shoulders with the locals at colorful farmers markets
  • a perfume making workshop in Grasse, the perfume “capital” of the world
  • cooking fresh Mediterranean cuisine with a private chef
  • a picnic under the olive trees
  • visiting local craftspeople and learning their special skills
  • strolling in a garden officially rated “remarquable”, guided by the creator, also a landscape painter
  • visiting a privately owned perfume garden, learning about the history of this family of perfume makers
  • immersing yourself in Provencal traditions at a local festival
  • a workshop on cell phone photography (for our Instagram followers)
  • recording the beautiful scenery with your sketchbook and the help of a local teacher
  • a morning walk in local country lanes to get the circulation flowing and to take in the peace of the region
  • shopping a “brocante” or vintage & antiques shop/faire
  • an afternoon art tour by minibus, visiting galleries and a chapel featuring such artists as Matisse, Chagall, and Picasso.
  • discovering a local olive oil mill and tasting liquid gold
  • who can forget sipping a sampling (several!) of the region’s iconic rosé wine?
  • a coastal trip to Cannes’ undeveloped offshore islands and to the charming and historic port of Antibes
  • September dates are over the "European Heritage Days" weekend, so special private visits may be expected
  • lastly, we are also including personal time for you to get lost down little village lanes, to sit in a café and watch the world go by, and to relax with a book in our pretty French villa’s garden.
5
Wining & Dining
Did we mention fantastic, delicious meals, using fresh seasonal ingredients, accompanied by regional wines? But of course, “oui”! Every morning, you’ll be fuelled up with a privately catered breakfast at our manor home before setting out on our adventures. Lunches will be a combination of picnics, tastings, and meals in local bistrots. Dinners offer a variety of experiences, from a catered welcome dinner at home, to joining in with the chef preparing your own meal under his supervision, from meals at hand-picked restaurants with wonderful terraces and views, to a celebratory meal at the end of our week together. On a few occasions, you’ll also have the time to wander and make your own discoveries for lunch or dinner.
6
How to Secure Your Place
We’ll only take from 7 – 14 lucky guests. In this unique way of travel, we will initially gather a list of 7 committed travellers, and then take a waiting list. Once we have formed this group, we will reserve our private home and put our final plans in place. We may also be able to extend rooms to women on our waiting list according to the accommodation available.  A description of the accommodation will be provided to our guests once secured, along with a detailed itinerary 2 months prior to departure. If you want to be part of our Backcountry Riviera…for Women experience, don’t hesitate.
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