I designed the itinerary in collaboration with Doni Belau, trip planner of Girls Guide to Paris.
Day 1 – May 2, Sunday OVERVIEW
Arrive in Nice and hop in a taxi or an Uber on your own to arrive at our four star Boutique Hotel Mademoiselle in Juan Les Pins, with an extremely appropriate name for an all-girls trip! Our hotel is located in the charming town of Juan Les Pins/Antibes with its boat-filled harbor, 16th century ramparts and narrow cobblestone streets.
We’ll meet for a welcome apéro on the patio of our hotel and get to know one another. After getting getting settled, we’ll head out for dinner at Tiffany’s kitchen around 7pm, a charming place where everything is homemade.
Overnight: Hotel Mademoiselle Juan les Pins
Day 2 –May 3rd, Monday
Ladies’ Villas and Medieval Villages
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll depart for a trip of the gorgeous mansion and exquisite gardens of the Villa EphruzziRothschild perched up high in St. Jean Cap-Ferrat with a view of the Mediterranean that only the Rothschild’s could afford. The villa was constructed between 1905 and 1912 by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild.
After having our eyes stimulated, we’ll step back in time and climb the hill for a stroll around Medieval Eze, stopping to admire the to Tropical garden here. After a walk through the narrow cobblestone streets of the 11th century town to the top of the Exotic Garden, you will discover one of the most dazzling panoramic views of the Côte d’Azur on the former property of Baroness Beatrice of the Rothschild of the illustrious banking family, making this a very Rothschild-focused day!
We’ll lunch in this picture perfect town at a local French Deli which also has samplings of local olive oil and tasty tapenade.
This afternoon we’ll discover the history and distilling process at the renowned Fragonard perfumery in Grasse, France’s perfume capital. The factory is family-run for four generations. You will marvel at the choices and discover what suits you. If you have an allergy to fragrances, we have other interesting activities in Grasse to occupy your time.
After heading back to our hotel, we’ll stop into the small but impactful Picasso museum situated in a 500-year-old castle. We’ll see where the artist worked on his ceramics during this stay in Antibes. The setting is beautiful, including the sculpture garden. We’ll stay in place for a casual dinner tonight at one of Antibes’ most renowned pizzerias, La Trattoria,
Day 3 –May 4, Tuesday
Wear comfortable walking shoes today. This morning, Nancy will lead you into the maze of narrow streets in the captivating old town for a stroll in the footsteps of famous writers who found inspiration in Nice. You will visit the famous daily market on Cours Saleya, where there will be time to browse.
We’ll lunch at Olivera and if we are lucky our female chef will have her famous stuffed zucchini flowers on offer.
While there is much to choose from in Nice, we must take you to the Chagall museum, our guide’s favorite for a Chagall Museum audio trip.
Late this afternoon we’ll learn about and taste the famous elixir of the artists and writers from the turn of the last century. The Absinthe Bar in Antibes will offer us a glass of absinthe with some of their locally made tapenade, and NO Absinthe is no longer illegal – lucky us!
Dinner this evening will be at the charming Le J , run by a husband and wife team which is a short stroll from our hotel in Juan les Pins. Our chef at Le J uses only local freshly sourced ingredients in his modern French cuisine.
Overnight: Hotel Mademoiselle Juan les Pins
Day 4 – May 5th, Wednesday
Today we’ll discover the Jewel of the Riviera, St Paul de Vence, a celebrity playground. We’ll delight as we wander into the tiny Matisse Rosary Chapel. Matisse referred to this chapel containing his ceramics, stained glass windows, ornaments, and paintings as his Masterpiece and we agree!
While in St Paul de Vence you’ll have the opportunity to roam on your own and visit local artisans, shops and ateliers.
Today’s lunch will be at the Uber-famous la Colombe d’Or where Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Miro, Calder and Chagall have all dined before you. You’ll want to walk around the place between courses because nearly all of these artists’ original work is shown at this legendary establishment, they often donated it to the owner in exchange for dinner and a stay at his place.
On this art-filled day after your lunch you’ll visit the delightful Fondation Maeght whose permanent collection includes paintings and sculptures by Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly, Pierre Bonnard, George Braque as well as countless other luminaries. Later on we’ll explore the beautiful Villa Eilenroca Belle Epoque mansion which, like the Rothchild mansion, was also built for a woman. Here lies an interesting story, the name of the villa is the name of the owner’s wife spelled backwards! Cornélie = Eilenroc.
We’ll end our day with a cocktail at the iconic Hotel Belles Rives in Antibes. We’ll be driven back to our hotel and you’ll have tonight free to explore on your own.
Day 5 – May 6, Thursday
Check out and depart for the perfect seaside town of Cassis.
Upon arrival we’ll head for lunch at the Villa Madie made for us by a 2-Michelin star chef and complimented by stunning view.
After we’ll trip the town and then head out to see the Calanques by boat, (weather permitting).
Back on land we’ll lead you to an incredible perfume shop, “Eau de Cassis” where we’ll spend some time. Don’t fret, we’ll build in some time for and additional shopping in this darling town including a stop into Souleiado, for classic Provençal fabrics.
In the late afternoon we’ll check in to the family run 4-star Hotel Bérard in la Cadière d’Azur allowing for time to relax a bit before our Aperitif workshop at the farm conceived by the chef. At Chef René Bérard’s bastide farmhouse and vegetable garden nearby you will prepare some traditional apéros (such as anchoiade and tapenade) to be shared afterward alongside a glass of Cassis-made rosé wine, some of the best in France.
We’ll be dining tonight at Le Regain La Cadiere d’Azur a few minutes walk from the hotel through the small perched medieval village.
Overnight: Hotel Bérard
Day 6 – May 7th, Friday
We’ll sleep in today then leave for Marseilles where we’ll start with a guided to of the Mucem listed as one of the top 50 most visited museums in the world, the Mucem and its striking contemporary architecture in Marseille is the first museum entirely dedicated to Mediterranean culture.
After the museum we’ll head for a stroll through authentic district of Noailles making a stop at Maison Empereur and Épicerie L’Idéal, where we’ll grab a sandwich here to eat as we stroll). We’ll have an opportunity to visit La Licorne a Provençal soap factory and learn how their colorful sweet smelling soaps are made with olive oil.
Later this afternoon we’ll partake in a Pastis tasting. In his best-selling book, ‘Toujours Provence’, Peter Mayle evoked the virtues of Pastis in these words: “For me, the most powerful ingredient in Pastis is not aniseed or alcohol but ambiance, and that dictates how and where it should be drunk. I cannot imagine drinking it in a hurry.
Finally we’ll head to the Notre Dame Basilica to admire the view at sunset. It’s located at the highest natural point in the city, so you can get a great view of everything. If you walk around the church, you will obtain a full 360-degree panoramic view of the whole of Marseille.
You cannot be in Marseille without trying their famous invention, the world renowned fisherman’s stew, Bouillabaisse. Of course we’ll head to the best place to try this iconic experience.
Overnight: Hotel Bérard
Day 7 – May 8th, Saturday
Today our focus will be on the pretty pink wines of the region. We’ll start at Terresbrunes taking a winery trip at this Bandol estate which uses organic farming practices to produce its refined wines. After our tasting and explorations we’ll sit down to lunch here where everything will be fresh, organic and local.
This afternoon we’ll enjoy an olive oil tasting at Moulin St Come followed by a wine tasting at Clos de La Magdeleine in Cassis. We’ll head back to our hotel in time to pack and/or take a stroll the village.
Tonight’s farewell dinner will be prepared for us by the Michelin starred Chef Jeff Bérard at our hotel. There will be many a toast made to wonders seen and friendship made.
Day 8 – May 9, Sunday
After breakfast we’ll depart back home via Marseille train to Paris or from here you can take a connecting plane to Paris, London, Amsterdam.
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