CAA Trip to the South of France & Monaco,     
May 1-10, 2024

Oh là là! Nine nights on the Côte d'Azur and in Provence

SOLD OUT!

 

The winter capital of Europe and the ballroom of the Belle Époque...this is what the Côte d’Azur – with its mild climate, lush vegetation and delightful mountain landscape – was called at the end of the 19th century, when noble families came to spend the winter there. Later it became the meeting place for artists from Impressionism through Modernism. Many museums, homes and ateliers of such artists as Renoir, Matisse, Chagall, Cocteau and Picasso are the proof. Sumptuous villas, gardens and parks – and the light – make this landscape unique. An evening walk along the Promenade des Anglais and a piano concert in the decoratively and acoustically extraordinary Opera House in the Principality of Monaco will make our visit to the French Riviera unforgettable.
 
We then explore further west to Provence, with its ruins from Roman times and cathedrals from the Middle Ages, dreamy little villages in the Luberon, harsh peaks in the Alpille mountains and the former Pope’s residence in Avignon.
 
These are just some of the highlights of this southernmost French region, on a trip curated and led by Wolfgang Friedl, art historian and historian, who led Chase Alumni on such a memorable trip to Puglia in 2022. Another highlight? Meeting or reconnecting with Chase alumni over great wine, delicious French food and memories in the making!
 
We will stay three nights each in three hotels: first, in the fashionable city of Nice, then in a Domaine – a former winery and historic post station, surrounded by vineyards – not far from Pont du Garad, and, for the last three nights, in a very refashioned former convent in bustling Aix-en-Provence.

 

ITINERARY

 

DAY ONE  Wednesday, May 1st

NICE - THE WINTER CAPITAL OF THE BELLE ÉPOQUE

Nice, capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera, sits on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges. Founded by the Greeks and later a retreat for 19th-century European elite, the city has also long attracted artists. 
 
Arrival in Nice and transfer to the Aston La Scala Hotel (photo, left)
We meet in the hotel in early afternoon before going on our first walking tour through the large pedestrian areas and to the market square in the Old Town of Nice. We stroll along the seaside of Nice on the famous Promenade des Anglais, built by the city's English residents at the end of the 19th century. Back to the hotel and then we'll have a welcome dinner in, well, a nice Nice restaurant, not far from our hotel.
 
 
DAY TWO  Thursday, May 2nd

MENTON, THE CITY OF LEMON, AND THE HAUTE CORNICHE

 

In the morning, we take the highway with wonderful views over the Principality of Monaco to Menton, the "city of lemons". Menton is also associated with Jean Cocteau, a close friend of Pablo Picasso and one of the most unique artists of modern art, who worked as a painter, filmmaker and writer. Visit the wedding hall Cocteau painted in Menton's Town Hall. We will walk through Menton's old town, which still has the character of an Arab kasbah, with its tiny narrow streets and passageways under the houses. Visit the Jean Cocteau Museum in the old city wall of Menton.
 
Following lunch, we drive along the coastline towards the west to the tiny town of Roquebrune. From here you get a wonderful panoramic view over the villas, gardens and the coastline of the Cap Martin of the Còte d'Azur.
 
The panoramic road Haute Corniche, high above sea level, passes by La Turbie, where we will see the monumental Trophy of Augustus; from Roman times, and takes us to Eze Village, built like an eagle's nest on top of a steep rock. Its tiny streets have never been large enough to allow cars, and some of its hotels still use donkeys to transport guests' luggage! Walk through the small shops offering local crafts. Close to Eze Village, we will visit the perfume factury and showplace of Galimard, one of the most famous perfume producers on the Còte d'Azur. We'll look at the production area and get an idea of how many tons of flowers you need to fill a little perfume bottle!
 
Back to our hotel and dinner in a nice restaurant.
 
DAY THREE  Friday, May 3rd
WONDERFUL VILLAS & GARDENS + PIANO RECITAL IN OPERA HOUSE OF MONTE CARLO
 
In the morning we pass by the old port of Nice and one of the most residential areas to reach St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Visit the little town's Fishermen's Chapel (Chapelle de Saint-Pierre des Pecheurs), with murals of Saint Peter by Jean Cocteau. (Photo)
 
Very close by there is the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, with its splendid gardens and sparkling fountains that move and sprinkle to the rhythms of classical music. See the interior of the palatial villa with furnishings, porcelain and artworks from the 16th to the 19th centuries. 
 
We will return to Nice for lunch, our main meal of the day. We then go to our hotel so that we may change our clothing for the night's events in Monaco. (Men should wear jacket and tie. Women, wear a cocktail dress.)
 
We drive approximately 45 minutes to the Principality of Monaco and its Monte Carlo, which is the name of the quarter where the famous Hotel de Paris, the Café de Paris and the Casino building are located. NOTE: To enter the Casino, each person must register personally with a passport and pay 10 euros, which are credited for either gambling chits or to purchase a drink or snack before the piano recital (at your expense).
 
Before the 8 pm concert, you are free to explore the building to see the richly decorated and elegant halls designed by Charles Garnier in 1878. Part of the Casino is the Opera House of Monte Carlo (Photo, its Salle Garnier). You will never ever see a more beautiful and intimate (550 seats) opera house in the world, with huge windows facing the open sea. While the opera season will be over when we visit, we will be privileged to hear a recital by pianist Seong-Jin Cho, 2015 Gold Medalist at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw. He will perform works by Haydn, Ravel and Liszt.
 
Then it's back to Nice for our last night at the Hotel Astin La Scala.

 

DAY FOUR  Saturday, May 4th

ANTIBES AND THE FANCY CAP D’ANTIBES 
 
In the morning we drive west along the coastline to reach the yacht harbour of Antibes. Inside the medieval city wall we will visit the charming little town with a very lively market hall and the Castle of the Grimaldi family that hosts a museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso (photo). Picasso lived in this castle for several years and was attracted by the ceramics in the nearby town of Vallauris. So he started creating fancy ceramic pots and plates. See some of his masterpieces of this art, as well as many paintings by Picasso, in the castle’s museum. 
 
After a lunch in a lovely restaurant, we drive though the Cap d'Antibes, with its incredibly huge villas and gardens, and continue further west, passing the Sainte-Victoire Mountains and Aix-en-Provence. With some minor stops, we reach our hotel – Domaine des Escaunes, next to the little village of Sernhac. We dine at the restaurant of our hotel (photo).
 
 
DAY FIVE  Sunday, May 5th
AVIGNON AND CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE
 
In the morning we drive to Avignon, the city of the popes in the 14th century. We pass the famous Pont d'Avignon and visit the former residence of the popes. Walking tour through the narrow pedestrian streets of the old town and lunch in one of the numerous restaurants along the promenade.
 
In the afternoon back to the right bank of the Rhone river and to Villeneuf-les-Avignon with the tower of King Philippe Le Bel. From the top of the tower you get a last glance to the golden dome of the cathedral and the towers of Avignon.
 
We spend the late afternoon in the park of our hotel or strolling through Sernhac. In the evening we enjoy a glass of wine, French baguettes and pastries in the hotel garden while playing Petanque, the local Provençal sport, a tossing game where you throw a boule.
 
NOTE: We have not yet determined whether we will be able to have a tour and wine tasting at a Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard on the Sunday or, instead, enjoy a flight of different vineyards' wines at lunch on Monday.
 
DAY SIX  Monday, May 6th
PONT DU GARD, ORANGE, THE RHONE RIVER AND UZES
 
In the morning we see the Pont du Gard over the river Gard (photo), the impressive aqueduct bridge that is a UNESCO heritage site. We cross the bridge from one side to the other to get all angles for your pictures. Another fascinating building from Roman times is the theatre in Orange. It is still used as a stage for concerts and opera performances during the summer. After a light lunch break, we drive through the winelands of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with the ruins of the pope’s summer residence dating back to the 14th century. Along the Rhone River we pass Roquemaure and Remoulins to reach the charming little town of Uzes. The Duke’s castle and the irregularly built main square with its arches and plane trees are a wonderful place for a coffee break before returning to the hotel, where we will have dinner.
 
 
DAY SEVEN  Tuesday, May 7th
ARLES AND THE ALPILLES-MOUNTAINS   
 
On to Arles with the Roman amphitheater that is still used nowadays for (unbloody) bullfights. Our bus will let us off at the Frank Gehry-designed Luma Foundation building (photo) that houses contemporary art exhibits. We stroll through the little streets of this lively town and have lunch in a nice restaurant. 
 
In the afternoon we reach the windmill of Alphonse Daudet, one of the most famous writers about provencal way of life in the 19th century. Passing by the small town of Les-Baux-de-Provence in the middle of the Alpilles-Mountains we reach some impressive roman tombstones and the charming little town of Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Stroll through little shops and coffee houses. Back to our hotel and dinner in the restaurant of our hotel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
DAY EIGHT  Wednesday, May 8th
CASTLES, MONASTERIES AND PALACES IN THE LUBERON COUNTRYSIDE
 
We start the day again passing Avignon to reach the northern part of the Luberon landscape and the cistercian abbey of Senaque, surrounded by huge fields of lavender. Passing Gourdon high up on a rock we reach the artist village of Roussillon (photo) with interesting art galleries and handicraft shops. The beautiful color of the sand and earth under your feet in this area of Roussillon is all ocher. This gives the little town a very special aura. 
 

After our lunch, we stop at Pont Julian, a Roman bridge built in the time of and named after Julius Caesar. We drive up the lovely hills to Bonnieux and down on the southern side to walk through Lourmarin, a beautiful little village full of Provençal charm, with narrow streets decorated with flowers, coffee shops, and arts and crafts shops.

 

We cross the Durance river at the cistercian abbey of Silvacane and reach our hotel in Aix-en-Provence. Dinner in a nice restaurant close to your hotel in the old town.

 

DAY NINE  Thursday, May 9th

VIBRANT AIX-EN-PROVENCE

 

Thursday is market day in Aix-en-Provence. Every square in town hosts a different one -- and they're for you to discover on your own, not in the group. Stroll over to the flower market, the fruit and vegetable market, the fish market or the textile market. Have a café au lait and a pain au chocolat (but don't spoil your appetite for our lunch).
 
Later we meet to visit the cathedral and the Hôtel de Caumont, a sumptuous noble palace. Hôtel in this case just means a noble palace and has nothing to do with accommodating tourists. Hôtel de Caumont, with its nice courtyard and gardens, dates back to the 17th century and hosts interesting exhibitions about local artists (program not published yet).
 
Farewell dinner in a nice restaurant.
 
DAY TEN  Friday, May 10th
AIX-EN-PROVENCE AND DEPARTURE
 
Depending on your departure time, you might want to do some more sightseeing or a last shopping excursion in Aix-en-Provence.  
 
We will organize your transfer, though the cost is not included:
- 20-minute drive to the train station of the high speed TGV train directly to Paris CDG Airport Tterminal.
   Trains leave every 2 hours. Watch out if you book your overseas flight to Paris. Paris has three different airports!
- 30-minute drive to the airports of Marseille / Aix-en-Provence
- 1 hour 45 min. to 2 hours drive to Nice airport, in case you prefer flying out where you flew in (for airfare reasons).

 

There are some direct flights between JFK or Newark Airport and Nice Airport.

 

Bon voyage!

 

 

 

 

  Hotels, Cost, Registration, Etc.

 

OUR HOTELS

 

NICE: **** ASTON LA SCALA

The hotel is in the heart of Nice, facing the Promenade du Paillon and just 200 meters from the central Place Massena. Nice view from the rooms. Lovely lounge areas and rooftop pool and bar.
All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, free WiFi, minibar, tea/coffee maker, safety deposit box. The best place to start off our tour!
 
SERNHAC: **** DOMAINE DES ESCAUNES
A former IT-manager and his wife made their dream come true by leaving everything behind in Belgium 17 years ago and opening and running this Domaine in the tiny little village of Sernhac.
It is surrounded by its 7-hectare vineyard (even if the harvest and wine production is done nowadays by a friend's company). All rooms in this former post station are of different shapes and designs. All are nicely equipped with traditional textiles, furniture and lamps. Enjoy a walk in the garden or a swim in the pool as well as our dinners in the courtyard under a huge mulberry tree (weather permitting). It's a place to relax and dream...and play bocce! (Sernhac is about 30 minutes west of Avignon, 37 minutes north of Arles.)
 
AIX-EN-PROVENCE: ***+ DES AUGUSTINS
Just off the Cours Mirabeau in the heart of the old town of Aix-en-Provence. The hotel is situated within the walls of an ancient convent. The lobby used to be the main chapel. Step out of the hotel and you are in the heart of the pedestrian streets and tiny squares of Aix-en-Provence. No better place to start our walks and tours. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, free WiFi, minibar. Continental breakfast.  


INCLUDED IN THE PRICE

  • transfers and excursions in comfortable tour coach with AC /heating, with bottled water supplied on the coach
  • 9 overnight stays in 3-star superior to 4-star hotels
  • 16 dinners or lunch / light lunch in selected restaurants; breakfast in the hotel; wine and water at meals; ticket for the mentioned concert at the Monte Carlo Opera House
  • all entrance fees

NOT INCLUDED

  • airfares and transfers from Sernhac to airport or train station
  • €10 entry fee to enter the Casino de Monte Carlo (which contains the Opera House), as each participant must register, show a passport and pay on site individually
  • pre-concert drinks/snacks at the Casino de Monte Carlo before the piano recital
  • housekeeping gratuities
  • cocktails, wine other than that served with meals 

PAYMENT

 

You must be a CAA member to register (and can bring one guest for a double room).

Deposit required immediately.

Balance required by March 14, 2024.

 

Double room (for two individuals)    

Trip cost: € 6,560 / $ 7,200   

Deposit (due w/registration): € 1,300 / $ 1,450

   

Single room (for one individual)

Trip cost: € 3,830 / $ 4,200

Deposit: € 775 / $ 850

 

CANCELLATION/REFUNDS

 

Cancellation 

Until March 5, 2024: loss of deposit.

 

Cancellation March 6 – April 3, 2024: 

loss of 50 percent of trip cost.

 

Cancellation April 4, 2024 till departure: 

loss of 100 percent of trip cost.

Cancellations should be made to Ken Jablon (212/799-9525).   

 

OPTIONAL

 

Additional night before tour starts at

Aston La Scala, Nice:  

Double room (for two; park view)  

€ 265 / $ 293

Double room for single use (city view) 

€ 200 / $ 221

If interested, please contact Wolfgang Friedl, our tour guide, at office@bel-art.at.

 

THE SMALL PRINT:  Click here  

 

WAIVER

The CAA must receive a signed waiver within three weeks of registering for your reservation to be official.

 

For additional information, please contact         
Ken Jablon.

 

 

PARTICIPANTS

Minimum of 27 participants, maximum of 33

 

Look Who's Coming
(33 as of Monday, February 15 at 1 pm (Eastern)

 

Paul & Ann Brandow (Dover Plains, NY)

Norman & Terri Buchan (Sharon, CT)

Janin & Diane Campos (London, UK)

Wolfgang & Gerlinde Fenkart-Fröschl (Vienna, Austria)

Rainer Franz & Lubomira Slusna-Franz (Vienna, Austria)

Toni Geyelin and Claire Irving (New York, NY)

Ottho Heldring (Towson, MD)

Paul Heller & Ruth Acker (New York, NY)

Ken & Ann Jablon (New York, NY)

Kathy & Mike Jiang (Southlake, TX)

Bob Mitchell (Westport, CT)

Donna Morrell (New York, NY)

Tom & Marianne Reifenheiser (Stamford, CT)

Jean Claude Schaeffer & Myriam Bechter (Luxembourg)

Ed & Mary Tan (Monticello, NY)

Harry & Suzanne Tether (Sunapee, NH)

Eberhard van Wangenheim (Kuesnacht, Switzerland)

Denise Ward (Spring Lake, NJ) and Katie Ward (Rumson, NJ)

Jeanne Warner (Keene, NY)

 

Meet Your Tour Guide, Wolfgang Friedl

I studied Tourism Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business as well as Art History, and Roman Archaeology, first at the University of Naples, then at the Vienna University. In 1996 I founded my Tour Operator company „BEL-ART“, specializing in art and music tours as well as enogastronomical tours.

 
Please be sure that on this tour on the Cote d'Azur and in Provence;you will get so much more then I could ever describe in our brochure and itinerary! The choice of food and wines in our restaurants will follow local traditions. My stories will cover history, art history, local traditions and the southern French way of life. 
I am really looking forward to showing you the best of the south of France  and giving you and your friends lifetime memories!
 
BEL-ART  Tour Operator
Himmelstr. 3
1190 Vienna / Austria
T  +43 1 4406900