South of France to Venice with love…

A romantic journey from the French Riviera to Venice, with love…

Nice, Beaulieu, Monaco, Barolo, Alba, Sirmione, Lake Garda, Asolo, Brenta, Venice and a unique boat trip on the Grand Canal…

La Reserve de Beaulieu - iconic, luxury hotel in Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France
La Reserve de Beaulieu – iconic, luxury hotel in Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France

This is an itinerary that was written for a lovely couple, travelling to France and Italy to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Just one of the many, magical journeys we’ve created for clients over the years at our sister company

Day One – Arrival in Nice, South of France

  • Your dream trip starts here. A private car and driver will be waiting for you as you come into the Arrivals Hall at Nice Cote d’Azur Airport. Drive along the famous Promenade des Anglais, Nice. Named after the British visitors who made Nice famous in the 19th It will take about 45 minutes to reach your hotel in the delightful seaside town of Beaulieu-sur-mer.
  • You’ll see Cap Ferrat, the peninsula sprinkled with luxury villas, once owned by European Royalty. The Rothschild family built a villa here. David Niven the actor lived here until the 1980s. Today Cap Ferrat is amongst the most expensive real estate in the world. The villas are owned by international billionaires.
  • Stay for the next 3 nights at the luxurious La Reserve Hotel, Beaulieu. Classical and elegant rooms, a beautiful garden setting, and right on the water. It is just a short stroll to the main square, port and local shops.
  • A Deluxe Room with garden and sea view awaits you.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, St Jean Cap Ferrat, South of France
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, St Jean Cap Ferrat, South of France

Day Two – French Riviera

  • Breakfast is included in the hotel this morning.
  • There’s a magnificent pool at the hotel, on a terrace over-looking the sea, ideal for a refreshing swim at any time of day.
  • Exploring Beaulieu on foot is essential, it is a charming and very French small town.
  • I’d like to suggest a stroll up to the market square (Place du Marche) this morning to see the fruit and vegetables displayed in a riot of beautiful colour. There are several cafes lining the square and it is just so Mediterranean to enjoy a coffee and watch the shoppers and the vendors in the market.
  • In the late afternoon your driver will pick you up and drive you along the coast for a visit to St Paul de Vence.
  • The village of St Paul de Vence is an artist’s paradise, with cobbled streets, tinkling fountains and numerous small studios. There is time to explore the delightful streets and tiny squares. In the early evening there is usually a game of ‘petanque’ taking place in the small square by the medieval gate. ‘Petanque’ is a game very similar to bowls.
  • Dinner tonight at La Colombe D’Or Restaurant.
  • This restaurant is an institution on the French Riviera. Famous artists used to eat here including Picasso, Chagall, Braque and Miro. Their art still hangs on the walls. Today the restaurant attracts VIPs and film stars. The terrace, house and gardens are filled with exceptional art – including sculptural mobiles by Alexander Calder.
  • Your driver will be waiting to drive you back to the hotel for the night.

How lovely….

Day Three – French Riviera and Monaco

  • A gentle stroll along the coast to the neighbouring village of St Jean Cap Ferrat gives you wonderful views of the sea and a first-hand glimpse of David Niven’s former home.
  • On Cap Ferrat is the magnificent Villa Ephrussi Rothschild, built in the early 1900s by Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild. The house has incredible views of the sea and there are nine gardens each with a different theme.
  • This afternoon your driver will pick you at the hotel and drive you into the hills behind the coast – to enjoy the fabulous views from La Corniche (the spectacular coast road). This is the area where the famous Grace Kelly movie ‘To Catch a Thief’ was filmed. Watch out for Grace in an open top sports car! Enjoy the incredible views from La Turbie and Eze Village, before dropping down into Monaco. Stop for coffee or a glass of wine in the famous Casino Square, Monaco.
Monaco - panoramic view with Fontveille in the foreground
Monaco – panoramic view with Fontveille in the foreground

Grace Kelly in 'To Catch a Thief' 1955 helped to make the French Riviera an iconic destination
Grace Kelly in ‘To Catch a Thief’ 1955 helped to make the French Riviera an iconic destination

Day Four – Drive east into Italy – Alba, Barolo, La Morra

  • Your driver will present himself at the hotel at about 10.30 AM this morning to drive you from France into Italy.
  • Proceed into Italy and drive along the coast road towards Savona. Then head into the countryside to the famous wine country of Barolo.
  • Stay tonight in the heart of the rolling countryside of Barolo, Italy’s ‘big red wine’ country. You are staying tonight in a charming rural B & B. A very comfortable ‘bed & breakfast’ property. Two nights in a spacious double room.

Day Five – Italy’s Big Red Wine Country

  • A leisurely start this morning.
  • Breakfast is included at the B & B this morning. This area is famed for farming and the quality of the local products. The hazelnuts grown here are said to be the finest in Italy. There will be various home-made preserves and jams at breakfast.
  • Your car and driver will take you on a local tour to the so-called Cathedral of Wine Cellars located in the village of Canelli. Visit the enormous wine cellars with their centuries old oak barrels and learn about the fascinating history of wine-making.
  • Barolo is home to some of the finest red wines in Italy, it is also an area of farming and hazelnut production. The hills are filled with vineyards on one side and hazelnut trees on the other. This is the area that ‘nutella’ comes from – the famous delicious chocolate spread. The Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Factory is located nearby in Torino.
  • Explore the historic town of Alba, famed for the annual truffle auction. Chefs travel here from around the world to purchase the finest and most aromatic truffles for use in restaurants as far flung as Sydney, New York and Los Angeles.
  • This evening is at leisure at your rural bed & breakfast

The village of Barolo is a centre of fine, red-wine making. The vineyards are manicured daily – see below!

Barolo, in the heart of Italy's big red wine region
Barolo, in the heart of Italy’s big red wine region
Barolo and its castle, Piedmonte, Italy
Barolo and its castle, Piedmonte, Italy

Day Six – Barolo – Alba – Lake Garda – Villa Cordevigo

  • After breakfast set off with your car and driver – travelling north-east towards Lake Garda and the fairytale castle of Sirmione.
  • At the southern end of Lake Garda is the medieval town of Sirmione. This is a great place to explore. The Castle is built right on the water’s edge and even has it’s own private dock. Visit the castle, stroll through the streets. It is like stepping back in time. Then in the early afternoon there’s a private boat ride on the lake just for you.
  • You’ll see the villa that the opera singer lived in for many years. She was the lover of Aristotle Onassis and when Onassis married Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas was devastated and lived the life of a semi-recluse in this fabulous and yet lonely, villa.
  • From Garda and Sirmione it is just a short drive to Villa Cordevigo, your home for the next two nights. This really is the place to relax and unwind. Your own private estate in Italy.
The Castle of the Scaligieri dominates the small medieval town of Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
The Castle of the Scaligieri dominates the small medieval town of Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy

Day Seven – Relax in the countryside at the Villa Cordevigo

  • A delicious breakfast is included at the Villa Cordevigo this morning.
  • Your car and driver will arrive to take you into nearby Verona.
  • You are just thirty minutes from Verona, where we will arrange a private tour with a local guide. Verona is the city of Romeo and Juliet, the city of romance.
  • Meet your local guide Maria Pia for a 2-hour walking tour of Verona. You’ll see the historic centre of the city, spectacular Roman amphitheatre, used every summer for an international Opera Festival featuring productions of Carmen, Aida and La Traviata. Then it is just a short walk to Juliet’s Balcony, the legendary site of Romeo and Juliet’s courtship in Shakespeare’s famous romantic tragedy.
  • Your tour ends and your driver will take you back to Villa Cordevigo.
  • Dinner is booked for you in the Oseleta Restaurant, Villa Cordevigo, with our compliments. Here the chef has a Michelin star. His name is Giuseppe D’Aquino, he is from Naples and allows the enthusiasm and sunshine of Southern Italy to inspire his food. This is a gastronomic treat.

Villa Cordevigo, hotel, gardens and vineyards. This is a heavenly location.

Villa Cordevigo – a fabulous country house hotel near Verona, Italy

Day Eight – Drive east from Villa Cordevigo through the hills to Asolo

  • A delicious breakfast is included at the Villa Cordevigo this morning.
  • Then it is time to travel east through the green countryside of the Veneto to Asolo. An exquisite small town in the foothills of the Alps. A great spot for lunch and a gentle walk. Asolo is known as ‘The City of Women’. The exiled Queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro lived here in the castle in the 15th The actress Eleanora Duse lived here for many years in the 19th century. Then from 1970 until her death in the 1990s Freya Stark the British travel writer lived here. It really is a town of inspiration.
  • This afternoon a visit to Villa Maser (Villa Barbaro) is included to see the exceptional Palladian villa built in the 1560s. The architect was Andrea Palladio. The interior decorator was Paolo Veronese. This is a ‘must see’ for Trudy. The frescoes painted by Veronese are bright and charming, filled with colour and humour! Imagine having Veronese as your house decorator. It is the same as having Leonardo da Vinci painting your front room!!!
  • From Barbaro it is a 40 minute drive to the Villa Franceschi on the Brenta Canal.
  • As you drive through the Venetian countryside you’ll spot numerous historic houses, built by Venetian nobility as country residences for their families. Villa Emo at Fanzolo is another wonderful property.
  • Stay for 3 nights at Villa Franceschi historic house hotel where a Double room in the historic palace is reserved for you. A fragrance free room has been requested. The hotel is located next to the Navaglio di Brenta.
The Maze at Villa Pisani is so difficult they have a tower in the centre with a spotter stationed at the top to help explorers. After all it would be terrible to have tourists lost forever in the maze!

Day Nine – Brenta Canal, Dolo, Mira Porte

  • An elegant breakfast is included at the Villa Franceschi this morning.
  • Take the opportunity to explore the gardens and the scenic waterfront location.
  • Then your car and driver will arrive and take you for a tour along the Brenta Canal from Mira Porte towards Fusina and one of Palladio’s finest villas. You will see Villa Malcontenta, a superb example of a Palladian Villa – located right on the edge of the Brenta. There’s a very famous story associated with the villa that you’ll hear!
  • Then proceed to Dolo, inspiration to Canaletto, the painter., where the ‘water mill’ painted by Canaletto in the 1740s is still functioning today.
  • Next it is Villa Pisani, one of the largest and most imposing villas on the Brenta.
  • Villa Pisani has a wonderful, and very tricky maze in the garden, if you are feeling adventurous. Napoloen was so impressed with Villa Pisani he seized it and gave it to his son-in-law!
  • Evening free at Villa Franceschi. I’d strongly recommend dinner in the restaurant – the food is delicious here! Remigio, the chef and owner of Villa Franceschi is a wonderful chef and a very, very nice man.

Day Ten – Venice

  • An elegant breakfast is included at the Villa Franceschi this morning.
  • A special surprise has been arranged for you. The special surprise is a private boat tour through Venice, starting with The Grand Canal. A short drive across the causeway leads you to the threshold of Venice, this majestic city that lies marooned between land and sea. Today as you cruise along the Grand Canal admiring the palaces and galleries of Venice you are the film star in your own movie.
  • An exquisite day of beauty, elegance and memories await.
Trudy Dujardin, Grand Canal, Venice - enjoying experience
Trudy Dujardin, Grand Canal, Venice – enjoying experience
Grand Canal - Venice enjoying the experience.
Grand Canal – Venice enjoying the experience.
  • Trudy Dujardin approaching the Rialto Bridge - enjoying experience
    Trudy Dujardin approaching the Rialto Bridge – enjoying experience

    Trudy Dujardin stylish in Hermes, Venice - enjoying experience
    Trudy Dujardin stylish in Hermes, Venice – enjoying experience

    Day Eleven – Time to go home!

    • Sadly your European adventure has come to an end.
    • Just one more diving al fresco breakfast before heading to the airport.
    • A chauffeur driven car will whisk you to the airport.
    Venice - quintessential Venice where land meets sea
    Venice – quintessential Venice where land meets sea

    Your route through France and Italy:

    From South of France to Venice with love...
    From South of France to Venice with love…

    Tour created by Janet at

    This Southern France and Italy Tour includes:

    10 nights accommodation in beautiful and luxurious country house hotels:

    • 3 nights French Riviera – luxury hotel
    • 2 nights Alba area staying at historic Bed & Breakfast
    • 2 nights close to Lake Garda at fabulous country house hotel
    • 3 nights on the Riviera del Brenta, Venice at historic Villa Franceschi
    • All excellent and unique properties, with style and a very warm welcome.
    • Breakfast is included daily
    • Arrival transfer with private car & driver from Nice Airport to Beaulieu sur mer

    Private car and driver services – Mercedes Saloon Car with friendly, professional driver:

    • Arrival transfer from Nice to Beaulieu sur mer
    • Local sight-seeing in the South of France (1 half day)
    • Touring from France to Italy via Monaco to Barolo wine region
    • Touring in Italy Barolo wine region, Cannelli, Relais San Maurizio
    • Touring Relais Montemarino to Villa Cordevigo via Sirmione (Lake Garda)
    • Local sight-seeing in and around Lake Garda
    • Trip into Verona for city tour with local guide (half day)
    • Touring to Asolo and on to Villa Franceschi
    • Local driver services in and around Villa Franceschi (Brenta Canal)
    • Departure transfer from Villa Franceschi to Airport

    Meals, Sight-seeing, Special visits

    • Buffet style breakfast is included daily
    • Champagne on arrival at La Reserve.
    • Dinner reservation at La Colombe d’Or, St Paul de Vence
    • Touring to Eze Village, La Turbie and Monaco
    • Short Tour and Coffee stop in Monaco at Café de Paris
    • Vineyard Visit in Barolo and Tour of Wine Cellars at Canelli
    • Boat trip on Lake Garda at Sirmione with private boat
    • Villa Cordevigo dinner in L’Oseleta Restaurant with our compliments
    • Walking tour in Verona, City of Romeo and Juliet with local guide
    • Short tour of Asolo including visit to Villa Barbaro (Maser) to see the frescoes
    • Visit Villa Pisani (Nazionale) on the Brenta Canal.
    • Enjoy coffee at the Old Mill at Dolo
    • A special surprise when staying on the River Brenta, twenty minutes from Venice.


    • This tour was devised and written by Janet Simmonds.
    • My contact details:
    • Prepared especially for valued clients and great friends Trudy Dujardin and Frank Fasanella.
    • Note – Trudy runs an interior design business in Connecticut and Nantucket, USA. It was a pleasure to work with a person with such a strong awareness of colour, style and design. Trudy’s enthusiasm for the colours and flavours of Southern France & Italy was a joy to behold.
    • Trudy’s interior design business: Dujardin Design
    • Trudy’s Blog: Trudy’s ‘Holistic House’ blog

    I write extensively on Italy, France, The Alps. You may enjoy the following articles. There are many more…

    • Published – 18th August, 2018
    • Updated – 12th September, 2018
    • Updated – 12th March, 2021

    2 thoughts on “South of France to Venice with love…

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