French Riviera Discovery Tour



Print page

Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Coastal
  • Hills & moorland
  • History

Holiday overview

To the east of Monaco, the pastel-shaded, palm-lined seaside town of Menton is within walking distance of the Italian border. Framed by lush gardens and lemon groves, Menton has a pretty pebbled beach and a charming old town. 

Holiday Highlights: 

  • ‘Perched’ villages clinging to the hillside
  • Monte Carlo and Monaco
  • Cap Ferrat and the marvellous Ephrussi villa
  • Medieval Italian villages and Hanbury Gardens

Great Reasons to Join Us:

  • Great value: all prices include ensuite half-board accommodation, plus five days sightseeing with plenty of stops at places of interest and short walks of up to 2.5 miles.
  • Expert leader: take in the beauty and history of this area of France with your knowledgeable leader
  • Accommodation: enjoy good quality accommodation and excellent food at our hotel in Menton
  • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the sociable atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together, relax together

In pictures...


Hotel-Balmoral, Menton, France

The 3-star Hotel Balmoral occupies a seafront position in the centre of Menton. The 69 en-suite rooms overlook either the pedestrianised shopping area or the promenade and sea. There is a pleasant sun room and an outside area with small terrace with seating and garden areas. There is pedestrian access from the garden area to the promenade du Soleil.


Your room

All rooms are en-suite with
  • Shower
  • Air conditioning
  • Hairdryer
  • Telephone
  • Satellite TV
  • Safe
  • WiFi
Hotel-Balmoral, an example of one of their bedroom


Hotel-Balmoral Garden The Hotel has an elegant dining room which is light and airy, offering sea views. There's a small garden fronting the Promenade with a sun terrace and bar with piano.

A laundry service is available and an ironing room is available to guests. 

Internet access is available in the reception area.

There is an entertainment programme at this hotel and the sister hotel, Hotel Westminster, a few minutes' walk away.


Our holidays at Hotel Balmoral are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.

This hotel offers a self-service continental buffet breakfast plus porridge and boiled eggs.

Evening meal
The evening meal is a mixture of French and international dishes. It is important that guests with special dietary requirements. Including vegetarians, let our reservations team know before they travel.
The hotel has a well-stocked bar open on the terrace serving beer, wine and spirits.

Lunch (payable locally)
Ingredients for your picnic lunch can be bought from local shops; your leaders will advise you of the options.
Hotel-Balmoral outdoor dining (weather permitting)

Your evenings

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before your evening meal with your fellow guests.

On most evenings you will be able to take advantage of the hotel's entertainment programme.

Your leader will also be checking for any local events going on nearby.

The hotel's location is ideal for a leisurely stroll into the old town, where you can watch the world go by and soak up the atmosphere with a relaxing drink at one of the pavement café bars. Or you may like to relax on the terrace or in the bar, with a drink and chat.


During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. this is the proposed programme, but our HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather or local opening times or the wishes of the group.

Spend a day getting to know this delightful town; we will visit Old Menton, the local market, and the Jardin Botanique de val Rahmeh. We’ll see why the town is known as the ‘city of flowers’. 

Cap Ferrat
A scenic train journey takes us to Beaulieu sur Mer along the coast. A gentle promenade walk on the seafront will show us sculptures and wealthy villas towards Cap Ferrat. A highlight is a visit to the Ephrussi Villa and Gardens at the narrowest part of the Cap Ferrat peninsula, overlooking the bays of Villefranche and Beaulieu-sur-Mer. 

‘Perched villages’
Saint Agnes, the highest coastal village, La Turbie and Eze are all ‘perched’ villages clinging to hillsides, and they all offer wonderful coastal views. We’ll visit a local market and perhaps visit a perfumery in Eze. 

Ventimiglia and Hanbury Gardens
We journey across the border into Italy for the famous Friday market at Ventimiglia, see medieval villages of Dulce Aqua and Apricale, and another highlight is the Hanbury Gardens at Mortola. 

Monte Carlo and Monaco
Enjoy the scenery and sights of one of the richest yet smallest sovereign city states. There will be time to see the old town, cathedral, harbour, casino. There will also be free time to explore this fascinating city. 

Holiday information

All transport relevant to the itinerary (hired minibus or local transport) is included in the price of your holiday, but for flexibility we do not include entrances, or optional cable car rides (allow €40 per person).

Discovery holidays involve active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet. Optional short walks of approximately 2½ miles allow you to stretch your legs and see the best of the local scenery. 

Free day – on our 7 night holidays we allow one free day where there is no organised excursion. This is an ideal opportunity for you to relax, enjoy the hotel facilities or explore independently. 

Local area

An introduction to the area

To the east of Monaco, the pastel-shaded, palm-lined seaside town of Menton is within walking distance of the Italian border. Bordered by lush gardens and lemon groves, Menton has a pretty pebbled beach and a charming old town. Overall, it’s a lot less touristy than other spots on the Côte d’Azur and is known as the most relaxed destination in the area, retaining something of the elegant British atmosphere left by visitors such as Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill and Noel Coward. It is also warmer, thanks to the surrounding hills, which trap the warm air from the Mediterranean within the town, Menton is said to have the highest temperatures on the coast; the  subtropical microclimate means 316 cloudless days a year.

Local highlights

Menton - It is not necessary to travel far on your free day as a relaxing time could be spent exploring the many gardens, museums and boutiques of Menton itself. Benefiting from the sub-tropical microclimate, Menton boasts many exquisite gardens and parks, some planted by English botanists in the early 19th century. The most spectacular is the Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden, a park of green, lush, near-jungle vegetation which features more than 700 species of weird and wonderful tropical plants. Also worth a visit is the Citrus Garden of the Palais Carnolès which surrounds the one time summer residence of the Princes of Monaco. There are also many museums in the town, including the Jean Cocteau Museum and the Pre-historic Musuem. Alternatively just enjoy the town’s colourful quay, shops, cafés and long seaside promenade.

Nice -  It might be a cliché to say Nice has something for everyone, but the Côte d’Azur’s cosmopolitan capital pretty much does. Apart from the sun worshippers, there are major museums for art aficionados, and archeological fans can visit the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum. If you just feel like just sauntering about, the romantic old town offers secret passages, colourful flower markets and antique fairs. Nice can be reached on the train from Menton.

San Remo and the Italian Riviera - Basking on the Riviera dei Fiori, so named for the area’s flower-growing industry, San Remo is known as the ‘City of Flowers’. Hothouses surround the city, exporting carnations, roses, buttercups and other blooms across Europe and beyond.

San Remo (locally spelt Sanremo) flourished in the 19th century as a resort for Europe’s high society, particularly from Russia. Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna (mother of the last tsar, Nicholas II) once held court here, and the remarkable onion-dome church remains as a reminder of its halcyon days. The ancient heart of San Remo, La Pigna (meaning ‘Pine Cone’), is a tight cluster of streets just north of Corso Matteotti, San Remo’s main strip. San Remo can be reached on the train from Menton.

Shops & facilities:

There are good mini-markets near the hotel on the main street which stock a selection of food for picnic lunches. The pedestrian area of the old town with its souvenir, art, pottery and jewellery shops is a short walk from the hotel. There are plenty of banks with exchange facilities along Rue Partouneaux. Barclays Bank (39 av Félix Faure) has an automatic exchange machine outside. Crédit Lyonnais (av Boyer) is two doors down from the tourist office and has a 24-hour currency machine outside.


We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.



Travel by plane


‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick and Manchester flights to Nice airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 1 hour to the Hotel Balmoral.

British Airways plane




Driving to us

‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

  • We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Nice airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £25.00.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £75.00 per single taxi journey?
  • This resort is easily accessible via public transport.

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach

 Coach heading to Glen Coe


John Parkinson

John has led City Breaks, Discovery Tours, Walking holidays, long distance trails, skiing, and sightseeing holidays in the UK and overseas for HF Holidays since 1997. John’s other interests include art, literature and history and he enjoys visiting new places. 

John has been a frequent visitor to Italy since boyhood making many visits and leading many holidays for HF Holidays. As a result of his many visits to Italy he has picked up a useable amount of Italian and is always looking to improve his language skills.



Dates & Prices

We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.

Prices are per person


  • Double room for sole occupancy: £17 per night (2016), £22 per night (2017)
  • Sea view: £12 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

Sign up for our newsletter

Our newsletters are a great way to receive special offers, inspiring articles, stories and news from HF Holidays.

To subscribe, please enter your email address below and click 'submit'.

We won't pass your details on to any third party unless we have your express permission, you are free to unsubscribe at any time.