French Riviera Gardens Tour

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Duration: 8 nights
Interests: Garden Tours

Menton, nicknamed the ‘Pearl of France’, is located on the Cote d’Azur just across from the Ligurian town of Ventimiglia. The diversity of its landscape in combination with its mild climate has made the French Riviera a garden lover’s delight. On this holiday, we’ll discover the gardens of Menton, including Val Rahmeh’s botanical garden and the Serre de la Madone gardens, landscaped by Lawrence Johnstone, creator of Hidcote Manor. Further along the coast we’ll visit the wonderful gardens of the Ephrussi Villa at Cap Ferrat and the Exotic Garden at Monaco, full of subtropical cacti. Across the Italian border, we’ll explore the famous Hanbury gardens at Ventimiglia.

Holiday Highlights

  • Visit the Serre de la Madone Garden originally created by Lawrence Johnston of Hidcote Gardens fame.
  • Explore the superb elevated gardens of Villa Ephrussi Rothschild. 
  • Travel to Italy to see the Gardenesque Style La Mortola Hanbury Garden.
  • Discover the large collection of succulents and cacti at the Jardine Exotica in Monaco.

What’s included

  • Half-Board en-suite accommodation.
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays leader.
  • Full day excursions with all entrance fees and essential transport. '
  • With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers.

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

This morning we visit Lawrence Johnston’s French garden – Serre de la Madone. Johnston is perhaps best known for the Hidcote Gardens in Gloucestershire, but this French ‘cousin’ is still wonderful. Later we return to the town of Menton to visit the Palais Carnoles. This garden has a large collection of citrus trees, a sculpture park and a small museum for us to enjoy. We’ll walk back to the hotel, stopping to view the municipal gardens en route.

A short walk along the promenade brings us to the Val Rahmeh Botanical Gardens. Set on a series of terraces, the garden is filled with sub-tropical plants and several other collections from around the world. Later we travel to Cap Ferrat to visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - a superb garden set on an elevated site with extensive sea views.

A short journey takes us to the Maria Serena garden in Menton. Set only a stone’s throw from the coast, this garden houses a marvellous collection of mature tropical and sub-tropical plants. Later, we’ll hop across the border into Italy to visit the La Mortola Hanbury gardens, created by an English family in the 19th century.

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 the area independently.

Today we travel west to visit the Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez in the bustling city of Nice. Set just above the city, these beautifully-terraced gardens provide respite for visitors and locals alike. You may also wish to join an optional visit to the nearby monastery museum. Later we visit Parc Phoenix, a modern park with a large collection of outdoor plants and one of the largest conservatories of any public garden.

Our holiday ends with a visit to luxurious Monaco. Here, we’ll be exploring the Jardin Exotique with its large collection of succulents and cacti, set in spectacular surroundings above the town. At the bottom of the garden, you’ll find a dramatic limestone cave which is well worth a visit too. Later, we make our way into the town to wander in the perfectly-manicured Casino Gardens, as well as the exquisite Japanese Garden.

Hôtel Le Royal Westminster

The lovingly restored 4-star Hotel Royal Westminster enjoys a lovely position right on the seaside promenade of Menton near to the town centre. This magnificent building sits back from the seafront behind a neatly kept Mediterranean garden.  


There are 92 comfortable en-suite bedrooms, furnished in a simple style. Facilities in each room include air conditioning, hairdryer, satellite television, telephone, free WiFi and a safety deposit box. In common with most European hotels, tea and coffee making facilities are not provided in bedrooms; however hot drinks can be purchased from the hotel bars.


Public rooms include a light and airy restaurant opening onto a terrace. The hotel has a palm tree fringed garden fronting the Promenade du Soleil. Also on the ground floor is a lounge piano bar where music is often played in the evenings. The hotel offers a laundry service and has an ironing room available. There is also a gymnasium, and internet access is available in the billiard room.

Food & Drink

Our hotel has an elegant dining room overlooking the garden.

Breakfast is available from 7.30 till 9.30 and there is a wide choice from a self-select
buffet including fruit juice, cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit salad, cold meats and cheese,
bread, croissants, pain aux raisins and jam.

Lunch – you can buy ingredients for your picnic lunch from a number of local shops in
Menton. On some days it may be possible to visit shops on our walks, or eat in a local
café. Our leaders will advise you of the options.

Evening meal – the Hotel Royal Westminster offers a 4-course evening meal. The main
course is ordered at breakfast from the menu which offers a mixture of French and
international dishes. Water and a good house wine are included with the meal. Tea and
coffee can be purchased separately after the meal. It is important that guests with
special dietary requirements, including vegetarians, let our reservations team know
before you travel.

Your Evenings

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before a leisurely meal, either independently or with your fellow guests.

Your leader will also be checking out for any local events.

Getting to Hôtel Le Royal Westminster

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Suitable, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens.

Jim Hart

Jim Hart has been travelling for many years, across four continents so far. He leads European Special Interest and Guided Walking holidays. When not leading Jim is usually busy researching new tours, with a keen eye to create interesting holidays. He is looking forward to sharing his interests with HF guests.

Guest Reviews

8 nights
Garden Tours

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