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7-Day Romance Of The Rivieras

8 Day Cruise from £3,699 pp  

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Seabourn 8 Day Cruise on Seabourn Encore, Seabourn from £3,699 pp  

Departure 18 July 2020 | 7-Day Romance Of The Rivieras

Fares are cruise-only unless otherwise stated. Contact us to add flights and tailor-make your holiday.

Destinations

  • Barcelona
  • Ciudadela De Menorca
  • Le Lavandou
  • Monte-Carlo
  • Saint-Tropez
  • Bastia
  • Portovenere
  • Civitavecchia

7-Day Romance Of The Rivieras

from £3,699 pp
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Day by day itinerary

Day 1 — Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

The infinite variety of street life, the nooks and crannies of the medieval Barri Gòtic, the ceramic tile and stained glass of Art Nouveau facades, the art and music, the throb of street life, the food (ah, the food!)—one way or another, Barcelona will find a way to get your full attention. The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafés and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. A stroll along La Rambla and through waterfront Barceloneta, as well as a tour of Gaudí's majestic Sagrada Famíliaand his other unique creations, are part of a visit to Spain's second-largest city. Modern art museums and chic shops call for attention, too. Barcelona's vibe stays lively well into the night, when you can linger over regional wine and cuisine at buzzing tapas bars.
Day 2 — Ciudadela De Menorca
Day 3 — Le Lavandou
Day 4 — Monte-Carlo
Harbor of Monte Carlo, Monaco

Harbor of Monte Carlo, Monaco

On one of the best stretches of the Mediterranean, this classic luxury destination is one of the most sought-after addresses in the world. With all the high-rise towers you have to look hard to find the Belle Époque grace of yesteryear. But if you head to the town's great 1864 landmark Hôtel de Paris—still a veritable crossroads of the buffed and befurred Euro-gentry—or enjoy a grand bouffe at its famous Louis XV restaurant, or attend the opera, or visit the ballrooms of the casino, you may still be able to conjure up Monaco's elegant past. Prince Albert II, a political science graduate from Amherst College, traces his ancestry to Otto Canella, who was born in 1070. The Grimaldi dynasty began with Otto's great-great-great-grandson, Francesco Grimaldi, also known as Frank the Rogue. Expelled from Genoa, Frank and his cronies disguised themselves as monks and in 1297 seized the fortified medieval town known today as Le Rocher (the Rock). Except for a short break under Napoléon, the Grimaldis have been here ever since, which makes them the oldest reigning family in Europe. In the 1850s a Grimaldi named Charles III made a decision that turned the Rock into a giant blue chip. Needing revenue but not wanting to impose additional taxes on his subjects, he contracted with a company to open a gambling facility. The first spin of the roulette wheel was on December 14, 1856. There was no easy way to reach Monaco then—no carriage roads or railroads—so no one came. Between March 15 and March 20, 1857, one person entered the casino—and won two francs. In 1868, however, the railroad reached Monaco, and it was filled with Englishmen who came to escape the London fog. The effects were immediate. Profits were so great that Charles eventually abolished all direct taxes. Almost overnight, a threadbare principality became an elegant watering hole for European society. Dukes (and their mistresses) and duchesses (and their gigolos) danced and dined their way through a world of spinning roulette wheels and bubbling champagne—preening themselves for nights at the opera, where such artists as Vaslav Nijinsky, Sarah Bernhardt, and Enrico Caruso came to perform. Along with the tax system, its sensational position on a broad, steep peninsula that bulges into the Mediterranean—its harbor sparkling with luxury cruisers, its posh mansions angling awnings toward the nearly perpetual sun—continues to draw the rich and famous. One of the latest French celebrities to declare himself "Monégasque," thus giving up his French passport, is superchef Alain Ducasse, who said that he made the choice out of affection for Monaco rather than tax reasons. Pleasure boats vie with luxury cruisers in their brash beauty and Titanic scale, and teams of handsome young men—themselves dyed blond and tanned to match—scour and polish every gleaming surface. As you might expect, all this glitz doesn't come cheap. Eating is expensive, and even the most modest hotels cost more here than in nearby Nice or Menton. As for taxis, they don't even have meters so you are completely at the driver's mercy (with prices skyrocketing during events such as the Grand Prix). For the frugal, Monaco is the ultimate day-trip, although parking is as coveted as a room with a view. At the very least you can afford a coffee at Starbucks. The harbor district, known as La Condamine, connects the new quarter, officially known as Monte Carlo with Monaco-Ville (or Le Rocher), a medieval town on the Rock, topped by the palace, the cathedral, and the Oceanography Museum. Have no fear that you'll need to climb countless steps to get to Monaco-Ville, as there are plenty of elevators and escalators climbing the steep cliffs. But shuttling between the lovely casino grounds of Monte Carlo and Old Monaco, separated by a vast port, is a daunting proposition for ordinary mortals without wings, so hop on the No. 1 bus from Saint Roman, or No. 2 from the Jardin Exotique - Both stop at Place du Casino and come up to Monaco Ville.
Day 5 — Saint-Tropez
At first glance, it really doesn't look all that impressive. There's a pretty port with cafés charging €5 for a coffee and a picturesque old town in sugared-almond hues, but there are many prettier in the hills nearby. There are sandy beaches, rare enough on the Riviera, and old-fashioned squares with plane trees and pétanque players, but these are a dime a dozen throughout Provence. So what made St-Tropez an internationally known locale? Two words: Brigitte Bardot. When this pulpeuse (voluptuous) teenager showed up in St-Tropez on the arm of Roger Vadim in 1956 to film And God Created Woman, the heads of the world snapped around. Neither the gentle descriptions of writer Guy de Maupassant (1850–93), nor the watercolor tones of Impressionist Paul Signac (1863–1935), nor the stream of painters who followed (including Matisse and Bonnard) could focus the world's attention on this seaside hamlet as did this one sensual woman in a scarf, Ray-Bans, and capris. Vanity Fair ran a big article, "Saint Tropez Babylon," detailing the over-the-top petrodollar parties, megayachts, and Beyoncé–d paparazzi. But don't be turned off: the next year, Stewart, Tabori & Chang released an elegant coffee-table book, Houses of St-Tropez, packed with photos of supremely tasteful and pretty residences, many occupied by fashion designers, artists, and writers. Once a hangout for Colette, Anaïs Nin, and Françoise Sagan, the town still earns its old moniker, the "Montparnasse of the Mediterranean." Yet you might be surprised to find that this byword for billionaires is so small and insulated. The lack of train service, casinos, and chain hotels keeps it that way. Yet fame, in a sense, came too fast for St-Trop. Unlike the chic resorts farther east, it didn't have the decades-old reputation of the sort that would attract visitors all year around. For a good reason: its location on the south side of the gulf puts it at the mercy of the terrible mistral winter winds. So, in summer the crowds descend and the prices rise into the stratosphere. In July and August, you must be carefree about the sordid matter of cash. After all, at the most Dionysian nightclub in town, a glass of tap water goes for $37 and when the mojo really gets going, billionaires think nothing of "champagne-spraying" the partying crowds—think World Series celebrations but with $1,000 bottles of Roederer Cristal instead of Gatorade. Complaining about summer crowds, overpricing, and lack of customer service has become a tourist sport and yet this is what makes St-Tropez—described by the French daily newspaper Le Figaro as the place you can see "the greatest number of faces per square meter"—as intriguing as it is seductive.
Day 6 — Bastia
Corsica's northern capital, Bastia, is the centre of commerce and industry and a thriving freight and passenger port. Commerce, more than tourism, is its main focus, providing employment for many Corsicans. Bastia's industrial sprawl, however, is offset by its aged charm. The presence of an overwhelming Italian atmosphere adds to the city's attraction. Two distinct areas comprise the city: Terra Vecchia, the old quarter, consisting of haphazard streets, flamboyant Baroque churches and lofty tenements, with their crumbling golden-grey walls set against a backdrop of fire-darkened hills; and the more orderly Terra Nova, the historic district favoured by prominent doctors, lawyers and architects. The city dates from Roman times, when a base was set up at Biguglia to the south. Under the Genoese, Bastia was the island's capital for four centuries and of major importance for the export of wine to the Italian mainland. They built a fortress (bastiglia), which gave the town its name. The Genoese also were responsible for laying the foundation for the area's prosperity by planting vines, olives, chestnut trees and other experimental crops. This resulted in an energetic and enterprising region, still a characteristic of today's northern Corsica. Although Napoleon had appointed Ajaccio the capital of the island in 1811- initiating a rivalry that still exists - Bastia established a stronger trading position with mainland France. As a result, the Nouveau Port was created in 1862 to cope with the increasing traffic with France and Italy. Bastia's economic prominence and a German division based here during World War II accounted for severe bombing attacks. Many buildings were destroyed, including much of the old governor's palace. Of the two largest towns on the island, Ajaccio and Bastia, the latter boasts a more genuine Corsican character. Visitors can experience an authentic feel of island life by wandering through the maze of narrow streets of Bastia's old quarter and by exploring its fortifications. Don't miss the vast Place Saint-Nicolas just north of the old quarter; it is the focal point of the city. Open to the sea and lined with shady trees and sidewalk cafes, it is a perfect place for people watching and for taking in the local ambiance. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at the port of Bastia. The city's focal point, Place Saint-Nicolas, is a distance of 650 feet (200 metres) to walk. Taxis are generally available at the pier but it is highly recommended to book in advance if you want to be sure to get one. It is recommended to establish the fare before leaving the port. Shopping The main shopping streets, Boulevard Paoli and Rue Cesar Campinchi, are less than one half miles (500 metres) from the port terminal. Handicrafts and the area's specialties such as honey, wine and liqueurs may be of interest. Most shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Shops are closed for the day on Sundays and some shops may also close Monday mornings (some souvenirs shops may open Sundays during the high season of July-August). The local currency is the euro. Cuisine A variety of restaurants offer a good choice of eating possibilities. Some of the best restaurants are found around the Vieux Port and on the Quai des Martyrs. French cuisine and seafood feature prominently on menus as well as such Corsican specialties as wild boar, charcuterie and aziminu, a local version of bouillabaisse. Evidence of Bastia's strong Italian influence is apparent in the numerous pizza and pasta places in the Nouveau Port area. For outdoor dining and people watching, cafes around lively Place Saint-Nicolas are a perfect place. Other Sites Oratoire de Saint-Roch Located in the Terra Vecchia quarter, the chapel is a Genoese Baroque extravaganza built in 1604. The walls are covered with finely carved wooden panelling and the organ is magnificent with its decoration of gilt and wooden sculpture. Oratoire de L'Immaculee Conception Although its exterior is rather austere, the flamboyant interior of this 17th-century church with gilt and marble ceiling, frescoes and crystal chandeliers creates an ambiance of an opera house. Vieux Port Site of the original Porto Prado, the area around the Vieux Port is the most appealing part of town. Its soaring houses seem to bend inwards towards the water. Once busy with Genoese traders, the building of the ferry terminal and commercial docks have reduced much of the action at Vieux Port. Terra Nova As the administrative core of old Bastia, Terra Nova displays a distinct air of affluence. Its most impressive building is the 14th-century Governor's Palace. During the Genoese heyday the governor and the bishop lived here, entertaining foreign dignitaries and hosting massive parties. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board, subject to the availability of English-speaking guides.
Day 7 — Portovenere
The colorful facades and pedestrians-only calata (promenade) make Portovenere the quintessential Ligurian seaside village. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its harbor is lined with tall, thin "terratetto" houses that date from as far back as the 11th century and are connected in a wall-like formation to protect against attacks by the Pisans and local pirates. Its tiny, carruggi (alley-like passageways) lead to an array of charming shops, homes, and gardens and eventually to the village's impressive Castle Doria high on the olive tree covered hill. To the west standing guard over the Mediterranean is the picturesque medieval Chiesa di San Pietro, once the site of a temple to Venus (Venere in Italian), from which Portovenere gets its name. Nearby, in a rocky area leading to the sea, is Byron's Cave, a favorite spot that the poet loved to swim out into the sea from.
Day 8 — Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia Boats

Civitavecchia Boats

Italy's vibrant capital lives in the present, but no other city on earth evokes its past so powerfully. For over 2,500 years, emperors, popes, artists, and common citizens have left their mark here. Archaeological remains from ancient Rome, art-stuffed churches, and the treasures of Vatican City vie for your attention, but Rome is also a wonderful place to practice the Italian-perfected il dolce far niente, the sweet art of idleness. Your most memorable experiences may include sitting at a caffè in the Campo de' Fiori or strolling in a beguiling piazza.

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