MENTON LEMON FESTIVAL
& NICE CARNIVAL
Thursday 28 February 2019
5 days/4 nights
If the Rio Carnival in South America is just too far away for you, we have the perfect place to experience – just a couple of hours away in the South of France! Something different. Something you will LOVE!
Nicknamed the ‘Cité des Citrons’ (City of Lemons), every year Menton in the Alpes-Maritimes celebrates this local product. The Fête du Citron is an event unique in the world, featuring giant designs made exclusively from citrus fruits. The long and narrow Biovès Gardens feature an impressive display of large wire-framed structures and sculptures built from thousands of citrus fruit (lemons, grapefruit and oranges). This dazzling display of sunshine colours requires 15 tonnes of fruit and involves thousands of hours of creation. In 2018 the theme was Bollywood, so what will it be in 2019?
In a unique setting, on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, the elegant ‘Battle of Flowers’ are part of the annual February Carnival. On floats decorated with the most stunning floral compositions, extravagantly dressed characters throw mimosas, gerberas and lilies on to the streets. Giant figurines made from traditional papier-mâché, perform during a colourful parade along with street theatre and music groups from all around the world. In the evening all the floats are illuminated – lighting up the heart of Nice and its French Riviera promenade. You won’t have to stand around though, as we have the luxury of Grandstand seats for everything!
So who needs to go to RIO? The Nice Carnival Parade is just fantastic! Made up of 20 huge floats designed on a different theme each year. Life is full of wonder and surprises and this is one of them!
We also visit the Principality of Monaco & Monte Carlo, literally buzzing with French chic! We suggest pre-booking a Hop On, Hop Off Bus Pass which can be used as much as you wish during your time here, but of course you will see so much!
Yet another highlight of this fantastic Short Break is a tour and lunch at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a sumptuous palazzo built on the narrowest part of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat promontory. This is one of the finest listed buildings on the French Riviera, with views over the Bay of Villefranche on one side and the Bay of Beaulieu on the other.
NB. For your comfort, a max of 29 passengers apply to this exclusive Solent Events Tour (the normal maximum being around 50). As this is such a special tour, I advise you to book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!
See the EARLYBIRD PRICE – FOR ALL BOOKINGS TAKEN BEFORE 09 MARCH and the full itinerary below.
Booked before 09 March
£1029pp after 09 March
Luxury Return Coach Travel to
London Gatwick Airport
Only FOUR local pick-ups
Personal Travel Treats
The comfort of a UK Airport Lounge
Return scheduled BA flights
4* Splendid Hotel, Nice
4 nights accommodation
with breakfast & dinner
Lunch and Tour
Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild
All UK and overseas airport taxes
and security charges
French City tax
Optional Monac Hop-on, Hop-off
city bus tour
Excursions as per itinerary
Simply Groups Guide
Solent Events Escort
View the Itinerary
An Exclusive Solent Events Tour!
Day 1 Thursday 28 February 2019
An early departure by luxury executive coach to London Gatwick Airport and the comfort of an airport lounge before our mid-morning flight to Nice on the Cote d’Azur, or French Riviera. Short transfer to the hotel Splendid (approx. 15 minutes)
The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city. Dinner this evening in the hotel.
Day 2 Friday 01 March
Today is dedicated to Menton and the delights and surprises of the 86th Lemon Festival. We travel along the Riviera coast by coach, arriving in Menton in time to experience the Jardin des Biovès, which during the Lemon Festival, is the central stage for an array of static sculptures, covered and spectacularly made from thousands of oranges and lemons! It is a truly amazing sight and is the centre of the Lemon Festival’s activities during this three week period. Thousands of visitors flock to the beautiful coastal town of Menton for this spectacular event which we are privileged to be part of.
There will be free time afterwards for you to explore Menton at your leisure, which has a superb pedestrianised shopping area full of small boutiques and local speciality shops. Take a stroll along the promenade where the Mediterranean Sea laps the shore and where you can enjoy an array of refreshments al fresco in one of the many cafes and restaurants. Later today we return to Nice where your evening meal is included at the hotel.
Day 3 Saturday 02 March
Today we travel by coach to the Principality of Monaco and Monte Carlo where we suggest pre-booking a Hop On, Hop Off Bus Pass which you can use as much as you want to explore the main sights at your own pace. It is possible to explore Monaco on foot but this can involve steep walkways to the old town.
Places to visit: The stunning Oceanographic Museum, The Port, the famous Casino and Gardens, the old town with its ramparts and Princely Palace, the picturesque Place Saint Nicolas and Placette Bosio, the Chapel of Mercy, Palais de Justice and the Cathedral.
Aim to be in the Place du Palais for the changing of the guard, which takes place in front of the Princely Palace daily at 11.55hrs promptly (subject to weather conditions). There is an exceptional panoramic view from the Palace area overlooking the famous marina full of spectacular private yachts. Take time to stroll around the marina and the Monaco Yacht Club, which will give you a different perspective of the town before continuing on to the Casino, which even if only viewed from the outside is a must-see.
Leaving Monaco we return to Nice for an early dinner at the hotel.
Tonight, reserved Grandstand seating is included for the Nice Carnival Parade of Lights – an evening of dazzling colours as well as street theatre and music groups from all over the world. By night, the floats are illuminated and the evening parades light up the heart of Nice city centre.
Day 4 Sunday 03 March
Today we remain in City of Nice where the morning is at leisure to explore this capital of the Riviera, a buzzing city full of culture, excellent restaurants and good shopping. The medieval quarter and the Italianate quarter belie the town’s past as part of Italy. There are also many mansions of the rich & famous which show its past pedigree as one of the most fashionable resorts in Europe. There is also the chance to visit one of the excellent museums or relax with a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais – and do as the French do – watch the world go by!
This afternoon pre-booked grandstand seated tickets are included to one of the main winter events on the Riviera, the Flower Parade or Battle of Flowers as it is also known, an integral part of the Carnival. Today, this event promotes the quality and large variety of Riviera flowers, with 90% of the flowers being grown locally.
From around sixteen flower covered floats, costumed models throw 80 to 100.000 flowers to an enthusiastic crowd : gladioli, tokyos, mimosas, gerberas, daisies, roses, carnations. Dinner is at your leisure tonight.
Day 5 Monday 04 March
Check out of the hotel this morning, but our tour does not end here!
Our first visit today is to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (entrance, audio guide and a light lunch with wine and coffee are included). Built on the narrowest part of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat promontory this sumptuous palazzo, one of the finest listed buildings on the French Riviera, has views over the Bay of Villefranche on one side and the Bay of Beaulieu on the other. The Villa is surrounded by nine magnificent gardens offering patios, waterfalls, ponds, herbaceous borders, shady paths and rare trees. These are the Florentine, Spanish French, Exotic, Japanese, Stone and Provencal gardens.
Suitably refreshed, this afternoon we continue in to the hills of the Cote d’Azur, to the picturesque town of St-Paul de Vence, where medieval walls encircle narrow streets and capture the heritage of more than a thousand years. The fountain at the heart of the village fills St-Paul’s medieval vaults with music. It is well-known as a haven for artists from all schools, who rub shoulders with their illustrious peers including Folon, Tobiasse, César and Niky de Saint-Phalle. The village is an open-air gallery with artists at work in their studios and staging exciting exhibitions. Your time here is free to explore at your leisure, or you might even enjoy a game of Provençal “boules” (pétanque), which you can hire from the Tourist Office and which is played on the hard sand square dappled in shade. Sounds like a plan!
Return to Nice Airport for check-in around 17.20hrs for your London flight home at 19.20hrs.
Arrive Gatwick airport at 20.20hrs for our waiting coach transfer home.
Arrive home area approximately 2300hrs.