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Villefranche Art of Southern France Excursion

Villefranche (Nice), France (Excursion ID S2020)

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  • Duration
    4 hours 30 min
  • Activity Level
  • Minimum Age
    All Ages
  • Languages


  • Air-conditioned and licensed round-trip transportation from outside your Villefranche tender pier!
  • Admission and free time at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild art collection!
  • Admission and free time at Le Musee National Marc Chagall!
  • Admission and free time at Le Musee Matisse!
  • Escape the cruise ship shore excursion crowds and enjoy the unique sights of Villefranche and the surrounding area!

This is an excursion for art enthusiasts and those wishing to see something different. Visit 3 of the French Riviera's most famous museums on a self-paced excursion complete with round-trip, air-conditioned transportation from your Villefranche tender pier.

Your driver will be waiting for you just outside the security area shoreside after you arrive at the tender from the ship. This small group excursion only has a maximum of 8 participants. You will depart Villefranche and drive around the bay to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild located in the exclusive Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, approximately 15 minutes away.

The Venetian-style villa was commissioned by Beatrice de Rothschild (yes, those Rothschild's - the prominent French banking family), who had just separated from her husband, Russian-born banker Maurice Ephrussi. She wintered here until her death in 1934. Over the years, she also traveled the world extensively and filled the villa with a vast collection of paintings, many of which are Old Masters, sculptures, objets d'art, rare porcelain, and antique furniture. Upon her death, the Acadamie des Beaux-Arts inherited the villa and art collections with the instructions to open it to the public.

Arriving at the villa, your driver will point out the meeting point before giving you approximately 60 minutes of free time for you to explore the lower floors of the villa and the adjacent gardens. There is a lot to see and photograph! The lower floor rooms include the Porcelain, Chinese, Fragonard, Monkey, Tapestry, and Directoire Rooms along with the Blue Bedroom. The garden's themes include Spanish, French, Florentine, Stone, Japanese, Provencal, Exotic, and a Rose garden. The view from the gardens is incredible.

Just a 20-minute drive away is the historic Cimiez hill district of Nice where you will first visit the Musee National Marc Chagall. The museum opened in 1973 as a joint collaboration between the French Minister of Culture and the artist Chagall himself. You will have the opportunity to view the stained glass windows and mosaics he created specifically for the museum. The collection covers the full breadth of Chagall's work, with over 250 pieces from the original collection including his famous Biblical Message. You will have 45 minutes of free time on your own to admire and contemplate the collection.

Your route will then take you past the Excelsior Regina Palace. The hotel was built in 1897 for Queen Victoria to winter in. The nearby Villa des Arenes, built in 1685 houses artist Henri Matisse's private collection. Matisse lived in Nice from 1917 until his death in 1954 and the collection is some of his favorite pieces. You will have 45 minutes of free time to explore the Le Musee Matisse.

At the end of the visit, you will meet your driver and make the 30-minute drive back to your Villefranche tender pier.

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Villefranche Art of Southern France Excursion Experiences

This excursion is available to everybody and specially designed to accommodate passengers of the following cruise lines

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Villefranche Art of Southern France Excursion Reviews

Visit three of the French Riviera's most popular museums during this self-guided, art-infused afternoon excursion.


3 Reviews

Portland, OR
One of the better tours we have taken
     4/5  (Visited on May 2019)
This was a very interesting tour and we are so glad we booked it. Southern France is a beautiful area and our guide was both knowledgeable and gracious.
Show Management Response

Tempe, Arizona
Easy to fall in love with France
     5/5  (Visited on April 2019)
We were looking for something different to do this time on our cruise. We loved, loved, loved this tour. Educational, entertaining, and one we would highly recommend.
Show Management Response

     5/5  (Visited on May 2016)
this excursion was wonderful, I recommend it if you have an artistic side... Guillaume, our guide, was very informative and knowledgeable about french culture! My favorite place was the Matisse museum where we saw some of his most famous works of art like Femme a l'ombrelle (im not certain if I spelled it correctly). Anyways, thank you Shore Excursioneer for this wonderful recommendation, it was totally worth it! A nice gesture would be to offer soft drinks while on the van!
Show Management Response
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