France, England
Visiting the French Riviera, Provence, the Dordogne, Bordeaux and London for the Chelsea Flower Show

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DAY 1 Sunday May 4, 2014 Departure 
Our holiday begins with an Emirates Airlines flight to Nice.

DAY 2 Monday May 5, 2014 French Riviera 
We arrive in Nice early afternoon, where we are met by a private coach and transferred to our hotel in the gorgeous village of Villefranche-sur-Mer, just along the coast from Nice. Helen and the tour manager will help you settle in and the rest of the day is free for relaxation and individual exploration.

DAY 3 Tuesday May 6, 2014 French Riviera 
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour, with a local guide, of the main sights of the French Riviera. After exploring the narrow picturesque streets of Nice, the capital of the Cote d’Azur, we’ll drive along the Grand Corniche, with its spectacular views of the ocean and cliffs, on our way to Monte Carlo, famous for its casino and Monaco’s royal family. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Le Jardin Exotique d’Eze, perched on a high outcrop with the most magnificent views overlooking the sea. This garden, with its wonderful and varied collection of succulents, offers a unique experience, and the little town of Eze is fascinating. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner to meet Helen Young. D

DAY 4 Wednesday May 7, 2014 French Riviera 
Our first visit today is to the private garden of Clos du Peyronnet, set on a hillside overlooking the blue Mediterranean. It is the work of three generations of the Waterfield family, starting in the early 1900s, and is still the home of William Waterfield. Laid out in the Arts and Crafts style, it takes advantage of the warm climate to nurture exotic plants such as South African bulbs and unusual fruit trees. A delightful stairway of successive water pools ends at the sea. In the afternoon Helen will lead the group on a visit to the superb Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. The garden was laid out at the beginning of the 20th century by Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild, a member of the wealthy Rothschild family. Seven gardens laid out around the pink, Venetian-style villa represent a voyage around the world – French, Spanish, Florentine, Japanese and so on – and are furnished with the ‘spoils’ of her travels. The sea views are wonderful and the interiors of the villa are simply beautiful.

DAY 5 Thursday May 8, 2014 Aix-en-Provence
We depart the French Riviera this morning and travel to Chateau Val Joanis for lunch and a wine tasting. This 19th century-style garden was created by Mrs Cecile Chancel from 1978, together with landscape architect Tobbie Loup de Viane. Terraces designed to resemble a French potager garden of the 18th century, combine both ornamental and productive plants. The first terrace mixes vegetables and flowers, the second features roses and the third has ornamental shrubs and fruit trees. A long pergola, submerged in roses and trumpet creeper, runs the full length, while hectares of olives and grapes create the perfect Provencal setting. We continue our journey to Aix-en-Provence. Those wishing to dine together can meet in the lobby where the tour manager will suggest restaurants for dinner.

DAY 6 Friday May 9, 2014 Aix-en-Provence
This morning we have a sightseeing tour of Aix-en-Provence, the old capital of Provence. We tour the Old Town, with its evocative 18th and 19th-century squares, many of them with gorgeous fountains in their centre. We will also see sites associated with the postimpressionist artist, Paul Cezanne, who hailed from the town. This afternoon will be free for individual exploration.

DAY 7 Saturday May 10, 2014 Aix-en-Provence 
We travel this morning to Jardin de la Noria, a modern, private garden designed by noted French designers, Arnaud Maurieres and Eric Ossart. The owners, Mr and Mrs Deparis, commissioned them to transform a hectare of level orchard in the grounds of their farmhouse, called Mas de Licon. The remains of an old noria, or water wheel, determined the hub of the new garden, influenced by the spirit of Islamic paradise gardens. The garden has an oasis-like quality with lush plantings, scented flowers, pools and rills. This is a garden that encourages visitors to wander slowly and sit to enjoy the sculptures and surrender to the delights of the sound of the water, the perfume and colour of the garden. We will have a lunch stop in the attractive medieval city of Uzes. There will be time to browse around the wonderful Saturday market, where you will find a wealth of food and craft items. In the afternoon, we visit the private garden of Les Confines, owned for many years by contemporary landscape designer Dominique Lafourcade. It is famous worldwide for its long, narrow rill, flanked by olive trees in massive terracotta pots, and extensive clipped hedges and topiary. This Italianate garden encompasses many rooms, each with its own character. Its most recent addition is an African room, inspired by Mrs Deparis’ travels there.

DAY 8 Sunday May 11, 2014 Albi 
Today our coach takes us to Albi, stopping on the way to visit the interesting, medieval fortified town of Carcassonne. The outcrop on which it is built, was the main communication route between the Mediterranean and Toulouse. The town of Albi is the birthplace of Toulouse-Lautrec and sits in a beautiful position on the river Tarn. Albi is known for its rosy-red bricks, made from distinctively coloured local clay and used for building everything from bridges spanning the Tarn to private houses and the grand cathedral. The tour manager will meet the group in the lobby to suggest restaurants for dinner.

DAY 9 Monday May 12, 2014 Albi
This morning we will enjoy a city tour with a local guide, seeing the vast St Cecilia’s Cathedral, which dates from 1282, the medieval streets, the busy markets, and we will tour the outstanding Musee Toulouse-Lautrec. From the museum we get a wonderful view over a parterre garden and the river Tarn. This afternoon will be free to explore Albi at your own pace.

DAY 10 Tuesday May 13, 2014 Sarlat la Caneda 
We head north today, driving through the beautiful rolling French countryside to the Dordogne region to stay in Sarlat la Caneda for four nights. The town has all the characteristics of a well-preserved market town of the time of the Ancien Regime. Its narrow medieval streets, gothic and renaissance buildings add to the ambience. The tour manager will recommend local restaurants to soak up a little atmosphere and experience the regional delicacies.

DAY 11 Wednesday May 14, 2014 Sarlat la Caneda 
We start the day with a guided walking tour of this fascinating town, which grew up around the Benedictine abbey founded in the middle of the 9th century. Sarlat reached its peak during the 13th and 14th centuries. There are houses full of charm all over the town, many with attractive courtyards, including Maison de la Boetie, one of the finest renaissance buildings of 1525. The town is host to many interesting fairs and markets and, as Wednesday is the town’s regular market day, you will be able to enjoy it. In the afternoon we travel east to visit the superb Manoir d’Eyrignac. The manor house dates from the 17th century and the elaborate formal garden, originally 18th century, was comprehensively recreated in the 1960s. Elaborate topiary and hedging frame a sequence of rooms and passages that lead to the house. Near the house is a stylised French parterre with sweeping curves of clipped box and soaring Italian cypresses. We return to the hotel late afternoon. Those wishing to dine together tonight can meet in the lobby.

DAY 12 Thursday May 15, 2014 Sarlat la Caneda 
Today is a free day for you to relax and enjoy Sarlat at your own pace.

DAY 13 Friday May 16, 2014 Sarlat la Caneda
Our first visit today is to Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire, at Terrasson, a unique creation that recounts the history of gardens since Roman times in 13 different gardens. Highlights include a green amphitheatre with lovely views over the town, a rose garden of more than 2000 roses, and a fountain walk of many water jets, which spray between trees creating a garden of water. In the afternoon we will travel east to visit the extraordinary Les Jardins de Marqueyssac. On a bastion overlooking the Dordogne River, they have stunning views and present topiary as you have never seen it before. Known as the Italian Garden in Perigord, they feature clipped box cypress and rosemary in wonderful, organic shapes.

DAY 14 Saturday May 17, 2014 Bordeaux 
We travel today through the French countryside to the delightful small town of Saint -Emilion, where we have free time. We continue on to visit Chateau de Vayres. Situated on the banks of the Dordogne River, it dates from the 13th, 14th and 17th centuries. A double flight of steps leads down to the formal French gardens, dotted with impressive clipped yew cones and hedges. Located along the side of the chateau is a medieval-inspired flower garden. Late afternoon we will check into our Bordeaux hotel for a two-night stay. Those wishing to dine together can meet in the lobby, where the tour manager will suggest nearby restaurants.

DAY 15 Sunday May 18, 2014 Bordeaux 
This morning we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Bordeaux. Vieux Bordeaux is the 18th century Old Town that has recently been restored, including buildings used for wine storage, along the river Garonne. We will see the Grand Theatre, one of the finest in France, and the elegant Place du Parlement, where houses have ground floor arcades and a balcony running the whole length of the façade. We also see the Esplanade des Quinconces laid out in the early 19th century. Travelling north of Bordeaux along the Gironde River, where the famed red wines of this region are produced, we visit a winery for a tasting. Helen will fly to London this evening to attend Media Day on Monday, at the Chelsea Flower Show, and obtain a sneak preview of the show gardens to guide us personally on our Thursday visit.

DAY 16 Monday May 19, 2014 London 
The morning will be free to explore Bordeaux, before we travel to the airport in the afternoon to fly to London. On arrival we will be met by our private coach to transfer the group to our London hotel. Helen and the tour manager will suggest local restaurants for dinner and familiarise you with the area, as well as suggesting places to visit in London.

DAY 17 Tuesday May 20, 2014 London 
This morning we meet our London Blue Badge guide for a tour of the main sights of exciting London, such as Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. The afternoon and evening will be free for you to enjoy London’s many attractions as you choose.

DAY 18 Wednesday May 21, 2014 London
Today we visit Capel Manor Gardens, with 30 acres and more than 60 gardens and landscapes to explore, surrounding a Georgian manor house. It contains some previous gold-medal winning show gardens from Chelsea, including The Australian Garden from 2011, as well as a 17th-century walled garden, Italianate maze, vegetable plots and plant collections of scented pelargoniums and salvias. Capel Manor College is an esteemed horticultural college. Just nearby, we visit Myddelton House Gardens, home of noted gardener, author and artist Edward Bowles, from his birth in 1865 to his death in 1954. On eight acres, it includes a kitchen garden, Victorian conservatory, a lake and a section of unusual plants called the Lunatic Asylum.

DAY 19 Thursday May 22, 2014 London 
The highlight of our time in London is our visit with Helen to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. It is the main event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts fine displays of flowers, plants, trees and amazing display gardens. For gardeners, it is the experience of a lifetime and a highlight of our garden tour. Helen will ensure you get the most from your time here. We will have a farewell dinner this evening to say good-bye to our new friends. D

DAY 20 Friday May 23, 2014 Departure
We will have free time for last minute shopping and sight-seeing until our departure early afternoon, visiting the private garden of Mr and Mrs Raworth on the way to the airport, and enjoying afternoon tea there. This is a true collectors’ garden, with some rare and unusual plants. Among its many features, cleverly designed in a small space, are hedges of yew, box and hornbeam, which enclose various rooms, a formal knot garden and a sunken Mediterranean garden, full of interesting small plants. At the rear, an emerald grass carpet is flanked by flower borders and backed by old trees, set in a private park. From here, we travel to Heathrow airport for our return flight to Australia.

DAY 21 Saturday May 24, 2014 In flight

DAY 22 Sunday May 25, 2014 Arrival 
The group arrives in Australia and tour arrangements conclude.

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Tour Price Per person in AUD Twin Share Fare $9825; Single Supplement $1975
Air taxes and fuel charges $510pp
Total Package per person $10335 Twin share; Single $12310
Included in the price are:

Return economy-class air travel from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Passengers will be able to extend their stay in Europe at a small extra airfare cost.
Travel in first-class chartered coach.
Accommodation in first-class and moderate first-class hotels, taxes and service charges.
Continental or buffet breakfasts in Europe and England. One dinner on the French Riviera and a Farewell Dinner in London and one lunch.
Sightseeing tours as listed in the itinerary.
Entrances to gardens and attractions as detailed in itinerary.
Tour leadership by Helen Young.
Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with an experienced tour manager meeting the group on arrival in London and travelling with the group.
A Travelrite travel bag.