New French Riviera Tours that Support the Arts & Historical Restoration Projects
Ariodante, a luxury bespoke tour company, has unveiled a collection of new experiences on the French Riviera for those who love art, culture, music and history. They provide unrivalled access to experts in their respective fields, historical sites not normally open to the public and hidden works of art. An important aspect of each experience is that a percentage of the fee helps to support art and history restoration projects.
Each experience is bespoke and carried out on an individual basis. They include:
The Colours and Inspiration of Henri Matisse
A day long experience to discover the man behind the legend, led by experts. Guests have a private visit of the Matisse museum in Cimiez with the museum director and given access to Matisse pieces not on public view; a visit to the gallery where his work was first shown to the public; a lunch inspired by Matisse’s work in a Michelin-star restaurant in Saint-Paul-de-Vence; a private concert in the chapel he created-from scratch- an enduring masterpiece. The day concludes in Matisse’s Villa, with access to private areas not normally opened, where you can see the same views painted by the great master.
Holiday like Queen Victoria
The Riviera was ‘put on the map’ by Queen Victoria who visited nine times in the last two decades of her life. It was credited for transforming her mood and reported that whenever she arrived on French soil with her entourage of over 100 people, her face lit up and she became exuberant and girlish. The experience enacts a “typical” day of how Queen Victoria enjoyed her time on the Riviera, as discovered from various historical accounts. The day starts at the Excelsior Regina Palace, a hotel that was built for the Queen, where guests meet historical experts to learn more about her past visits; followed by a trip to Victoria Chapel, an art exhibition with an expert, the city’s archives to see where Victoria visited to see art pieces from Ernest Gambard, one of the most famous English gallerists at that time- guided by the curator, a trip to the opera, and a visit to the wine estate Vin de Bellet where guests can take part in a wine tasting in the crypt with the owner.
Become A Conductor for the Day
This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for a music fan to live a day as a conductor, from feeling and experiencing all that it entails, culminating in leading the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra through a favourite musical repertoire. Taught by an international conductor this one-on-one experience takes the novice through everything they need to know, through rehearsals to a live performance. The whole process takes place in a fabulous old palace ballroom and is filmed and edited as a memento, to savour the memories for years to come.
The Legend of ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’
‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ was a prisoner arrested in 1669 and held in the Bastille and other French jails for more than three decades, until his death in 1703. His identity has been an enduring mystery because, throughout his imprisonment, the man’s face was hidden by a mask. It was suggested by novelist Alexandra Dumas that he might have been Louis XIV’s twin brother, or even his son, while others claim that he might have been an English nobleman. A movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio was also made.
The tour includes an exclusive visit to the Lerins Islands, 15 minutes by boat from Cannes to visit the prison where the Man in the Iron Mask was held, followed by a visit the abbey, with access to special private areas, to meet with the monks and learn about their winery. This Cistercian brotherhood may shun the limelight, but their highly prized organic wines are the island’s big draw. The monks make several liqueurs from top-secret recipes, including the aromatic Lérina, made with 44 herbs and seeds, and sunny Lérincello, made from the famously luscious lemons of Menton, just down the coast.
The tours are curated for each client and all aspects of the itinerary are optional and adapted to a client’s interests and time available. Prices for tours start from £6,000 per person.
Ariodante is committed to the preservation of the treasures of our heritage. They actively help with funding cultural institutions and support many restoration projects, educative projects, performing arts as well as living artists. Typically, at least 15% of the tour fee goes towards the project and often after the experience, clients chose to donate further.
Ricardo Araujo, the founder of Ariodante, a conductor and musician, says: “I founded Ariodante out of passion for arts and culture and ever since I created my first experiences for people who knew me and their friends, that passion has never stopped growing. It is for me a great privilege to meet all those people in charge of leading cultural institutions and most of all be able to actively support their projects with considerable funding. Contrary to so many luxury companies, I always wanted to have a real social impact with Ariodante”.
Ariodante was founded out of passion for the arts and since 2014 has crafted countless unique travel experiences for their clients and members. These have involved private visits to museums, monuments, palaces and places usually closed to the public. They have gathered world-class experts and artists to bring those historical places alive. They have opened theatres, opera houses and museums for backstage visits or restorations and even created magical adventure and romantic experiences.
Founder Ricardo Araujo was born in Colombia and is a musician, composer and conductor. He gave his first international piano recital playing Bach and Mozart in Belgium, at the age of just 12. He has since given many concerts in Latin America and Europe as a conductor and musical director. In 2010, he toured many of the gothic cathedrals in France to support their restoration, conducting Mozart’s Requiem.