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In the Footsteps of Frances Hodgkins

Day 1                                                                    Wednesday,          7 September

Please meet in the foyer for a welcome drink at 6.00pm.

Arrival in Nice at any time. Gather for a welcome dinner this evening to meet your fellow guests.

Nice – the capital of the French Riviera – is a city of museums and galleries, prestigious avenues of luxurious hotels, narrow streets of the old town lined with colourful houses, lively markets of Cours Saleya square and the centre of numerous evening restaurants, pubs and café terraces, all framed by famous Promenade des Anglais and pebbled beach of the Mediterranean.

Overnight Nice

Hotel Splendid & Spa

50 Victor Hugo Blvd

Nice, France

+ 33 4 931-64100

Day 2                                                                           Thursday            8 September

Please be ready to depart by 9am.

Full day excursion to St Jeannet and St Paul de Vence including the Matisse Chapel.

Mary says: Moving to St Jeannet, a little village above Nice, in January 1930 gave Frances Hodgkins the location and stimulus she needed to branch out in an entirely new direction. Her palette changed, but also a new focus on deep landscape entered her creative vocabulary. Although slightly larger today, St Jeannet pales in comparison with the massive baou or cliff that towers over the village. Here Frances met the French experimental sculpture artist Maurice Garnier who became a close friend and supporter. Always restless, she spent time in nearby St Paul (possibly less chilly for her poor cold fingers) and Pastorale. The city of Nice was just a tram/train ride away, should she have a desperate need for the cinema, or subject matter in the old port.

Overnight Nice

Day 3                                                                         Friday                  9 September

Please be ready to depart by 9am for our day trip to Antibes.

By the sea and surrounded by ramparts, old Antibes boasts numerous treasures: its Grimaldi Castle is home to the Picasso museum, narrow streets and the small squares, its Provençal market, cathedral decorated with a Baroque façade and restaurants and cafés. Outside of the fortified old town are the Vauban port and the Carré fort, Fort Carré d’Antibes, is a 16th-century star-shaped fort of four arrow-head shaped bastions that stands on the outskirts.

Visit to the Picasso Museum, returning to Nice by 3pm. Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight Nice

Day 4                                                                     Saturday              10 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart by 9am.

We board our bus for the drive to St Tropez and then on to Cassis.

St Tropez

Quiet and authentic from autumn to spring, this former fishermen’s village becomes in the summer a renowned seaside resort, with its lively port full of luxurious sailboats and yachts, its cafe terraces, its designer shops, and its nightclubs. The picturesque port, lined with colourful facades, the typical district of La Ponche, and the Place des Lices, site of the famous market and square where the locals play boules, contribute to the village’s charm. From the ramparts of the citadel, the view of the lovely church bell tower and its bright colours, the roofs of the village, and the Bay of Saint-Tropez is magnificent.

Visit Musee l’Annonciade and view the house of artist Paul Signac.


Cassis dates back to the 13th century, and the quaint old town remains picturesque with its many Provençal-pastel buildings. This delightful small port benefits from an exceptional environment by being situated in-between the Canaille cape cliff and the famous creeks.

Mary says: Frances first visited the tiny fishing village of Cassis in 1921, and it was to prove a turning point in her drawing practice. Both there and St Tropez she created a series of strong black crayon drawings, capturing the folds in the land, the rows of olive trees winding up the fields, and the rocky crag above Cassis known locally as La coronne de Charlemagne (the Crown of Charlemagne). She also fixed on the lighthouses that mark the coast, their vertical structures making a counterpoint in her drawings to the patterned and textured fields and hills.

Overnight Cassis


Hotel Mahonany de La Plage

19 Avenue de l’Amiral Ganteaume

13260 Cassis

Tel: + 33 4 42 01 05 70


Day 5                                                                       Sunday               11 September

Please be ready to depart by 10am

Today we explore the area around Cassis.

In the morning we will walk to some of the vantage spots where Hodgkins sat capturing the landscape.

Mary Says: In 1921 Hodgkins visited the Château de Fontcreuse, which sits overlooking the harbour, and painted a portrait of its owner and his wife in their salon. The cottage in its grounds, La Bergère, was rented as a holiday home by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The Woolfs were constant visitors during the 1920s and ‘30s. Virginia Woolf wrote after her first time in Cassis in 1925: “Nobody shall say of me that I have not known perfect happiness.” But did the Bloomsbury set and Frances Hodgkins cross paths?

Afternoon free

Overnight Cassis


Day 6                                                                      Monday                12 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart by 9am.

This morning we depart for the short drive to Marseille for 2 nights.

Marseille, the oldest city in France (founded 600BC) has developed with an intermingling of cultures and is centred round the old port Vieux-Port – merely a creek when the Phoenicians came ashore, and protected by the two forts of Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Jean.

This afternoon at 2.30pm we enjoy a visit to MuCEM – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisation for its architecture, history and gardens.

Mary says: Marseille (Marseilles in English) was Frances’s first alighting place in Europe after her and illness-ridden sea voyage from New Zealand in 1901. She told her mother how she loved the steep, badly paved streets plentifully strewn with every kind of rubbish and the quaint, dingy, discoloured buildings with emerald green latticed shutters and dark haired women hanging over the balconies and orange stalls making vivid blots of colour at the street corners. “Some day I must go back to Marseilles and paint…”

Like Nice the city was to become a hub from which she struck out for the smaller villages that satisfied her need for rustic studies – local farmers, workers, fisher-people – going about their everyday business. Today Marseille has been given a face-lift. It sparkles in the sun, and is a drawcard for any tourist interested in art, architecture, history…

Hotel Mercure Marseille Centre Vieux Port

1 Rue Neuve Saint Martin, 13001


+33 4 96 17 22 22

Day 7                                                                          Tuesday            13 September

Please be ready to depart at 10am.

Discover Marseille today including the Centre de la Vieille Charite.

Centre de la Vieille Charite – a former almshouse now functioning as a museum and cultural centre with an important chapel.

This afternoon there is an optional visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art, or just discover Marseille at your own pace.

Overnight Marseille

Day 8                                                                    Wenesday       14 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart at 8.20am.

Today is a long day as we transition from Southern France to Northern Spain.

This morning we drive from Marseille via Martigues to the Cadaqués area in Northern Spain.

Martigues sits on the large Étang de Berre (Berre Lagoon) at the mouth of le canal de Caronte (Caronte Canal), connecting the lake with the Mediterranean. The town retains a sense of intimacy and the centre has managed to escape the industrial blight of other nearby ports.

The central island was once the home of merchants and burghers, with beautiful old houses, a grand 17th century fountain and a lively cultural scene. The adjacent Canal San Sebastien, lined with the brightly coloured former fishermen’s houses (often painted the same colour as their boat), surrounding canals and bridges, all contribute to the Venice de Provence.

We will spend the morning in Martigues before the long drive to Cadaques, arriving early evening.

Hotel Sol Ixent

Sant Baldiri, 10


+34 972 25 10 43

Day 9                                                                          Thursday          15 September

Please be ready to depart at 10am for the 20 minute walk over the hill to Portlligat and a visit to Salvador Dali’s private house overlooking the small bay.

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight Cadaqués

Day 10                                                                         Friday             16 September

Please be ready to depart by 9.30am

A day exploring Cadaqués and El Port de la Selva and local market.

With a rich artistic heritage, Cadaqués has attracted and inspired a large number of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dal­­í among others. A number of artists settled in Cadaqués, and there are plenty of art galleries in the town. One of the best ways to visit Cadaqués and learn about its history is to wander around the Old Town and winding cobbled streets. Only the remains of the ancient medieval bastion of the wall have been preserved up to today and it is part of the Town Hall

El Port de la Selva is a traditional working town and dates back to the 17th century and the town centre has remained untouched, with cobbled streets and tiny white houses, giving the feel of a typical fishing village. Situated in a bay which forms a natural harbour in the natural maritime park Cap de Creus on the Costa Brava, the town is sheltered by the surrounding mountain. Friday is market day in El Port de la Selva.

Mary says: There is something magical about the whitewashed village of Cadaqués that remains intact to the present day. During the Spanish Civil War, which erupted just after FH returned to England from Tossa mid-1936, many of the left-wing locals fled to Cuba, remaining there until it was safe to return to the Costa Brava. We know our elusive artist passed through Cadaqués from Tossa de Mar on a brief motoring tour in 1935, because although she makes no reference in the few letters she wrote at the time, she produced several named sketches and gouaches that were exhibited on her return. But, as in Ibiza, our Miss H was out to trick us, because unlike her drawings made on the spot, in her paintings she combines aspects of a number of places in one scene. They are like birds’ eye views of the rocky coastline that have entranced artists for the last 150 years at least. Cadaqués was the childhood holiday home of both Dali and Picasso, and it is a 10 minute walk over the hill from our hotel to Dali’s remarkable house at Port Lligat. Here, unlike Tossa, you still get a sense of the old Costa Brava.

Overnight Cadaqués

Day 11                                                                       Saturday            17 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart by 9.20am.

Today we head to Girona for the night.

Girona is one of the major Catalan cities and still maintains the charm of a small town. The old town (Gerona) is embodied by the buildings and architectural elements of its streets and squares. The grey stone and unexpected nooks and crannies give the area a unique appeal. Stroll along Carrer de la Força, around the cathedral, Carrer dels Ciutadans, Carrer de Sant Domènec or Carrer Ballesteries. Its façades and arcades reflect in the waters of the River Onyar, making for a picturesque image.

Mary says: We couldn’t go to the Costa Brava without spending a night in the elegant town of Girona/Gerona (pronounced Hirona by the locals). Think Madrid in a doll’s house, but the food and shopping is fantastic. On the other side of the river that divides the town, the Cathedral dominating the old town and the archeological museum (based in an old deconsecrated church) are quite remarkable. Be prepared to climb steps at every turn once we cross the river from our hotel, but the atmosphere makes it completely worthwhile, and the reward is a glass of cold local beer or sparkling cava in the many bars that line our return to the river. You get a real sense of the old Spain in Girona, and it is not to be missed. Frances travelled in to Girona from Tossa to post off her latest batch of gouaches to her dealer Duncan MacDonald, noting on a postcard that more would be sent in a few days. She wrote from Tossa five days later, ‘You will see that I have put a large amount of Frances Hodgkins into them, even into the joyless marrows…’.

Hotel Ciutat De Girona

Carrer Nord, 2


+34 972 48 30 38


Day 12                                                                Sunday                  18 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart by 9.15am.

It is back to the coast today with two nights at Tossa De Mar

In 1935 Frances Hodgkins set out for the fishing town of Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava. From early in her career she was happier recording the everyday activities of simple villagers and fisher folk, their tasks dictated by the rhythms of nature rather than the changing fashions of town and gown. But like many of the locations she sought out, Tossa was also a thriving creative colony. In 1935, Dora Maar, the photographer and later lover of Picasso, Henri Matisse and André Masson could also be found in the few bars and restaurants on offer.

Today includes a visit to the Municipal Museum.

Mary says: In Tossa we explore the sites from which Frances painted in gouache, focusing on landscape rather than people for the most part. We will also visit The Municipal Museum of Tossa de Mar situated in the heart of the Vila Vella, the 12th century walled old town. Built in the 14th century, the Casa Falguera was originally built for the Batlle de Sac or Governor’s house. The Falguera family represented the Abbot of Ripoll (the feudal lord of the town), collecting taxes on his behalf. Apparently tithes were collected in sacks, hence the name Batlle de Sac. The majestic Codolar tower (or Keep) overlooks the beach of the same name and is fully integrated within the museum. Frances arrived in Tossa in late September, 1935, the month that the museum opened. It’s purpose was to display modern art, but it also houses a great collection of archaeological works from the Roman village of dels Ametllers discovered by Doctor Ignasi Melé in 1914. Today it also shows contemporary art.

Hotel Gran Reymar Tossa

Calle Ses illetes, 2

Tossa Del Mar

+34 972 34 03 12

Day 13                                                                    Monday                19 September

Please be ready to depart by 10am.

Today we explore the area in and around Tossa de Mar.

Over night Tossa Del Mar


Day 14                                                                      Tuesday              20 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart by 7.55am.

We depart Tossa Del Mar and head to Barcelona Airport for our flight to Ibiza for the next three nights.

Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands just 150 kilometres off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. Well-known for its lively nightlife scene in Ibiza Town, it is also an island of quiet villages, and a coastline of sandy coves backed by pine-clad hills.

Mary says: Over the winter of 1932-33, Frances had found a rich vein of inspiration on the Balearic island of Ibiza, inevitably drawn to the white block-like houses and the line of windmills high on the ridge adjacent to the Old Town. She also ventured out to neighbouring villages, drawn in part by the remarkable vernacular churches that were the pride of each community. As well as exploring Dalt Vila, the walled town that looms above the town of Eivissa (as it is known locally) we will visit the villages where she worked when the opportunity allowed. Martin Davies, an English publisher and architectural writer, has agreed to tell us more about the unusual way in which the locals built their houses.

We will also visit the Contemporary Art Gallery, sited within a restored historic building nestled within the old walls, and the new Archaeological Museum, whose Tanit figures proved an inspiration for elements in Frances Hodgkins‘ Spanish Shrine.

Flights times

To Ibiza:     Depart Barcelona 12.00pm arrive Ibiza 1.00pm

Hotel Royal Plaza

Carrer de Pere Francès, 27-29


+34 971 31 00 00

Day 15                                                                        Wednesday 21 September

Please be ready to depart at 9.30am

Today is spent exploring the island villages of Ibiza today including the villages of Santa Eulalia, and then Sant Josip (San José) and Sant Agustí.

Tonight there is the possibility of meeting meet Antoni Ribas Tur and Martin Davies – the former an Ibizan who took Mary round on her last visit, and Martin who is an architectural journalist. Martin has offered to give us an informal talk on Ibizan architecture. Antoni knows all the ins and outs of Ibizan history and culture, and both of them are obsessed with Frances Hodgkins.

Overnight Ibiza


Day 16                                                                     Thursday          22 September

Please be ready to depart by 10am.

Today we explore the old town and the archeological museum, visiting locations where Hodgkins worked, the archaeological museum and the Cathedral, where you will hear the tale of the exploding Madonna and her tragic facelift…

Overnight Ibiza


Day 17                                                                   Friday                   23 September

Please be checked out and ready to depart by 7.45am.

Today we check out and head to Barcelona for our last night and farewell over dinner.

From Ibiza: Depart Ibiza at 9.35am arrive Barcelona at 10.35am and transfer to our hotel.

Hotel Condes de Barcelona

Passeig de Gràcia, 73


+34 934 45 00 00


Day 18                                                               Saturday                   24 September

This morning we say farewell after breakfast.


[su_tab title=”When”]

Starting in Nice on 7 September ending in Barcelona on 24 September


[su_tab title=”Cost  & Inclusions”]

Budget $9999 NZD per person land only, Single Supplement $2800 NZD

Minimum 10 people maximum 14

Subject to minimum numbers

Includes accommodation as per the itinerary, the services of a guide – Mary Kisler and  Tour Manager. Breakfast, sightseeing as per the itinerary, bus, transfers and driver from Nice to Barcelona airport, and for one day and transfers on Ibiza. Included is the domestic flight from Barcelona to Ibiza and return. Walking and climbing stairs is required on a daily basis. An average level of fitness is required.

International flights are not included. Travel insurance is mandatory.

Cancellation fees apply

Terms and conditions apply