The Riviera: A History in Pictures

Series 1 - 1. Painting Paradise

Radio Times
Review by:
Patrick Mulkern

It’s likely you missed his recent Hotel Secrets series on Sky Atlantic, but Richard E Grant is carving himself a niche as an affable Englishman abroad. Here he looks very relaxed in cerulean summer suit and pink polo shirt, chuffed to be retracing the steps of the Impressionist and Anarchist artists who introduced the world to the Côte d’Azur in the late 1800s.

Spike Geilinger’s cinematography persuasively mirrors the shimmer of those famous paintings, as Grant locates the hills and rooftops that inspired Cézanne and Renoir, the lush garden Monet tried to re-create in Giverny, and a tiny harbour that lured Signac in a once cut-off fishing village – St Tropez.

About this programme

1/2. Part one of two. Actor Richard E Grant follows the footsteps of artists who lived and painted on France's Cote d'Azur, renowned for its sunny climate. The first edition focuses on the relationship between modern art and the location's development as an international tourist haven. Cezanne, Monet and Renoir were captivated by the light and colour of the landscape in the 19th century and their resultant work advertised the region's beauty. Meanwhile, the area's vivid hues inspired Henri Matisse to adopt a new palette that set modern art on the route to abstraction.

Cast and crew


Richard E Grant


Spike Geilinger
Executive Producer
Franny Moyle
Spike Geilinger