Sample some of France’s best vintages, from Champagne to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Cook like a local during in-depth cooking classes.
Float above the Loire Valley in a hot air balloon as the sun rises.
Cruise down the Seine River while enjoying dinner.
Hunt for truffles with an expert guide and his dog.
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Day 1 Paris
Upon arrival you're met at the airport by your private driver and driven to your centrally located hotel. Once you've checked in, your guide will take you on a private walking tour of the Left Bank of Paris where your hotel is located. Spend the afternoon exploring Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, awash with trendy cafes and independent boutiques.
Day 2 Paris
Learn the subtlety of French cooking today as you try your hand at a quintessential Parisian delicacy, the macaron. You join a shared class led by local Chef Marthe in her elegant Parisian apartment. Afterwards, you can enjoy a tasting of your handiwork. The afternoon is spent at leisure in Paris to explore at your own pace. We recommend a visit to the Orangerie Museum to admire Monet's monumental Water Lily series. In the early evening, make your own way to a private wine and cheese tasting class in Saint-Germain. Your certified wine expert will help you to choose three wines based on your preferences, tailoring the class to your tastes.
Day 3 Paris
The Champagne region, two hours northeast of Paris, is widely respected and internationally renowned for producing some of the world's finest sparkling wines. Today, in a small group, your guide introduces you to what makes these wines truly unique by examining the vines up close and meeting some of the local producers. After a tour through the caves (cellars), taste some champagne before continuing to Reims for lunch and to visit its imposing cathedral, where the coronation of 25 French kings took place. Later, journey to one of France's best-known champagne producers, where you'll join a larger group and tour the vast underground UNESCO chalk pits where the wine is stored. Finish with a tasting before returning to Paris.
Day 4 Paris
Your private driver escorts you to Aligre Market today, a truly authentic local market in Paris's 12th district. Take a tour of the covered market's permanent stalls, where grocers have been selling their produce year after year. Next, meander through the open-air part of the market, where you can admire all of the fresh fruit and vegetables. Your tour concludes with a glass of wine and a cheese tasting at a local wine bar with views of the bustling market. After some leisure time this afternoon, you're driven to the Eiffel Tower where you board a boat for an elegant dinner cruise. You can admire many of Paris' famous monuments from the Seine while enjoying a delicious meal paired with excellent wines.
Day 5 Chinon
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the train station with your private driver for fast train journey to the Loire Valley. After being picked up by your private driver at the station, you'll journey to your chateau for check in. Travel to Saumur in the afternoon, where you will visit the Bouvet Ladubay wine cellars. You'll learn how sparkling wine is produced here and stored behind the scenes during a bicycle tour of the limestone quarry that now acts as the cellar.
Day 6 Montlouis-sur-Loire
Loire Western Region , Montlouis-sur-Loire
Depart on your private full-day wine experience today, beginning at an estate located outside of medieval Chinon. Walk through the vines and hear about the particulars of wine production in the region, followed by a stroll through the cellars and a tasting of the estate's large variety of reds and whites. Continue east towards Tours for a tasting of the famed Vouvray sparkling wine, one of Champagne's lesser known, but equally delightful, cousins. After lunch, finish your afternoon with a visit to a wine merchant located just outside of Amboise, where you can enjoy an experiential tasting and learn how to pair wine with cheese. Stay overnight in an authentic chateau in the Loire countryside.
Day 7 Montlouis-sur-Loire
Loire Eastern Region , Montlouis-sur-Loire
Depart before sunrise this morning with your private driver to join your shared hot air balloon experience. Float above the Loire Valley as the sun rises, admiring the spires and arches of the Château de Chenonceau below. After returning to your hotel for a midday pause, set out for Amboise. Here your private guide takes you to the royal Château d'Amboise and Leonardo da Vinci's house at Clos Lucé, which are supposedly connected by a secret tunnel.
Day 8 Ménerbes
Travel with your private driver to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train station for your TGV fast train journey to Provence. Upon arrival in Avignon, you will be met by your new private driver to travel to your hotel set among the vineyards and valleys of Provence. The remainder of the afternoon is spent at leisure.
Day 9 Ménerbes
Provences' Luberon National Park , Ménerbes
Spend the morning relaxing at your hotel before setting out on an afternoon exploration with your private driver. Visit a local olive oil mill in the heart of the Luberon, where you can hear about the production process of this quintessential Provençal product as well as the history of the family that produces it. Continue to a secluded spot near Ménerbes, where you meet a local truffle hunting expert and his dog before following them along dusty paths and around thick hedges in search of the prized truffles. Your reward will be a truffle-infused four-course dinner with wine pairings on the terrace of Maison de la Truffe overlooking the valley below.
Day 10 Ménerbes
Provence Alpilles Region , Ménerbes
This morning you're met by local Chef Gilles who takes you to a nearby market where you can browse the stands for all of the fresh produce needed for your cooking class. Along the way, stop at a winery to taste and select the wines to accompany your lunch. At the chef's home you'll begin to prepare the vegetables and learn the secrets of cooking delicious French meals. Sit down to your freshly prepared creation with a glass of wine. The rest of the afternoon is spent at leisure.
Day 11 Ménerbes
Provence Northern Region , Ménerbes
Today, with your small group and shared guide, you journey to the heart of Provence's wine region to learn more about this fertile, and some even say blessed, agricultural land. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, named after the Pope's summer residence during the 14th century, is internationally reputed as one of the highest quality wine-producing regions in France. As such, a visit wouldn't be complete without some tastings, so as you tour the region you have the chance to stop at a few local producers to sample some of their preferred vintages. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy your hotel's amenities or perhaps one of your recently purchased bottles.
Day 12 Ménerbes
Provences' Luberon National Park , Ménerbes
The Luberon, both a famous mountain range and a national park, is considered by many to be the epitome of French rural landscape, an area where locals have truly mastered the art of enjoying a slow pace of life. With your private driver, set out for Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a delightful canal-lined town known for its antiques market. From here, continue to Gordes, which is arguably the jewel of Provence, perched atop a hill with a sprawling yet largely flat landscape. Your last stop will be the village of Roussillon, nestled among the ochre lands that give the houses and buildings their rich orange and red tones. Return to your hotel to prepare for tomorrow's departure.
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