We delight in introducing small groups (never more than ten guests) to lesser-known European music festivals, and our Bordeaux tour is an experience like no other. We'll chase away jet-lag with the unique grape-based treatments of the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa while surrounded by the beauty of the Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte vineyards.
In the medieval wine village of St. Emilion we'll explore cobbled lanes lined with gorgeous honey-hued homes and monuments. We'll complete an unforgettable week with the Orpheus and Bacchus Music and Wine Festival - a house party combining the best in classical music in a cozy, informal setting with fine wine, first-rate cuisine, and interesting company in the beautiful Le Faure estate in Bordeaux.
Tour Itinerary (Fall 2008)
Day 1: Arrival Bordeaux
In the afternoon you'll be met at the Bordeaux airport or train station, and taken to the peacefully elegant Sources de Caudalie Estate. An afternoon of pampering will leave you refreshed and ready for the week of discovery and pleasure ahead, as you experience luxury, relaxation, and rejuvenation at the world-renowned Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa.
Choose a red vine bath, wine barrel bath, merlot wrap, or crushed cabernet scrub, among other delights, from the unique treatments. Dinner (included) at the beautifully restored Table du Lavoir, and a stroll through the surrounding vineyards of the famed Smith - Haute Lafitte chateau will round out your first day.
Day 2: Saint Emilion
Breakfast (included). The historic wine town of Saint Emilion will be our resting place today. After driving through the vineyards, we'll settle in to our hotel-with-a-view, looking down on cobbled lanes lined with elegant homes, intriguing shops, and evocative ruins.
Lunch (included) will be followed by a guided tour to introduce us to the hidden corners and wine lore of this fabled hamlet. Find a charming bistro (we'll be happy to recommend a favorite) and enjoy dinner on your own.
Day 3: Dordogne Villages, Le Faure
Breakfast (included), then we'll head east to explore the luscious green Dordogne area, stopping for lunch, and continuing with a driving tour of a trio of France's Plus Beaux Villages, awarded the title because of their situation and beauty - who knows what delights you'll discover in these charming villages? We'll make sure to point out our favorite shops for local delights, such as chocolate covered walnuts and foie gras.
Then we'll be on our way to the beautifully restored wine estate of Le Faure, home of the Orpheus and Bacchus Music and Wine Festival, owned and organized by Ian Christians, a Stanford MBA. Here, we'll settle in to enjoy his house party with world-class musicians and fellow music lovers.
After checking in, we'll mingle with other guests, savoring aperitifs by one of the three pools before stepping into the salon of La Musique, where artists will introduce the works prepared for the evening.
La Musique, originally designed in the 1700's as a celebration hall for the vendage (grape harvest), is a concert salon unlike any other - with its wonderful oak beams, stone arched windows, and a superb Steinway previously owned by Alfred Brendel.
We'll relax on comfortable sofas as we're transported by glorious chamber music, carefully chosen to be inspiring, played by the Orpheus and Bacchus Festival Ensemble and comprising brilliant young musicians from all over Europe.
And then dinner - the nightly creations of Chef Georges, an artist in his own right, are presented by candlelight in the large beamed dining room of L' Orangerie, one of the three houses arranged around the Le Faure courtyard. Georges introduces each night's menu, and then Ian Christians, or a specially invited chateau owner, will introduce the night's wines.
While Bordeaux is a specialty, Ian's cellar comprises many Burgundies and Rhone wines as well as Italian, Spanish and German wines, so the wines are quite an education. After the main course we return to La Musique for a short, more informal concert, which will have an operatic theme, with arrangements for string quartet such as Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni, and Wagner's Flying Dutchman. Then we return to L' Orangerie for our cheeseboard and dessert. Guests are welcome to retire when they wish, because the days can be long!
Days 4-6: Le Faure and the Bordeaux region
A continental breakfast (included) is served in the dining room from 8:00 til 9:30.The day's adventures can include such pleasures as learning about the wines of Bordeaux and how to taste wines, a cooking class with Chef Georges Gotrand, a visit to a charming local village on market day, an introduction to a marvelous chateau and winemaker, or even a trip on the ocean to sample excellent Arachon oysters and a selected wine. Evenings will be as outlined on Day 3.
Day 7: Departure
Breakfast (included), then au revoirs to new-found friends before morning transportation to Bordeaux airport or train station.
* Schedule subject to program to be finalized in August, 2007.
The cost for the 7 day tour is $4450 USD per person. A deposit of $1200 will secure your place and registration. The balance of $3250 is due not later than 60 calendar days before Day 1 of the tour, in August, 2008.
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