We meet at the Paris Charles DeGaulle airport and begin our journey south toward the beautiful wine region of Burgundy. In just over two hours, we come to Chablis, perfect timing for a snack and a tasting of our first Burgundian wine. We veer off the main road to the enchanting town of Vézelay— in a gorgeous setting on a ridge overlooking the wild “Morvan” forests and fields. Vézelay is in competition for the title of prettiest village in France and has a great place in French history. We soon arrive in the charming medieval wine town of Beaune, known as the wine capital of Burgundy. Our hotel for the next three nights is a dreamy, elegant inn conveniently located in the historic center. We can walk to dozens of enticing wine shops, boutiques and cafés along picturesque, narrow streets. We spend the next two days exploring Beaune, the nearby historic city of Dijon, and the beautiful Côte d’Or wine region. In Beaune we enjoy a gastronomic wine-pairing dinner at a local winery.
Today we journey south through the beautiful Burgundian countryside to the tiny medieval hilltop village of Pérouges for lunch. Then it’s on to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. We check into our hotel in the historic center of the oldest part of the city. Tonight we enjoy one of Lyon’s best Michelin starred restaurants. The next morning, we take a guided walking tour of the old town of Lyon and then drive into the Beaujolais countryside for an entertaining (and educational!) wine tasting lunch. We have time on our return to Lyon to explore on our own.
Just south of Lyon is the historic town of Vienne, which we visit with a wonderful local guide. We then continue following the Rhône River south, stopping in the ancient villages of Viviers and Orange on our way into Provence. Upon arriving in Avignon, we check into a beautiful elegant hotel in the historic center, our home for the next four nights. Dinner tonight is at a fabulous Michelin-starred restaurant.
Today we take a guided walking tour through Avignon’s medieval streets and squares, the highlight of which is the magnificent Pope’s Palace, a veritable maze of galleries, chambers, chapels and passages. After lunch we drive through the Châteauneuf du Pape wine region and stop at a beautiful winery for a tour and tasting. We return to Avignon for some free time and dinner.
Today’s excursion takes us to the mountainous Luberon region, made famous by Peter Mayle in his bestselling book, A Year in Provence. We visit a lavender museum and the lovely villages of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Gordes. We return to Avignon for another gastronomic dinner.
Today we have a day to explore the nearby Roman ruins of this remarkable region. We see the amazing Pont du Gard, a 2,000-year-old perfectly preserved Roman aqueduct, and the beautiful Provençal Roman village of Uzès.
This morning we bid adieu to Avignon and drive to our next destination—a lovely country inn outside the charming village of Saint Rémy de Provence. We stop at a local market to shop for the makings of a gourmet French pique-nique, which we enjoy on the beautiful grounds of our inn. After lunch, we enjoy a guided tour of an amazing Roman village called Glanum, uncovered in 1921. The town was originally built by a Celtic Ligurian tribe several centuries before being conquered by the Romans. Tonight our hosts treat us to a wonderful repast in their lovely dining room.
After a visit to Saint Remy’s well known market, we visit the nearby medieval fortified village of Les Baux de Provence. Les Baux is set high on a mountain in the Alpilles range, with a spectacular view of the surrounding peaks and valleys. After lunch in Les Baux, we visit a winery in the Côtes du Rhône wine region for a tour and tasting. We return to Saint Rémy in time for happy hour. For those who like to cook, our chef invites us to assist him in preparing tonight’s gourmet dinner.
Today we visit the nearby Roman city of Arles. We have a guided walking tour of this picturesque town made famous by Vincent Van Gogh. You will recognize the subjects of a number of his paintings as we wander through his old neighborhood. Tonight we enjoy our farewell home-cooked dinner chez nous.
After breakfast, we head to the Marseille Airport for the flight home.
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