Discover France’s Southwest Region Walking in Bordeaux, Arcachon & Saint Emilion, Cooking in Sauternes, Wine Tasting & More…
Authentic Experiences with our Local Friends in Southwest France!
ARRIVAL IN BORDEAUX. Meet and greet by your tour guides at 3 pm at Bordeaux St. Jean Rail Station. We transfer to our boutique Bordeaux hotel that will serve as our home base for the entire tour (NO Hotel Hopping – Unpack once for the entire tour).
DINNER: Welcome aperitif (cocktail hour) and dinner, a first taste of local “Bordelaise” gourmet cuisine together at one of the best kept secrets in Bordeaux.
Roundtrip transfers on Day 1 and Day 6 of the tour : Day 1 – Transfer provided from Bordeaux St. Jean rail station at 3 pm. Day 6 – Transfer provided to Bordeaux St. Jean Rail station for 11:30 am arrival.
SAINT EMILION : Viticulture was introduced to this fertile region of Aquitaine by the Romans, and intensified in the Middle Ages. The Saint Emilion area benefited from its location on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Many churches, monasteries and hospices were built from the 11th century onwards. It was granted the special status of a “jurisdiction” during the period of English rule in the 12th century. It is an exceptional landscape devoted entirely to wine-growing, with many fine historic monuments, artisan, craft and wine shops and a photogenic pedestrian village to discover.
MORNING: CHOOSE AN OPTION
OPTION #1 – Guided walk into the historic vineyards of Saint Emilion featuring discovering cultural highlights of the village, and enjoy a winery tour and wine tasting along the way.
OPTION #2 – Participate in a hands-on workshop (designed as an option for interested guests) to learn to make luxurious, plant based skincare with a professional formulator, my dear friend Caroline in her home workshop near Saint Emilion. Caroline has spent years developing her luxury brand and teaching formulation. She creates all types of high end skin care products, and leads workshops in her professional lab in her country home. During this fun, educational experience, you will create products under her professional guidance, and leave with the products you make in class home with you!
Afterwards, guests participating in the workshop continue on to Saint Emilion village – rated one of the most beautiful historical and wine growing villages in France – to join the rest of the group.
LUNCH – Privately hosted lunch together at a local wine producer over looking the vineyards of Saint Emilion.
Following lunch Enjoy a Guided Cultural & Historical Tour of Saint Emilion village & the underground monolithic church.
AFTERNOON: WINERY TOUR & TASTING at a Classified GROWTH PRODUCER followed by leisure time to explore and discover Saint Emilion, as well as visit local artisan and wine boutiques.
Late afternoon return to our hotel in Bordeaux.
DINNER: Independently in Bordeaux dining at one of the fabulous restaurants in town or along the river bank.
DAY 3 – Cooking Class at Home, Sauternes Wine School, Wine Tasting – B, L
Fun French Bread Baking Workshop Using an 18th century, Historical Bread Oven & Hands-On Cooking Class Followed by Bordelaise Lunch at Our Chef’s Family Home, Visit at A Wine School with Winery Tour and Wine Tasting – B, L
MORNING – FRENCH BREAD BAKING & COOKING AT HOME COOKING CLASS
We head to the Sauternes area south of Bordeaux for a full day of foodie experiences! Learn to make French baguette and other bread specialties and pastries using an 18th century, historical wood-fired bread oven. Under the guidance of our dear family friend, Master Chef Antoine, we’ll follow the traditional steps of making and baking a variety of French breads and other pastry goodies. Once the bread is ready, we’ll venture on to the next stage of our foodie day –– FUN, HANDS-ON COOKING CLASS AT HOME WITH OUR FRENCH CHEF – Cooking class with our friend, Celebrity Master Chef and Cookbook Author Antoine at his family home in the Sauterne. We will prepare a multi-course meal of “Bordelaise” recipes. Afterwards, enjoy the mid-day “aperitif” also known as pre-lunch cocktails with our chef Antoine and his family followed by a sumptuous gourmet lunch of the recipes prepared together during class accompanied by our very own home-made bread. We will prepare our recipes using many different cooking mediums including Antoine’s custom-designed outdoor wood-fired baking oven.
LUNCH: A traditional Bordelais lunch with our Chef and his family. Lunch is accompanied by Antoine’s professional selection of classified wines from his cellar and the vineyards of his local friends — including classified wines from Chateau Margaux.
Early Afternoon – A WINERY TOUR & TASTING OUR SELECT GRAND CRU PRODUCER. Private Winery Tour and wine tasting at the famous French Oenology school (Wine School) in Sauternes; an 1855 classified growth wine producer and teaching school. There is a sunny magic in these bottles, and the more the wine ages, the more golden its appearance and sweeter its flavors. It is wondrous that such prized wine comes from grapes that in any other appellation would be considered only fit for discarding.
LATE AFTERNOON – Enjoy some leisure time on return to the hotel.
DINNER: Independently in Bordeaux this evening.
A Morning Cooking at Home Class & Gourmet Lunch with friend, Chef Antoine
DAY 4 – Arcachon Basin, French Pinasse, Foodie Tastings, Culture & Pilat Dune – B, L
ARCACHON: A Full day at Arcachon Bay/Basin (Bassin d’Arcachon) & Pilat Dune – Visit the Dune de Pilat – Explore the coast on a Guided leisure Excursion on a Pinasse along the Arcachon Basin, Foodie Tastings, Seaside Lunch, Afternoon Leisure Time – B, L
FULL DAY IN ARCACHON – Arcachon is a seaside town in south of Bordeaux known for oyster harvesting. Its 4 districts are named after the seasons of the year — The Ville d’Été (summer quarter) is home to shopping streets, the town’s sandy main beach and a casino in the 19th-century Château Deganne. Ville d’Hiver (winter quarter) has extravagant 19th-century villas of spectacular architecture.
MORNING: We’ll enjoy a leisure excursion on a French Pinasse along the Arcachon Basin exploring the coast on a guided nature excursion along the Arcachon Basin featuring oyster, charcuterie and cheese tasting with Champagne, followed by a cultural walk of Arcachon and a visit at the Dune de Pilat. The Arcachon Basin vistas and Pilat Dune will leave you speechless!
WALKING RATING : For WALKERS: The Arcachon cultural walk is rated easy. Ideal for those who walk for on a regular basis. Walking on a defined path. The walk distance is 2 miles – approximately 1 hour of walking with pauses for photo-ops. For NON-WALKERS: Shuttle to/from all activities, excursions, meals and visits. Non-walker rating = EASY.
PILAT DUNE – At its southern entrance from the Atlantic Ocean, Arcachon Bay is crowned by Europe’s largest sand dune that is nearly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) long, 500 meters (1,600 feet) wide, stands 110 meters (360 feet) in height, and is moving inland at a rate of about 5 meters (16 feet) a year.
At the begining of the 19th century Arcachon was still just a small fishing village. The ville d’été started growing up principally as a place of healing where sick people could take in the sea air as part of their recovery process. From 1860 the Ville d’hiver with improved transport developed train links to Bordeaux and Paris. The sea air and the pine forests were found to as beneficial as the mountain air and as Arcachon is in a bay it is protected from the strong winds of the rest of the Atlantic coast. A group of business men, and in particular the Pereire brothers, and the owners of the railway line between Bordeaux and La Teste came up with the idea of extending the line to Arcachon and developing Arcachon as a winter resort. When Napolean III came to visit, Arcachon’s success was assured. Alexandre Dumas lived in Arcachon for a while and Toulouse-Lautrec had a house on the sea-front.
LUNCH: A gourmet lunch overlooking the coast!
LATE AFTERNOON – Leisure Time to explore at leisure in Arcachaon before our RETURN TO THE HOTEL.
DINNER: Independent dinner this evening.
Our Day discovering the Bassin d’Arcachon and Cap Ferret!
DAY 5 – Walk Bordeaux, Sensational History, 15th Century Cheese Caves, Foodie Tastings – B, D
A Day in BORDEAUX: Historical Walking & Foodie Tasting Tour of Bordeaux, Visit & Taste at Our Favorite Artisan FOODIE Boutiques Including Cheese Maturing Caves of a 15th Century Convent Located 15 meters Beneath the streets of Bordeaux, Leisure time Along the Water Front, Evening Farewell Cocktails & Dinner – B, D
MORNING – Enjoy a city walking tour of the history, historical monuments, and our favorite artisan food boutiques of Bordeaux. Our walk features savory and sweet foodie tastings throughout this unique and personalized experience. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in France, you’ll learn what makes Bordeaux so magical! We will visit one of the oldest and most famous cheese shops in Bordeaux. Fifteen meters below street level, we’ll explore the caves used for maturing cheeses inside the stone-vaulted mystical cellars of an XVth century convent! Here we will find a treasure trove of cheeses being gently aged to their optimal maturity, with the aging process explained by one of their expert staff. We will also enjoy a tasting of five kinds of cheese and two wines while enjoying the atmosphere of the ancient underground caves.
We will learn about the history of the caneles, a traditional signature dessert of the region, and how its creation in Bordeaux is related to wine! Finally we get to taste the famous “la Dune Blanche” which has a surprise story that will be revealed during our walk. Following our walking tour and tasting experiences, set off on your own to enjoy lunch at the waterfront or one of the city’s traditional bistros.
WALKING RATING : For WALKERS and NON-WALKERS: The Bordeaux city cultural and foodie experience walk is rated easy. Ideal for those who walk for on a regular basis. Walking through the city. We spend time at each tasting location, and enjoy pauses for photo-ops.
LUNCH: Independently in Bordeaux.
AFTERNOON – At leisure to pursue personal interests and to finish any souvenir shopping.
DINNER: Farewell gourmet Dinner in Bordeaux this evening to celebrate a wonderful week together.
DAY 6 – Bordeaux TOUR CONCLUDES – B
Tour Conclusion, Group Departure – B
Transfer to St. Jean Rail Station in downtown Bordeaux for 11:30 am arrival. If you have made your own departure arrangements and are not departing with the group, please be sure to inform your guides in advance. Earlier and later departures can be organized on request. Please contact us for details at email@example.com .
(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included
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