Bordeaux, Arcachon, Saint Emilion Tour Itinerary by France Off the Beaten Path!
Join us to journey along the back roads of Bordeaux, Arcachon, and Saint Emilion during our 6 day/5 night cultural and gourmet tour for unparalleled fun, great food, exclusive experiences, juicy historical stories, and exceptional food and wines in an unpretentious, small group. We live in Bordeaux, and as cultural and wine industry insiders, we secure cultural experiences, foodie tastings, winery tours, and VIP wine tastings that are unavailable to the public. We take guests into the home of our local friends for an unparalleled bread baking and culinary class experience and “behind the scenes” to experience Bordeaux beyond typical tourist hotspots to discover the heart and soul of the region. Designed for the discerning and active traveler, our Bordeaux Tour offers history, foodie and wine lovers a very different perspective and unique experience!
Celebrating 27 Years Experience in Bordeaux in 2021!
Experience the Absolute Best of Southwest France; Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, and Arcachon! Our cultural, gourmet foodie, and wine tasting walking tours take tour guests on a fabulous, history, nature, foodie and wine adventure. The tour combines sensational history with foodie tastings and classified wine discovery while enjoying some of France’s most spectacular landscapes during walks and coastal areas aboard a French Pinasse plus a fun workshop learning to make skin/body care products.
Specializing in wine, walking, and culinary tours in the Provence, Loire Valley, and Bordeaux regions of France, we celebrate 27 years in 2021 showering travelers with authentic French experiences.
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*Click on the numbered day tabs below to view details for each day of our Itinerary! *Our itinerary posted here is the exact itinerary travelers experience on our 2021, 2022, 2023 Tours.
ARRIVAL IN BORDEAUX. Meet and greet by your tour guides at 3 pm at Bordeaux St. Jean Rail Station to transfer to our luxury boutique 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.
Bordeaux, Arcachon, Saint Emilion Tour Highlights: Hotel Check-in, Welcome Cocktail and Dinner – D
Dietary Requests & Food Allergies — We accommodate ALL dietary requests and preferences (including vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, etc) and ALL food allergies (gluten, shellfish, etc) while ensuring an amazing foodie experience for all tour guests with restrictions and/or allergies.
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.
OPTIONS TODAY: Morning Fun, Hands-On Skin/Body Care Workshop, Saint Emilion: Cultural Walk of Saint Emilion, Guided Tour of 12th Century Monolithic Church & Village, Lunch at a Wine Producer, Winery Tour & Tasting – B, L
SAINT EMILION: Artisan Workshop or Walking the Saint Emilion Wine Jurisdiction, Guided Tour of the village & underground Monolithic Church, Winery Tour and VIP Wine Tasting, a Hosted Gourmet Lunch at a Wine Producer, Leisure Time to Explore Saint Emilion Village, Dinner Independently – B, L
BREAKFAST. MORNING: CHOOSE AN OPTION
OPTION #1 – We depart for a morning hands-on workshop to learn to make luxurious, plant based skincare with a professional formulator, my dear friend Caroline in her workshop in the beautiful countryside near Saint Emilion. We’ll learn to create in a fun and friendly atmosphere.Originally from Toronto, Canada, Caroline has been living in the Bordeaux region for the last 23 years. After 3 years of studying the science of natural skincare formulation, and getting her official diploma, she founded her skincare business and started teaching natural cosmetic formulation. She is a serious cosmetic formulator creating all types of high end skin care products. She leads workshops in her brand new beautifully designed lab where she teaches others to create amazing, luxurious and innovative skincare formulas that are sustainable, organic, and beneficial to your skin. During this fun, educational experience, you will learn the basics of skincare formulation methods under her professional guidance. You will leave with the knowledge and understanding of how to formulate two products safely, and like a pro.Of course, you will take the products you make in class home with you!A lovely little bag of the herbs you used during class will also be provided as gifts, so you can re-create your experience at home on your own or with friends!! Each product has beautifully designed labels you can use to wrap up your bars and stick onto your containers.
Afterwards, we continue on to Saint Emilion village – rated one of the most beautiful historical and wine growing villages in France. 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 and many churches, monasteries and hospices were built there 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.
Guests who don’t want to participate in the workshop will go directly to Saint Emilion to get an early start discovering cultural highlights of the village, and are welcome to participate in a guided walk of the surrounding vineyards and countryside.
LUNCH – Lunch Together at a local wine producer over looking the vineyards of Saint Emilion.
Following lunch Enjoy a Guided 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.
(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included.
Bordeaux, Arcachon, Saint Emilion Tour Itinerary Highlights: SAINT EMILION: Fun, Hands-on Skin/Body care workshop, Cultural Walk in Saint Emilion, Winery Tour and VIP Wine Tasting, Tour the 12th Century Monolithic Church, Gourmet Lunch at a wine producer overlooking the vineyards, Afternoon : Leisure Time to Explore Saint Emilion Village, Dinner Independently – 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.
Bordeaux, Arcachon, Saint Emilion Tour Itinerary Highlights: French Bread Baking Workshop Using an 18th century, Historical Bread Oven & 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
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.
LATE AFTERNOON – Leisure Time to explore at leisure in Arcachaon before our RETURN TO THE HOTEL.
DINNER: Independent dinner this evening.
Bordeaux, Arcachon, Saint Emilion Tour Itinerary Highlights: A Full day at Arcachon Basin (Bassin d’Arcachon) Excursion on a French Pinasse, Foodie Tastings & Pilat Dune – Visit the Dune de Pilat – Explore the Arcachon Basin, Guided Cultural Walk of Arcachon, Seaside Lunch, Afternoon Leisure Time – B, L
BORDEAUX: Full 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.
(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included.
Bordeaux, Arcachon, Saint Emilion Tour Itinerary Highlights: Full 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
DAY 6 – BORDEAUX, ARCACHON, SAINT EMILION TOUR ITINERARY
TOUR CONCLUDES – D
Tour Conclusion, Group Departure – B
Transfer to St. Jean Rail Station in downtown Bordeaux, followed by transfer to Merignac airport 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included
“Everything really was excellent. The most important factor to me was how comfortable you made the trip for all. It’s obviously very important to you that your guests are happy and it shows. This is an incredibly well thought out and planned trip! The variety of activities and winery tours, the different vinification processes and how each is so unique is very well done. There is no repetition and the week just flies by. Not only was it an awesome vacation but I also made new friends, and am very glad we did this trip. Merci!”—Dwayne Jarrell, Mike Mitterman, Chicago, IL (Bordeaux Wine Tasting & Gourmet Harvest Walking Tour)
Our “100% RISK FREE BOOKING & TRAVEL” promotional cancellation policy – Your tour deposit and balance payment are 100% refundable until 31 days before tour departure, and at 30 days or less, funds are 100% transferable to a future tour. There are NO limitations or restrictions!