The Best of France
For generations, France has provided supreme examples of some of the finest things in life - food, wine, and distilled spirits. It continues to set the bar for refinement and elegance. Names like Michelin, Clicquot, Escoffier, Courvoisier, and Rothschild stand out as symbols of excellence, class, and civility.
As discerning and fun-loving travelers, you will appreciate this itinerary as we sip and savor all that is wonderful about France.
Beginning in Paris we have a chocolate walk, a stop at a fine cutlery shop, a cooking class with a walking tour, and a visit to a traditional cookware shop where chefs have been purchasing copper pans for 200 years.
From Paris we board the train to the region of Bordeaux and its fine wines. A food walking tour and visits to both the Saint Emilion and Medoc regions amply fill our time.
Cognac is our next destination. There we have the rare privilege to visit a cooperage to see barrel construction. Large producers of cognac are full of information. You will recognize the impressive labels we see, but a visit to Cecile and Gerald Raby is unique. This father and daughter are following a 5-generation tradition of making wine, eau de vie, and cognac. Their hospitality is unmatched as you to sit with them on the Grande Champagne cru estate of the Chevalier de la Croix-Maron, the inventor of double distillation.
Who can resist the call of the bubbles emanating from Reims, the home of champagne? Off we go to see the fascinating process of crafting this captivating drink. We will match bubbles to some fine foods there too.
We end our bacchanalian pursuits back at Charles De Gaulle in Paris to connect to home or other adventures.
12 nights in 3 and 4 star hotels
Items of a personal nature
Porter gratuities in hotels
A $500 nonrefundable deposit will hold your space. Final payment due July 1, 2023. Itinerary subject to change without notice. Any substitutions will be of equal value. There is no refund for missed of skipped activity. Participants must realize that there are no accommodations for mobility issues or disabilities. Everyone must be able to board trains, vans, and boats unaided, walk intermediate distances on uneven surfaces, ascend and descend stairs without railings, and handle their own luggage during train travel. Dietary restrictions may not be able to be accommodated.
$4499 per person based on double
$1400 single supplement
SEP 26 - OCT 8, 2023
Meet at the Hotel Dauphine Saint Germain and we will share some pizzas at the family own spot across the street for an easy dinner. D
A chocolate walk followed by visits to the honey and mustard shops. Be ready for lots of samples. Afternoon is free to wander with dinner being a hands-on cooking class with a neighborhood walk. We will make a stop at the wonderful Laguiole cutlery store. B,D
A culinary walk on the Right Bank including the cookware store. Again, lots of sampling. An afternoon class on cheese and wine pairing rounds out our day. B,D
Our morning departure to Bordeaux is by first class train. After we check in to the hotel, we have a late afternoon food walk to experience the culinary treasures of the city. B,D
Today we are off to Medoc to find some of those famous wines of the region. B,L
The Saint Emilion and its wineries call us today. B,L
The train moves us to Cognac to explore the golden nectar of the same name. Traditions run deep here. We stop for a pear brandy producer and visit a cooperage to witness the making of barrels used to age eau de vie. You are going to learn a lot. B,L
A morning visit to Otard and an afternoon visit Hennessy features a boat ride on the Charente River in addition to a tasting. This evening will be a special visit to G&C Raby’s estate for a very casual tour and tasting an early light dinner with my friend Cecile. B,D
Sleep in and enjoy our luxury hotel with its spa, pool, gym, and hammam. After a nice lunch we are off on the train to Reims and the land of bubbles. B,L
Champagne houses come in all sizes from small to big. Our lunch is with one of the small ones. The Penet family has been in their small village for 400 years. In the morning we visit one of the big girls – Veuve Clicquot. B,L
Lunch at the oldest producer in the area, Pommery. This afternoon we call on some other names you will know. B,L
We wind up with Saturday Brunch at Ruinart and take the train back to Charles De Gaulle to spend the night at the Sheraton Airport Hotel. B,L