13 Days Culture and Culinary Vacations in France

  • Paris - Saint-Jean-d'Angély - Bordeaux - Tolouse - Carcassone - Avignon

Culinary Tours in France

Delve into the culture, cuisine, and history of Southern France. Enjoy tours and tastings in some of France’s most famous wine regions. Experience the Parisian life and discover the magic of this beautiful city. Stroll amid the narrow streets and half-timbered houses of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Tour and stay at the spectacular fortress at Carcassonne. Sample the flavors of Provence at the delightful market at Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Tour the village of Avignon and marvel at the color and light show in Les-Baux. Many incredible moments and surprises await as you come to know southern France.

Highlights

  • Enjoy wine and brandy tastings
  • Go truffle hunting with a local chef in Avignon
  • Explore the medieval catacombs of Saint-Émilion
  • Pair wines with sausage, eggs, goat cheese, and truffles
  • Tasting menu prepared with the freshest ingredients
  • Market shopping in Saint-Remy-de-Provence
  • Enjoy lunch at the base of Pont du Gard
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • 11 days with instruction
  • English
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As you tour southern France, you will be visiting several different cities. In each city, you will be staying at hotels that fully accommodate any traveler.

Mercure Paris Tour Eiffel: Days 1 and 2

Close to the Eiffel Tower and Trocadéro, the Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel is a 4-star hotel just waiting to be discovered in the heart of Paris. An ideal starting point for your visit, you will appreciate the proximity to public transport and their tips for visiting this beautiful city. If you need a setting that combines pleasure and work on a business trip, discover their meeting rooms and relax in the fitness room, with a view of the Eiffel Tower, or on the restaurant terrace.

Fully renovated, the hotel has contemporary and functional rooms with free Wi-Fi access. The hotel offers standard rooms, which are contemporary rooms with double glazing, individual air conditioning, bed with duvet, flat-screen TV, safe, mini fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, bathroom with shower or bathtub, and hairdryer. They also offer privilege rooms and junior suites, which have a wider range of services and where you can enjoy the finest bed linen exclusive to Mercure, iPhone or iPad docking station, Nespresso machine, and many other subtle touches designed to ensure the perfect stay. Some of the junior suites have views of the Eiffel Tower.

Fontevraud L'hotel: Day 3

Fontevraud L’Hôtel offers an incomparable experience. At the Saint-Lazare priory, formerly the home of a community of nuns, the tradition of hospitality, that is an intrinsic part of this place, is being renewed. Sleeping in the tranquil silence of the Abbey and walking alone through the monastery as night falls are magical private moments that you can live here.

The 54 rooms of this four-star hotel have been fitted out with great respect for this almost 1000-year-old monument, whose face is firmly turned towards the future. Each of the rooms is a cozy refuge with high-quality bedding and elegant contemporary furniture, that uses noble materials such as oak and is made with respect for the environment.

The Saint-Lazare priory now lives to the rhythm of the 21st century, just like the iBar and the digital library that it houses. Each guest receives an iPad on their arrival, via which they access hotel services and can find out about the Abbey and its surroundings. Fontevraud TV, the in-house TV channel, is screened in each bedroom.

Emotion and conviviality are at the heart of the Fontevraud experience. The hotel is the best illustration of this. From the quality of the welcome to the comfort of the rooms, everything has been designed to pamper you, in a simply designed space that lends itself to calm and reflection.

Hotel Mercure Bordeaux Centre: Days 4, 5, and 6

In the center of the city and at the heart of the Mériadeck business district, the 4-star Mercure Bordeaux Centre Hotel is the perfect destination for both business traveler and holidaymaker alike. From its convenient location, you can enjoy both stress-free travel to business meetings as well as exploring the historic side of Bordeaux, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For your dining pleasure, their restaurant offers a range of regional dishes in refined and contemporary surroundings.

They offer you a moment of relaxation in spacious and comfortable rooms with a contemporary design. Choose between a standard room, that offers air conditioning, flat-screen TV, safe and minibar, bathroom with bathtub and hairdryer, and free WI-FI access; and a privilege room, that offers a wider range of services and where you can enjoy the finest bed linen exclusive to Mercure, iPhone or iPad docking station, Nespresso machine, and many other subtle touches designed to ensure the perfect stay.

Grand Hotel de L'Opera: Days 7 and 8

Stay in a unique place with a rich history and a modern comfort. The Grand Hôtel de l'Opéra welcomes you with 4-stars services in the Capitole square in Toulouse. A refined atmosphere, attention to detail, and high quality services are their keywords, in an intimate Boutique-Hotel full of charm. A dinner in the gastronomic restaurant Les Jardins de l’Opéra, a drink at the bar, or a massage in the wellness area Terre de Jade will guarantee a relaxing moment.

A former Monastery dating to the 17th century, the Grand Hôtel de l'Opéra opens you the doors of its suites and rooms with all the comfort. They display an elegant and refined style dedicated to harmony. Each detail has its importance and has been carefully chosen. With a unique charm, decorated with shades of Opera red or Sun yellow, the rooms offer you calm, comfort, and space in a hushed atmosphere.

Hôtel De La Cité: Day 9

As the evening draws near and the last daytime visitors wander away, a magical atmosphere settles over the Citadel of Carcassonne. As your footsteps echo on the cobblestones, you will soon discover why Hôtel de la Cité is the ideal place to start exploring this fairytale citadel. Nestled within the ramparts of the citadel and amidst its romantic gardens, the hotel offers a unique experience to each of its guests.

Whether sipping wine under the towering trees or tasting some of the region's most exciting cuisine at La Barbacane, Hôtel de la Cité offers a marvelous blend of the medieval and the contemporary. Hôtel de la Cité is perfectly placed to explore the region’s Cathar castles, the lush vineyards of the Languedoc-Roussillon province and the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As befits a hotel of such unique character, each of the 47 guestrooms and 13 suites at Hôtel de la Cité are individually furnished and decorated with more than a dash of aristocratic style. Varying in shape, layout, and interior, several of the rooms and suites have balconies and terraces allowing panoramic views of Carcassonne, while others offer vistas of the charming cobbled streets of the citadel.

L'auberge de Cassagne: Days 10, 11, and 12

A former Provencal farmhouse built in 1850, on the lands of the estate belonging to Cassagne and Spa, became a small hotel restaurant in 1969. The hotel grew quickly and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin start in 1985. Over the years, the hotel grew to include 35 rooms, a gym, and a sauna in 1999. After some major work, the hotel was awarded its fifth star in 2011.

Today, the outbuildings of Cassagne Castle have been converted and completed with new buildings, all wonderfully integrated into the farmhouse, at the heart of which, lies a beautiful park. Now 35 rooms and 8 suites occupy the U-shaped buildings, which frame three delightful, flower-covered interior courtyards. These ordered places, with their stylish terraces and abundant plant life, create a true natural haven.

Day 1: Paris

Your tour opens today in Paris, the city of light. With your hotel just blocks away from the Eiffel Tower, you are right in the center of the magic that is Parisian life. This evening, join your tour manager and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a Parisian café.

Meal plan: Dinner.

Day 2: Paris, Chinon, Fontevraud

Experience the ingenuity of France’s modern rail system as you take the TGV train to the Loire Valley. Visit the celebrated Chinon wine village and meander through the streets of this riverside medieval setting. Spend time getting to know a local wine maker and his family at their biodynamic winery. Discover the natural growing methods they use and taste the delightful wine they produce.

This afternoon, check into the magnificently renovated abbey of Fontevraud. Delve into the history of this site, which was home to one of the largest orders in Europe during the medieval times and serves as the final resting place of King Richard the Lion Heart. Tonight's dinner is set among flying buttresses, chiseled arches, and ancient stone, creating a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 3: Fontevraud, Cognac, Bordeaux

Enjoy a scenic drive as you travel from the Loire Valley to the coastal region of Bordeaux. En route, savor a unique stop at a Cognac distillery. Participate in a tasting and learn about the history of this brandy and how its worldwide popularity soared. This afternoon, you will arrive at Bordeaux and take a behind-the-scenes walking tour led by a local resident that offers an insider's perspective. The rest of the evening is yours.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 4: Bordeaux, Médoc, Bordeaux

This morning, head to the Médoc wine region. Travel along the stunning Route des Châteaux, viewing the historic wine estates of the region. Along the way, you will stop at one château to learn about the growth and popularity of wine production in the Bordeaux region and sample the renowned wine. After your return, the remainder of the afternoon is yours. Tonight, let the charm and romance of the city capture your heart as you stroll through the narrow streets on your way to a tucked away local restaurant. Here, a chef's tasting menu is carefully prepared with the day's freshest ingredients; this will be a culinary moment to remember.

Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 5: Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux

Travel to the prominent wine region of Saint-Émilion. Your guided tour will take you through this well-preserved medieval city's fascinating underground monuments and to the original settlement. You will also see the Trinity chapel, the catacombs, and the unique limestone monolithic church, the largest church of its kind in Europe. The afternoon is your last chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of Bordeaux; be sure to save time to stroll down the longest shopping street in Europe.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 6: Bordeaux, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, Toulouse

Bid farewell to Bordeaux as you make your way to Toulouse, the pink city and home of the French aerospace industry. En route, spend time in the incredibly charming village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, made famous by the hit movie The Hundred-Foot Journey. Join a local guide who will share stories as you peruse the market and walk the same narrow streets featured in the film. Come to know this enchanting village set in the middle of a beautiful gorge. After arrival in Toulouse, a local guide will acquaint you with the city via a panoramic tour. Then, settle into your perfectly located hotel, a former 17th-century convent overlooking the grand palace.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 7: Toulouse

Today is a free day to explore Toulouse on your own. You can tour one of the many cathedrals or museums close to your hotel. You can also take in the daily life at the Saturday market. With cafés, shops, and activities surrounding you, you are sure to find something you will love. Of course, your tour manager will be available with suggestions. You will have the opportunity to take an optional excursion called Artists and Industry of France, which begins with a visit to Albi and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum and finishes with a tour of the Airbus facility, maker of the world's largest passenger airliner. Tonight, enjoy a truly special dinner as you taste traditional cassoulet, which many argue originated in this wonderful city.

Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 8: Toulouse, Carcassonne

This morning, you are off to the fairy-tale village of Carcassonne. A local expert will guide you through the old city. This storybook setting comes complete with drawbridges, towers, and cobbled streets. Feel like you have stepped into the pages of history with a guided stroll through its medieval alleyways. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore independently. No doubt you will want to soak up as much of this city as you can. Spend the night surrounded by old-world ambiance and ultimate comfort in your iconic hotel situated along the walls of this picturesque, fortified village perched above the valley.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 9: Carcassonne, Pont du Gard, Avignon

This morning, you will journey to Provence and the incredible village of Avignon. En route, marvel at the Pont du Gard, the greatest surviving stretch of aqueduct remaining from Roman times. Admire this feat of engineering while enjoying lunch at its base, along the river, taking in the picture-perfect views of the arch. Later, after checking into your Provencal retreat, spend time learning the history of Avignon, often called the City of Popes, and get an inside look at the town of Avignon with your local guide. Revel in the beauty as you visit the medieval bridge and the dramatic Palace of the Popes, a center of European religion for 70 years, when the Popes moved there in 1309.

Meal plan: Breakfast and lunch.

Day 10: Avignon

The day is yours! Enjoy free time to stroll the historic cobbled streets lined with boutiques or simply relax and sample some local cuisine at one of the cafés that fill the city’s lively plazas. You will also have the opportunity to take an optional Flavors of Provence tour: accompany a local chef as you go truffle hunting with truffle pigs and then cook up sausage, eggs, and truffles before visiting a goat cheese farm, all complete with wine pairings.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 11: Avignon, Saint-Rémy, Avignon

Today, set off for Saint-Rémy. Let your senses take over during the famous Wednesday market. Sample the fresh delicacies of this truly authentic Provencal market filled with local residents. From there, head up the scenic roads through the Alpilles mountain range to the hilltop town of Les-Baux-de-Provence. As you navigate its winding medieval streets, you will be captivated by its charm. At the imposing fortress, stand in awe of the recreated giant medieval catapults. Then, enter the caves at the nearby ancient quarries for a mesmerizing sound and light show featuring projections of magnificent works of art. Tonight, prepare your senses for your farewell farm-to-table dinner hosted by the owners of your hotel and prepared by award-winning chefs.

Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 12: Avignon

Your tour comes to a close today.

Meal plan: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy a scenic drive from Loire Vallet to Bordeaux
  • Explore the Wednesday market in Saint-Rémy
  • Panoramic tour of Tolouse
  • Stop at a chateau to learn about the wine production and taste some wines
  • Stop at a Cognac distillery
  • Take a behind-the-scenes tour in Bordeaux
  • Visit Médoc wine region
  • Visit the Chinon wine village
  • Visit the fairy-tail village of Carcassone
  • Visit the hilltop town of Les-Baux-de-Provence
  • Visit the medieval bridge and the Palace of the Popes in Avignon
  • Visit the village of Avignon
  • Walk along the roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard

This tour will take place in the south of France. You will visit Paris, Chinon, Fontevraud, Cognac, Medoc, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, Toulouse, Carcassonne, Pont du Gard, Avignon, Saint- Remy, and Marselle.

Throughout your travels, you will have the opportunity to dine at some exquisite and famous restaurants and surprise your taste buds with exquisite dishes prepared by renowned chefs and paired with authentic French wines.

  • Explore Paris and shop on the world famous Champs Elysees
  • Stroll the historic cobbled streets of Avignon lined with boutiques and cafés
  • Take an excursion called Artists and Industry of France
  • Take the Flavors of Provence tour
  • Tour one of the many cathedrals or museums in Toulouse
  • Visit the Eiffel Tower
  • 1 lunch
  • 5 dinners
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • Guided city tours with local guide
  • Tour manager assisted traveling
  • Transport from city to city
  • Airfare
  • Health insurance
  • Travel expenses
  • Travel insurance

Arrival by airplane

The closest airport is Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

For information about the booking conditions, please send Go Collette an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Traveler from California, USA
    8 out of 10

    "My mother and I did a 10 day tour of Scotland in 2009 with Collette. We were very happy with everything. I plan on using them again someday to travel through Italy."

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Pawtucket, United States

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13 days / 12 nights

This vacation is available on September and October, 2016, as well as March and April, 2017, please select an arrival date below.

 

Low season
  • October 29, 2016 and March 11, 2017


 

Mid-season
  • October 15, 2016 and April 22, 2017

 

High season
  • September 24, 2016
Departure:
Thursday October 5, 2017
(13 days / 12 nights)

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