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9 Days Gay Culinary Tour France

9 Days Gay Culinary Tour France

  • Bordeaux - Sarlat - Toulouse

LGB Food and Wine Tours in France

Beginning in Bordeaux and ending in Toulouse, while also passing a myriad of wonderful sights and restaurants along the way, this newest Venture Out tour in France covers the best of the southwest. During your 9-day culinary journey, you will discover delicious cuisine, remarkable architecture, intriguing history, breathtaking scenic beauty, and a wide array of fine French wines.

Highlights

  • Visit Albi’s mighty medieval cathedral
  • Explore Stunning hilltop medieval villages
  • Visit local markets and sample foie gras, truffles, walnuts, and cheeses
  • Discover artwork at world-famous prehistoric sights
  • Visit local wineries and sample authentic wines
  • Visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • 8 days with instruction
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Bordeaux

Respecting its early 19th-century provenance, an artful blending of that traditional style with contemporary, high-tech flair has transformed this building into an elegant 55-room 4-star hotel that sits right in the heart of Bordeaux, just a stone’s throw from the Garonne River where the bi-annual Fête du Vin (Wine Festival) will be coinciding with your stay.

Its restaurant has a refined atmosphere and menu, and the bar is a lovely spot for a pre- or post-prandial drink. The staff here in this charming historic mansion are professionally attentive and ensure personalized service. Tastefully decorated rooms have soundproofed windows, minibars, and free Wi-Fi among other amenities, and there’s even a spa on the property.

Sarlat

Constructed in the 19th century this elegant stone building, conveniently located in town, underwent a recent extensive refurbishment. With 39 rooms, it is a 4-star hotel that is the best option in town as you can walk out the door and stroll around beautiful Sarlat quite easily on your own. It’s got a spacious wine bar-pub, an outdoor terrace, a small pool, as well as wet and dry saunas and a jacuzzi. Bathrobes, slippers, and free mineral water in the rooms are nice touches.

Toulouse

Fabulously situated on the main square, the Place du Capitole, this historic grande dame of Toulouse hotels in a building dating from the 17th century exudes classic grandeur and oldworld charm, with a lobby decked out in soaring columns, Second Empire bergères, and blue velvet sofas. The 57 rooms of this 4-star hotel come with bathrobes and slippers. You may be interested in the highly regarded Michelinstarred in-house restaurant, or perhaps the less fussy brasserie. Other nice features include the charming bar, flower-filled courtyard, the wet and dry saunas, and massage services.

Day 1

Meet at the classy, very central 4-star hotel in Bordeaux in the early evening for a welcome aperitif. A welcome dinner will follow later in the evening.

Meals: welcome drink, welcome dinner.

Overnight in Bordeaux.

Day 2

The day will begin with a full-day walking tour of central Bordeaux. Highlights of the tour will include:

  • A survey of the handsome 18th-century UNESCO-listed architecture the city is renowned for: its public buildings, mansions, squares, and fountains
  • Visit and tasting at a famous cheese shop
  • The city’s Old Quarter
  • Le Grand Théâtre, among the most beautiful theaters in France and pride of the city, with its elegant exterior, dazzling foyer, and frescoed ceiling
  • Cathédrale St-André, with its intricate 14th-century chancel and excellent stone carvings on the façade
  • Place de la Bourse, a masterpiece of architectural harmony. Perhaps the city’s most
  • magnificent square and sight of the stock exchange

Meals: breakfast, lunch.

Overnight in Bordeaux.

Day 3

In the morning, you will depart for St-Emilion, one of the most famous wine producing zones in the Bordeaux region. Once there, you will enjoy a walking tour of the beautiful medieval village, discovering ancient ramparts, monuments, a maze of narrow (and some steep) cobbled streets and stone stairways linking picturesque small squares. You will also see the largest monolithic sanctuary in Europe, carved from the 9th to 12th centuries from a single solid block of rock.

Afterwards, you will visit one of the nearby wineries for a tasting, before heading back into town for lunch. After the meal, you will continue east to the Dordogne Valley and check in at your hotel in Sarlat, your base for the next three nights.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Overnight in Sarlat.

Day 4

The day will begin with a walking tour of well-preserved, picturesque Sarlat, where you will discover:

  • Its amazing food hall
  • Some of the Renaissance-era maisons particuliers (noble private homes)
  • Its maze of 16th-century cobbled streets
  • The town’s signature honey-colored buildings

Explorations farther afield in the Dordogne River valley will include:

  • The now-ruined Château de Castelnaud, a prominent stronghold during the Hundred Years’ War between the French and English and sited dramatically with views looking down on the river valley.
  • Lunch at a typical farm in the area in a very pretty setting where they serve traditional recipes handed down from their grandparents and using their own produce where possible.
  • The sumptuous hilltop gardens of Marqueyssac, where paths bordered by 150,000 boxwoods and cypresses are graced with wonderful viewpoints, rock gardens, waterfalls, and verdant glades

Meals: breakfast, lunch.

Overnight in Sarlat.

Day 5

Today, you will see the world-famous prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, an extraordinary collection of cave art, painted by Cro-Magnon man 15,000 years ago. Lunch will be served at a lovely castle (now hotel-restaurant), dating originally from the 14th century and beautifully sited on the Dordogne River. After lunch, you will enjoy a visit to Rocamadour, a remarkable cliff-side village and pilgrimage site from the medieval era, with ancient chapels and gorgeous views.

Meals: breakfast, lunch.

Overnight in Sarlat.

Day 6

In the morning, you will head south towards Toulouse, with a stop in St-Cirq-Lapopie, perched up above the Lot River. The village is considered among “Les Plus Beaux Villages” (the prettiest villages) in the country, and the medieval look of the town is passionately preserved by local residents. Here, you can enjoy visits to the nearby caves of Pech Merle, with prehistoric paintings comparable to those at Lascaux. Continue to Toulouse and check in at one of the city’s finest hotels located directly on the main square.

Meals: breakfast, lunch.

Overnight in Toulouse.

Day 7

A full day to explore the red-brick city of Toulouse, nicknamed La Ville Rose, the pink city, with its stately architecture, wonderful markets, impressive historic private mansions, a southern sensibility, a lively student population, and a hearty cuisine. Highlights include:

  • St-Sernin Basilica, the city’s most famous landmark and the world’s largest Romanesque (11th century) church
  • Capitole / Hôtel de Ville, home to Toulouse’s city hall and the city’s highly regarded opera company with its murals and paintings in elegantly decorated halls
  • Jacobins Ensemble, with a major masterpiece of Gothic art, the Palmier des Jacobins, and its lovely cloister
  • Hôtel d’Assézat, the city’s most elegant mansion dating from 1555, notable for its arcades and ornately carved doorways, and now home to an exceptional collection of paintings
  • Marché Victor Hugo, a lively hangarlike indoor food market

Meals: breakfast, lunch.

Overnight in Toulouse.

Day 8

Day trip to nearby Albi, a beautifully preserved provincial capital on the Tarn River, done in brick and half-timbered buildings, with a traffic-free center and home to:

  • Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, containing the world’s largest collection of Belle Epoque painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings, posters, and sketches.
  • Cathédrale Ste-Cécile, one of the most unusual and dazzling churches in France, with an astonishingly ornate interior, contrasting with the massively austere exterior, which resembles more of a fortress than a church. It houses the largest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings in any French church as well as one of the most splendid organs in the world.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Overnight in Toulouse.

Day 9

After breakfast you can depart at any time that suits your onward travel schedule.

Meals: breakfast

  • Discover the artwork at the caves of Lascaux II and Pech Merle
  • Visit Albi’s mighty medieval cathedral and the city’s museum
  • Visit Bordeaux, with its very handsome city center
  • Visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Visit stunning hilltop medieval villages like Rocamadour
  • Visit the charming village of St-Emilion
  • Visit The Dordogne Valley
  • Visit Toulouse

Bordeaux isn’t just a world-famous wine; it’s also a very handsome and sophisticated city along the banks of the Garonne River. Here you’ll admire some extremely elegant 18th-century architecture in the historic city center, which has been smartly revitalized over the past decade including the riverside quays, wonderful for strolling. Indeed, the city center is a site with pride of place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and you will explore it on foot, taking in a plethora of impressive attractions: buildings, monuments, fountains, quays, churches, and the old quarter.

The Dordogne River Valley is an irresistible blend of natural and man-made beauty. Farmland and orchards; fields of sunflowers; the meandering river; castles on the cliffs above; numerous charming towns; open-air food markets; and arguably France’s best cuisine all come together in an intoxicating harmony. Sarlat, with its cobblestone lanes, beautiful buildings, and numerous shops, restaurants, and cafés, will be your picturesque home base as you explore the area.

The historic town of Rocamadour in its dramatically steep rock-face setting is quite the sight to behold. Once one of Europe’s top medieval-era pilgrimage stops on the route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain most visitors today are not climbing the stairs on their knees but come to admire the few ancient chapels and wonderful views of the village cut into the sheer limestone cliffs and out over the countryside.

With its buzzy markets, stately architecture, beautiful old quarter, cracking cultural scene, and heaving university population, the red-brick city of Toulouse is one of France’s liveliest provincial cities, yet it is greatly overlooked.

Not far from Toulouse is the enjoyable river city of Albi, its attractive traffic-free center done in brick and half-timbered buildings. Here you will find its mighty, towering Gothic cathedral, almost fortress-like in appearance, with a greatly ornate interior.

During this holiday, you will have the chance to sample delicious and authentic French cuisine, including specialties such as foie gras, truffles, walnuts, cheeses, and of course, rich and flavorful wines.

  • Attend local events
  • Explore the sights
  • Go cycling
  • Go hiking
  • Learn about the region's history and culture
  • Sample local cuisine
  • Shop
  • 8 nights accommodations
  • Buffet breakfast each morning in the hotels
  • Entrance fees for all sights mentioned in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation in private comfortable buses
  • Licensed private tour guides for all cities and towns mentioned in the itinerary
  • Limited regional wines with group meals
  • Lunch every day
  • Venture Out tour escort accompanying the group throughout the trip
  • Welcome and farewell dinners plus one dinner in Sarlat
  • Welcome drink
  • Wine tasting at a St-Emilion winery
  • Additional activities
  • Airfare
  • Airport or train station transfers at the beginning and end of the tour
  • Gratuities for drivers, porters, and restaurant staff
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance

Arrival by airplane

Arrive at Bordeaux - Mérignac Airport (BOD).