Experience Fall in Bordeaux and The Dordogne Valley
Discover the town of Bordeaux, the world-renowned wine region, as well as the meandering hillsides of the Dordogne Valley. You will taste some of the world’s finest wines, cheeses, traditional dishes and mouthwatering desserts while discovering the monuments and history of these regions.
This trip includes:
- Eight nights lodging (6 nights in Bordeaux at a 3 star hotel, 2 nights in the Dordogne Valley at a Village de Gîte).
- Private motor coach for all sightseeing (with the exception of Bordeaux, which will be a walking tour).
- Dining at GCE’s favorite restaurants and meeting passionate food artisans.
- Tour escort by Kathy Denis, fluent French speaker & Publisher of Restaurant Guide of Kansas City
Meals included are noted as follows: B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
Day 1: Monday, September 19, 2016 – Apéritif and welcome dinner in Bordeaux (D), short walk
Our tour starts in the hotel lounge early evening with a welcome apéritif and a get-to-know your fellow traveler time. We will then take a short walk through bustling downtown to a favorite local restaurant for dinner.
Day 2: Tuesday, September 20 – Médoc via the Route des Châteaux (B, L, D), minimal walking
Our day starts at a winery in the Médoc region, where we get an overview of Bordeaux wines, enjoy a tour of the winery and follow up with a tasting and lunch. After lunch we take a leisurely drive up the Route des Châteaux stopping for photo opportunities in front of some of the most famous Bordeaux wineries. Before heading back down to Bordeaux we will stop at a second winery, one of the “Great Growths” of the 1855 Classification. Dinner is in Bordeaux at one of its high-acclaimed bistros.
Day 3: Wednesday, September 21 – Tram and walking in Bordeaux (B, L-light, D) moderate walking on pedestrian streets and sidewalks
Today you will enjoy a Dine Around of sorts in the town of Bordeaux, with time on your own to enjoy what the city has to offer. We start at an artisinal bakery where we savor French breakfast pastries made from a wood-fired oven built under Louis XV in 1765. During the day we will explore the aging cellars at a cheese “Affineur” (with samples, of course!) and meet a third-generation chocolatier for a tour of the production facility with tastings and a demonstration included. While visiting these destinations, enjoy a guided walking tour of Bordeaux while hearing about its history. Dinner will be at one of Bordeaux’s cutting edge brasseries.
Day 4: Thursday, September 22 – Dine Around on the Peninsula (B, L), leisurely walking, some walking in sand if you want to get your feet wet!
Today we discover the treasures of the Atlantic Peninsula. We start off with a visit and appetizer at one of the oyster farms housed in a line of tightly packed wooden shacks followed by an entrée at a waterside restaurant with spectacular views of Arcachon Bay and Europe’s largest sand dune. After lunch, enjoy a walk on the pier, along the water or among shops. At the last stop on our Dine Around we meet with a local pastry chef to enjoy a Café Goumande, sampling some of his most delicious creations while learning about life as the Chef/Owner of a pâtisserie française. We return to our hotel then you are on your own t find a place for dinner among Bordeaux’ great choices of bistros, cafes and wine bars.
Day 5: Friday, September 23 – Saint Emilion (B, D), walking on some cobblestones and hills
Today we will spend the day in the town of Saint Emilion, which is designated an UNESCO World Heritage site(as well as Bordeaux). Before arriving in the town we will make a stop at the neighboring Libourne market, where we meet the Chef from our evening restaurant to explore the season’s bounty and see what he chooses to expertly prepare for our dinner. After a guided tour of Saint Emilion’s historic monuments including the impressive monolithic church sculpted out of the limestone hillside, you have time to explore the narrow streets and alleys lined with wine boutiques and find a perfect spot for lunch. We regroup after lunch for a lesson on how sparkling wine is made and a tasting combined with the signature cookie of the region – macarons de St. Emilion (no, not the brightly colored ones, and not coconut-flavored but the region’s own version). Following the tour we will once again meet up with our market Chef to hear how he has prepared our special dinner with the ingredients chosen at the market. Upon returning to the hotel, you will need to pack your bags and get ready to leave for the Dordogne in the morning.
Day 6: Saturday, September 24 – Sarlat / Dordogne (B, L, D), some walking
Following alongside the Dordogne River, we drive through the countryside with views of small towns, wine regions and castles. Our destination is one of the most renowned and visited towns in the Dordogne region, Sarlat. The old town, dating from both medieval and renaissance times, is like stepping back in time, with its outside market being one of the best attractions. You will have time to explore the town and market. After lunch we explore the Paleolithic cave art at Lascaux II (replica of the original cave) which contains some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old. After checking into our lodging at our Gîte you will have time to relax and settle in before dinner.
Day 7: Sunday, September 25 – Sarlat (B, L, D), some walking, a few hills
Today begins with a lovely drive with views of picturesque villages, several nestled in the cliffside along the Dordogne River. Admire castles perched above the river as well as present day dwellings in the cliffs behind these beautiful villages. We will visit the manicured boxwood gardens of Chateau Marqueyssac, boasting the most spectacular views of the area, then on to lunch and discovery at a truffle farm. After relaxing back at the gîte, we head into Sarlat for a walk around town and dinner.
Day 8: Monday, September 26 – Dordogne / Back to Bordeaux (B, L, D), minimal walking
Our final day in the Dordogne starts at the XII century Romanesque church of St. Crépin-et-Carlucet We continue our journey to the outskirts of Bergerac where we enjoy lunch at a rustic local favorite. After lunch we make a stop at Château de Monbazillac, a medieval castle as well as a producer of sweet white wines. We return to the same hotel in Bordeaux then are off to our final dinner together.
Day 9: Tuesday, September 27 – Departure (B)
Our tour ends after breakfast today so you are free to continue your travels. Bon Voyage!
Price: $2,800.00 per person, based on two people sharing a room, and twenty participants. Single Supplement: $450.00
All reservations require a deposit: $350 per person
Cancellations and refunds: All cancellations are subject to a $100 administrative fee. Deposit (less administrative fee) is refundable up until Friday, February 5, 2016. Cancellation after Friday February 5, 2016 will result in loss of deposit and any additional payments that were made will be subject to reimbursements recovered from suppliers.
Final Payment Due: Final payment is due on or before 90 days prior to departure – Friday, June 17, 2016. Invoices will be sent out prior to final payment.
Reservation Form: Bordeaux Reservation
Trip Price Does Not Include: Round-trip airfare to France and transportation to Bordeaux, excess baggage fees, forwarding of baggage, baggage loss, medical expenses, travel insurance, items of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, optional trips, meals away from the group, special arrangements, airport taxes, charges and tips for room services.