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Grand Wine Tour of France - Insight Vacations

Grand Wine Trip of France

Private Custom Group

Duration: 16 days • Countries visited: France
Group trip type: Food & Wine

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Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome to Paris & Reims

    On your arrival at the Paris Airport, you will be met by your Travel Director and start your journey via luxury motor coach to the religious capital of France, Reims. We start with an orientation visit to Reims, which was reconstructed after its destruction in World War I. Take note of its 13th century Gothic cathedral, one of the finest in France with spectacular facade and glorious rose windows. The rest of the day is at your leisure and tonight we enjoy a welcome drink before dinner at the hotel. (D)

  1. Day 2: Champagne Region Including Moet Et Chandon

    After breakfast, we visit the historical and magical House of Pommery. Located in the heart of Reims, the Pommery Domain is at the foot of the grapevines. Being the only domain of its kind in the Champagne region, Pommery has been welcoming visitors from around the world for over 150 years. With over 60,000 visitors a year descending the magnificent 116-step stairway and travelling through the cellar’s 18kms of labyrinths to discover the secrets of the Art of Champagne-making, this will be an experience not to be forgotten.

    Later we visit the House of Piper Heidsieck. This fun and hi-tech place is a medium-sized champagne house, owned by Rémy Martin. It produces about 5 million bottles a year. Their premium brand is Florens Louis, and they produce a fully dry premium champagne called Brut Sauvage. Finally today we take a beautiful drive through the vineyards and arrive in Epernay where we will visit the Moet et Chandon cellars – the largest champagne house in France, founded in 1743 by Claude Moët. Moët et Chandon is part of the huge Moët-Hennessy group, which also has holdings in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. They produce over 18 million bottles of wine a year and own over 2,000 acres throughout the Champagne region. Fruit from these vineyards also helps supply the smaller champagne houses of Mercier and Ruinart, which are also owned by Moët-Hennessy. Moët et Chandon produces large volumes of non-vintage wine under the White Star and Brut Imperial designations. It is however best known for its premium brand Dom Perignon, named after the famous monk credited for enhancing the methode champenoise process. (BB)

  1. Day 3: Port City of Strasbourg & Colmar

    After breakfast, we drive to the House of Nicholas Feuillatte for something completely different and modern. We then continue to the Rhine port and Alsatian capital of Strasbourg. Home of the European Parliament, your Travel Director will reveal the imposing buildings erected by the Germans during their ownership of the city, as well as the Palais de l'Europe set amid leafy gardens. In the old heart of the city, we see the incredible Gothic cathedral surmounted by its soaring spire before continuing to the Alsace countryside. Contrary to other French wine regions, the wines of Alsace are not named after the villages or vineyards from which they come, but after the grape variety. This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the Klipfel Domain, one of the largest cellars in Alsace, filled with oak tuns containing more than 20,000 litres of wine. Created in 1824 by Eugène Klipfel, it is today a family business that has sole ownership of 40ha of vineyards. Finally we continue to our hotel in Colmar where we will enjoy dinner together. (BB, D)

  1. Day 4: Alsatian Vineyards Excursion

    Today we travel out into the countryside to explore delightful villages. We take the 'wine-road', seeing the fine vineyards, beautiful half-timbered houses decked with geraniums and perhaps a stork for which the province is famous. We stop in the tiny town of Riquewihr, home of fine Riesling wine and Kugelhupf cake! We then travel via the picturesque town of Munster and continue back to Colmar where a train ride shows us the Old Town and Little Venice, which make it possibly the prettiest city in France. We then have time to wander down the Rue des Marchands (Merchants Street) and Rue Merciére (Haberdasher Street) where there are many picturesque half-timbered, flower-decked old houses. This evening perhaps join an optional excursion to dine at a farmhouse inn, high in the Vosges Mountains. (BB)

  1. Day 5: Burgandy Capital of Dijon to Beaune

    Continuing on beneath the foothills of the forested Vosges Mountains, we travel past the fortified city of Belfort which once guarded the access to the riches of Alsace. Here we enter another famous wine growing district of France, Burgundy! Through venerable vineyards, we reach the ancient Burgundian capital, Dijon. Strolling along the cobbled streets, we see the Palais des Ducs and colonnaded Place de la Libération. We then continue through the scenic village of Gevrey-Chambertin. One of the larger villages in this acclaimed area, it contains approximately 1,460 vineyard acres, all focused on producing red wines from pinot noir grapes. Here we will visit the Domaine of Seguin Gerard, before travelling onto the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Reading like a wine list, this is the second most important commercial centre in France's cote d’or section of Burgundy. Finally we arrive at the charming walled town of Beaune. (BB, D)

  1. Day 6: Burgundy Excursion, including House of Michael Laroche

    This morning we drive through the leafy Burgundy countryside to the picturesque town of Vézelay, built along a rocky spur among the northern Morvan foothills. Tradition has it that Mary Magdalene was buried here and from the basilica, Richard the Lionheart set off for the Crusades. We then continue to the pleasant wine village of Chablis which produces some of the world's best-known white wines, with chardonnay as the approved grape for Chablis' appellations. Our first visit is to the Domaine of William Fevre who won the admiration of all the region's growers for his fight around the world to stop the use of the word "Chablis" as a generic term for ordinary white wine. Later we visit the House of Micheal Laroche, located in the heart of historic Obédiencerie. This listed ninth century monastery – with its history inextricably linked to the wines from the appellation - was home to the monks of Saint-Martin who planted the first Chablis vines. (BB)

  1. Day 7: Beaune at Your Leisure

    Today you are at leisure to relax and explore at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Hospice de Beaune Museum, alternatively enjoy a degustation at one of Beaune’s Tasting House Restaurants. Joseph Drouhin and Joseph Faiveley both have wines from several Burgundy Regions on offer. The choice is yours! (BB)

  1. Day 8: Beaujolais Red Wine Region & Lyon

    After breakfast, we travel south to the region of Beaujolais, located in the hills south of Burgundy and north of Lyon. Beaujolais is different from most of Burgundy because of its focus on the gamay grape for its red wines, instead of pinot noir. Here we are introduced to the cellars of Georges Duboeuf. Founded in 1964, they value tradition and quality and with annual sales of 30 million bottles, Georges Duboeuf is one of France's largest and best-known wine merchants. An included visit to Le Hameau Museum will showcase this, as well as winemaking in the Beaujolais area. Later we arrive in Lyon, the meeting point of the Rhone and Saone corridors, where we enjoy an orientation excursion and some time at leisure before dinner at the hotel. (BB, D)

  1. Day 9: Rhone Valley Excursion, including Paul Jaboulet Aine’s Cellar

    After breakfast, we travel to the village of Condrieu, south of Cote Rotie, in France's northern Rhone region. Condrieu AC produces only white wines made from the rare viognier variety. These dry, rich wines have a perceptible spiciness and aromas and flavors reminiscent of apricots, peaches, and pears. They are however very expensive because the wine is of a very good quality, with vineyards grown in almost inaccessible soil. We take the opportunity to visit the House of Guigal in Ampius. We then travel to Tournon Sur-Rhone and cross the Rhone River to the centre of Tain-l’Hermitage. Here both red and white wines of excellent repute are produced with vineyards planted on the very steep, sun-drenched hillside above the town. The vineyards are thought to have been cultivated as far back as the Roman occupation of this area. We visit possibly the most impressive cellar in France, that of “Paul Jaboulet Aine” before returning to our hotel. (BB)

  1. Day 10: Clermont Ferrand & Medieval Cahors

    After breakfast, we travel west to Clermont Ferrand with its unique old town built on a volcano. The black lava assists in making it an unusual townscape. Here we will enjoy an orientation exploration of the old town, seeing the cathedral, before continuing via Brive La Gaillarde to the medieval town of Cahors. With rich, fertile alluvial soil in the river valleys, the wine of the area (with principal grape variety of Auxerrois) is one of the world’s best wines thanks to the unremitting effort and enthusiasm of its growers. Tonight we enjoy a highlight dinner at the hotel where we will have the opportunity to sample some of the local wines. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 11: St. Emillion And Bordeaux

    Today we depart Cahors and travel to the village of St Emillion, the last refuge of the Girondins and where Emilion (the 8th century monk) was to make his hermitage in one of the grottoes. This wine-producing region is nearly as famous as the "Medoc", but is not distinguished by the same classification ranges. After lunch we may get the opportunity to taste the wines of the Chateau Cheval Blanc, before continuing to the bustling seaport of Bordeaux. With its unique 18th Century character, our orientation visit to the city will show you the quays, the Cathedral, boulevards and pedestrian shopping streets. Tonight is at your leisure. (BB)

  1. Day 12: Medoc Valley Wine Excursion

    Our excursion today takes us through the narrow and enclosed valleys that give the Medoc wines their characteristics, where growers exploit stony soil to cut the vines short and avoid damage from spring frosts. Medoc is a country of chateaux, but the name here is linked to the production of wine rather than architectural style. We visit the magnificent Chateau Mouton-Rothschild with its wine museum situated in ancient cellars, after which we take pleasure in another tasting at Chateau Palmer in Margaux. Tonight a highlight dinner and tasting of the local drop is also scheduled. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 13: Onto The Loire Valley with a Stop at Remy Martin

    Over the Gironde and Dordogne rivers, we depart Bordeaux and cross the coastal plain arriving in Cognac where we will visit the brandy distillery of Remy Martin. We then continue past Poitiers, a centre of Christianity since the Fourth Century, and onto the Loire Valley. On arrival into trips, our orientation trip shows us the Basilica of St Martin and the old town. (BB)

  1. Day 14: Chateau of Fontainebleau & Paris

    Another splendid day brings us first to Chartres to marvel at stained-glass windows, which flood the cathedral with colour and light. Now we continue through the rich farmlands of the Ile de France to visit the beautiful Renaissance Chateau of Fontainebleau, where the 'Mona Lisa' was first displayed when Leonardo presented it as a gift to King Francis I, and where Catherine of Medici lived in an anguish of unrequited love from her husband Henri. From here, it’s a short drive through the picturesque villages and forest of Fontainebleau, bringing us back to Paris. Tonight don't miss the chance to visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows for an evening of excitement and glamour! (BB)

  1. Day 15: Highlights of Paris

    Sightseeing with a local guide this morning shows us the highlights of the city, including the Arc de Triomphe, Opera House, Invalides and the immense facades of the Louvre Palace. We also visit the 13th century Gothic cathedral, with its memories of the tale of Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame and we see the famous Eiffel Tower. This afternoon is at your leisure to shop in the great department stores, visit the great museums or alternatively perhaps ascend the Eiffel Tower, before getting ready for this evenings highlight farewell dinner together at a local Parisian bistro. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 16: Farewell Paris

    This morning you are at leisure, until your transfer to the airport for your onward journey. (BB)

Meal guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch, WR = Welcome Reception

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