Day 1- Paris
Transfer by private vehicle to Melia Colbert Boutique Hotel, located just off Boulevard St-Germain and close to the Luxembourg Gardens. Your afternoon is at leisure. This evening, join your fellow travellers for Welcome Cocktails followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Day 2- Paris
Your tour today starts at the grand old lady of Paris – Notre-Dame Cathedral. This gothic masterpiece, located on the Île de la Cité, may not be the largest cathedral in the world, but it certainly is one of the most famous. Continue to Sainte-Chapelle, a jewel box of Gothic art shimmering with hundreds of stained-glass panels. Then cross the River Seine via Pont Neuf to visit the Louvre, containing the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo plus many other masterpieces. Afterwards drive to the Eiffel Tower, another enduring symbol of the city and have lunch at Restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel situated on the first level.
This afternoon, uncover the mysteries of Cordon Bleu cooking at the famous school, where your lively chef will teach you the art of pastry making! Forget the diet and enjoy the fruits of your labour at the end of the afternoon. This evening is at leisure.
Day 3- Paris
This morning, spend time with a skilled perfumer, who will introduce you to the history of perfume, after which you will take part in a perfume workshop, creating a scent to match your personality.
After lunch, transfer out to Versailles, to discover Marie Antoinette’s favourite chateau. Tucked away in the manicured gardens lies a small oasis of pleasure and beauty known as the Trianon, including the Queen’s Hamlet. it was here that the Kings retired to get away from the bustle and demands of the main palace and where Marie Antoinette preferred to raise her children, surrounded by a lake and an English style garden. Visit the intimate yet exquisite Trianon Palace and enjoy a walk to the hamlet through the delightful grounds, filled with romantic groves, Belvederes, streams and woods. Return to Paris at the end of the afternoon.
Tonight, enjoy an entertaining dinner cruise on the River Seine aboard the Bateaux Parisiens. Watch the sites of Paris slip past serenely as you enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by lively French entertainment.
Day 4- Champillon
After breakfast depart by coach to the historic town of Reims. Visit the great gothic Cathedral, where traditionally the Kings of France were crowned throughout the centuries. In pomp and glory, these great rituals were acted out beneath the soaring, vaulted ceiling and surrounded by the dazzling stained glass windows.
Of course, no tour of the Champagne region would be complete without a visit the Champagne House of Moet and Chandon, followed by a tour of the spectacular network of cellars of Don Perignon. Then a tasting of what they make best—French champagne! Continue to your hotel, Hotel Royal Champagne, in Champillon where dinner will be served.
Day 5- Champillon
Today, enjoy a scenic drive on the ‘route du vin’ (wine road) and discover why the Champagne Region is such a fantastic destination. Follow the great road along the steep slopes of the Montagne de Reims, through pretty villages such as Mailly-Champagne and Bouzy where you visit a snail farm. Discover how France’s most famous delicacy is bred and afterward for those who wish, you have an opportunity to taste.
Continue to the delightful town of Ambonnay with its medieval architecture, stopping at the end of the day at the town of Pierry to visit a traditional chocolate atelier. Few can resist the delights that await you tere. Dine tonight at leisure.
Day 6- Beaune
Depart by coach to Troyes, the historical capital of Champagne; the historical town centre is even shaped like a champagne cork! Enjoy a walking tour of the enchanting old town with timber framed houses lining the streets.
Take a peek into the apothecary of the Hotel Dieu, a former medical laboratory where time seems to have stood still. Floral painted boxes and ceramic jars containing medical plants line the antique shelves.
After time at leisure for lunch continue to Bayel for a glass blowing demonstration at the Royal Champagne Glassworks. Arrive early evening in the town of Beaune, located in the heart of the Burgundy vineyards.
Tonight enjoy dinner in your hotel, Hotel Le Cep.
Day 7- Beaune
This morning , enjoy a walking tour of Beaune, known as the wine capital. Visit the 15th century Hospice, whose tiled roofs and Flemish architecture have become an icon of Burgundy.
Continue with a visit to the last independent mustard mill, where, after discovering both the traditional and modern methods of mustard making,, you have an opportunity to try your hand at making your own.
Afterward, transfer out to Nuits-St-Georges for a private lunch with a Countess. Enjoy a winery tour, conducted by La Comtesse herself, who is a professionally trained wine expert. Afterwards a meal featuring local specialties such as Boeuf Bourguignon will be served. Mme la Comtesse is a great raconteuse and she has spellbinding stories of when the Nazis took over her mansion during World War II. Returning to Beaune, this evening is at leisure.
Day 8- Beaune
After breakfast, drive out to the beautiful setting of Vézelay . The magnificence of its glorious Basilica constitute all that is best of France and of Burgundy. Walk across country up the hill to the village as pilgrims did in times past and enjoy the sublime beauty of the 12th century Basilica, where St Bernard preached the Second Crusade in 1146 and whose carved capitals are one of the greatest Romanesque treasures of Europe. Sample the cooking of Marc Ménaud at the Restaurant L’Entrevignes.
After lunch, transfer to Epoisses to visit a chateau and its gardens. Here enjoy a cheese tasting session in the dining room of the chateau. Return to Beaune at the end of the afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Day 9- Lyon
This morning, transfer to Lyon. Enjoy a walking tour through ‘Vieux Lyon’ with its narrow cobblestone streets, 17th and 18th century mansions, small museums and beautiful Cathedral. Above old Lyon are the remains of Roman theatres and the Basilique de Notre-Dame, visible from all over the city.
Also visit Les Halles de Lyon, the famous covered market where you will see the renowned Charcuterie Sibilin described as a ‘temple of sausages’ and the cheese merchants Elenore Maréchal and Renée Richard. Here too is Rolle, the foie-gras specialist. There are a handful of stalls selling fish, catches from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
After lunch at leisure enjoy a visit to a Silk atelier and see the traditional methods of silk weaving still in use today.
This evening enjoy your Farewell Dinner in the hotel’s renowned restaurant headed by chef Anthony Bonnet. Overnight at La Cour Loges.
Day 10- End of itinerary
Transfer to Lyon airport for your departure home.
Optional- Barging through France cruise
The Barging through France cruise allows you to extend your stay 6 nights, allowing you to further explore destinations around France. These include:
- Accommodation with private facilities
- All sightseeing (with entrance fees)
- Meals as stated in Itinerary
- Transportation in private coaches
- Services of a local guide