When the South of France is mentionned, many travelers think of Provence. But there is so much more to discover between the South-West and the South-East of France.
This 26 day itinerary is designed to give you a very complete tour of the southern part of France, enjoying the gastronomy, heritage, wine, villages, and scenic roads . . . the best that France has to offer.
based on double occupancy.
Step by step
The Bordeaux area, from the Saint Emilion vineyards
- Start your journey with 3 nights in a Grands Crus Classés wine chateau. Experience Saint Emilion staying at one of the places where everything happens, right in the Saint Emilion vineyards. Away from the crowds, you will enjoy what Saint Emilion wines have to offer.
- Built along the banks of the Garonne river the opulent merchants' homes are very specific to the city of Bordeaux. The rise of colonial trade together with the growth of the wine industry contributed to the amazing expansion of the Gironde region during the 18th century.
- One day, follow a local food guide and stroll Bordeaux's old town, stopping at many different food and wine shops to get a nice overview of the regional gastronomy. A very pleasant walking tour !
- On the 4th day, you will drive about 1hr away from the city of Bordeaux into the Medoc vineyards to reach your second B&B, in the vineyards. At night, you will taste a delicious dinner prepared by your hosts who will be happy to share their love of wine with you.
- From the Arcachon basin oysters to the Saint Emilion wines, this region has a lot to delight gourmet travelers.
Dordogne region: from nuts to ducks
- In Black Perigord you will stay in a restored stone house for 6 nights, nestled between the woods and the Dordogne river, perfectly located to explore the area. Your lovely hostess will open her home to you - which is filled with personal touches (artwork, books, photographies).
- Dordogne is famous for the prehistoric caves in Lascaux. We will also recommend a much more intimate visit - we plan for you to experience the prehistoric time in 20,000-year-old painted caves - access is limited to only 40 people per day.
- Visit the old city of Sarlat and feel the buzz of activity on market days.
- There is a lot to do in this region: medieval castles to visit, wonderful food to taste - we'll tell you where to find the most typical goat cheeses - and if you like outdoor activities, you'll be in paradise.
French & Spanish Basque Country
- On the 13th day, you will reach the French Basque Country where you will stay for 3 nights in a comfortable house, 5 miles from the ocean, between the lively towns of Biarritz and Saint Jean de Luz.
- We will craft your days so you get a feel of everything the Basque culture has to offer, and there is a lot: taste the local Bayonne ham after strolling a valley and discovering the traditional and still alive mountain pig farming, get acquainted with the Basque weaving tradition, try to make your own Basque cake or stroll one of the many farmers markets.
- Several “most beautiful villages of France” will be on your scenic drives – and you may see some locals playing the Basque Pelote game at the town’s fronton. Nature and outdoors lovers will enjoy endless walks and hikes in the Pyrenees foothills.
- You will then cross the Spanish border for 2 nights and enjoy the gorgeous sceneries of the Spanish cliffs down to the ocean, right from your room ! Some landscapes may seem familiar as some of the scenes from Game of Thrones were shot there. From lively San Sebastian to artsy Bilbao, the Spanish Basque Country has a lot to experience.
Carcassonne & the Cathar country
- Carcassonne and the Cathar country are the perfect stop over on the way to Provence. Carcassonne's medieval “Cité” will amaze you by its size and conservation. You will reside in a cozy B&B, by the walls of the cité, within walking distance to all sightseeing and restaurants – but away from the tourist crowds.
- In the Cathar country, walkers/hikers will be rewarded with breath taking landscapes and fortresses such as Quéribus or Perpeytuse. History lovers will be intrigued by the Cathar history. Wine lovers may be surprised by the quality of the “Minervois” wines which have improved a lot in the past 10 years. They are now on the wine lists of some of the most famous restaurants in the world.
Provence : olives, wine & Romans
- You will spend the last 6 nights in a typical Provencal stone house, perfectly located to explore Avignon and Isle sur la Sorgue (famous for its antiques). Your hostess and her family will welcome you warmly and give you hints and tips about the surrounding area. You will stay in a very comfortable room equipped with a small kitchenette if you wish to have a light dinner in the rose garden.
- So many things to see in less than an hour's drive from your B&B: beautiful Avignon, also referred to as “the City of Popes”, where you can visit the Palace of the Popes, the well-preserved ramparts and the famous “Avignon Bridge”. Enjoy hilltop villages on market day, walking in the footsteps of famous painters such as Cézanne or Picasso. We will also tell you about some hidden jewels - off the beaten track villages where you will stroll around charming streets or have a drink at a provençal café with locals. We can also recommend a farmer’s market and wine cellar for each day of the week!
- Explore a very private wine estate, lost in the hills of Provence. You will enjoy a tour of the estate followed by a wine tasting, then have a picnic lunch in the vineyards. A very special place you would not find on your own.
- If you are interested in history, don’t miss the Roman ruins at Arles, Orange and the Pont du Gard. We will also take you to smaller sites – less famous and much quieter.
- Discover a family-owned olive oil mill, with one of the daughters. She will explain olive oil farming from the tree to the bottle. Then you will enjoy a crash course on cooking some olive oil dishes. A very Provençal experience !
- You may return the car in Marseille, Avignon, Aix or the location which will suit you best.
The richness of diversity of southern France . . . What a trip !
Bordeaux Food Tour
Stroll Bordeaux old town, stopping at many different food and wine shops to get a nice overview of the Bordeaux region gastronomy. A very pleasant walking tour !
Walk back on the prehistoric men footsteps, in 20,000 year old painted caves - access is limited to 40 person per day.
Wine Tasting & Picnic in a very private Estate
Explore a very private wine estate, lost in the hills of Provence. You will enjoy a tour of the estate followed by a wine tasting, then have a picnic lunch in the vineyards. A very special place you would not find on your own.
Olive Oil Experience in the Alpilles
Explore a family owned olive oil mill, with one of the daughters. She will explain the olive oil farming from the tree to the bottle. Then you will enjoy a crash course on cooking some olive oil dishes. A very Provençal experience !