This itinerary is for independent travelers who may already know the southern coast of France and who are looking for discovering the “inside” of the country. Five regions that are totally different from each other, showing you the diversity of France.
based on double occupancy.
Step by step
Welcome to Burgundy
- As you will probably land in a Paris airport, we plan for you to pick up your rental car right at the airport and drive 3 hours to Burgundy. We will plan for a nice lunch stop on the way.
- You will reside for 4 nights in a beautiful mansion, surrounded by a vast park in the Côtes de Nuits vineyards. Situated in the heart of Burgundy, between Dijon and Beaune, you will be perfectly located to tour the region and taste its wines. One night, enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by your hosts.
- Authentic Burgundy is much more than the vineyards: winding roads leading to tiny timeless villages - some of them "Most Beautiful Villages of France" - will give you a real feel for this region. Dijon has kept a lot of ancient monuments and houses, yet it is a modern and lively city full of charm. Taste some local cheese, the "Epoisse" at the cheese factory or stroll around Beaune, from the cellars to the ramparts.
- For the "Gourmets", you will meet with Olivier who was a chef in star-rated restaurants. He will teach you how to cook some typical Burgundy dishes revised to make them some very sophisticated courses. A great cooking class !
Prehistoric & Medieval Dordogne
- On the 5th day, you will drive across the Massif Central to reach the Dordogne region.
- In Dordogne, history is around every corner. In the lush river valley, you will spend the following 5 nights in a beautifully restored stone house. Your lovely hosts will cook a delicious dinner inspired by local traditions. We'll tell you where to find the most typical goat cheeses - and if you like outdoor activities, you'll be in paradise.
- Dordogne is famous for the prehistoric caves such as Lascaux and we will recommend to you much more intimate visits, in 20,000 year old caves. If you are interested in history or if you are a JM Auel reader, these are a must!
The Bordeaux Wine Region
- Get acquainted with the Bordeaux region, staying first for 3 nights in the Médoc, in a house surrounded by the vineyards. Your lovely hosts will be happy to share with you all the wine places that they keep selecting all year long.
- Visit a Medoc wine estate with an English-speaking guide: from the vineyards near the castle to the wine storehouses. After the tour, you'll make your own blend with different varieties and end this 2hr tour with a wine tasting, but of course!
- You will then spend 2 nights in downtown Bordeaux and enjoy discovering this lively city and within walking distance from the historical district.
- Built along the banks of the Garonne river, the opulent merchants' homes are very specific to 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.
The Northern Loire Valley
- On the 15th day, you will move to the Northern Loire Valley and treat yourself with 2 nights in a charming and romantic Renaissance castle in the heart of the Loire Valley. The perfect place to be introduced to the "castle country" while enjoying the warm welcome of the owners themselves.
- From Amboise, you will explore the Loire Valley's most famous sites: Chambord or Chenonceau, Chaumont gardens and if you want to do some shopping, you may enjoy Tours.
The Southern Loire Valley, off the beaten paths
- Your trip continues to the wilder part of the Loire Valley. Stay for 5 nights in a lively town between Saumur and Tours, along the Loire River, across the street from a gorgeous Middle Ages castle. At night, you can walk to one of the best restaurants in the whole region, relax in the courtyard or at a bistro terrace.
- One day, let the owner of a 12th century royal abbey guide you in this amazing and totally off the beaten tracks historical site.
- You will also wander into tiny villages dotted along the Vienne and Loire rivers and get a taste of French gastronomy in restaurants and local markets we have tested for you.
Normandy – World War & Middle Ages
- For 3 nights, taste the Norman quietness in a manor from the 11th century. Jump into the Middle Ages while still enjoying all the modern amenities . . . and amazing breakfasts cooked by your lovely hostess.
- Perfectly located between Bayeux and the WWII beaches, you will get a real feel for the Norman history, from William the Conqueror to the Second World War.
- To help you better understand the events of the Battle of Normandy and bring them to life, we have planned a guided tour with a specialist in WWII history. You will be shown all the main landing sites and learn in detail about what happened here on D-Day.
Last night in Giverny
- Spend your last night in Giverny, which is only a 1hr drive to Paris and to CDG Airport, so very convenient. Get a last feel for Normandy and if you are interested in painting, you will enjoy Monet’s house and gardens very much.
- We can plan for you to return the car where it is the most convenient for you.
In this tour, you will uncover the Many Facets of France !
Burgundy Cooking Class
Meet with Olivier who was a Chef in star rated restaurants. He will teach you how to cook some typical Burgundy dishes revised to make them some very sophisticated courses.
Bordeaux Wine tasting & blending
Visit a Medoc wine estate with an English speaking guide: from the vineyards to the wine storehouses. After the tour, you'll make your own blend with different varieties.
Guided Tour of a 12th c. Abbey
Get totally off the beaten track and explore each nook and cranny of this 12th century jewel. The owner, who will guide you, is passionate about local history and is totally dedicated to the conservation of this site.
D-Day Sites Tour
Get a better feel for what happened during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, with a local specialized guide. Spend half a day to visit several US or Canadian sites. You will be in a group of maximum 8 travelers. If you wish, we can also hire a private guide.