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Tour the Loire, Cognac and Bordeaux with Tony 

Vins de France
A wine tour with Tony Aspler, featuring the great wines – and food! – of Bordeaux, plus the Loire Valley and Cognac

11 days, Monday, May 14, to Thursday, May 24, 2007

$4,495 from Toronto, based on double occupancy

Pauwels Travel Bureau
95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Tel. 519-756-4900, Fax 519-753-6376

Proposed itinerary:

Day 1 – Monday, May 14:
Evening departure from Toronto International Airport to Paris with Air France. An apéritif (also Champagne, but you have to specifically ask for it!), dinner, and a light breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 – Tuesday, May 15: [B, D]
Arrival in Paris around 9 AM. A deluxe private coach will be waiting here to take us immediately to the town of Saumur in the scenic Loire Valley, also known as the "Chateaux Country" or the "Garden of France." Accommodation in the Anne d'Anjou, a traditional first-class hotel, situated directly below the imposing local chateau and near the river bank ( Free time to settle in and relax after your overnight flight. In late afternoon, leisurely walking tour of Saumur. Welcome dinner in the restaurant of the hotel.

Day 3 – Wednesday, May 16: [B]
Full-day excursion to the Chateau of Chenonceau, arguably the most beautiful in the entire "Chateau Country," built like a bridge across the Cher River; the Medieval town of Amboise, situated on the banks of the Loire, with Clos Lucé, the manor house where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life; and an afternoon visit to the elegant city of Tours, with its fabulous old town near the Place Plumereau and inviting nearby pedestrian shopping streets. Return to Saumur for a free evening.

Day 4 – Thursday, May 17: [B, L]
Morning visit to Domaine des Beaumard in the Savennières district, one of the oldest and consistently amongst the highest-regarded Loire wine producers whose Chenin Blanc wines have received high praise from renowned oenophiles such as Robert Parker ( Gourmet lunch of regional specialties at a country restaurant in small town near the estate before an afternoon visit to the medieval town of Chinon, associated with Joan of Arc and surrounded by vineyards producing a famous Cabernet Franc, and Fontevraud Abbey with the tombs of English Royalty, e.g., Richard the Lion Hearted and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Return to Saumur and free evening.

Day 5 – Friday, May 18: [B, D]
Departure from Saumur after breakfast. We motor southward via the Autoroute, bypass Poitiers, site of a couple of major battles during the Middle Ages, and head for Cognac, home of the original brandy. Our visit here will hosted by Hennessy, and include one of their Grande Champagne vineyards, their cellar at La Bataille, and a tasting at Le Peu Distillery. Dinner and overnight in Chateau de l'Yeuse, a luxurious hotel installed in a 19th-century manor house overlooking the lush green valley of the Charente River and catering to a chic clientele (

Day 6 – Saturday, May 19: [B, D]
After breakfast, we leave Cognac and head for St. Emilion. We take the scenic route via the minor wine regions of Blaye or Bourg, overlooking the Gironde, and probably some surprises along the way. Via the Pomerol region – and a peek at Chateau Petrus? Lunch in the picturesque, walled town of St. Emilion – the hub of many famous Right Bank estates. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a cellar tour and tasting at one of the appellation's Grand Cru Classé estates. Dinner this evening at the elegant restaurant of our hotel for the next two nights, the Chateau de Sanse, a castle of the 18th century, transformed into a charming and comfortable hotel, surrounded by acres of forests, farmland, and vineyards (

Day 7 – Sunday, May 20: [B]
Following breakfast at the hotel, relax by the pool or explore the extensive grounds surrounding the Chateau before we return to the town of St. Emilion for an afternoon of independent sightseeing, shopping, and possibly additional tasting? Return to the hotel in the late afternoon, where guests can decide to unwind for the rest of the evening or join part of the group for a dinner in the country.

Day 8 – Monday, May 21: [B, D]
Departure after breakfast. We cross the Dordogne and Gironde Rivers – and the Entre-Deux-Mers district in between – and motor to the Sauternes Region. Visit to Chateau Yquem, one of the most prestigious chateaux in the entire Bordeaux wine country. Late afternoon arrival in Bordeaux, and dinner and overnight in a centrally located deluxe hotel, the Burdigala, a member of the prestigious chain of Concorde Hotels and Resorts (; see also

Day 9 – Tuesday, May 22: [B]
A full day in Bordeaux, with sightseeing, visits, and a wine seminar and tasting for those who are interested. Also some free time for shopping and exploring Bordeaux on your own.

Day 10 – Wednesday, May 23: [B, D]
Full-day excursion to the Medoc Peninsula along the Gironde estuary, featuring famous wine villages such as St. Estèphe, Margaux and Pauillac, where we have been offered an exceptional opportunity to enjoy a grand tour, including lunch and of course a tasting, at the renowned Chateau Mouton Rothschild, one of the five famed "First Growth" wines of Bordeaux. In what may be perceived as too much of a good thing, following lunch we have been invited to experience a complete tasting of the wine portfolio of Axa – owners of such remarkable properties as Petit Village (Pomerol), Suduiraut (Sauternes), Cantenac Brown (Margaux), and, of course, Pichon Longueville Lalande, the gorgeous Chateau estate in Pauillac where we will be enjoying this memorable event. Return to Bordeaux in late afternoon with time for some rest before our Au Revoir dinner in a fine restaurant.

Day 11 – Thursday, May 24: [B]
After an early breakfast, short transfer to Bordeaux Airport and return flight to Toronto, via Paris.

Tour cost (based on double occupancy): $4,495 from Toronto.

Included in the price:

  • Return airfare
  • Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in first-class hotels (there will be a single supplement, and please note that only a limited number of single rooms are available, so book yours early!)
  • Sightseeing, visits, and wine tastings as shown in the itinerary
  • Transportation by private deluxe coach
  • Breakfast daily and a total of seven dinners (or full lunch), several (but not all) with wine included
  • All visits, sightseeing, and wine tastings as described in the itinerary
  • Porterage of one suitcase per person

Not included:

  • Wine, beer, mineral water and similar beverages with dinners, though some meals will include wine
  • All items of a personal nature
  • A gratuity for the coach driver, approximately $30
  • Airport taxes and security fees, presently approximately $270
  • Travel insurance, available as follows:
Deluxe package insurance: Non-medical insurance:
Up to age 59: $244.08 $211.68
Ages 60 to 64: $316.44 $255.96
Ages 65 to 69: $380.16 $290.52
Ages 70 to 74: $503.28 $332.64
Ages 75 to 79: Call for rates

For more information or to book your spot, contact:
Pauwels Travel Bureau
95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Tel. 519-756-4900, Fax 519-753-6376




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