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, 2006
$4,295 from Toronto, based on double occupancy
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:
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 "Chateau 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 (www.hotel-anneanjou.com). 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:
Full-day excursion in the beautiful Loire Valley, including visits to the Medieval town of Chinon, associated with Joan of Arc and surrounded by vineyards producing a famous Cabernet Franc (visit to a winery and tasting included); Fontevraud Abbey with the tombs of English Royalty, e.g. Richard the Lion-Hearted and Eleanor of Aquitaine; and the elegant Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau. Return to Saumur and free evening.
Day 4 Thursday, May 17:
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; the elegant city of Tours; and the wine village of Vouvray, famous for its Chenin Blancs, with a visit to a local vintner. Afterwards, dinner of regional culinary specialties in a converted wine cave or similar interesting restaurant!
Day 5 Friday, May 18:
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. Visit to a famous distillery and, perhaps, a cooperage. We stay 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 (www.yeuse.fr/htgb/0003.htm). This evening, dinner in the hotel's gourmet restaurant.
Day 6 Saturday, May 19:
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. Visit to Chateau Terrefort, producer of excellent Bordeaux Supérieur that has been available through the LCBO for years. On via the Pomerol region and a peek at Chateau Petrus? before arriving in St. Emilion, one of the prettiest Medieval towns in France, and hub of a famous vineyard. Dinner and overnight in Chateau de Sanse, a castle of the 18th century, transformed into a charming and comfortable hotel, surrounded by acres of forests, farmland, and vineyards (www.chateaudesanse.com).
Day 7 Sunday, May 20:
Visits to the picturesque old town of St. Emilion and a couple of famous Chateaux, possibly including Cheval Blanc.
Day 8 Monday, May 21:
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 d'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 (www.burdigala.com/welcome.html; see also www.concordehotels.com).
Day 9 Tuesday, May 22:
A day of sightseeing in Bordeaux. Also wine seminar c/o Tony. Afternoon and evening at leisure.
Day 10 Wednesday, May 23:
Full-day excursion to the Medoc Peninsula along the Gironde estuary, featuring famous wine villages such as St. Estèphe and prestigious Chateaux such as Margaux, Latour, and Mouton-Rothschild. Return to Bordeaux in late afternoon and some free time before our Au Revoir dinner in a fine restaurant.
Day 11 Thursday, May 24:
After an early breakfast, short transfer to Bordeaux Airport and return flight to Toronto, via Paris.
Tour cost (based on double occupancy): $4,295 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
- 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 of approximately $30
- Airport taxes and security fees
- Travel insurance, available from the tour operators
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