A Taste of Alsace and Champagne
A wine and food tour of Alsace and Champagne with Tony Aspler, featuring exclusive visits and tastings at top wine estates such as Hugel, Marcel Deiss, Moet & Chandon, Krug and Veuve Clicquot complemented by dining in some of France's most acclaimed restaurants.
11 days, from Thursday, May 15, to Sunday, May 25, 2008
Estimated tour price: $4,895 from Toronto, based on double occupancy
Day 1 Thursday, May 15:
Evening departure from Toronto International Airport to Paris with Air France. An ap้ritif (also Champagne, but you may have to specifically ask for it!), dinner, and a light breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 Friday, May 16: [B, D]
Arrival in Paris around 6:15 am, and short connecting flight to Strasbourg, capital of France's eastern province of Alsace. A deluxe private coach (with every other seating row removed for extra comfort) will be waiting here to take us to the highly regarded Hotel Le Colombier, ideally situated in the heart of the charming old town of Colmar. En route to Colmar, we will stop for lunch in the picturesque town of Bergheim, followed by a brief introduction to Alsatian wines with local producer Marcel Deiss. Afternoon check in to the hotel and free time to settle in and relax after your overnight flight. Welcome dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 3 Saturday, May 17: [B, L]
After breakfast, a guided tour of old Colmar, with its winding and narrow Medieval streets lined with wood-framed houses, impressive old churches and public buildings, and scenic canals of the "Little Venice" district. Also visit to the fine Unterlinden Museum, featuring the great Issenheim Altarpiece, painted by Grunewald. For lunch, Tony's friend Etienne Hugel will join us in nearby Illhausern at the legendary Auberge de L'Ill, widely considered eastern France's finest restaurant, which has consistently boasted its 3-star Michelin rating for the past 40 years. In the afternoon we tour the vineyards and pretty villages of the area, before returning to Colmar for a free evening.
Day 4 Sunday, May 18: [B, L]
Full-day excursion into Germany! Leaving Colmar, we soon cross the Rhine and start touring the scenic hills and valleys of the legendary Black Forest. On to the Kaiserstuhl wine region for a visit to leading local wine producer Franz Keller for a tasting of some Rieslings as well as less familiar German reds and sparkling wine followed by a lunch of classic regional German cuisine in a country restaurant nearby. In the afternoon we visit the lovely town of Freiburg for a look at the amazing Gothic cathedral. Return to Colmar in the early evening.
Day 5 Monday, May 19: [B]
An early morning departure for the great city of Strasbourg, capital of Alsace. Our guided tour of this lovely city will include all the highlights, including the amazing Cathedral, the quaint "Petite France" district, and a boat tour on the canals and the Ill River. Also free time to shop, of course. On our return to Colmar, Etienne Hugel has invited us to stop for a tour and tasting at the prestigious Hugel winery, established in 1639, in the beautiful town of Riquewihr.
Day 6 Tuesday, May 20: [B, D]
After breakfast we leave Colmar, motor westward on the Autoroute, and enter Alsace's sister province, Lorraine. Stop in Verdun for a visit to the memorial of the huge battle that was fought here in 1916 and time for lunch in one of the many restaurants and brasseries of the old town. In the afternoon we continue to the village of Etoges, situated in the heart of the world-famous province and wine region of Champagne, south of the town of Epernay. Accommodation for the next three nights in the luxurious Chateau d'Etoges, a moat-surrounded 17th Century chateaux and former staging post for the French Monarchy. Champagne will be served during the "Gastronomique" multi-course dinner in its fine restaurant.
Day 7 Wednesday, May 21: [B, D]
This morning we explore the vineyards and villages of the surrounding "Cote des Blancs" district of Champagne, where Chardonnay, typically a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, is king! Then we cross the Marne River in order to explore villages such as Bouzy and Ambonnay, famous for regular Champagne as well as the little-known but highly-prized still reds, known as "Coteaux Champenois." W travel via Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon, the Abbot of a Benedictine Monastery, reportedly invented sparkling wine around 1700. The former monastery, now owned by Moet & Chandon, is unfortunately closed for renovations, but we will at the very least be able to admire the vineyard visit the gardens, while enjoying a tasting of, appropriately, Dom Pérignon Champagne on this historical site. Time to relax back at Chateau d'Etoges before another exceptional dinner in its restaurant accompanied by some special wines being delivered for the occasion by our dinner guest this evening Stanislaus
Henriot of nearby estate Champagne Henriot.
Day 8 Thursday, May 22: [B, D]
Morning departure for Reims, the elegant capital of the Champagne region. For much of the morning we visit the famous estate of Champagne Krug, producer of only prestige cuvées under the guidance of the Krug family for six generations. Open lunch and free time to shop and explore some of the city's many highlights including the magnificent Gothic Cathedral and the Eisenhower Headquarters where the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945 before our late afternoon return to the hotel to prepare for this evening's special event.
At 7 pm we will arrive at the estate of the world-famous firm of Moet & Chandon in nearby Epernay. Following a guided tour of the most extensive chalk cellar network in the region, Moet has invited our group to enjoy a multi-course dinner with accompanying champagnes in their "Caveau Napoleon," the setting where Emperor Napoleon I granted Jean-Remy Moet the Legion of Honour in 1814. This will be an opportunity certain to be a highlight of the tour!
Day 9 Friday, May 23: [B, L]
Morning check-out of the Chateau d'Etoges, following which we return to Reims, where we are the invited guests of the storied Champagne firm Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. Our visit will include a tasting with the Veuve Clicquot oenologist followed by an exclusive lunch at the estate. Late afternoon departure from Reims to arrive at our final destination of Paris. Early evening check-in to our home for the final two evenings of the tour the centrally located 4-star Holiday Inn Paris Republique.
Day 10 Saturday, May 24: [B, D]
A panoramic city tour of Paris with all the highlights, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, etc. Some free time for shopping in late afternoon, followed by a farewell dinner in a typical "bistro" of the Latin Quarter.
Day 11 Sunday, May 25: [B]
After an early breakfast, short transfer to CDG Airport and return flight to Toronto.
Estimated Tour price, based on double occupancy: $4,895 from Toronto.
Included in the price:
- Return airfare
- Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in first-class hotels (the single supplement is TBA, but 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 (with extra seats removed for added leg room)
- Breakfast daily and a total of eight dinners (or full lunches), some (but not all) with wine included
- 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, approximately $30
- Airport taxes and security fees, presently approximately $275
- Travel insurance, available as follows:
|Deluxe package insurance:
|Up to age 59:
|Ages 60 to 64:
|Ages 65 to 69:
|Ages 70 to 74:
|Ages 75 to 79:
||Call for rates
PAUWELS TRAVEL BUREAU LTD.
95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Ont. Reg. #1034992
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
RESERVATIONS AND DEPOSITS:
Reservations should be made as early as possible to ensure the departure of your choice. A deposit of $750.00 is required at the time of registration. Your reservation is confirmed upon receipt of your deposit and application form. No reservations will be accepted without a signed application form.
REFUND OF UNUSED ARRANGEMENTS:
Because the rates of Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. are based on group participation, no refund can be made for any tour accommodation or tour service or tour feature not taken. If cancellation occurs while the tour is in progress, no refund can be made for the tour portion not taken. We strongly suggest that, to allow for any unexpected contingencies, you purchase the all-inclusive insurance.
Refund of deposit is made in full if cancellation is received in writing by Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. more than 90 days prior of the departure date of the tour less a $250.00 non-refundable administrative fee per person. For cancellation received in writing 90 days prior or less the following cancellation charges apply:
90 days to 46 days before departure: 25% of tour cost
45 to 15 days before departure: 50% of tour cost
within 14 days prior to departure: 100% of tour cost
Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. reserves the right without notice, to withdraw any part or all of the tour. Factors such as airline schedule changes, hotel overbookings, inclement weather, etc. may necessitate changes in the itinerary as outlined. There may also be other circumstances in which changes become necessary or advisable. Any savings realized by these changes will be passed on to the passengers, any resultant expenses shall be borne by the passenger. Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. acts only as an agent in securing hotel, transportation and other travel services and in no event shall be held responsible for the failure by any person or company to render any transportation, lodging or other travel service to be provided on the tour. All hotel, transportation and other travel services are provided to tour members subject to all the terms and conditions under which they are offered to the public generally. The acceptance of the initial service to be provided under the tour shall be considered an acceptance
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Trans-Atlantic economy flight by scheduled IATA carriers, based on charter class fare. Other fares may also be used. All fares are subject to specific rules and regulations, to changes and to government approval.
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95 Dalhousie Street
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