Join us on an exclusive tour of two of France’s most celebrated wine regions, Champagne and Burgundy, hosted by Tony Aspler, Stephen & Cathy Pauwels. This 8-day tour, just after harvest time, will feature VIP visits and tastings at leading estates as well as boutique properties, fine dining in many of the regions’ most celebrated restaurants and luxury accommodations.
Group arrival/assembly at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport at approximately 9:00AM. Mid-morning transfer by bus to our hotel for the following 3 nights, the Relais & Chateaux member, 5* Hostellerie La Briqueterie (www.labriqueterie.fr), a former brickworks factory that has been transformed into a luxurious country retreat located in the vineyards outside the town of Epernay. Free time to unwind and explore the hotel’s three hectares of manicured gardens, pools and fountains this afternoon before our welcome group dinner in the hotel’s Michelin * restaurant.
Over the next two days we will explore the vineyards and charming villages of Champagne, producing the most famous sparkling wines in the world. We will spend some time enjoying the cultural attractions in the elegant capital of Reims, including the magnificent Gothic “cathedral of angels” Notre-Dame de Reims. We will visit the commune of Hautvillers and its abbey church, where celebrated monk Dom Pérignon “invented” sparkling wine around 1700 (while enjoying a glass of, appropriately, Dom Pérignon). Throughout our travels we will enjoy select visits to both iconic major champagne houses and a smaller grower whose terroir-focused wines rarely leave the area, accompanied by fine dining in a few of the region’s celebrated addresses.
Today we commence the second leg of the tour, departing after breakfast for the revered wine region of Burgundy. We will stop for a visit in the ancient capital of the region, Dijon. Free time for lunch and some shopping - in the wonderful covered market or in the original shop of Maille, grand spécialiste of Dijon mustard (another local creation is Crème de Cassis, the blackcurrant liqueur mixed with white wine to create the Kir – named after a former Dijon mayor Felix Kir) – and to enjoy the architectural splendor of the city’s historic centre including the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Extending some 60km south of Dijon is one of the most famous stretches of vineyards in the world, the Côte d’Or, the Champs Elysées of Burgundy and source of many of the most highly prized (and priced) wines in existence. For the next few days we will tour and taste at select producers in both the Côte de Nuits (the northern portion of the Côte d’Or containing the famed villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Clos de Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée), and the Côte de Beaune (where the villages of Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet are synonymous with superlative white wines, although top notch reds are also produced in Pommard, Volnay and Aloxe-Corton.
Late afternoon arrival in the beautiful medieval town of Beaune, historic wine capital of Burgundy. Beaune’s historical and commercial importance to the wine-making region has left the city with an amazing architectural and cultural heritage. Our hotel for the next 3 nights is L’Hôtel de Beaune (www.lhoteldebeaune.com), perfectly situated right in the heart of the medieval town centre. Group dinner this evening in our hotel’s famous bistro.
As in Champagne, we will be spoiled for choice in the restaurant department here with 29 Michelin-starred establishments in the area. Beaune itself is famous for its gourmet dining with restaurants serving many of the region’s classic dishes such as Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au vin and Escargot de Bourgourne, routinely followed by a course featuring the area’s prized Epoisses cheese.
Guided tour this morning of the Hospices de Beaune, commissioned in the 15th century to support the town’s inhabitants who had suffered greatly in the wake of the Hundred Years War. The architectural jewel served as a hospital right up until 1971 and is now a museum and art gallery. The hospice has also become the proprietor of a large number of the best vineyards, whose wines are auctioned off by the barrel in a famous auction each fall. This afternoon we will enjoy a tasting at Maison Bouchard, Pere et Fils. Founded in 1731, Bouchard et Fils are the largest owner of vineyards in the Côte d’Or, a great many of which enjoy Grand Cru and Premier Cru status. Their cellars run deep beneath the Chateau de Beaune, a former royal fortress built in the 15th century by King Louis XI, providing ideal cellaring conditions.
Further explorations throughout the Cote d’Or. Details to follow.
Departure from Beaune this morning northwest into the Yonne river valley. Late morning arrival in Chablis, the northernmost satellite wine district of Burgundy. The cooler climate and unique limestone terroir of the region produce Chardonnay-based white wines of a more austere nature than their counterparts in the Côte d’Or, as we will discover in our final estate visit with a top local producer of Grand Cru Chablis. Farewell group lunch in a specially chosen restaurant in the region. Late afternoon/early evening check in to a luxury hotel (TBD) closer to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
Early morning transfer to Charles de Gaulle airport.
- Accommodations based on double occupancy in first class hotels – the surcharge for single use of a double room is $1,195; - Breakfast daily and one group lunch or dinner per day; - All wines and beverages with group meals and tasting visits; - Transfers and all visits and sightseeing as described in itinerary; - Poterage of one suitcase; - Gratuities to guides and drivers; - Services of your tour escorts.
- Flight costs, airport taxes, fuel surcharges and security fees; - All items of a personal nature; - Travel Insurance with Manulife Insurance Company, please call for rates.
January 19 - 27, 2021
$5,474 from Toronto based on double accommodation
March 02 - 19, 2021
$4,995 from Toronto based on double occupancy
April 13 - 26, 2021
$4,895 from Toronto, including air, based on double occupancy