We sweat the small stuff when designing a tour. These include pairing accommodations with clients’ preferences, a guide that has a similar background or a quality to enhance the wine touring experience, estate visits that are varied and offer new insights, and an experience that exudes authenticity. Our mission is to provide you with the best value for your investment of time and resources.
Wine Tours in the Rhone Valley and Provence boast some of the most beautiful vineyards in France. Vines cover the landscape as far as the eye can see, punctuated by olive groves and lavender fields. This region is also a food lover’s paradise with both sweet and savory treasures to be discovered. The French Riviera provides an incredibly rich variety of fascinating sites to discover while enjoying the full-bodied, expressive local wines and sun-drenched Provençale cuisine. This is the perfect tour for the wine lover and foodie, as well as the cultural gourmand!
We include only top-quality wine chateaux and estates in our programs. Chateau visits are scheduled by special arrangement, and some chateaux or estates, including any mentioned in the Itinerary, may not be available on your dates. Once you book your program with us, we will contact the estates to determine which are available. If there are specific chateaux or estates you would like to visit, please let us know, and we will contact your preferences first when arranging visits and tastings for you.
Arrive in the beautiful walled city of Avignon. Check into your lovely 5* centrally located hotel La Mirande near the Popes’ Palace. This 18-century mansion has interiors that reflect the period, with painted woodwork and antique tile floors. Rooms are sophisticated with a touch of whimsy. A special welcome dinner awaits you at the hotel this evening. (Closed Sunday and Monday). A delightful ‘table d’hôte’ is hosted by the chef in the 19th century kitchen. Guests are invited to sit around a huge wooden table, where at one end, the chef prepares the meal, making use of the antique wood-fired stove. The fixed menu, made using local produce, is chosen according to the daily market and the chef’s own inspiration, and it is perfectly paired with local wines. This is an entertaining way to encounter Provence’s lifestyle and people.
Today our journeys take us to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. You’ll be greeted by your English-speaking, wine expert guide/driver for a visit to three leading wine estates in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The morning commences in vineyards high up in the Gigondas hills where your guide explains how “terroir” influences the wines that you will taste at the cellar of a leading producer. After a wine tasting lunch at an excellent local restaurant, you will travel to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The 14th century Papal chateau – a monument to this village’s rich wine history – towers over the village. As you tour the scenic vineyards and the cellars of two leading estates your guide will explain how the diverse terroir, grape varieties and winemaking methods define the characteristics and quality of the wines that you taste. Return to your hotel for an evening on own.
Breakfast and Lunch included
Today, discover lovely highlights of Provence. Visit Isle sur la Sorgue, a lovely village romantically surrounded by the river Sorgue. Antique lovers will find a slice of heaven by the nearly 300 permanent antique dealers and second hand shops here. Or, if you prefer, you may want to visit other beautiful villages such as Rousillon for a hike, Gordes with its magnificent views, or perhaps one of our favorite cities Aix-en-Provence. We can also include more wine touring this day to help round out your discovery of the Southern Rhone wine region. Then transfer by train (or private driver) to your home for the next few days, the lovely 5* Relais Chateau member property, L’Auberge at Chateau de Berne. At about 1.5 hours from Nice or Avignon, L’Auberge lies just to the north of Lorgues in the heart of the Chateau de Berne estate where 1,360 acres of woodlands and vineyards stretch out between the Mediterranean and the Gorges du Verdon. Check into the hotel and spend the remainder of your day relaxing and discovering this enchanting property. Enjoy a welcome wine-tasting dinner tonight with a tasting of Chateau de Berne’s wines.
Breakfast and Lunch included
Today is yours to soak in the beauty of the region and discover the property on own. Included in your package is a tour and tasting at the Chateau’s wine estate located on the property. Fine wines have been produced on this Provençal estate since 1750, while its 5,000 olive trees yield exceptional olive oil. At the center of this bucolic setting lies a 27-room, country-chic hotel awash in light, offering authentically regional, Michelin-star cuisine and an 8,611-square-foot Spa by Cinq Mondes. Stroll the footpath or ride a mountain bike on well-marked trails.
Enjoy a transfer to the train station and take the train to Eze Village, a veritable eagle’s nest perched high above the Mediterranean, just seven and a half miles from Nice. Your accommodations will be at Chateau de la Chevre d’Or, an outstanding boutique Relais and Chateau member hotel that literally is integrated into the medieval stone village of Eze. The views are inspiring; on one of the frequent clear days, the view extends all the way to St. Tropez. Take the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the scenery. With small narrow roads, archways and superbly restored stone houses, shady squares, refreshing ancient fountains… you will be easily seduced by the marvels of Eze. Evening on own.
It’s worth taking the time to discover Nice in depth. Start with a visit to the famous farmers’ market, split between its famous flower market lined with bucketfuls of blooms, and a magnificent food market with long tables displaying exotic spices, colorful in season fruits and vegetables, pastries and more. Wander with your guide through the narrow streets of the old town and then stroll along the famous “Promenade” before entering the heart of the city with its rich architectural and cultural heritage and its parks and gardens. A delicious lunch uncovering the gourmet treasures of the area is included. We will customize your afternoon to your requests, which could include: free time for shopping; a drive along the coast of the Riviera featuring iconic Monaco, Cannes and Antibes; a visit to Grasse – the perfume capital of Provence; or perhaps additional wine touring. Return to your hotel end of the afternoon, and evening on own.
Breakfast and Lunch included
Transfer to the Nice International Airport or train station, and continue your journeys with fond memories of your Provence wine, culinary and cultural discoveries.