Escorted Tour 2017

This year we’re returning to Burgundy, which was our home in France for three years.    

Itinerary – 2 nights in Lyon, 7 nights in Beaune & 2 nights in Auxerre, plus optional nights in Paris. Price: 3980 Euros per person, share twin.

Clos-de-Vougeot-Burgundy
Clos-de-Vougeot, Burgundy

Day 1 – Saturday 16 September  Arrive LYON independently and check-in to your central 3 star hotel, between the Saone and Rhone rivers. Meet at 6.00 for drinks and introductions, before walking to DINNER at a restaurant.

Day 2 – Sunday 17 LYON   Explore the old city, its narrow streets, Renaissance and Gothic  houses and the covered alleyways, known as traboules.    Later a cable car will take us up Fourvière Hill for the magnificent view over the city, then you are free to explore the basilica, the Roman theatres and archaeological museum.  Return to our hotel by cable car or a zig-zagging footpath, with a side trip to a rose garden.   DINNER at a restaurant.

Day 3 – Monday 18BEAUNE   Discover the hinterland of Beaujolais and the medieval hilltop  village of Oingt, then wind through the vineyards  to a country inn for LUNCH.   Continue to Tournus for its beautiful abbey church, then take the autoroute up to Beaune for our charming town house – four bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, living and dining rooms, a well-lit kitchen, separate TV room, uitility room and laundry.   After settling in, we’ll sample some Burgundian specialities with a PICNIC DINNER and wine tasting.

Day 4 – Tuesday 19BEAUNE   Early departure for Verdun-sur-Doubs to meet chef Didier Dennis.  After coffee we’ll embark on a morning of cooking a Menu du Marché, which we will eventually consume with the sommelier’s selected wines.     Evening free.

Day 5 – Wednesday 20 – BEAUNE  Free morning to explore Beaune and the marvellous Hotel Dieu,  followed by  an excursion to Puligny-Montrachet for a wine tasting LUNCH.   Afternoon visit to the fortified chateau at Rochepot, then wind through the Cote de Beaune vineyards back to Beaune.   Evening free.

Day 6 – Thursday 21 – BEAUNE  A visit to Dijon, where we’ll follow the Trail of the Owl to the Tour de Philippe-le-Bon and climb 316 steps up to its roof for the panorama.  Free time to recover and explore Dijon’s market and numerous churches, museums and shops.   Return to Beaune via the Cote de Nuits vineyards, stopping at Nuit St Georges or  Clos de Vougeot; the largest single vineyard in Burgundy.    DINNER at a restaurant.

Day 7 – Friday 22 – BEAUNE  Full day’s excursion to the Jura, visiting the Royal Saltworks at Arc et Senan and the Arbois vineyards before LUNCH at a modern country bistro.   Afternoon circuit to the charming hilltop wine village of Chateau-Chalons and then down to Arlay to sample the unique wines of the Jura in an ancient wine cellar.   Evening free.

Day 8 – Saturday 23 – BEAUNE  Free day in Beaune to relax and enjoy the big weekly market, cellars, shops and museums.   Evening free.

Day 9 – Sunday 24 – BEAUNE  We head for the hills and the Haute Cote de Nuits to learn about the Burgundy truffle and hunt for the elusive delicacy, before enjoying a special LUNCH.   Return to Beaune,  stopping at Savigny-les-Beaune for the chateau its collection of Abarth racing cars, motor cycles, tractors and fighter planes.   Evening free.

Day 10 – Monday 25 – AUXERRE  Depart Beaune and the Cote d’Or for the walled town of Semur-en-Auxois and then the pretty hilltop village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, noted for its aniseed sweets and the film Chocolat.  Afternoon visit to the Abbaye de Fontenay and Noyers, noted for its 14-15th century half-timbered buildings, before arriving at Auxerre.   DINNER at a restaurant.

Day 11 – Tuesday 26 – AUXERRE  We meet local wine expert, Brendan, for a day exploring the Chablis and Auxerrois vineyards and cellars.   Farewell DINNER at a restaurant.

Day 12 – Wednesday 27 September Tour ends after breakfast with a transfer to the station.  The train journey to Paris takes about 1hr 45mins.
Burgundy-cooking class break

Burgundy-Semur  Burgundy-David plating up

 

Extend your holiday with a few nights in Paris and possibly a cruise on a hotel barge.  Many barges include transfers from Paris and most cruises start on Sunday.

There are just 2 places left on this tour – contact us 

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Stop Press: Taste France 2017 & The Walking Party

We are delighted to announce that our Taste France 2017 tour to Burgundy is all go – with four confirmed bookings.  That leaves us just two places to fill. 
 We start in Lyon on 16 September 2017 and explore the old city centre squeezed between two rivers, before discovering the hinterland of Beaujolais and its Route des Vins.  
Our next stop is the atmospheric walled town of Beaune, famous for its wine cellars and the majestic Hotel Dieu.  A charming town house with four ensuite bedrooms in the historic centre will be our base for seven nights.  Excursions will include a special cooking class in Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, a visit to the  Jura region for its dramatic landscape and unique wines, a truffle hunt, vineyards and chateaux, plus free time to enjoy Beaune’s huge weekly market, and its shops, museums, cellars and restaurants.  
Then we head west to Auxerre for two nights and are introduced to the Chablis and Auxerrois vineyards by a local wine expert.  
Come and join us on this adventure through the food and wine centre of France.  Just one room is still available, so contact us soon – see below for contact details.  

 James and Diana of the Walking Party have updated their web site and released their 2017 holiday programme.  As well as their ever-popular Dordogne-Quercy walks in south-west France, they have walking weeks on the St James Way – in April from Le Puy to Conques and in September from Conques to Cahors. These are truly unique holidays and James and Diana make everyone feel special and are rewarded by a huge number of repeat clients, including many solo travellers.

Call us on our freephone number for more information. 

This is our last communication of the year, so we wish you all Joyeux Noel & Bonne Année.

Robert & Barbara
BESPOKE FRANCE
Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen 
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, New Zealand
ph 643 472 7856,  fax 643 472 7855,  freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856

 

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Stop Press: Self-guided cycling & walking holidays 2017

1-Burg-Coted'Or2-group-Veloroute-Burg
We’ve revised our Backroad Discovery holidays and added some exciting new routes in Alsace.  The other good news is that many prices have reduced and that our strong exchange rate against the Euro makes a trip to Europe even more affordable.
 
Alsace has perfect walking and cycling terrain with the flat Rhine valley, gentle rolling vineyards and the pine clad Vosges Mountains.  It’s beautiful too with flower-filled villages, half-timbered houses, castles galore and Strasbourg’s stunning cathedral.  Itineraries range from easy to moderate, over 4 to 7 nights, and several routes can be combined.  The Medieval Walking Trail is now divided into three one-week walks and for long distance cycling look at combining the Basel to Strasbourg itinerary with the Strasbourg to Luxembourg route.  Together that’s 565kms over 14 nights (plus rest days) and travels through Switzerland, Germany and France, then back into Germany before reaching Luxembourg.  And it’s graded as easy-moderate, so aren’t you tempted?
 
In the Loire we’ve retained the ever-popular Chitenay holiday where you stay at a 2 star country inn with a swimming pool for four (or more) nights with a choice of seven easy excursions.  Alternatively, in nearby Cheverny, you can base yourself a charming 4 star chateau-hotel with a heated swimming pool for four nights and choose from three cycling and two walking excursions.  However, most of the itineraries are progressive with luggage transfers between hotels and there are two new routes in the Touraine region.
 
We’ve dropped some routes and added a new one in Brittany – Gulf of Morbihan -which is an easy five night circuit.  It starts and ends in Vannes and discovers the beaches, fishing villages, birds, megaliths and prehistory of this beautiful enclosed bay.
 
In Burgundy, both the walking and cycling holidays are unchanged because they work so well.
 
We are awaiting your call.
 
Cordialement
Robert & Barbara

 

BESPOKE FRANCE
Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen 
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, New Zealand
ph 643 472 7856,  fax 643 472 7855,  freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856

 

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Stop Press: Rental Boat specials 2017

LB Brittany -Josselin
Time is running out for the early booking bargains on self drive rental boats, so now is the time to finalise your travel plans and discover the waterways of France (and Europe).
 
Le BOAT and NICOLS are both offering up to 20% discount on selected boats for specific dates, mainly in April, May and October 2017, but bookings need to be confirmed by Wednesday 30 November 2016.  However, if that is impractical, don’t despair as the discounts will continue up to Christmas but at a reduced rate.  
 
LOCABOAT and FRANCE AFLOAT try to avoid the discount battle, but are offering 5% discounts on bookings confirmed before Christmas.  They both have unique fleets of well designed boats and work together for their marketing.  Locaboat have the well known Penichette boats,  plus the superb Linssen Grand Sturdy 34.9 in the Alsace, Burgundy, Nivernas and Loire regions.   France Afloat have the slow, but spacious Euroclassic mini-barges and are also the principal agent for Linssen in France and offer a wider selection of their beautiful steel-hulled ‘motor yachts’, sleeping 2 to 6 people.
 
NEW for 2017 
Le Boat are expanding their 5 star Horizon fleet and now have larger 13m boats with 3 and 4 cabins all with ensuite bathrooms.  They are a great addition, being well designed beamy boats with a large sundeck, generous flying bridge and wide gunwales for easy access around the boat.  
Nicols have designed and built a new Sixto model – Prestige C.  We inspected the Sixto boats following this years cruise on a Nicols boat and they are very impressive with 2 or 3 cabins and a large bathroom with a proper shower cubical, plus a smaller second bathroom.  The Prestige C has 2 cabins and 2 bathrooms and is available in the Midi and Alsace regions.
France Afloat has introduced a ‘Moderne’ cruiser to its fleet – Broom 35 Coupé.  It is a deluxe boat for a couple with a generous bow cabin and a large saloon with sunroof that extends onto the rear deck through sliding glass doors.
 
Contact us for more information and availability.  Remember we can hold any boat for 3-7 days without obligation, while we finalise the details.
 
Bon voyage
Robert & Barbara
BESPOKE FRANCE
Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen 
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, New Zealand
ph 643 472 7856,  fax 643 472 7855,  freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856

 

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