Provence: 15-21 September 2018
The main purpose of this trip is to allow you to discover the South of France, and more precisely the wine making region of Haute Provence during that most critical time of the year, the harvest - ‘Les Vendanges’. Wine is definitely the star of the show here with two particularly well-known appellations headlining - Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas - along with visits to other vineyards in the region. French culture, tradition and history also form an integral part of this tour - you will have the chance to explore Avignon with its famous Papal palace, the bullfighting arena in Nimes, the Ancient Roman Theatre in Orange, the remarkable and colourful open-air market of Vaison la Romaine, and finally Mt Ventoux, made famous by the Tour de France.
AVIGNON - BEAUCAIRE, Saturday 15
We’ll meet our guide in Avignon where we’ll spend the afternoon walking in the beautiful old walled city and also visit to the famous Palais des Papes before heading to Beaucaire for the night. Here we will be staying at the Domaine du Clos, and we will have dinner at their ‘Table d’Hote’.
BEAUCAIRE - ARLES - NIMES - BEAUCAIRE, Sunday 16
The owners of a lovely family owned winery Mourgues du Grès near Beaucaire invite us to tour their cellars for a degustation of a full range of their wines which are of the appellation ‘Costières de Nimes.’ Following the tasting we will head to Nimes - renowned for their Roman fighting arenas and amphitheatres. This weekend is famous for the wine harvest festival in Nimes and its associated bullfighting spectacles and general party atmosphere in the town. We won’t be (unless by special request) watching the bullfights, but the fun atmosphere in the centre of town is worth spending a couple of hours with our local guide.
BEAUCAIRE - GORDES - MENERBES - SEGURET, Monday 17
We visit Gordes this morning, one of the most picturesque villages in France and briefly pass by the stunning Sénanque Abbey. After a break for lunch we’ll tour the Corkscrew Museum (featuring the largest private collection in Europe!) at the Domaine de la Citadelle in Menerbes where another wine tasting is on the programme. This time from the ‘Cotes du Luberon’ appellation. We will spend the next two nights in the charming village of Seguret.
SEGURET - GIGONDAS - SEGURET, Tuesday 18
After leaving Seguret we’ll spend the morning at Vaison la Romaine on market day to soak up the sights and sounds of one of the most colourful and well-known markets in the whole of France, and depending on time there might be a chance to visit the Roman ruins. In the afternoon we will savour Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a local dessert wine in the tiny winery of La Pigeade, at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range. Dinner will be at L’Oustalet in Gigondas. Respectful of produce and seasons, the cuisine here is inspired by Mediterranean culture.
SEGURET - ORANGE - CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE, Wednesday 19
First we’ll hit the road to explore the famous, UNESCO listed, Roman theatre in Orange with a local guide. Degustation of Châteauneuf du Pape - one of the most celebrated of French wines. It is yet in another famous family winery La Charbonnière where we will discover how to make a fine bottle of Châteauneuf du Pape. Dinner in Carpentras at Chez Serge in Carpentras, this is located at the foot of the Ventoux and is THE place to dine. Ranked number 1 by Trip advisor too.
CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE - VAISON LA ROMAINE - CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE, Thursday 20
After leaving Chateauneuf du Pape we will spend the morning in the stunning village of Gigondas, where a wine tasting at Domaine de la Bouissiere is on the menu. A great time is sure to be had by all whilst trying their finest wines and listening to members of the Faravelle family talk about their wine with a passion only found in the south of France. In the afternoon we will return to base via Mt Ventoux which makes up one of the grueling stages of the Tour de France.
CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE - VACQUEYRAS - AVIGNON, Friday 21
Late morning - Degustation at Domaine Espiers in Vacqueyras – a vineyard that has been in the family since 1879, although it wasn’t until 1989 that the young, tall and handsome Philippe Cartoux founded Domaine des Espiers! We will then head back past the village of Gigondas, towards the jagged, limestone formations called ‘les Dentelles de Montmirail’ before arriving at the Belvedere of Rocher du Midi. After a short walk will have in front of us the most remarkable views over the Rhone valley, and immediately down below us the vineyards of Gigondas and Vacqueyras. Then back to Avignon and the end of our tour.