FROM BORDEAUX TO SAN SEBASTIAN SMALL GROUP SHARED LUXURY GOURMET TOUR
7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS
Combine the best food & wines that can be found in this part of Europe as you travel from Bordeaux in Southern France to San Sebastian in Northern Spain on this unique very small group tour that has been especially designed for gourmet travelers. This carefully designed, unpretentious tour begins in Bordeaux, a perfect destination to be introduced with the subtleties behind the art of food & wine pairing. A gourmet tour, Grand Crus wineries, private tastings and delicious meals will be on your program in this part of France. In Northern Spain, reach the foodie town of San Sebastian internationally acclaimed for its sophisticated culinary pleasures and where no less than 13 Michelin starred-restaurants are present. Here, a hands-on cooking experience, a unique Pintxos bar crawl and a tour in the Rioja wine region are just some of the local experiences that we have included.
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL TRANSFER / WELCOME DINNER D
Arrival transfer in Bordeaux
Pick up in Bordeaux (Airport/Train Station). Transfer to your centrally located hotel and check in.
Welcome dinner in Bordeaux with your guide
7.30pm Meet with your guide and participate in a welcome dinner in a local restaurant with your fellow travelers. This will be the perfect time for you to review the tour itinerary with your guide and submit all the questions you might have concerning the tour. After the dinner, return to your hotel and night in Bordeaux.
DAY 2 – BORDEAUX GOURMET TOUR / MARGAUX TOUR B
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.00am pick up at your hotel.
Gourmet walking tour in Bordeaux – Canelés, Cheese & Wines
This morning, depart for a gourmet tour of Bordeaux. First, visit one of the oldest and most famous cheese shops in Bordeaux, visiting their cheese caves located in the stone-vaulted cellars of a 15th century convent! Here we will find a treasure trove of cheeses being gently aged to their optimal maturity, with the aging process being explained by one of their expert staff. We will also enjoy a tasting of three cheeses all the while enjoying the atmosphere of the ancient underground caves.
Then we will visit a world-renowned Bordelaise company known for their resurrection of the canelé. We will learn about the history of this traditional dessert and how its creation in Bordeaux is related to wine! We will enjoy a relaxing moment sampling this and other interesting desserts, as well as a hot beverage.
The tour will end with the pleasure of a wine tasting. A small boutique wine bar will welcome us and here we will taste three Bordeaux wines each with its own unique style, selected for us and introduced by their wine expert. After the tasting, enjoy some time in Bordeaux for personal discovery and lunch.
Afternoon Margaux appellation wine tour – Cabernet Sauvignon wines
In the afternoon we will take you to the famous Margaux wine producing area. Our first stop will be at Chateau Siran. Here, you will follow the “Wine Lover” tour to discover the old wine cellar, today an exhibition area for a superb family collection of over 300 wine-related objects.
Then visit the “Bacchus Bunker” and discover the Chateau’s wine collection that spans from 1912 to 2012. Your visit will end with a comparative tasting of 3 different wines.
Our second stop will be in 1855 Grand Cru Classé Chateau Kirwan. Here, you will be invited to take advantage of an elegant, romantic and luxurious setting to learn about wine-tasting. The Chateau is surrounded by a superb park and the wafting scents of flowering rosebushes evoke other aromas: those of the wine to come. For our small group we have organized a private tour followed by a tasting in the winery’s VIP lounge. Your tasting will include 3 different vintages of Château Kirwan and one vintage of the Charmes de Kirwan (the second label of the Chateau) so that you may have the experience to compare what a similar wine can taste like depending on its age.
6.30pm Return to Bordeaux and night at your hotel.
DAY 3 – ST EMILION VILLAGE & WINES / GOURMET LUNCH B, L
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.00am Pick up at your hotel.
Visit of Saint Emilion village and underground monuments
Today the wine region known as the right bank is on your program. Your main destination will be the Saint Emilion wine area where Merlot is the predominant grape variety. Begin the tour with the visit of the village and the underground monuments of Saint Emilion including the unique monolithic church. The tour covers several centuries of history and legend from the time of the monk Saint Emilion to the carving out of the amazing monolithic church. During your visit, admire the medieval paintings in the Trinity Chapel and learn the secrets of the catacombs. Finally, the underground monolithic church will be yours to discover and it will probably be the most fascinating moment of your visit. After the visit we will take you to the Cordeliers Cloister.
Visit and tasting in the “Cloitre des Cordeliers” – Sparkling wines
In 1383, the Franciscans were given some land by Richard II of England located within the ramparts of Saint Emilion. Here, they built a church with its cloister, a winery and vat room, a cellar, a garden and a dormitory building with six bedrooms. Today only the cloister remains, a perfect example of Romanesque architecture of southern France. The site also possesses a large network of tunnels, old quarries, that run beneath the streets of Saint- Emilion and the vines of some nearby châteaux an ideal location to age wines.
Since 1892, the Cordeliers have been creating superior quality sparkling wines using the traditional Method and that are called Crémant de Bordeaux. The wines are aged between 12 to 24 months over the lees in the cellars below the cloister, where no daylight penetrates and where the temperature remains constant at 12°C.
These conditions are ideal for fermenting and maturing the wines, and the bottles are turned daily to encourage a long, slow development until the wines are ready for disgorging. After a visit of the underground cellars, participate in a commented wine tasting session of both white and rosé sparkling wines that will have you discover a broad palette of flavors and aromas. The premium wine of the estate, the Grand Vintage Dry White, boasts a nose of fine, fresh fruit accented with hints of almond. Finely balanced, it reveals a remarkable aromatic explosion followed by a long, fresh and fruity finish.
Lunch in a gourmet restaurant of the village
Time for lunch has arrived and we will slowly make our way towards one of the oldest restaurant of the village. Founded in 1848, located on a small square in the very center of the medieval town, it has become a true institution revered by passing visitors as well as regular locals. In this relaxing atmosphere the very varied gourmet menu favors tasty traditional dishes with a new slant and very genuine, high quality produce. Your lunch is comprised of a food & wine pairing menu that will enhance your dining experience during which flavors and textures will either be contrasted or complemented. After lunch, you will have some free time for personal discovery to enjoy the beauty of the village.
Visit and wine tasting in a Classified Growth Chateau – Merlot wines
After the village visit and a short drive, reach Chateau La Dominique, a Grand Cru Classé of the Saint Emilion appellation. According to legend, the name « La Dominique » came from a rich merchant, owner of the estate during the 17th century who named the property “La Dominique” in memory of the island located in the Caribbean. Today, the estate is owned by Clément FAYAT, who bought the Chateau in 1969 and who decided to completely transform the winery in 2012. In 2014, the brand new red and shiny cellar designed by famous French architect Jean Nouvel opened to the public. The wine cellar is dressed with six shades of mirrored red-stainless-steel blades. With this unique covering, Jean Nouvel plays with our perception of the color of the wine: the reflection, intensity, shades or deepness. First discover the winery during a private tour that will take you through all the technical installations, the vat room, the ageing cellar and the terrace that overlooks the vineyards and with a stunning view of Chateau Cheval Blanc (their neighbor) or the Pomerol appellation located just in front. Then, you “Vins et Saveurs” tour continues with a commented tasting of 3 wines accompanied by finger food appetizers prepared by the chef of ‘La Terrasse Rouge’ restaurant and that perfectly match the wines tasted.
After the tasting, return to Bordeaux.
6.00pm Arrive in Bordeaux and night at your hotel.
DAY 4 – BAYONNE GOURMET TOUR / SAN SEBASTIAN B, D
Breakfast at your hotel and check out.
9.00am Pick up at your hotel.
Bayonne Ham processing atelier
Your destination this morning is the town of Bayonne located south of Bordeaux, capital city of the French Basque region. Our interest here lies in the local produce that made the town so famous: Ham & Chocolate. Our first stop in the morning is dedicated to the famous ‘Jambon de Bayonne’. The local ham is a cured ham that is seasoned with peppers grown in the nearby village of Espelette. During a tour of the processing area you will learn about the salting tub and ham drying-room where the attractive colors of the hams and the mouthwatering smells hint at the quality of the products. The tour will be followed by a tasting to sample some of the most popular local produce. After the tour, enjoy some time in town for personal discovery and lunch. After lunch meet your guide and head towards the chocolate workshop.
Chocolate workshop and tasting
Bayonne owes its chocolate history to the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had fled Spain and the Inquisition in the late 16th century and found refuge in this important commercial hub located not too far away from the border of Spain. In Bayonne, the first chocolate factories were established and the local residents quickly learned the art of chocolate making. By the 19th century, the town had become the French ‘Chocolate’ capital in quantity and quality with over 31 chocolate factories located in the town alone. This afternoon, your tour will include the visit of a local chocolate factory where you will be introduced to the origins of chocolate making in France while discovering some of the oldest machinery used to prepare the much sought after beans. Then witness the preparation of the chocolate as you wander through the ‘lab’ where the melted delicacy comes alive. Finally, end the tour with a tasting, a great opportunity for you to taste chocolates from Haiti, Madagascar or the Extra Kiretsa made up of 97% of cocoa. After the tasting, en route for Northern Spain and the city of San Sebastian.
5.00pm Arrive in San Sebastian, check in at your hotel.
Pintxos evening tour
6.00pm You are now convened for a unique Pintxos bar crawl in the heart of the old town of San Sebastian. Not only will this walking tour allow you to discover the heart of the historical city, but you will also be introduced to a culinary feast as you go from bar to bar experiencing the local culture with food ranging from molecular and modern to comforting and traditional, there is something for everyone.
7.30pm End of the Pintxos tour. In the evening, return to your hotel and night in San Sebastian.
DAY 5 – BASQUE CUISINE COOKING CLASS & LUNCH B, L
Breakfast at your hotel.
10.00am Pick up at your hotel.
Basque cuisine hands-on cooking class and lunch with wine
This morning, depart with your guide to experience a unique hands-on Basque cooking class. The sea and the mountains surrounding the Basque capitals of Bilbao and San Sebastián are rife with ancient traditions and the freshest of ingredients. In this culinary journey, you will learn to prepare the famous Basque dishes from both the coastal fishing villages and the mountainous interior of the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia. Bring the history and traditions of Basque Country to life in this hands-on cooking class. Your cooking class ends with a delicious lunch and carefully chosen wine pairings. You will gather around a rustic wooden table to enjoy what you have cooked using your newly acquired knowledge. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to have some time for personal discovery.
3.30pm End of the cooking class and lunch, free time in San Sebastian.
DAY 6 – RIOJA WINES / 3* MICHELIN FAREWELL DINNER B, D
Breakfast at your hotel.
8.30am Pick up at your hotel.
Wine tour & tasting in the Rioja wine region
Located in northeast Spain along the Ebro River, protected to the north by the Cantabrian Mountains and anchored by the city of Logroño, Rioja boasts centuries of winemaking history. It entered the modern commercial era in the 19th century, and offers an elite mix of Iberian history, stunning scenery, proprietary cuisine, brilliant wines and a unique meshing of old and new. Welcome to Spain’s greatest wine region. Known primarily for its red wines most bodegas have their own distinct red-wine formula, albeit typically a Tempranillo and Garnacha blend.
Upon arrival, visit the BODEGAS MUGA one of the most traditional wineries of the Rioja. The Muga wine cellars were founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martínez who originated from a family with strong ties to the winemaking industry. The winery controls every step of the viticultural and vinification process from the vineyards to making their own barrels and fermenting and aging the wine entirely in oak.
During your visit, discover the imposing wooden tanks, the calmness of the aging rooms, the heat and smell in the cooperage and take part in a unique experience. The tour will end with the tasting of 2 wines. After the tour, depart for another winery visit.
Arrive in the Rio Alaveja area to discover the BODEGAS BAIGORRI. The winery was designed and built by the architect Iñaki Aspiazu, who tailored the building to the unique way the wines are made and a reference of architecture in the area which blends with its surroundings. After the visit of the very modern technical installations, you will have the opportunity to taste 2 wines of the estate. You will also have some time to stroll through the amazing shop where you can contemplate the inside of the winery and appreciate the different levels of winemaking and the access ramps for visits, giving a sense of space and even vertigo. After the tour, en route for the village of Laguardia.
Laguardia village visit
Set atop a hill in the middle of a valley the walled town of Laguardia is surrounded by vineyards and offers a glimpse into the region's wine making past. Here, enjoy free time for lunch and personal discovery as you walk through the medieval narrow streets and stop at one of the multiple bars to try some local wine accompanied by a ración or a pintxo. After your lunch and visit we will begin our return to San Sebastian.
6.00pm Return to your hotel in San Sebastian.
Farewell Dinner at 3* Michelin restaurant Martin Berasategui
7.30pm Tonight is the ultimate night with your fellow travelers and guide so we have prepared a special farewell dinner for the small group. And where better to finish your food & wine gourmet tour in this part of Europe than in one of the most prized restaurants of the area: Martin BERASATEGUI a 3* Michelin Restaurant. As the Michelin guide inspectors put it: “This restaurant occupies a modern villa designed in the style of the region. It boasts an elegant entrance and a superbly appointed, glass-fronted dining room with two fireplaces and relaxing views. Culinary expertise, talent and creativity are evident in the delicate dishes on the menu.” This evening experience the “Great Tasting Menu” composed of 14 courses. This may seem a lot but as the Chef puts it: we would destroy the spirit of these dishes if we served them in very large portions. I only conceive the following dishes in small portions, with the brevity of 3 or 4 mouthfuls.” Without a doubt this is a lifetime experience very often referred to as a "gastronomic highlight" or the "masterpiece of Basque culinary." After, dinner, transfer back to the hotel.
11.00pm Return to your hotel and night in San Sebastian.
DAY 7 – SAN SEBASTIAN B
Breakfast at your hotel and end of our services.
Important information: this tour, even though we could adapt parts of it, is not recommended for vegetarians, vegans and persons with food allergies.
DAY 1 > ARRIVAL TRANSFER IN BORDEAUX / WELCOME DINNER
DAY 2 > BORDEAUX GOURMET WALKING TOUR / MARGAUX WINE TOUR
DAY 3 > SAINT EMILION WINES & VILLAGE / GOURMET LUNCH
DAY 4 > BAYONNE GOURMET TOUR / SAN SEBASTIAN
DAY 5 > BASQUE CUISINE COOKING CLASS / EARLY EVENING PINXTOS TOUR
DAY 6 > A DAY IN THE RIOJA FULL DAY WINE TOUR
DAY 7 > DEPARTURE TRANSFER SAN SEBASTIAN, BIARRITZ OR BORDEAUX AIRPORTS
BORDEAUX – HOTEL DE SEZE**** Deluxe room
Located at the corner of the Allées de Tourny and Rue de Sèze in Bordeaux, the Hôtel de Sèze, a well-known local landmark, is delighted to welcome you to their 4-star universe. The beautiful 18th century Hôtel de Sèze, with its illuminated façade, splendid corbels and wrought-iron balconies, proudly stands out from surrounding buildings. This discreetly elegant hotel has 55 rooms (including 3 suites) that combine beautiful 18th century decor with exclusive furniture. You might also enjoy a private Steam room, Sauna, Jacuzzi and Sensory Shower Experience in the Spa de Sèze.
SAN SEBASTIAN – HOTEL MARIA CRISTINA***** Deluxe Garden View
Since opening in 1912, the restored Hotel Maria Cristina has been closely linked to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian. Experience gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel’s rooms. Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury, style, technology and a dazzling range of services which, all combined, make for an unforgettable stay. Revel in the space offered by the Deluxe rooms which offer a relaxing garden view and feature large French doors which allow natural light to pour in throughout the day.
Travel in style during this 7-day tour in the latest version of Mercedes MPV - the V-Class. Ideal for small group luxury travel, the all-new V-Class brings unprecedented levels of sophistication, safety and performance. All our V-Class vehicles come in extra-long version allowing plenty of room for guests to ‘spread out’ and enjoy large leg space areas. Because of its dimensions, it also allows significant room for both normal and larger suitcases for those of our clients that are traveling for long periods of time.
Inside it’s all about refinement and sophistication with an emphasis on luxury and versatility. The spacious, beautifully appointed cabin can seat up to 7 passengers (this tour is limited to 6 guests) in exquisite comfort. Highlights include very comfortable seats, large shaded windows in the rear, electronically controlled front and rear A/C for the comfort of all, a 7-inch multimedia display, the intuitive touchpad controller and numerous safety systems such as the Attention Assist just to make sure that your driver/guide does not show signs of long journey fatigue and warns him to take a break when necessary! But that’s not all; we have also installed a unique on board P/A system that enables the driver/guides to safely make commentaries during driving time so that you may benefit from their wealth of knowledge.
PRICE $6325 per person
1.Arrival transfer in Bordeaux
2.3-night accommodation in central Bordeaux 4* Hotel
3.3-night accommodation in central San Sebastian 5* Hotel
4.Breakfast from day 2 to 7
5.Services of an English speaking driver/guide throughout the tour
6.Travel in luxury Mercedes Class V compact minivan
7.Welcome dinner in Bordeaux on day 1
8.Private gourmet walking tour in Bordeaux
9.Wine Lover tour visit at Chateau Siran in the Medoc
10.Prestige vertical wine tasting at Chateau Kirwan in Margaux
11.Guided walking tour in Saint Emilion including the underground monuments
12.Visit and sparkling wine tasting at Cloitre des Cordeliers in Saint Emilion
13.Gourmet lunch at Logis de la Cadene restaurant in Saint Emilion
14.Wines & Savor visit at Chateau La Dominique in Saint Emilion
15.Bayonne Ham workshop visit and tasting
16.Bayonne chocolate tasting at “Atelier du Chocolat” in Bayonne
17.Evening guided walking Pintxos tour in San Sebastian
18.Basque cuisine hands-on cooking class & lunch with wine pairing
19.Visit and wine tasting at Muga winery in the Rioja wine region
20.Visit and wine tasting at Baigorri winery in the Rioja wine region
21.Laguardia village discovery
22.Farewell dinner - Great Tasting Menu at 3* Michelin Restaurant Martin Berasategui
23.All entrances, wine tasting fees and activities mentioned in the program
24.Bottled water in the minivan
1.Meals, drinks unless specified in itinerary
2.Social drinks, items of personal nature, room service in hotels
3.Laundry costs, shipping charges including for the return of lost items
4.Personal travel insurance
5.Entrance fees to monuments, museums, attractions unless specified in itinerary
6.Driver/Guide gratuities at your own discretion
Prices are per person based on double room sharing. Subject to availability. The hotels have been carefully selected and are centrally located. Hotels may vary to those listed in this itinerary due to unforeseen reasons or in case of unavailability at time of booking. Please be aware that European hotel rooms, especially those in major urban centers or older cities, may be smaller than what you are used to in other parts of the world even though the rooms selected are of a much higher standard than the classic room option. Standards and ratings may also be different to your home country. All of our tours involve some walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility. For more information concerning our General Terms and Conditions don’t hesitate to contact us.
Ask us about pre or post tour extensions.
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
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