- Stroll like a local in Le Marais
- Take in the views from the Eiffel Tower
- Create classic cuisine in a French cooking class
- Indulge in the famed food and wine of Bordeaux
|Day 1||Bienvenue à Paris!||Paris|
|Day 2||Full Day in Le Marais: Cheese Shop, Museums, & Market||Paris|
|Day 3||Montmartre & the Eiffel Tower||Paris|
|Day 4||French Cooking Class in Les Batignolles||Paris|
|Day 5||Paris to Bordeaux & Luxurious Dinner||Bordeaux|
|Day 6||Cruise Down the Gironde||Bordeaux|
|Day 7||Wine Tasting in St. Emilion & Pomerol||Bordeaux|
|Day 8||Au Revoir, France|
Day 1: Bienvenue à Paris!
Bonjour and welcome to Paris! Your adventure begins with your first taste of French hospitality when a chauffeur picks you up from the airport and shuttles you into the city for a personal welcome at your hotel. Spend the day exploring the neighborhood around your hotel, with personalized suggestions by your local specialist.
After your customized self-guided walking tour, take a load off at a picturesque sidewalk cafe, where you can enjoy an aperitif before heading to a well-recommended restaurant. You could order a perfect steak frites at a timeless cafe or try a trendy bistronomy spot, where up-and-coming chefs serve exciting haute cuisine in a fun and approachable way. Think fusion flavors and reinvented French classics paired with expertly mixed craft cocktails or brilliantly selected natural wines. Walk your meal off along the resplendent Seine or stroll the Champs de Mars under the twinkle of the Eiffel Tower as you drink in the romance of the City of Lights.
Day 2: Full Day in Le Marais: Cheese Shop, Museums, & Market
You'll spend today like a local in the hip neighborhood of Le Marais. This neighborhood has played an important part in French history since the 13th Century when the Order of the Temple constructed a fortified church, an edifice that inspired the construction of a number of beautiful religious buildings and churches, and later, the epicenter of the Parisian Jewish community. Get to know the district by foot after you enjoy a classic breakfast of cafe au lait and a buttered tartine or, of course, a perfect croissant. Alongside centuries-old synagogues, you'll find high-end fashion boutiques, dining hotspots, art galleries, and LGBT run businesses.
Stroll to the Haut-Marais, or Upper Marais, a section of the neighborhood that has transformed from former working-class factories to chic shops and galleries. There you'll meet a Maître Fromager, or Master Cheesemaker, at a renowned local cheese shop. With expert guidance, you'll learn about the cheese maturation process and taste selected cheeses from different regions paired thoughtfully with complimenting wines. After, you'll meet your local guide for a two-hour private walking tour through Le Marais's lively streets and hear tales of the magnificent 17th-century mansions that once dominated the district.
The afternoon is yours for further discovery; visit the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), which boasts an incredible selection of work by premiere and emerging photographers, or opt for the funky Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, a museum devoted to hunting and taxidermy, filled to the brim with curiosities. Explore the neighborhood's stylish boutiques and hidden gardens and when you're feeling peckish, pop over to Rue des Rosiers for a warm kosher pastry or wait in a quick-moving line for an iconic falafel sandwich. If you're hungry for something more, sample international specialties at the Marche des Enfants Rouges or stop in at a wine bar to wind down the day.
Day 3: Montmartre & the Eiffel Tower
After breakfast, follow your guide to where the artists once lived: Montmartre. Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, and more called this neighborhood home in the early 20th century. It's one of the true must-see neighborhoods of Paris, offering a romantic glimpse into an era when raucous cabarets, bohemian soirées, and unbridled creativity were the norm. Stroll the streets that give the area its now-village atmosphere and sip wine at a cafe to take it all in.
In the evening, meet with your private guide for an exploration of the Iron Lady herself with skip-the-line tickets, giving you the most time to visit both floors and take in the incredible views from the top. End the day with dinner with a view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower lights.
Day 4: French Cooking Class in Les Batignolles
Today, you'll delve deeper into the city's food culture as you learn how to create classic French cuisine. In the morning, head out to the lively and authentic Parisian district of Les Batignolles in the 17th Arrondissement for a hands-on cooking class.
Your Paris-born host will first take you to the market down the lovely Rue de Levis to buy fresh produce that will serve as your ingredients for the day. Take your wares back to your host's kitchen, in her quintessentially Parisian Haussmann-style apartment, where you'll learn the secrets of creating delicious, accessible French food. Finish your lesson by enjoying the fruits of your labor over lunch and listening to your teacher's stories about living in this hip neighborhood.
In the afternoon, immerse yourself like a local with some retail therapy in the area's boho-chic boutiques or take a stroll in the charming Square des Batignolles.
Day 5: Paris to Bordeaux & Luxurious Dinner
Catch a chauffeur to the train station to take the train south for two hours towards the world capital of wine—the famed Bordeaux region, 80 miles (130 km) away.
Spend the afternoon strolling the city at your leisure. Visit the former Royal Square, now known as the Place de la Bourse, with the Fountain of Three Graces and water mirror at its center. Stop at the gothic 15th-century St. André Cathedral and neighboring Tour Pey-Berland to take in the history, then find a bakery to enjoy a sweet cannelé.
In the evening, enjoy another quintessential Bordeaux tradition. In this region of wine and gastronomy, l'apéritif (the pre-dinner drink) is an unmissable Rendez-Vous, and the perfect way to start your visit to Bordeaux.
To wrap up the evening, head to one of Bordeaux's elegant restaurants. Feast on a dinner of local delicacies, such as duck breast fillet stuffed with foie gras, then follow up with the Arcachon Basin's famed oysters paired with a glass of chilled Entre-Deux-Mers. Savor desserts, each prettier than the last, as you take in the city's resplendent atmosphere. When it comes to food and wine, Bordeaux is a lady who knows how to host.
Day 6: Cruise Down the Gironde
Start your day with a small group visit to the Cité du Vin in the city center, where you'll follow immersive exhibits about wine culture through the ages. Once you've finished up indoors, board a guided cruise through the Gironde estuary to discover the wines and heritage of the Haute-Gironde.
On the boat, you'll pass the fortified towns of Blaye and Bourg, stopping for lunch at a Côtes de Bourg estate with the winemaker himself. The astonishingly well-preserved citadel of Blaye has survived countless sieges since the 5th century and contains 1.2 km of ramparts, four bastions, moats, and underground passages. Thanks to its historic importance, it's a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site—and also home to the Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux wine appellation.
Day 7: Wine Tasting in St. Emilion & Pomerol
Head out after breakfast to discover the prestigious wines of the right bank, on the eastern side of Bordeaux. This region is known for its Merlot grapes, which are turned into world-famous wines.
You'll start at a Grand Cru chateau in St. Emilion, where you'll enjoy demonstrations on the winemaking process, from the vine to the bottle, along with tastings. Visit the village of St. Emilion itself next, classified as a UNESCO's World Heritage Site. Saint-Emilion is a typical sleepy French village dating back to medieval times, known for its cobblestone streets and 12th-century underground church, and you'll enjoy lunch in the village.
Continue to Pomerol, a smaller appellation with no grading system, for additional tastings and insight into what makes the soil and resulting wines here so special. You'll return to your lodging in the late afternoon for a leisurely evening.
Day 8: Au Revoir, France
After breakfast, take a private car or train transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. A bientôt!