You don't need to decide between elegant Paris and the historic châteaux of the Loire Valley on this sumptuous two-week getaway that starts with a stylish stay in the capital before heading to the most renowned French wine regions. From the standout landmarks of Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower to the vineyards of Bordeaux and the gastronomic delights of Dordogne, you'll tick off all the highlights during a fortnight that's jam-packed with private tours for enophiles and culture connoisseurs.


  • Discover the history of Paris with a private tour of the Marais and L’Île de la Cité
  • Tour the great Champagne houses around Épernay with a private driver and guide
  • Marvel at the grand châteaux in the Loire during a spectacular hot-air balloon ride
  • Tour vineyards and sip fine wine in the vineyards of Vouvray and Saint-Émilion
  • Hunt for and eat fresh truffles in the forests and woodlands of the Dordogne 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris, Dinner Cruise on the Seine Paris
Day 2 L’Île de la Cité & Eiffel Tower, Evening Tour of the Louvre Paris
Day 3 Full-Day Tour & Tasting in the Champagne Region Paris
Day 4 Transfer to Amboise, Visit Le Château Clos Lucé Amboise
Day 5 Loire Valley Châteaux Tour, Hot-Air Balloon Flight Amboise
Day 6 Château de Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau & Vouvray Vineyards  Amboise
Day 7 Transfer to Bordeaux, Wine in the City Tour Bordeaux
Day 8 Day Trip to Arcachon Bay & Pilat Sand Dune Bordeaux
Day 9 Guided E-Bike Tour & Tasting in Saint-Émilion's Vineyards  Bordeaux
Day 10 Transfer to Sarlat, Visit the Marqueyssac Gardens Sarlat
Day 11 Discover the Villages of Dordogne, La Roque Gageac & Beynac Sarlat
Day 12 Visit the Ancient Lascaux Caves, Truffle Hunt & Tasting Sarlat
Day 13 Half-Day Canoeing in the Dordogne Adventure Sarlat
Day 14 Transfer to Bordeaux, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris, Dinner Cruise on the Seine

Settle into your quiet 5-star sanctuary in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (photo courtesy of Saint-Germain-des-Prés)

Welcome to France! Your flight lands at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Known as the "City of Lights," the capital's enduring allure can be found in its combination of art, culture, great food, and world-class museums. The city abounds with elegant architecture, wide boulevards, and chic cafés. Upon arrival, you'll meet your driver and transfer to your stylish hotel, the 5-star Relais Christine. Located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and set back on a quiet street, you're perfectly placed for key sights such as Notre-Dame, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Musée du Louvre

Settle into your deluxe room or suite, sumptuously furnished with traditional French wallpaper and filled with Diptyque toiletries. Ease any post-flight aches with a massage or treatment in the on-site Spa Guerlain, where you can relax in beautiful vaulted 13th-century surroundings. Later in the afternoon, head to the banks of the Seine, where you'll board a private boat for a romantic sunset cruise. As you glide along France's most famous waterway, enjoy views of iconic landmarks, including the glittering Eiffel Tower. Then, sit down for a seasonal a la carte menu showcasing French cooking at its best. 

Day 2: L’Ile de la Cité & Eiffel Tower, Evening Tour of the Louvre

While the Louvre is full of treasures inside, the exterior isn't too shabby either 

Wake up relaxed and refreshed, ready to spend the day exploring Paris with a local guide. Your private tour starts in L'Île de la Cité, a small islet on the Seine home to Notre Dame, the 17th-century Palais-Royal (Royal Palace), and the Sainte-Chapelle. Your guide will explain the fascinating history of each before strolling over to the cobbled streets of the trendy Le Marais neighborhood, filled with laid-back cafés, independent boutiques, and the Place des Voges, Paris' oldest square and gardens.

Break for lunch (you'll be spoiled for choice with wonderful bistros), wander through the 16th century Jardins des Tuileries, then see the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe. No visit to Paris would be complete without a glance at the Eiffel Tower, and you'll have plenty of time to take in the architectural wonder and landmark before taking the weight off and ending your epic tour with another boat cruise along the Seine. 

Relax back at your hotel before ticking off one last essential Parisian box. You're off to the Louvre for a private evening tour of Paris' incomparable museum. During the next two hours, you'll marvel at masterpieces such as the "Mona Lisa" and "Venus de Milo" and many others before parting ways with your guide. After which, the rest of the evening is yours to discover the city's exemplary restaurants, bars, and nightlife. 

Day 3: Full-Day Tour & Tasting in the Champagne Region

Full Day Champagne Tour from Paris
Enjoy a private Champagne tasting in the rolling countryside surrounding Épernay and Hautvillers

Leave Paris' bustling city boulevards behind today for a full-day private tour of the rolling vineyards and idyllic countryside of the Champagne region. Your day starts with a scenic two-hour drive to Hautvillers, a pretty village known as the "cradle of Champagne." Step inside the town's church, and you'll discover the tomb of the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon, whose name is synonymous with the finest Champagne in the world. 

Next, it's time to get down to the serious business of tasting, and you'll hit the road again for a short drive to your first Champagne house, where you'll enjoy a guided tour of the cellars and production facilities, after which you'll taste a few different vintages. The town of Épernay, considered Champagne's true home, is your next stop. Spend a while wandering the city at your own pace, then stop for lunch and browse the boutiques. You'll find everything here, from Champagne flutes to swords. Don't miss a selfie on the Avenue de Champagne!

Refueled, hop back in the car, and your driver will make the short journey to your second and final Champagne house. Here, you'll join an interactive tour of the facilities and get to grips with how terroir, appellation, and different grape varieties are all crucial in producing the region's eponymous fizz. Last but not least, you'll be able to put your newfound knowledge to use with a tasting of terrific vintages. Afterward, your driver will whisk you back to your hotel in time to enjoy your last night in the capital.

Day 4: Transfer to Amboise, Visit Le Château Clos Lucé

Your Amboise hotel blends luxury and 17th-century character (photo courtesy of Hôtel Le Clos d'Amboise)

After breakfast, you'll meet your private driver and transfer 2.5 hours southwest to the Loire Valley. Your destination is Amboise, a charming town in the center of the scenic Loire region that's ideally placed for wine tasting and vineyard trips. Perched along the southern bank of the Loire River, the town is also home to some of the country's most impressive châteaux, including the flamboyant Château Royal d'Amboise, a favorite retreat of French kings.

Your own retreat for the next three nights is the gorgeous Hôtel Le Clos d'Amboise, a converted 17th-century manor house, beautifully refurbished to retain the château's authentic character and blend history, style, and comfort. Settle in and go for a dip in the hotel's swimming pool, nestled among rose bushes and cedars, or unwind in the on-site sauna. 

When you're ready, head out for a self-guided tour of the nearby Le Château Clos Lucé. Just a few steps from your hotel, you'll walk in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci, who spent the final years of his life in the beautifully preserved 15th-century mansion. Discover the château's royal history and underground passageways and stroll the manicured gardens, which bring to life some of da Vinci's creations in the most whimsical of settings. 

Day 5: Loire Valley Châteaux Tour, Hot-Air Balloon Flight

Chambord castle
Combine walking tours of Loire Valley castles, including Château de Chenonceau, with a hot-air balloon flight

Spend today visiting the Loire Valley's famously beautiful castles and take in-depth private tours of two of the most renowned castles in the area. Your first stop is Château de Chenonceau, France's most visited historical monument after Versailles. Originally built in the 12th century, the castle was rebuilt in the 1500s and houses a rich collection of ornate art and fine 16th-century furniture. Don't miss the gorgeously manicured gardens, named after Catherine de Médici and Diane de Poitiers, who both lived at the château.

Next is Château Chambord, a wonderful Renaissance castle dating back to the early 16th century. Take the double helix staircase to see the royal apartments of François I and Louis XIV and continue up to the terraces, where views of the surrounding landscape offer a glimpse into the charmed lives of the castle's royals. Afterward, you'll finish your tour with a private hot-air balloon ride that takes you high over the valley for an impeccable bird's-eye view of the châteaux as the sun starts to set. 

Day 6: Château de Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau & Vouvray Vineyards 

Discover how Joachim Carvallo transformed Villandry's gardens to their former splendor 
Plan your trip to France
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Continue your exploration of the Loire's châteaux this morning with a visit to Azay-le-Rideau, a gorgeous Renaissance castle built on an island on the Indre River. Its straight staircase, a rarity in the 16th century, was one of the first to be built in the region. Tour the inside of the castle with your private guide, who'll share insights into the château's history (it enjoyed the patronage of King François I) before heading outside to see the gardens and the famous water mirror. 

After lunch, make your way to Château de Villandry, another Renaissance masterpiece modified during the 18th century. Probably most famous for its incredible gardens, your guide will share the story of how Joachim Carvallo, who took over the castle in the early 20th century, recreated the Renaissance garden to restore Villandry to its former glory. Highlights include the flower beds, ornamental kitchen garden, maze, classical water garden, and the lake. 

You'll round out your day in the Loire with a trip to Vouvray, an appellation well-known for its chenin blanc vines that produce elegant, dry, sweet, and sparkling white wines. Learn all about the area's winemaking with a trip to two Vouvray Appellation wine estates. At both, you'll tour the cellars, understand how to taste wine like a pro, identify the different aromas, and, of course, have plenty of opportunities to try the wines yourself. 

Day 7: Transfer to Bordeaux, Wine in the City Tour

Combine sightseeing with a deep dive into Bordeaux wines and visit landmarks such as La Place de la Bourse 

You're off to Bordeaux! World famous for its wine (both the region and its namesake city), you'll find plenty of opportunities for exceptional wine tasting here, but the city is worth a look in its own right. Vibrant and dynamic, thanks in part to its university student population, Bordeaux is full of carefully restored 18th-century buildings, and an astonishing 50 percent of the town is UNESCO-listed. Meet your driver in the morning, and in just under four hours, you'll arrive at your 5-star city center hotel, Villa Reale, located on the famous Place du Parlement in the historic Saint-Pierre neighborhood.

Check in, and you'll find beautifully furnished rooms and apartments combining the design and spirit of the 18th century. Each apartment suite has its own cellar with wines and Champagnes available, while facilities include an excellent concierge service and a sauna, perfect for relaxing any achy muscles after the drive. 

After a refresh, explore the city and region's wine heritage with a private three-hour tour perfect for wine and history enthusiasts. You'll start with visits to Place de la Bourse and Le Musée du Vin et du Négoce for explanations of French wine classifications and the history of the region's wines. Sample a few varieties in the museum's tasting room, then head outside to stroll the Chartrons neighborhood, known for the last 400 years as the wine merchants' district. Your tour finishes at one of the area's renowned wine bars for nibbles and another tasting. 

Day 8: Day Trip to Arcachon Bay & Pilat Sand Dune

Taste fresh oysters at the fishermen's oyster huts on Arcachon Bay 

Your destination today is Arcachon Bay, a one-hour drive southwest of Bordeaux. Known for its fine sandy beaches, mild climate, and town dotted with Belle Époque architecture, it makes a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Bordeaux. Meet your driver for the transfer to the bay, a landlocked sea area, where you'll find rows of oyster sheds that belong to the farmers who have helped make this area famous to French oyster aficionados. Start your day by the sea with a tasting of Banc d'Arguin oysters, washed down with a glass of the local white.

You'll have plenty of time to explore the bay before lunch, and gourmands will be delighted with the selection of seafood restaurants that line the shore. In the afternoon, you'll head out to the small town of Pyla-sur-Mer to see Arcachon's famous Dune de Pilat. Rising to 351 feet (107 m), Europe's largest sand dune was formed over 4,000 years ago. 

Reaching the top of the dune requires some effort, but a staircase, installed during the summer months, makes it more accessible. After 170 steps, you'll be rewarded with incredible sweeping views of the bay and the dual views of the pine forest and Atlantic Ocean. At the end of the afternoon, you'll return to your hotel, where Bordeaux's bustling bars, restaurants, and nightlife await.

Day 9: Guided E-Bike Tour & Tasting in Saint-Émilion's Vineyards 

Take a break from wine tasting in Saint-Émilion to admire the view

Just over an hour east of Bordeaux lies the village of Saint-Émilion and its world-famous vineyards and châteaux, home to some of the country's most prestigious wines, such as Petrus and Château Cheval Blanc. The eponymous town is also a destination in its own right—a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with medieval monuments and churches. Today, you'll spend the day with a small group on e-bikes, cycling the gorgeous countryside and combining vineyard stops along the way.

Start the day with a transfer to Saint-Émilion and spend a leisurely morning cycling through the appellations, pausing to tour your first vineyard and château. After a visit to the cellar, where you'll hear about the traditional wine methods used here, you'll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch in the estate's gorgeous gardens, accompanied by a selection of different wines. Cycle back to the village, and you'll put the bikes aside to stroll the quaint town on foot, admiring its medieval architecture, quaint cobbled streets, and incredible hilltop views.

You've one last château in store before heading back to Bordeaux, and this time, it's a Classified Growth Château. Situated on the outskirts of the village, you'll learn about the winemaking process from vine to bottle and finish wine-tasting the estate's exemplary wines. You'll be dropped back at your hotel in the early evening, where the night is yours to enjoy your last night in Bordeaux at leisure. 

Day 10: Transfer to Sarlat, Visit the Marqueyssac Gardens

The Marqueyssac Gardens are listed as one of France's National Historic Monuments 

Today, you'll take a private transfer 2.5 hours east to Sarlat-la-Canéda (Sarlat), one of Dordogne's most enchanting towns and a favorite of film directors for its historic medieval beauty. While the village's tangle of honey-colored buildings, alleyways, and secret squares make Sarlat a beautiful destination in its own right, the town is also well-positioned for exploring the Vézère Valley.

Your driver will drop you off at your accommodation, the boutique Plaza Madeleine Hotel & Spa. With a fabulous location in the center of the Old Town, the hotel combines excellent proximity to the city's listed monuments, boutiques, and restaurants with super facilities, including a heated pool with terrace and sun loungers, and a spa area with a sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. 

After a refresh and a bite to eat, it's time to visit one of the area's gems. The Marqueyssac Gardens are a 15-minute drive away and listed as one of the country's National Historic Monuments. Spend a leisurely couple of hours strolling the romantic gardens, filled with boxwoods, rockeries, and incredible panoramic views of the valley and surrounding châteaux from its elevated position. You'll return to Sarlat in the late afternoon, just in time to relax in the spa, before heading out to eat at one of the city's excellent restaurants. Specialties here include foie gras, duck confit, and oysters.

Day 11: Discover the Villages of Dordogne, La Roque Gageac & Beynac

Explore the cobbled streets and limestone walls of La Roque Gageac, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France

This morning, you'll explore the picturesque castles and historic villages along the Dordogne River with a full-day private tour. You'll start in Domme, a fortified medieval town that's one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France). Hear fascinating tales from your guide about the town's history, including the imprisonment of the Knights Templar during the Hundred Years' War. 

Continue to La Roque Gageac and board a gabarre (a fat-bottomed traditional riverboat) for a peaceful cruise on the river at a leisurely pace to admire the beautiful châteaux that line the route. Disembark at Beynac, another of France's Plus Beaux Villages, and explore the town and its medieval castle, built in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac. After a full day of exploring, your driver will drop you at your hotel.

Day 12: Visit the Ancient Lascaux Caves, Truffle Hunt & Tasting

Help hunt down the Dordogne's prized black truffles, then enjoy them thinly shaved over chargrilled bread

Today's tours cover art and gastronomy, and you'll begin your day with a private transfer to the National Prehistory Museum in Les Eyzies de Tayac. The museum possesses the most extensive collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world, whose history will serve you well for your next excursion. You're off to the Lascaux Caves, whose extraordinary paintings date back 15,000 years. While the original caves are no longer open to the public, you'll embark on a private tour of Lascaux IV, a perfect reproduction, with state-of-the-art immersive technology to bring it to life.

Gastronomy comes next with a transfer east to the region's famed truffle fields, where you'll join a private truffle hunt. Learn from a local expert how their dogs sniff out the precious tubers and discover the terroir, soil type, and climate truffles need to thrive. After a successful morning's hunting, you'll taste the aromatic truffles shaved over toasted French bread with olive oil, accompanied by a local sweet wine. 

Day 13: Half-Day Canoeing in the Dordogne Adventure

Canoe along the Dordogne River, and you'll get a different perspective on the region's gorgeous villages

The calm, clear waters of the Dordogne River make it ideal for canoeing, and this morning, you'll embark on a half-day private excursion, paddling along the river and sightseeing. The river was named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2012 for its outstanding setting and heritage, and it contains many gems, including rock-sculpted villages, walnut orchards, and fields of sunflowers along its famous banks. You'll see all these and more as you paddle around the areas near Beynac, where you've plenty of different route options depending on energy levels. 

You'll return to Sarlat in the early afternoon. Unwind at your hotel and make use of the spa and pool facilities, or browse the town's boutiques and foodie shops—you'll find plenty of inspiration if you're looking for a souvenir to remind you of your trip. In the evening, head out for one last memorable dinner in France's gastronomic heartland.

Day 14: Transfer to Bordeaux, Depart

You may be leaving France, but you'll be taking your holiday memories with you 
It's time to say goodbye to France. At the appropriate time, your driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport in Bordeaux. Au revoir! 

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Map of Luxury France for Wine Lovers: Paris, Loire Valley, Bordeaux & Dordogne - 14 Days
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