(Option: Customized Itineraries)
Bordeaux, France - 3 nights
Available year round (excluding July and August) - Tuesday to Friday
Savor the wines, foods and landscapes that define this Bordeaux area between the ocean and the Saint Emilion. Staying in a private French home is a unique way to get to know French people and to share their family's and friend's culinary passions. This holiday is an opportunity to taste and cook traditional and locally grown foods: wine from their vineyards, vegetables from their gardens, shellfish from their seacoast or mushrooms from their forests.
Your host for your stay is Carol, an American who has been living in France for all her adult life, working in French cultural affairs and welcoming visitors from abroad. Her French husband, Bruno, is a physician and nutritionist who also holds a degree in French cuisine. They will be your guides in discovering the Bordeaux region.
Your lodgings are close by with a well traveled French couple who enjoys sharing their home and B&B.
During your stay you will participate in cooking classes in home kitchens and professional workshops. Dinners are both in private homes and in your hosts' favorite restaurants and cafés.
After living for 40 years in the Bordeaux countryside Carol and her husband now live in the city and propose a stay with activities in both the country and in town which will take you into their daily French life. No matter what the season you will indulge in delicious tastings of wine, pastry, cheese and and other local foods… immersing yourself in life in Bordeaux and the surrounding countryside.
Although cooking and wine are the main themes of your stay, the usual 4 day (3 night) stay can be prolonged and organized around your personal interests, whether it be food and wine, gardening, antiques, contemporary art or a night at the opera, can also be included in your stay. Your hosts will introduce you to some of the best the area has to offer.
ARRIVAL & EXPLORING BORDEAUX
After a mid day arrival at the train station or airport you will be met by your host, Carol, who will take you to her good friend’s lovely bed and breakfast, their family’s home in the city with a garden and swimming pool!
After settling in, Carol, who now lives just a few streets over, will take you on a walking (and tram) tour in the center of the city. An afternoon stop in a little cafe to people watch and enjoy a moment to talk about the history of this beautiful city before continuing on to your first cooking class followed by dinner in the apartment kitchen of a talented young private chef.
COOKING LESSON & WINE TASTING
Breakfast at the B&B before going to the town of Creon and its bustling outdoor market to pick up th eingreidents for your afternoon cooking class in Bruno's country home kitchen. He or one of the other professional chefs they work with will take you through step by step for a hands-on preparation of Piperade Basque, Canelés, stuffed duck, or other dishes from southwestern France. The menus are seasonal and will be chosen with you and the chef before you arrive.
Before a leisurely lunch in a local restaurant on the market plaza you’ll go to a beautiful family owned chateau for a wine tasting class that will help you discover the many and varied Bordeaux wines whether you're a wine connoisseur or an enthusiastic beginner.
After lunch there will be time for a relaxing walk or ride through the local vineyards.
Then a late afternoon, hands on three course cooking class and dinner using the ingredients you've picked up at the morning market before sitting down with Carol and the chef for the lovely dinner you’ve just made.
Carol will then drive you, a half an hour, back to your B&B.
WINE, CHOCOLATE & CHEESE
A morning in Bordeaux visiting a chocolate makers workshop and a cheese lunch in the cave of a famous Bordeaux cheese refiner before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, St Emilion. There you will have a wine tasting, a visit to the underground monuments in the historic wine mecca dating from the Middle Ages.
Back to your B&B before dinner at Carol and Bruno’s home or in one of their favorite restaurants.
Before you leave you’ll not want to miss the new Cité International du Vin, a novel and sensorial way to experience wine making history and meet, via an innovative, interactive tour of winemakers from around the worldand yet another glass of wine, from the huge collection of world wines at the Belvedere, with its 360° view of Bordeaux. The morning will have disappeared when it’s almost time to leave … but after you leave Carol you might want to have lunch at their 7th floor panoramique restaurant: local produce with world flavors in food and a « selection, both universal and local, of 500 wines, from 50 wine-producing countries, with a selection of 32 wines by the glass. »
*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus and activities may be arranged to your tastes and interests and vary according to the season
For those focused primarily on food and wine, additional sample days follow. All such plans can be made in advance of your trip.
*After breakfast you’ll leave for the bay of Arcachon to visit the oyster beds, see the daily work of French oyster farmers and walk along the oceanside. A seafood picnic lunch right along the bay and then for those who want more exercise after all this wonderful food you might want to climb to Europe's highest sand dune that looks out to the ocean on one side and on the other to a sea of pine trees in the famous forest of the Lands.
* DAY COOKING CLASS (10am - 2pm or 4pm - 8pm) An extra morning or late afternoon of cooking with Jerome, a professional private chef or Xavier a teacher for future chefs at the region's Lycée. They will have you discover their delicious dishes and easy cooking techniques and will have you perfect your own skills.
*An extra day to visiting antique shops, art galleries and artists studios.
*A day in the Pessac Léognan AOC wine country with private visits to the best château and lunch at the elegant but casual Caudalie spa. (with a supplement we can also organize a half day for you at the spa) and perhaps a visit to the historical château Le Bred where Montesquieu wrote his « Esprit des
*A day in the Sauterne or Medoc AOC wine country with private visits to some of the most famous château as well as those wonderful little addresses only known to the locals..a ferry across the Garonne river, gourmet picnics or a riverside restaurant. Yet another facet of the Bordeaux wine country.
A minimum of 3 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 6 participants.
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest Airports: Bordeaux Airport (Bordeaux Merignac) - 30 minutes from accommodation
Closest Train Station: Bordeaux St. Jean (15 minutes from accommodation), Libourne
*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.
THREE NIGHT PROGRAM
ADDITIONAL NIGHTS AND DAYS
(Including a Cooking Class and Activities/Visits)
ADDITIONAL DAY COOKING CLASSES - Please inquire
Private cooking class with a chef, lunch and wine tasting class
Morning hands on pastry class - any day Tuesday through Saturday
Home kitchen hands-on cooking class (Wednesday or Friday morning with Wednesday morning including a market visit)
*For day cooking classes, there is a minimum of 4 required and maximum of 6.
Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation.
After availability is confirmed, a 30% non-refundable deposit per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due no later than 75 days before your arrival date.
THREE NIGHT PROGRAM
*Three nights' accommodation at B&B with breakfast
*All meals and wine (3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners - the wine you choose in the restaurants is not included)
*Two (2) hands-on cooking classes
*All local transportation
*All that is included in the final client-approved itinerary
*An English-speaking guide and chauffeur
*All tastings: wines and cheeses
*All excursions and entrance fees
*Transfers to/from airport/train station
DAY COOKING CLASS (10am - 2pm OR 4pm - 8pm)
*Pick up at local airport or train station
*Four hour hands-on cooking class with meal and wine
*Market or local artisan visit with host chef and all local transportation
Airfare, wine at restaurants and personal expenses are not included.
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
"We found ... the Bordeaux region...an interesting stop for a few days when we were driving from Paris to the Basque region. We underestimated the time it takes to enjoy and explore this unique part of France, and immediately planned a second visit. The location is absolutely ideal for wine lovers, cyclers, walkers, and those who appreciate the ability to experience the charm of a beautifully restored home in a small French village. We honestly can't give enough credit to Carol for making our stay so enjoyable. She is relaxed, bright, friendly and easy to be around while providing a WEALTH of knowledge about the area and the activities offered. Equally impressive is Bruno, Carol's friend with whom we had the privilege of taking a one-day cooking class. Four of us gathered in the kitchen on Bruno's beautiful farm, and made an absolutely excellent lunch. Of the four, we had one "expert," two moderately adept students, and one who was clearly there because of his partner's passion. I know I speak for everyone when I say we all had a wonderful time. Bruno involved everyone equally at a level where they felt comfortable. He is a very talented chef, but is also aware that people are on vacation. His easy temperament is much like Carol's, and he is indeed a delight."
"Dear Jo-Ann - it was a lovely trip and we enjoyed "the la forge" alot :). We had perfect hosts. They arranged our week absolutely including everything we had asked for - the wineries, the education by a wine expert, the garden tours and the cooking classes, the opera in Bordeaux were better than we could have hoped! (attaching a photo) wearing our aprons from you. Thank you again for the connection!"
This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE.
*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.