Tailormade tour Gastronomic tour of Aquitaine, Dordogne and Tarn fly-drive France

8 nights/9 days

Bordeaux • Dordogne • Tarn

This is a gastronomic exploration of the south-western regions of Aquitaine, Dordogne and Tarn. Each region has its own specialities that reflect the character and culture of the region. With this tour you stay at hotels with excellent restaurants, including one with a cookery school, and nearby you can visit local markets and vineyards.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,770 per person.

Luxury fly-drive tailormade holiday experiencing the gastronomy of Aquitaine, the Dordogne and the Tarn

Highlights

Bordeaux • Visit St Emilion • Visit the Medoc vineyards • Explore Bordeaux centre • Optional cookery lesson • Dordogne • Visit the prehistory at Lascaux and Les Eyzies • Visit the castles of the Dordogne • Visit the market town of Sarlat • Tarn • Visit the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi • Visit the ancient bastide of Montauban • Taste the Gaillac wines • Visit Cahors in the Lot valley

Day by day

You arrive in Bordeaux and collect your hire-car. It is a short drive of about 30 minutes from the airport to your first stop, just outside the city of Bordeaux, in a small village amid vineyards. Perfectly situated for tasting the best of the Bordeaux wines and for both sampling haute cuisines as well as trying your hand at cooking it, Le Saint-James is the ideal first stop for this touring holiday. You stay here for two nights.

You have a full day to explore the vineyards of Bordeaux, soak up some culture in the city itself or try your hand at a cookery lesson at Le Saint James. The elegant restaurant of Le Saint James boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that take full advantage of the rural views which form the backdrop for the fine dining offered by the hotel’s Michelin-starred Chef, Nicolas Magie. Here you can enjoy dishes inspired by the Aquitaine region in the fine-dining restaurant. The hotel also has a cooking school with lessons held in a purpose-built kitchen and suitable for all ages and all levels of culinary skill. The hotel produces its own wine and you can take a tour of the wine cellar with the sommelier, sampling the numerous wines and champagnes. At harvest time, you also have the chance to learn about the process of wine production from start to finish, from the picking of the grapes by hand to winemaking in the hotel’s cellar. The Château Rauzan Gassies and the Château Mouton Rothschild are very popular locations for tasting; the best of which are the fruity Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Follow the Gironde Estuary north to find Margaux and other producers in the Médoc or head east out of Bordeaux to find the town of Saint-Emilion and its many prestigious vineyards. If you are interested in a cooking lesson at Le Saint James, you should ask us to check the schedule for you to make sure something is available on the date you are at the hotel, and then ask us to book it for you.

Today you leave the Bordeaux area to drive for just over two hours into the heart of the Dordogne to the village of Tremolat on the northern bank of the river. In terms of the route, we would suggest that you spend some time visiting along the way. Perhaps this is the day to visit St Emilion as you leave Bordeaux and possibly to call into the Bergerac before reaching your destination for the night. You spend three nights in Tremolat. Make the most of your days in Trémolat, walk into the centre of the village to appreciate the imposing and austere Saint Nicolas Church. Its riverside position makes it ideal for kayaking and fishing, and the neighbouring hills make for fantastic hiking trails.

The Dordogne is renowned for its rich and hearty cuisine and the region produces all manner of fascinating food stuffs, from walnuts to mushrooms, from cheese to truffles, from foie gras to pork delicacies. There is wine too, at Bergerac and Montbazillac. The Dordogne has a great number of very picturesque small towns, most of which have markets on various days of the week. Sarlat is probably the best known but Domme, La Roche Gageac, Les Eyzies and Beynac are worth seeking out. Some of the towns also have night-time markets where you can eat, drink and listen to music. You have two full days in this area to become acquainted with all manner of foodie things but also to experience the rich culture and history of the region, from the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux and Les Eyzies to the mediaeval fortresses that perch on rocky crags above the meandering valley of the Dordogne, to beautifully fashioned gardens, at Eyrignac and Marqueyssac for example.

Today’s journey takes you south through the historic region of the Quercy, and perhaps to stop at the town of Cahors in the Lot valley for lunch before reach your final stop on this gastronomic tour of the south-west of France, north of Gaillac in the village of Cahuzac-sur-Vère. You stay here for three nights.

Set in the heart of the Gaillac vineyards, Le Chateau de Salettes produces its very own red and white wines which can be sampled along with a selection of other wines from the cellar. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves creative and refined cuisine, with a tasting menu that allows guests to sample an assortment of dishes, accompanied by matching wines. Cahuzac-sur-Vère, the official home of the Château des Salettes, is known for its sugared almonds, biscuits with jam, and the excellence of its chocolatiers, making it the ideal gastronomic stop-off point for any food-lover with a sweet tooth. Drive out to the Musée de l’Art et du Sucre in the Maison Prunet at Cordes-sur-Ciel to see the high-quality sugar products and chocolate turned into works of art. As home to some of the most renowned wine estates in the area, Cahuzac-sur-Vère itself has much to offer. To whet the appetite, perhaps, visit the Domaine des Tres Cantous and sample the Vin d’Autan and Vin de Voile. Venture out into the Gaillac vineyards to discover the fairy-tale, fortified villages and their wine. Famous as the area is for its dry and sweet white wines, look out for Mauzac, Ondenc, Muscadelle and Loin de l’Oeil on your travels. For a concise overview of everything wine-related that Gaillac has to offer, head into the town itself, and the Maison des Vins de Gaillac, to learn more about the wider variety of grapes grown in the area and to taste more of the wine available. Also nearby is Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and bursting with the remarkable history of France. The most immediate point of interest in this small town is its red-brick mediaeval cathedral, St. Cecilia’s. Witness how its imposing exterior blends into the delicate wood and stone decoration of its interior. Adorning the whole western wall are extensive murals depicting the Last Judgement. Just next door, the Bishop’s palace houses the Toulouse Lautrec museum, dedicated to the works of the post-impressionistic iconographer Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. From outside the cathedral, you can make your way west to the square which overlooks the River Tarn or pass the museum to walk across the thousand-year-old Old Bridge. Albi retains the look and feel of its traditional way of life and holds a farmer’s market on the Place Fernand Pelloutier on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Another pretty village is that of Rabastens, that also has a lively market, and lots of historical buildings including the Notre-Dame-du-Bourg church. You can take hiking trails from the village through vineyards and orchards nearby.

Today you head back to Bordeaux or you can fly from Toulouse with British Airways.

The expert advice and experience of the travel consultants resulted in a fantastic bespoke holiday.
Mr B, May 2019

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,770 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room. Supplement for half board for 2 nights: £250 per person (Half board includes a 5-course dinner with 2 glasses of wine at Le Saint-James).

Holiday Code FRFD06

Luxury fly-drive tailormade holiday experiencing the gastronomy of Aquitaine, the Dordogne and the Tarn

The expert advice and experience of the travel consultants resulted in a fantastic bespoke holiday.
Mr B, May 2019

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,770 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room. Supplement for half board for 2 nights: £250 per person (Half board includes a 5-course dinner with 2 glasses of wine at Le Saint-James).

Holiday Code FRFD06

Our prices include ● Scheduled flight with British Airways London to Bordeaux, Bordeaux or Toulouse to London
● Hire of a Group B car for the duration of the holiday
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Deluxe room at Le Saint-James in Bouliac, near Bordeaux
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Superior double room at Le Vieux Logis in Trémolat
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Grand Confort double room at Le Château de Salettes near Gaillac
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information Driving times for this touring holiday
Bordeaux airport to Bouliac 20 minutes
Bouliac to Trémolat 2 hours 15 minutes
Trémolat to Cahuzac-sur-Vère 2 hours 50 minutes
Cahuzac-sur-Vère to Bordeaux airport 2 hours 40 minutes
Cahuzac-sur-Vère to Toulouse airport 60 minutes

The expert advice and experience of the travel consultants resulted in a fantastic bespoke holiday.
Mr B, May 2019

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,770 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room. Supplement for half board for 2 nights: £250 per person (Half board includes a 5-course dinner with 2 glasses of wine at Le Saint-James).

Holiday Code FRFD06

Luxury fly-drive tailormade holiday experiencing the gastronomy of Aquitaine, the Dordogne and the Tarn

Highlights of Bordeaux

Visit vineyards and chateaux, for tasting and buying. Visit the oyster beds. Experience the Cognac distilleries, and the Romanesque architecture. Bordeaux is the historical centre for wine however you may also visit the villages of the wine region such as St Emilion.

Climate in the Bordeaux Region

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 10.0, Feb: 9.4, Mar: 12.2, Apr: 19.5, May: 18.0, Jun: 23.7, Jul: 27.2, Aug: 25.7, Sep: 24.2, Oct: 19.7, Nov: 15.4, Dec: 11.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France

Luxury fly-drive tailormade holiday experiencing the gastronomy of Aquitaine, the Dordogne and the Tarn

Highlights of Dordogne

Cultural highlights include ceramics, wine festivals, foie gras and truffles, wild mushrooms, castles, valleys, water-sports, and local walks.

Climate of Dordogne

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 10.0, Feb: 9.4, Mar: 12.2, Apr: 19.5, May: 18.0, Jun: 23.7, Jul: 27.2, Aug: 25.7, Sep: 24.2, Oct: 19.7, Nov: 15.4, Dec: 11.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Luxury fly-drive tailormade holiday experiencing the gastronomy of Aquitaine, the Dordogne and the Tarn

Highlights of Tarn and Lot

Cultural highlights include music festival in Toulouse, Limoux wine, the ruined fortresses of the Cathars, the craggy valley of Aveyron, the mediaeval fortified village of Cordes, Gaillac wine, the Charcuterie of Lacaune, and the Goya museum at Castres.

Tarn and Lot Climate

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan 12.4, Feb 11.5, Mar 12.5, Apr 17.6, May 20.1, Jun 26.5, Jul 28.4, Aug 28.1, Sep 26.1, Oct 21.1, Nov 15.8, Dec 13.5. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

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