|Type of Tour:||Self Drive, Multi Region|
|Guide Price:||From £4639 to £5994 per person|
|Number of Meals:||18 breakfasts + 8 lunches + 1 dinner|
|Number of Winery Visits:||25 wineries|
|Number of Wines Tasted:||Approximately 85|
|Tour Transport:||Various - see detailed itinerary. Includes 6 Private full day guided and transported tours, E-bikes for 2 full days and some visits on foot. Self drive between regions|
|Dates / Availability:||Available mid-week and weekends from May to October. Outside of these dates, slight amendments to the activities may be required.|
Tour de France driving holiday
In response to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on tourism, we have introduced a flexible range of self-drive breaks, designed with our clients’ maximum safety and comfort in mind. Our self-drive Tour de France offers the ultimate French wine tasting experience, with accommodation at charming boutique hotels, located in peaceful settings in all of the top French wine regions, away from the busy towns and cities.
On the first day of your holiday, drive from the UK to the Loire Valley, taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais. You have the complete freedom to choose your preferred crossing time, and then drive from Calais to the Loire Valley at your leisure. If you would prefer to spend a night en route to break up the five hour drive, we would be pleased to arrange this for you.
After checking into your Superior room at Château de Beaulieu, located around 15 minutes from Tours city centre, the remainder of the afternoon and evening will be free to settle in and enjoy your pleasant surroundings. This evening, we would be very pleased to reserve you a table for dinner in the hotel’s gourmet restaurant.
After breakfast on day two, you will be met at the Château by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, who will accompany you throughout the day on a private basis. You will be transported in a spacious Mercedes Viano-style vehicle, with space for you to sit at a safe distance from your guide, and your guide will follow all the necessary safety procedures.
The morning will be spent sampling the best wines from Vouvray appellation. You will be taken on a private tour of the estate and cellars of a highly-regarded producer, and your visit will conclude with tastings of a selection of the estate’s wines alongside local delicacies such as cheese and rillettes. Your journey of discovery will continue and take you to a 15th Century wine-making Château in the Chinon appellation, where you will be welcomed by the Count and Countess of the estate. Following a private visit to the Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc vineyards and a tour of the cellars, a tasting session will take place in the Château’s historic tasting room. A picnic lunch with a bottle of wine will then be served in the stunning grounds of the Château. Your day will conclude with a private tour at a second winery in the Chinon appellation.
After breakfast and check out on day three, make your way to the Bordeaux region. The driving time will be around 3 ¾ hours, and we would be pleased to recommend a suitable place to stop en route for lunch. Upon arrival, check into a Superior room with its own private terrace at the 5* Château Cordeillan-Bages, located in the Médoc vineyards. The afternoon and evening will be free for you to relax and enjoy your beautiful home for the next few days. The Château boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant as well as a more informal brasserie. We would be very pleased to reserve you a table at either of these for dinner this evening.
On day four, e-bikes will be provided for the day (if you would prefer a private driver instead, just let us know and we will provide you with the relevant supplement). Take a scenic 10km ride through the vines alongside the river Gironde to the famous village of Saint-Estèphe. Here, you will be welcomed at a Grand Cru Classé Château where following a tour of the estate, a three course lunch will be served in the opulent surroundings of the Château’s dining room. Your meal will be served alongside a selection of the Château’s vintages. After lunch, cycle back to the hotel and en route, stop at a second Château for a private tour and tastings.
After breakfast on day five, you will be met at the Château by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, who will accompany you throughout the day on a private basis. You will again, be transported in a spacious Mercedes Viano-style vehicle. Today will be spent around the UNESCO Classified appellation of Saint-Emilion.
You will firstly be warmly welcomed at a Grand Cru Classé producer. Here, you will enjoy a private tour of the estate and cellars, where you will be presented with the history of the Château and explanations about the specific terroir and climate that makes Saint-Emilion so unique. The visit will conclude with tastings of three wines. You will then be welcomed as the guests of a family-run Château where, following a tour of the estate, you will taste three wines. A fabulous picnic lunch accompanied by wine will be served in the picturesque setting of the Château’s grounds. In the afternoon, you will be taken to a third Château for a private tour of the estate and a tasting session of their wines. You will be taken back to your hotel at the end of the day. As always, we would be pleased to reserve you a table for dinner if required.
After a leisurely breakfast on day six, check out of the hotel and make your way to the Languedoc-Roussillon. The driving time will be around 4 ½ hours, and we would be pleased to recommend a suitable place to stop en route for lunch. Upon arrival in the rugged vineyards of La Clape, close to Narbonne, check into your Superior room at the Château l’Hospitalet. A tasting session of the Château’s wines will be arranged at the on-site winery. The Château boasts a gastronomic restaurant “l’Art de Vivre” and we would be pleased to reserve you a table for dinner if required.
After breakfast on day seven, check out of the hotel and drive to Mazan. The drive is approximately 2 ½ hours. Upon arrival at the Château de Mazan, check into your Deluxe room. The remainder of the day will be free for you to relax and enjoy the Provencale pace of life .
On day eight, you will be met at the Château by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, for a full day private transported tour of the world-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Again, transport will be in a spacious Mercedes Viano-style vehicle.
You will start by looking at the unusual terroir that is responsible for the ultra-ripe grapes that come from its vines and will then visit the cuverie of a wine maker, to understand their wine making philosophy. The private visit will conclude with tastings of their award-winning wines. Following the morning’s activities, you will be welcomed to dine in a quintessentially French bistrot for lunch. In the afternoon, you will then continue your tour, visiting a further two Châteauneuf-du-Pape wineries. You will be taken back to the Château de Mazan at the end of the day. The Château de Mazan has a charming restaurant on site and we would be pleased to reserve you a table for dinner if required.
After breakfast on day nine, you will once again be met at the Château by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, for a full day private transported tour, this time to discover the refreshing rosé wines of Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding area. Today, you will experience the Provençal art de vivre! Private tours and tastings will be arranged at two wineries in the appellation and you will be given some free time for lunch in the picturesque town of Aix. You will be transported back to the Château de Mazan at the end of the day.
After a leisurely breakfast on day ten, check out of the hotel and start to head north up the Rhône valley. The drive to Tournon-sur-Rhône is approximately 1 ¾ hour. Upon arrival at the 4* Hotel de la Villeon, check into your Romantic room. The remainder of the day will be free for you to settle in and explore your surroundings independently.
On day eleven, all your visits will be within walking distance of your hotel. You will firstly enjoy a private guided tour of a prominent local winery, seeing first-hand the fascinating wine-making process, followed by extensive tastings of their wines. You will then be welcomed at the Paul Jaboulet Aîné boutique. One of the biggest names in the Northern Rhône and producer of the world-revered “La Chapelle,” this estate has been making highly sought-after wines for almost two Centuries and you will have the opportunity to taste six different wines; reds and whites from both the Southern and the Northern Rhône. A three course lunch with a further two Jaboulet wines will then be served. After lunch, you will have plenty of time to admire the breathtaking views across the Valley from the iconic “La Chapelle,” a stone chapel which was allegedly built by a 13th Century knight who fell in love with the vineyards here. In the afternoon, enjoy a tutored tasting session of five wines at the prestigious Chapoutier. We would be delighted to recommend a restaurant for dinner if required.
After a breakfast on day twelve, check out of the hotel and continue uo head north to Burgundy. The drive to Vosne-Romanée is approximately 2 ¾ hours. Here, check into your Privilège room at the 4* Hotel le Richebourg, nestled in the heart of the Côte de Nuits. The remainder of the day and evening will then be free to do as you please. This evening, we would be very pleased to reserve you a table for dinner in the hotel’s gourmet restaurant.
On day thirteen, e-bikes will be provided for the day (if you would prefer a private driver instead, just let us know and we will provide you with the relevant supplement). Take a 14km ride along the famous Route des Grand Crus to Aloxe-Corton, one of the only villages in Burgundy to boast both red and white Grand Cru wines. Here, you will be welcomed at the authentic, family-owned, Domaine Comte Sénard, where you will visit the vineyard, Les Clos des Meix, as well as the 13th Century cellars. The visit will conclude with a three course traditional lunch, during which you will have the unique opportunity to taste six Grand Cru wines from around the Corton vineyards, complemented further by comments from one the estate’s sommeliers. After lunch, head back to Vosne-Romanée to visit a premium winery in the village. As well as having a private tour of the historic cellars, you will taste five wines including a Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru. The evening will then be yours to relax and perhaps enjoy another glass of wine or two at the hotel.
On day fourteen, you will be met at the hotel by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, for a full day private transported tour of the world-famous Côte de Beaune appellation, the true home of the Chardonnay grape.
In Puligny-Montrachet, you will be welcomed as the guests of one of the biggest names in the village. The experience will include an hour spent learning about the work in the vineyard before returning to their winery in the centre of the village where you will enjoy a tour of their estate. Following the tour, you will be taken to their tasting rooms where a broad tasting of nine wines from the Côte de Beaune including Premier Cru wines will be offered alongside a delightful three course lunch. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the magnificent Château de Chassagne-Montrachet. Here you will enjoy a private tour of the estate, followed by a tasting session of the estate’s wines. You will be taken back to your hotel at the end of the day. As always, we would be pleased to reserve you a table for dinner if required.
After a leisurely breakfast on day fifteen, check out of the hotel and drive to Alsace. The drive to Obernai is approximately 3 hours and we would be delighted to arrange a stop en route for lunch if required. After settling in at the 4* Hotel A la Cour d’Alsace, why not explore the lovely town of Obernai, famous for its charming half-timbered houses each painted in the bright colours of the Alsace region? Take a stroll through the picturesque streets and perhaps stop to enjoy a glass of wine in one of the many Winstubs (literally meaning a wine lounge!). In the evening, head to the hotel’s restaurant for a three course dinner with drinks.
On the morning of day sixteen, after breakfast, set off on foot to your first visit of the day. This winery, just a ten-minute walk from your hotel, produces wines with the utmost respect to the traditional ways of their ancestors and have done so for generations. You will be taken on a very comprehensive private tour of the cellars, where you will see the beautiful old oak barrels and then taste four wines, accompanied by some pretzels.
At the end of the tasting, your next rendez-vous is at a winery, a ten-minute walk away. This small producer will provide a real contrast to your last visit; a very typical, authentic experience, where you will meet the wine-maker and taste your way through five wines, served with the region’s famous and uncompromising Munster cheese along with a slice of delicious kougelhopf, an Alsatian cake made with almonds and raisins. After a busy morning tasting, take a break for a spot of a lunch! There are plenty of charming restaurants and cafés to choose from in the town and we would be pleased to make some recommendations.
Time then to head for your last visit of the day, a producer with five generations of experience. Here you will learn about the unique wines of the region as well as gaining an insight into the local wine making. After a private tour of the cellar, the producer will talk you through a tasting of several different varietals, and you will also enjoy a glass of the region’s sparkling wine, Crémant d’Alsace.
After a leisurely breakfast on day seventeen, it is time to move onto the final region of your Tour de France, and we have saved arguably the best until last, Champagne! The drive to Rilly-la-Montagne is approximately 3½ hours and we would be delighted to arrange a stop en route for lunch if required. Upon arrival at Château de Rilly, check into your spacious room with its own private balcony or terrace, and spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying your pleasant surroundings.
This evening, you may wish to dine in the Château’s on-site gourmet restaurant or alternatively, we would be very pleased to reserve you a table at one of our partner restaurants in Reims, which is a 15 minute drive from the Château. Please rest assured that all Grape Escapes restaurant partners will follow strict safety guidelines, respecting social distance and hygiene rules.
After breakfast on day eighteen, you will be met at the Château by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, who will accompany you throughout the day on a private basis. Your guiide will regale you with tales and anecdotes of the history of Champagne and its vineyards and introduce you to the particularities of the region. You will firstly stop in a vineyard to learn about the work undertaken here, and the tour is designed to be as hands-on as possible. Here, your guide will explain the grape varieties permitted in Champagne and the yearly cycle of the work carried out in the vineyards. You will also pass through Hautvillers, the famous hilltop village where Dom Pérignon himself lived and is buried.
You will then visit a small, family-run producer of Champagnes for a private tour of the fascinating Champagne-making process from press to bottle, and at least three tastings. An al fresco picnic lunch in a picturesque setting will then be served. In the cooler months, lunch will instead be served in a private dining room. After lunch, your guide will take you to another family-run estate, situated in another of the principle regions of Champagne. After a private tour of the House, you will taste Champagnes in contrasting style to those tasted during the morning.
Ending the day, and your tour, in true style, you will be welcomed as the VIP guests of Champagne Taittinger. Here, you will be taken on a private tour of the estate and cellars followed by tastings of three Taittinger Champagnes including their Prestige Cuvée, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. In the evening, we will reserve you a table for dinner in Château de Rilly’s restaurant. You will be able to order à la carte and payment can be made locally.
On your final day, after a leisurely breakfast, check out and drive back to the UK, taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais. If you would like to extend your trip (for more wine or just to relax), we would be delighted to provide inspiration.
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(ii) The outline itinerary is indicative and is subject to minor changes depending on supplier availability. Availability cannot be guaranteed until we have received a confirmed booking, together with the deposit payment (or payment in full where the dates of travel are in less than 60 days). If the named accommodation / visits are not available, we will endeavour to find suitable alternatives of a similar grade; this may be subject to a supplement or a rebate depending on the price available.
Excellent organisation with fantastic standard of accommodation and excursions.
Derek - Midlothian, UK
BRING FRIENDS AND SPEND LESS!
A discount of £1000 per person applies for groups of four people or more travelling together (and sharing a vehicle on the Eurotunnel).
If you would like to make your Grape Escapes holiday even more special, there are a number of additional activities that we can arrange for you. To complement the experience, these could be arranged to fit in/around your current itinerary or we can arrange additional nights and room upgrades at your hotel, as well as your travel arrangements, a stop-over en route and even a visit to another part of the country! See below for some of the most popular upgrades.
The price of this package includes Flexiplus Folkestone to Calais Eurotunnel crossings. Please contact us for other travel options and further information about travelling to our self-drive holidays France.
For more information on our Self-Drive breaks please see our Self-Drive page.
To secure your booking, a deposit of 20% of the price of your trip is due upon booking. Your remaining balance will then be due 60 days before travel. Please call us on +44 (0) 1920 46 86 66 or email email@example.com to request a booking form.
Very scenic wine route with great selection of wineries and wines.
Brian - Surrey, UK
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