The Southwestern region of France comes alive at harvest time, with carpets of vineyards in gold and red sweeping down to the Mediterranean sea. Join us on an immersive voyage to discover this fascinating French place often referred to as “the other Provence”, Languedoc-Roussillon and now Occitanie. We start in the Land of the Cathars, dotted with crusaders’ castles, the most famous being the UNESCO fortress of Carcassonne and we end only kilometres from Spain in French Catalonia and the Vermillion Coast. This trip concludes with a truly unique experience at the annual wine harvest festival in Banyuls sur Mer, where the season’s grapes arrive onshore to a fanfare of music and excited locals.
Arrivals and transfer to our home base for the next 3 nights, the magical Hotel La Cité, situated within the double fortified walls of one the world’s most famous fortresses, La Cité de Carcassonne. Afternoon walking tour, followed by an memorable dinner of the most famous dish of the region, Cassoulet, a hearty white bean, duck and sausage stew.
A day out in the Corbières wine region and to the village of Lagrasse, with an official status as a “plus beaux village” of France. Guided tour of the narrow medieval streets and bridges dating back to 783AD, followed by a visit of the historic St Mary’s Abbey constructed at the same time. Lunch in the village and time to explore the numerous pottery and artists’ workshops. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight inside the atmospheric walls of La Cité.
Today, try your hand at making wine at an award winning Chateau winery, with a cellar tour and wine blending workshop, followed by a gourmet picnic in the olive grove. Relax poolside at the hotel in the afternoon or head into La Cité for a bit of boutique shopping. Our time in Carcassonne concludes with an exceptional dinner experience at the 2 Michelin star restaurant, Le Parc Franck Putelat.
Au revoir Carcassonne and onto French Catalonia! We take the high roads over the hills, stopping at one or two Cathar castles en route. Perched on rocky outcrops, these atmospheric ruins, built during the 12th century, offer sweeping views across the plains and out to the sea. Arrival at our next hotel, Le Casa Païral, in the magical port of Collioure, capital of Fauvist painters. Walking tour en route, past colourful houses, to a group dinner in town. We may even stop for a tasting of locally produced anchovies!
* Final itinerary to be confirmed 2 months prior to departure. Please note that the dates for the Banyuls wine harvest festival are subject to be confirmed in early 2017.
Top image: © fred34560/ Fotolia
In addition to our years of experience as journalists and residents uncovering the best France has to offer, our sense of fun, our local contacts, our passion for authentic dining spots, delicious wines, the best and most colorful farmers markets in the region, outstanding scenic stops, chances to chat with French friends, off the beaten path experiences, and plenty of relaxation at highly comfortable hotels, you can quantify it as follows:
Seven nights double room hotel accommodation in two carefully selected hotels
All breakfasts, 5 lunches (inc 1 winery picnic), 4 dinners (inc 1 Cassoulet specialist, a 2* Michelin restaurant, and a “gastronomic” seaside restaurant)
Local wines included at group dinners
Services of an on-site and full-time experienced Tour Director
Services of all accompanying local guides, where applicable
All private tours and outings, including entrance fees and tastings, where applicable
Optional activities, where specified
Comfortable group transportation throughout the trip
Arrival and Departure transfers to/from the airport and train stations specified below, to the meeting point on Day 1 and from our last location on Day 8
All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service
What’s not included:
Air travel to/from France, and any transportation required to get to and from the Arrival/Departure points on our trip itinerary.
Travel or International Health Insurance
Individual meals or drinks taken on your own, when not dining as a group
And of course, there is no hassle with France Today Travels!
We will make arrangements to collect you and return you to one of the following points: Carcassonne airport and TGV train station (arrivals) and Perpignan airport and TGV train station (departures). The two airports have regular services to/from Paris. Carcassonne train station is 40 minutes from Toulouse on the high speed train, while Perpignan goes back to Paris on a high speed train via Montpellier. Do chat with us to ensure you have the best option to tie in with any of your pre and post tour travel plans.