What is included: All group transport during the tour, 3-4*hotels, all breakfasts, 4 dinners including hand picked wine pairings for each course, all entrance fees, wine tastings, and exceptionally experienced France tour guides and local guides during the program.
Tour price $3799
based on double/twin room in 3-4* quality hotels.
Single supplement $775
More details- see the itinerary listed below
Answers to your questions
DAY 1 – AUXERRE Tuesday, April 19
Welcome to Burgundy! We will meet in the charming, small city of Auxerre, an easy train ride from Paris. If you want to see what Paris looked like before Baron Haussman’s 19th-century reconstruction, Auxerre’s medieval streets lined with half-timber houses will take you back in time. We will meet in the hotel lobby in the evening and set out to explore the neighborhood, enjoy a welcome drink and classic Burgundian dinner together with the perfect local wines to match each course. The typical Burgundy grapes that are cultivated in the region: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Aligoté and Gamay, as well as the rare Sauvignon Blanc to produce the local sparkling wine Crémant de Bourgogne. Overnight in Auxerre.
DAY 2 – AUXERRE Wednesday, April 20
This morning we take a walking tour and explore Auxerre including the historic old town’s winding narrow streets, its medieval cathedral and the majestic Saint-Germain Abbey. Auxerre dates back to Gallo-Roman times, archeological excavations have revealed a bas-relief showing a bunch of grapes from the 2nd century AD- a clear reminder of how deeply rooted (pun intended) and ancient the wine culture is here in Burgundy. You have the afternoon to explore as you please. Dinner on your own and overnight in Auxerre.
DAY 3- CHABLIS Thursday, April 21
Caves and Caves
Cave in French is a wine cellar, today we set out to visit both the French and English variations of the word cave. We start with the Grotte D’Arcy where we explore a cave steeped in the prehistoric past and to admire limestone formations and underground lakes. Even more amazing are the cave paintings, drawings and engravings left by Cro-Magnon man 30,000 years ago. Lunch on your own in a charming local village. The afternoon we reserve for tasting some delicious local chablis! You need only look at a map and read names like Chablis, Irancy and Saint-Bris to know that this is a dreamland for wine-lovers. Dinner on your own and overnight in Auxerre.
DAY 4 – BEAUNE Friday, April 22
Today we foray deeper into the idyllic countryside and visit the chateau Chateauneuf that lords over the canal of Burgundy and go village hopping before arriving in Beaune, a classy wine town nestled firmly in the heart of priceless Burgundian vineyards. Enjoy a dinner of Burgundian specialties such as escargot, Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin and distinct cheeses like Époisses, Morbier and Bresse Bleu- all married off with the perfect wines. Overnight in Beaune.
DAY 5 – BEAUNE Saturday, April 23
Market day in Beaune! Your senses will party with all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the market that takes over the town on Saturday mornings. We will share market notes and enjoy a mustard tasting and wine tasting this afternoon – but not at the same time! Dinner on your own. Overnight in Beaune.
DAY 6 – BEAUNE Sunday, April 24
After breakfast we will tour the architectural marvel of the Hospices of Beaune- a medieval charity hospital. We will set out for lunch on your own in a local village and then embark on a wine safari of the Côte de Nuits wine route and visit a cassis (black current) farm. Dinner on your own and overnight in Beaune.
DAY 7 – VAISON LA ROMAINE Monday, April 25
Today we head south to the Côte du Rhone wine region in Vaison-la-Romaine, our next home away from home in Provence. Tucked between seven hills, Vaison has three distinct town personalities: ancient Roman villa ruins along the river, a magical medieval hill top town and the 20th century lower town. Tonight we enjoy a Provencal dinner complimented with local Côte du Rhone wines. Overnight in Vaison-la-Romaine.
DAY 8 – VAISON LA ROMAINE Tuesday, April 26
Today is market morning in Vaison. After a leisurely morning for an amazing Provencal market, we will seek out the ancient Roman sites that gave Vaison it’s last name: “la-Romaine”. The ruined remains of Vasio Vocontiorum, the Roman city that flourished here between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC, fill two central Vaison sites. After lunch we will take a drive and taste our way through Côte du Rhone vineyards you may be familiar with: Suzette, Beaumes de Venise, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Sablet, and Seguret. Dinner on your own and overnight in Vaison-la-Romaine.
DAY 9 – AVIGNON Wednesday, April 27
Depart today for Orange to see one of the most magnificent and well-preserved of the many visible Roman structures in Provence –the theatre of Orange, one of three in the world with an intact back wall. After lunch we visit and taste wines in famous Chateauneuf du Pape en route to Avignon. After we settle in at the hotel and orient ourselves to town, we will toast at a special happy hour together. Dinner on your own and overnight Avignon.
DAY 10 – AVIGNON Thursday, April 28
Avignon is a city of art and theatre and holds great treasures that are part of an incredible Christian heritage. Famous worldwide for the children’s song Sur le pont d’Avignon, written about its ancient bridge, the city is also home to the 14th-century Papal Palace, one of the most important Gothic buildings in Europe, representing the cultural and political significance of the Church in medieval times. After our morning tour of the city’s medieval quarters and the Papal Palace have lunch on your own and take time to explore. Tonight is our last dinner together! Overnight in Avignon.
DAY 11- AU REVOIR Friday, April 29
After breakfast we will bid you farewell. Au revoir friends, bon voyage and safe travels!
We are happy to answer questions and will provide you more details about accommodations and specific vineyards we will be visiting during our explorations.
Not at all, Wine is definitely the theme of our tour but we will be experiencing much more than this. We will be meeting locals, exploring historical and cultural sights, strolling the towns and villages and enjoying amazing food!
Men and women, friends, couples, and solo travelers. Guests wine knowledge will range from experienced to beginners. All are welcome and will be embraced in the inclusive environment. Please note: In order to maintain a peaceful, safe and responsible group environment, participants are adults-only. All guests must be 18 or older by the travel dates.
A month prior to the retreat, you will be sent a full itinerary and recommended packing list; but mostly comfortable clothes and shoes. A good blog on travel packing by my friend Sarah: https://adventureswithsarah.net/search?q=packing
Yes! If you don't already have one, please apply at least 10-12 weeks prior to our trip. Visit the travel.state.gov website to get started. If you already have one, please make sure the expiration date is more than 6 months after your return date. You will not need a visa for destinations in Europe and Central America, but you will for retreats to Asia.
Please refer to the CDC guidelines and the most recent updated travel information. At this writing some countries are testing people and/or requiring a self-imposed quarantine after entering the country. We are optimistic that travel to France and within Europe will be more accessible by spring of 2022.
You are responsible for your own transportation to the hotel in Auxerre on Day 1 and from Avignon to the airport/train station at the end of the trip. You may choose to fly home when the tour concludes; or do more traveling of your own. We will provide you more specific travel information for making your transport plans upon making your trip deposit.
After your $800 tour deposit is received, your remaining cost will be divided into 2 payments. The first is payable 60 days after your deposit, the second 120 after your deposit. If you would like a personalized payment plan, Chocolate Suitcase is happy to accommodate upon request. Any spot booked within 60 days of the tour start date will need to be paid in full upon booking.
Travel insurance can minimize the considerable financial risks of traveling. It is a personal decision if you'd like to buy trip insurance to protect against illness, natural disasters, and other emergencies impacting your trip. Check out Rick Steves’ site on this topic: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/travel-insurance Companies such as Travelex and Travel Guard offer comprehensive packages that serve as your primary coverage; they'll take care of your expenses regardless of what other insurance you might have (for instance, if you have health insurance through your job). That means they pay first and don't ask questions about your other insurance. This can be a real plus if you want to avoid out-of-pocket expenses. Chocolate Suitcase is not liable for these instances, and will expect on-time payments up until the full amount is received.
Once you've paid your deposit, you've taken up a spot someone else cannot, so the deposit is non-refundable, except in extreme circumstances. If for some reason you must cancel before the trip, 75% of your total cost will be refunded if the request is received in writing at least 6 months before the start of the trip (less the deposit); 50% will be refunded (less the deposit) if at least 3 months before the start of the trip; and 25% refunded (less the deposit) if at least one month before the start date. Within one month, no refunds will be given.