Join Leora Madden of Pearl Wine Company on a remarkable journey across the southwest of France!
We’ll ramble through breathtaking landscapes, marvel at the fascinating culture, enjoy the exquisite food and taste world-class wines from some of France’s best producers! This distinctive tour starts in the famed wine region of Bordeaux, on the windswept Atlantic coast, and winds its way across the entire south of France to the breathtaking Mediterranean coast. We’ll tour large producers that are world-famous and sample regional vintages at local wineshops.
Along the way we’ll explore natural parks, discover beautiful historic cities and wander into picturesque villages full of culture and charm. Ideal for those who enjoy food, wine, culture, and easy countryside walks, this journey will make you fall in love with the ambiance of southeast France.
Join us on this special private tour as we experience the annual grape harvest in France while exploring this amazing destination.
(Leora is only taking a limited number of travelers for this small-group adventure…don’t get left behind!)
After living in California for seven years and returning home, Leora Madden wanted to bring a piece of her California Wine Country experience to New Orleans, the city she loves. In 2009, she attended Chicago Wine School and then began her search to fulfill a dream. Over the years, she has made it a goal to bring new and exciting wine, spirits and beer to her city and state. That’s what she’s about…discovering and finding wines worth taking the time to bring to her customers. From France, from Italy, from California, and even from South Africa, Leora is committed to her mission. Now she introduces yet another facet to her wine world, bringing her quest full circle with journeys to introduce people to the wine areas she loves.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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Day 1 - Bienvenue à Bordeaux
Your Go Get Lost adventure starts mid-morning today at our meeting point, the lobby of our centrally-located hotel in Bordeaux. (You'll be provided with detailed arrival and departure instructions to help you coordinate your flights and travel. Ask about arriving a day or two in advance and enjoying the sites of Paris or Bordeaux) You'll meet your private guide, your traveling companions, and start with a walk to an ancient merchants storehouse close to the river in the Chartrons district. Here we'll have a lovely introduction to the history of the wine trade in Bordeaux. Later we'll sit down to a wonderful lunch in a local brasserie. Later after lunch we'll walk along the river to the new "Cité du vin" museum ...called by some the "Guggenheim museum of wine" being such a spectacular high tech and interactive presentation of everything about wine.
Tonight we'll roll up our sleeves for a private cooking class to learn from some true experts in French cuisine, at a MIchelin-starred restaurant. Of course afterwards we'll relax and enjoy the fruits of our labors, and have a very special group arrival dinner! A perfect way to end your first day in Bordeaux!
Day 2 - Graves and Pilat
After our delicious French breakfast we'll relax for a short, scenic drive into the countryside. Amidst the enchanting landscape we'll have a short walk through the vineyards to Chateau Carbonnieux, one of the most highly regarded estates in the Graves area, renown for their excellent white wines. After a visit and wine tasting we'll continue on to the Atlantic coast at Pilat for our picnic with local specialities - on top of the the Dune of Pilat, also called Grande Dune du Pilat...the tallest sand dune in Europe! The views from our lunch spot are wonderful, to say the least. The area around the Bassin of Arcachon is one of the great places in France for oyster production and we shall try some later before driving back to Bordeaux.
Tonight you're free to wander, explore and get lost in the streets of Bordeaux. With its ample supply of shops, bars and restaurants, you'll have no trouble finding the perfect spot for dinner!
Day 3 - Saint Emilion, Rocamadour and the Dordogne
Today we'll make our way to Saint Emilion, the mythical and quaint medieval village and center of some of the finest wines produced in the "Entre-deux-Mers" region. After visiting the village we'll enjoy a wine tasting and an exquisite lunch in Chateau Simard. After lunch we can relax and enjoy the charming scenery as our private coach takes us through the Perigord region and along some of the prettiest villages on the Dordogne. This pastoral landscape might seem peaceful today, bit there are ample remnants of the medieval times when war was raging between the English and the French. The Périgord is said by locals to have “1001 fortified castles”, which still dot the countryside and contribute to the history and ambiance of the area.
We'll stop in Sarlat-la-Caneda for a stroll through the historical center before we continue on to the stunning village of Rocamadour, a medieval pilgrims site spectacularly built into the rock of a mountain! Time allowing we'll visit the village just before dinner - when the day visitors have long gone and the place recovers it's magic. We'll relax and enjoy our dinner here before moving on to our 3-Star Hotel du Chateau, located in the nearby countryside.
Day 4 - Peche Merle and Cahors
After another exquisite French breakfast we'll visit the cave of Peche Merle, famous for its prehistoric cave paintings and one of only a few such sites open to visitors. Extending for more than a kilometer from the entrance are caverns whose walls are painted with murals dating back to 25,000 B.C.! Since our morning will be spent partially underground, it's only fitting that our lunch be spent in the sunshine...our private coach will whisk us to a scenic spot where we can enjoy a picnic and a wine tasting of some other French varieties. To make up for our indulgence we'll have an easy walk through the rolling, green hills along the river Lot to the tiny village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie - perched on a cliff three hundred feet above the river, the town is considered to be one of the prettiest medieval villages in France. After a stroll around here we drive to medieval Cahors, known for its deep red wine, elaborate municipal gardens and the Pont Valentré, a medieval bridge with 3 towers, considered the best preserved fortified, medieval bridge in France.
Cahors old town features half-timbered houses and narrow alleyways, the perfect setting to experience a wine tasting of the local wines, which are dominated by the Malbec grape, and increasingly appreciated in all of Europe.
Later this afternoon we'll arrive at our home for the night...and what a treat it is! A medieval fortified chateau renovated to luxury standards, featuring a Michelin starred restaurant and a renown chef! We'll indulge ourselves here with an exceptional meal, featuring wine pairings for each course, selected by the chef. An after-dinner apéritif on the patio under the stars might be an excellent way to end your day.
Day 5 - Carcassone
After breakfast this morning we drive to Carcassonne, stopping en route at the lovely medieval village of Cordes-sur-Ciel for some exploration. Surrounded by mountains and vineyards, the scent of pine shrubs, spicy herbs, and sweet flowers is carried on the cool winds. Known as the garrigue, it is the signature scent of the south of France. In the early afternoon we reach Carcassonne. The medieval walled city sits in the picturesque valley of the Aude river—the gap between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. With its extensive ramparts and myriad turrets, the citadel of Carcassonne dominates the surrounding countryside. It's a UNESCO- listed World Heritage Site and embodiment of a fairy-tale castle. After checking into the hotel we enjoy a stroll through the fortified city. We then explore the center of town and get a glimpse of the Canal du Midi, one of the greatest French construction works of the 17th century, the 241 km canal connects the Garonne River with the Mediterranean Sea. In a local wine store we will meet up with the owner Alex who will introduce us to some very interesting local wines from this lesser known region.
You'll have the evening free tonight to explore the amazing Cité.
Day 6 - Collioure and the Vermillion Coast
This morning we drive to the hilly region southwest of Narbonne to visit the magnificent Cistercian Abbey de Fontfroide. They have been producing wine as well there for centuries and we will join a wine tasting and enjoy a wonderful lunch. We then continue to our journey's end, the historic village and old fishing port of Collioure on a stretch of the Mediterranean Sea known as the Vermilion Coast. The small town has a strong Catalan culture and is famous for its anchovies and history as an artists colony - Derain, Picasso and Matisse all painted here. For many this is the prettiest place to be found on the French coast west of Marseille. The afternoon leaves some free time for strolling around at your own pace or even for a swim in the usually crystal clear water of the sea.
Day 7 - Banyuls
This morning we mix with the natives and use the local bus to take us out to a particularly scenic part of the coast, where we'll come upon the fascinating remains of one of the largest dynamite factories in France, owned by Alfred Nobel. The area is converted into a museum now and overlooks a lovely stretch of beach, inviting for a swim (depending on season of course). Here we'll enjoy a relaxing coastal walk along the lovely, rugged Mediterranean coast until reaching Banyuls, another nice old fishing village famous for its very particular sweeter dessert wines produced only in the hills around the town. You're free for lunch, after whch we take the bus back to Collioure and enjoy a wine tasting in a local bodega, featuring some of the very interesting local wines including the Banyuls dessert wines.
Tonight we'll have an amazing farewell dinner in a superbly located restaurant, overlooking the sea. with lots of toasts. laughing, eating, and of course, wine.
Day 8 - Au Revoir
After breakfast today you'll have an early morning group transfer to the Barcelona airport, where your Go Get Lost tour will end. From here you can opt to stay in Barcelona for an extension, catch a flight to anywhere else (Paris maybe?) or board your flight to return home.
Due to availability at the time of booking, hotels listed may change to similar hotels
Bordeaux - 4 Star Aparthotel Adagio Gambetta:This modern apartment-style hotel has a superb location in the city center of Bordeaux. Spacious kitchenette rooms are perfect for relaxing with a bottle of wine after a long day exploring.
Mercues - 4 Star Château de Mercuès:Be transported by the unique feel at the four-star Château de Mercuès, a wine-estate hotel in the Relais & Châteaux group. This beautiful medieval castle perched on a rocky outcrop overlooks the picturesque Lot valley and Cahors vineyards, giving exceptional views from every vantage point. Stroll along the castle’s wide halls to find a small chapel hidden away inside one tower, or down the immense staircases to the underground cellar where our wine is aged. A perfect combination of elegance, gastronomy, fine wines and the beauty of nature.
Carcassonne - 4- Star Hotel Le Donjon:Perfectly located inside the walls of the medieval city, this old-world property combines the feel of stepping back in time with the amenities and comforts of a modern room.
Rocamadour - 3 Star Hotel du Chateau Rocamadour:The 3-star Hotel du Château welcomes guests for charming and relaxing stays in Superior rooms, each with a balcony or terrace overlooking the swimming pool or woodlands. The hotel is located in the heart of a wooded park is ideally situated just 200 meters from the Château de Rocamadour and a few minutes' walk from the lifts that take visitors to the town center. This privileged location makes it easy for guests to discover the many important historical and cultural heritage sites that constitute the beauty and renown of this hillside village overlooking the Alzou valley.
Collioure - 3 Star Hotel Princes de Catalogne: This small boutique hotel is located in the heart of the picturesque village of Collioure on the Southern French Mediterranean coast. Only a 100m from the seaside, the harbor and the Chateau Royal.
- 7 Nights, Double Occupancy at listed hotels (or similar)
- 7 Breakfasts
- 5 Lunches
- 4 Dinners
- 7 Wine tastings
- Cooking class in Bordeaux
- Entrance fees to Cite du in Bordeaux, Museum of Wine and Trade, Peche Merle cave
- All transportation once the tour starts, (Day 7 on local public transport)
- Group departure airport transfer to Barcelona on the morning of Day 8
- All listed activities, tours, visits, as per itinerary
- All tips except for your primary local tour leader
- Guided by a Go Get Lost tour leader for the entire tour
- Escorted by Leora Madden of Pearl Wine Company
What´s not Included
- Meals not specified in itinerary
- Beverages at meals unless specified in itinerary (all group meals include water and local wine)
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
- Single supplement charge
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.
- Arrival transfers
- International airfare, tour begins midmorning in Bordeaux, France on Day 1, and ends at the airport in Barcelona, Spain on the morning of Day 8
- Tip for the primary local guide
- Any costs associated with options or free time