epicurean holiday in France

Apr 2nd, 2002, 09:54 AM
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epicurean holiday in France

I'm planning a trip for myself and my elderly parents to France. We've travelled a lot through Europe, being from there ourselves (although we now live in Canada), and so the point of this trip is not to cover all the tourist sites but rather to have an unforgettable trip through the valleys, chateaux, vineyards and towns of France (southern, or along the atlantic coast), tasting local cuisine & wine as we go. My parents have taken to luxury cruises (Crystal Cruises) and I have enjoyed using the luxury tour operators Butterfield & Robinson, who combine exquisit food & wine, fine hotels, excellent service and an "off the beaten path" experience of local culture & customs. (I highly recommend them.) My parents have no interest in walking or biking tours, but I'm looking for something of the same caliber as B&R, that would cover Provence, or perhaps Burgundy. We are planning on going some time in the fall/winter (oct/nov/dec) for about 2 weeks. My father and I are both very much interested in making this a food & wine adventure! I have looked at barge trips, but I've not been able to find one that really stands out - we want something really exquisite (not "hedonistic"). Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

thanks, and happy & safe travels.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 11:14 AM
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Not sure if this will help, as I don't have any personal experience here. But these ideas came up, and I thought I'd just share them -- for what they're worth.

www.intrav.com -- an upscale tour co. They also have a "small ship cruise" component, www.clippercruise.com.

www.randonneetours.com -- though they specialize in independent walking & cycling tours, they also have "Drive Hike Stroll" or "Short Escape" options that are interesting -- they supply maps & hints to go off the beaten path.

www.avalon-tours.com -- came up with a web search.

www.france-ok.com -- also a websearch result.

concierge.iexplore.com (note no "www") -- I found while surfing around one of my favorite sites, www.concierge.com. They have three pages of gourmet (cooking school) and wine-tasting holidays in France. I did a search for "culinary" and "France." The host of concierge.com is the same company that prints Conde Naste Traveler & Epicurious mags, so it should be pretty good.

Great luck!

Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:02 PM
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In preparing for my upcoming trip to France I came across some tours conducted by Abercrombie and Kent.
These tours are absolutely "first-class" and there are many different options as to the manner in which you prefer totravel:ie:unescorted,
escorted, small group,etc.
There are many different tours to all regions of France and their tours feature lovely itineraries.
They are online.
Hope this helps. Also, you might look into the Tauck tours. Not of the standard of Abercrombie and Kent but definately worth a look.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:08 PM
trying to help
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Hi! I think Intrav is probably the most expensive (especially in canadian dollars!!) However, I do know people who like the best of everything and they have taken several Tauck tours and rave about them.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:12 PM
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You might consider one of Abercrombie and Kent's wine week barge trips in Burgundy. The barge may not meet your standards of hedonistic but it is a delightful experience. Be sure it is a wine tour, for your purposes, if you choose to do this.

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