You’ll shop the markets, walk the vineyards, tour the cellars, meet the winemakers, taste the history and marvel at the vistas during this picturesque trip to southern France. Here’s how it will unfold…
Day 1: Welcome to Lyon
After arriving in Lyon, you’ll be taken to La Villa Florentine. Nestled in the heights of Lyon, this former convent converted into a 5-star luxury hotel offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city in an ideal location in the center of Vieux Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more than 20 years, La Villa Florentine has been offering its vision of a luxury hotel, highlighting all the codes of French art de vivre to make your stay an unforgettable experience.
Once settled, head out for a private walking tour of UNESCO listed district with a private guide. Then cap off day one with a welcome dinner at Les Terrasses de Lyon. Majestically overlooking Lyon from its idyllic setting on the Fourvière hill, this award-winning gastronomic restaurant welcomes you to kick off your adventure in Rhône with an amazing gourmet experience, with wine, of course!
Day 2: Northern Rhône and Côte Rôtie
Your day begins with a trip to the beautiful wine Château La Gallée where you’ll meet the owner and winemaker, Regis Descotes. Enjoy a private visit and tour of the château, vineyards, and winemaking facilities. In the cellar you’ll be treated to an aperitif, followed by a seated lunch in the Château’s historic kitchen, prepared by a private chef. Your menu will be paired with organic wines from Château La Gallée.
After lunch, your driver will take you along the Rhône River to Côte Rôtie for your appointment with Guigal where you’ll enjoy a tour of the historic Château d’Ampuis. Situated between the king of rivers and an exceptional vineyard, the Château d’Ampius was originally a fortress in the 12th Century and was later converted into a Renaissance style château. Your tour is followed with a sampling of their wines in their beautiful tasting venue nearby, or outdoors in the lovely garden.
Lastly, you’ll be delivered through Côte Rôtie and Hermitage for your overnight at the exclusive Maison Pic in Valence. With a culinary restaurant, a bistro and a cooking school, this elegant and stylish hotel will appeal to all gourmets wishing to enjoy the very best of French cuisine in luxurious, contemporary surroundings.
Day 3: Northern Rhône and Tain l’Hermitage
After breakfast, you’ll head to the river town of Tain l’Hermitage, on the bank of Rhône River and at the foot of Hermitage hill. Today will combine the big names with the local wine cellar of Tain l’Hermitage… A real gem for wine lovers.
First you will be welcomed at the beautiful Maison Delas for a private visit of the technical facilities and the private villa, followed by a premium tasting of two white wines: Les Challeys Saint-Joseph, Clos Boucher Condrieu, and four red wines including Domaine des Grands Chemins Crozes-Hermitage, Chante-Perdrix Cornas, Sainte-Epine Saint- Joseph, and Les Bessards Hermitage.
Today’s wine lunch in Tain l’Hermitage offers a choice. Select either a riverside brasserie, a local farm-to-table bistro, or Jaboulet’s wine restaurant.
After lunch, enjoy the panoramic view from Hermitage Hill, sightseeing the famous chapel and a gentle walk through the vineyards with a local wine guide from the Cave de Tain. This is followed by a private tasting at La Cave de Tain, where you will find many many local producers. While it may not look like much from the outside, the wine selection is fantastic!
While in the vicinity, save some time to pop in to The Cité du Chocolat, the museum and boutique headquarters of Valrhona Chocolate for a well-deserved treat following a long day of wine tasting!
Day 4: Drôme Provencale
Head south today to the lovely Drôme Provençale area and visit Le Chêne Bleu. Although they deliver a Grenache/Syrah blend typical from the region, the winemakers decided to free themselves from the appellation’s system because of the very special quality the unique terroir gives to their wines. A very smart move as their wines have achieved critical acclaim by wine lovers across the globe.
While at Le Chene Blue, enjoy a private blending class followed by a relaxed wine lunch on the property. In the afternoon, you will explore the surroundings, which include the village of Crestet and the Roman town of Vaison-La-Romaine.
Your evening adjourns as you arrive at Hotel d’ Europe in Avignon for the next four nights. Hotel d’Europe is one of the oldest hotels in France, occupying an ideal location at the center of Avignon. Dating back to the 16th century, your hotel is decorated luxuriously and offers exceptional comfort.
Day 5: Cooking and Châteauneuf-du-Pape
And now for something a little different… A charming cooking class! At La Cuisine de Valentine, you’ll work with the chef to prepare a wonderful feast! After class, enjoy your creations along with a selection of wines hand-picked by the passionate owner of La Cave Saint-Charles, Guy Brémond. La Cave Saint-Charles is one of Châteauneuf’s best cellars, which lucky for you, is adjacent to the cooking school.
After lunch you can visit Domaine St. Patrice (Guy’s estate at the foot of the hamlet) or explore Châteauneuf-du-Pape at your leisure. Walk to Châteauneuf-du-Pape castle’s ruins and admire the landscapes, especially the vineyards. The evening is free for you to enjoy Avignon.
Day 6: Palais des Papes and Beaucastel
Return to Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a private tour and tasting at one of the oldest estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château La Nerthe. This unique experience showcases old vintages in a historic private area of the cellar with a special candle-lit atmosphere.
Next stop is the wine village of Gigondas where you’ll visit the Michelin-starred l’Oustalet, owned by the Perrin Family. There you’ll enjoy an exquisite and artful three course lunch paired with three decades of Perrin family wines, namely Château de Beaucastel from the 80s, 90s and 2000s.
In the afternoon, return to Avignon and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Palais des Papes, with a local guide. This is really a must-do as it is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, noted for its outstanding architecture and historical importance for the Papacy.
Day 7: Cote du Ventoux and Tavel
This day calls for comfortable shoes, as you have another vineyard walk this morning!
You’ll be welcomed to the estate Domaine de la Mordorée in Tavel where you’ll enjoy a private tour of the vineyards, followed by a private tasting. Admitting that nature is much more talented than man, the Domaine de la Mordorée is an organic estate featuring unique terroirs of the Rhone Valley allowing different varieties to express themselves fully.
Next up is a transfer to Côte du Ventoux area for a private tour and tasting of wine and olive oil at the majestic chateau producing both, Château Pesquié. The tasting is followed by picnic lunch, with wine, of course!
Return to Hotel d’ Europe for a special treat with a goodbye dinner in a private salon. The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, La Vieille Fontaine, will provide a stylish exclamation point on your time in Rhône.
Day 8: Say Au Revoir
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport (either Aix-en-Provence or Marseille) and say “Au Revoir” to France, reminiscing on all your amazing experiences in Rhône.
This trip includes the following for 3 couples:
7 nights hotel accommodations
1 – La Villa Florentine in Lyon
2 – Maison Pic in Valence
4 – Hotel d’Europe in Avignon
Daily breakfasts at hotels
4 lunches, 2 dinners
VIP winery tastings and tours as listed
Cooking class experience
Transfer to hotel from Lyon airport, and from hotel to either Aix-en-Provence or Marseille airport for departure
All transfers by chauffeured, an air-conditioned luxury van with a professional English-speaking driver.
Please note: The itinerary presented is a complete trip for three couples. You may customize your itinerary, upgrade your accommodations, or add additional days. After the auction, work with Nashville Wine Auction staff to book and/or alter your trip. Additional costs over what is listed above are the responsibility of the buyer(s). Please contact Nashville Wine Auction staff with potential travel dates to verify supplier availability before booking flights.
Restrictions: Itinerary subject to change based on availability at time of booking. Trip does not include airfare or train travel, additional meals, drinks and transfers not specified in the itinerary. Personal expenses, tips and gratuities, travel insurance (strongly recommended) also not included. For best availability of suppliers, a minimum of three months advance notice of selected dates is required. Trip restrictions apply, see Trip Guidelines in the Auction Rules and Reference section of the catalog.