DAY 1: Tuesday, September 1, 2020, DEPARTURE
Departure from the US with an overnight flight to Toulouse. Though airfare is not included,
Celestial Voyagers can help book your ticket to Toulouse.
DAY 2: Wednesday, September 2, 2020, TOULOUSE (D)
Assistance at the airport and group transfer to the hotel in the center of town.
Check-in at Hotel Ibis Style Centre for 3 nights. In the afternoon, 2 hours guided walking tour to visit the city center. See the landmarks of the “Pink City”: Place du Capitole, Saint Sernin Basilica, The Jacobins Cloister, and the Garonne Riverside.
Welcome dinner at Restaurant Le Bibent, a historic brasserie mixing baroque and art nouveau that first opened in 1861, a few minutes walk from your hotel. Drinks are included.
DAY 3: Thursday, September 3, 2020, Toulouse (B, L)
Transfer by coach to the outskirts of Toulouse. Meet Chef Sebastien Sellier who will teach you all the secrets of Cassoulet. Learn how to prepare this specialty from Occitanie. Enjoy your own cassoulet for lunch.
Return to the city center in the afternoon.
Remainder of the day at leisure (a nap is traditional after eating cassoulet!).
DAY 4: Friday, September 4, 2020, TOULOUSE (B, D)
Very early departure to visit the MIN (Marche d’Interet National) for 1 hour ½. A English-speaking local guide will show us this giant market, France’s second largest market for fruits and vegetables and the entry point of most of the agri-food production for the Occitanie region. 150 businesses, 400 producers and more than 6000 buyers work together to bring local products into circulation in various shops, markets and restaurants of the City.
Return to the hotel for breakfast, some free time and lunch on your own.
In the afternoon, transfer by coach to Blagnac for a fascinating 1h ½ tour of the AIRBUS factory where French airplanes, such as the A 380 program, are designed and manufactured..
Dinner at a typical local restaurant.
DAY 5: Saturday, September 5, 2020, BORDEAUX (B, L)
Leave Toulouse for Bordeaux. En route, stop at the Souleilles Farm and discover the secrets of Foie Gras on the farm near Agen.
Local farmers made the choice to stay and work on this Occitan land inherited from their ancestors. Souleilles “the sunny house” in Occitan, is the name of a farm where you will be welcomed and will share “viure bias”, a lifestyle with respect for people and animals.
- Taste some of the farm specialties
- Cooking demonstration and tasting of Souleilles fresh fried foie gras accompanied by seasonal fruits and flambéed with brandy.
- Picnic plate to enjoy under the plum trees.
- Proceed to “La Maison du Pruneau”: 50 years of family know-how and passion have resulted in the exceptional quality of their Agen prunes, which are flavorful, mellow and melti in the mouth. These prunes are made entirely by hand, without chemical preservatives. Thermal pasteurization guarantees that the prunes will maintain their goodness for 2 years.
Continue to Bordeaux with arrival in early evening.
Check in for 3 nights, at Hotel Quality Bordeaux, located in the heart of the city.
Evening at leisure. The hotel is located in the Saint-Pierre district surrounded by restaurants and boutiques.
DAY 6: Sunday, September 6, 2020, BORDEAUX (B, L)
Guided walking tour ending at 10:30 AM at “Les Halles de Bacalan”, a new-style food hall where you will meet your guide, Chef Frederic Coiffe, taste local products and enjoy a friendly lunch. The “Cite du Vin” is across the street. Oenophiles and amateurs tasters will enjoy this new institution and its unique architecture.
You will move around by tramway like a true Bordelais! The ride follows the river and takes just a few minutes to return to the center of town.
Evening at leisure.
DAY 7: Monday, September 7, 2020, BORDEAUX (B, L)
Departure by coach to Saint Emilion. Just outside the city you will visit “Château Ambe Tour Pourret” where they practice a biologic (organic) type of agriculture. Meet one of the Chefs for a cooking class. Enjoy your own cooking for lunch with the wine of the Chateau. Coffee and Saint Emilion typical macarons are included.
After lunch, proceed to Saint Emilion to visit the underground town. Early return to Bordeaux for some free time and a little shopping. Evening at leisure.
DAY 8: Tuesday, September 8, 2020, BAYONNE VIA ARCACHON (B, L)
Morning short drive (19 miles) before stopping in Biganos, at a sturgeon farm. You will learn about the history of caviar, the reproduction of the sturgeon, breeding methods and caviar production. The tour ends with tasting accompanied by a glass of white wine. Continue to Arcachon and visit this charming little town before enjoying a unique seafood lunch. Free time in Arcachon before the 2 ½ hour drive to Bayonne.
Check-in at Hotel Des Basses Pyrenees for 4 nights. Evening at leisure.
DAY 9: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, BAYONNE (B, D)
Morning excursion to Biarritz, just a few miles away. Among all the treasures of Biarritz your guide will show you the “Halles” which have been recently renovated. The 40 traders of this market share the same philosophy of authenticity and “know-how”. Depart Biarritz for the small fishing village of Saint Jean de Luz where you’ll enjoy some free time for lunch and a promenade.
3:00 PM Return to Bayonne for a panoramic tour and a guided tour of “the Atelier du Chocolat”: Learn the history of cacao and how Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition made Bayonne the Chocolate Capital of France.
Continue your guided walk and discover the art and history of the city, see the ramparts and fortifications, Sainte Marie Cathedral, its cloister, the old streets and ancient facades. You will also visit a ham producer at the renown charcuterie Pierre Oteiza who in 1990 relaunched the Basque pig breeding in the Aldudes Valley.
8:00 PM Dinner at the nearby Sequences Restaurant by Sebastien Grave.
DAY 10: Thursday, September 10, 2020, BAYONNE (B, D)
8:30 AM departure for an excursion to Bilbao, 2 hour drive away. Panoramic tour on arrival and guided visit of the famous Frank Gehry Guggenheim Museum. After the visit, a walking tour of the old city with your guide and free time for lunch.
4:00 PM Departure for San Sebastian (63 miles). Panoramic city tour, and walking visit of the old quarter. San Sebastian is a world-renowned gastronomic city helmed by innovative chefs.
8:00 PM Enjoy dinner in San Sebastian, at Eme BE Garrote, Restaurant by Martin Berasategui, a one star Michelin Restaurant.
10:00 PM After dinner return to Bayonne (38 miles).
DAY 11: Friday, September 11, 2020, BAYONNE (B, D)
9:00 AM: Depart for Sare with your guide, walking visit of the village; continue to Ainhoa; walking tour of the village, then to Espelette where you will experience an “atelier du piment”: guided visit to learn the history of the “piment de l’Espelette” pepper and the various stages of its production.. You will taste the spicy product and other regional delicacies.
Free time for lunch in Espelette. Continue to La Bastide de Clairence (16 miles) and visit this village known as one of “Les plus beaux villages de France”.
4:30 PM Return to Bayonne to freshen up and get ready for dinner.
7:30 PM Transfer to Biarritz (6 miles) to Les Rosiers Restaurant, by Andre & Stephane Rosiers, a one star Michelin Restaurant
After dinner return to your hotel in Bayonne.
DAY 12: Saturday, September 12, 2020, RETURN (B)
Transfer to Biarritz airport for your flight back home
Itinerary is subject to possible changes or adjustments due to weather and traffic conditions or other unpredictable events.
Toulouse and Occitanie
• Welcome dinner at Restaurant Le Bibent, including 2 glasses of wine, coffee or tea and water
• Cassoulet cooking class and lunch with Chef Sebastien Cellier
• Vist the MIN (Marche d’Interet National)
• Dinner at a typical local restaurant
Bordeaux and Aquitaine
• Lunch and visit at Farm of Souleille and its Museum of Foie Gras
• Visit La Maison du Pruneau to see how world-famous Pruneaux d’Agen are made
• Friendly lunch and cooking experience at “Les Halles de Bacalan” with Chef Frederic Coiffe
• Visit the “Cite du Vin”, a wine museum and exhibition space with multimedia exhibits exploring the cultures and civilizations of wine in this exciting new cultural center.
• Wine tasting and cooking class at Chateau Ambe Tour Pourret with one of the chefs of the Chateau
• Sturgeon farm: caviar tasting with a glass of white wine
• Seafood and oyster lunch with a local French family in Arcachon (or at a local restaurant)
• Visit “Les Halles” and the fish market in Biarritz
• Discover Bayonne specialties & Atelier du Chocolat in Bayonne
• Bayonne: dinner at Sequences Restaurant, by Chef Sebastien Grave, beverages included.
• San Sebastian, Spain: dinner at Eme BE Garrote, by Chef Martin Berasategui, 1* Michelin, includes beverages
• Atelier du Piment in L’espelette
• Biarritz: Farewell Gala dinner at “Les Rosiers” Restaurant by Andree and Stephane Rosiers, 1* Michelin – includes beverages
Other Services Include
CULTURAL VISITS & ENTRANCE FEES
• Toulouse guided walking tour
• Visit to Airbus with presentation of the A380 program
• Bordeaux guided walking tour
• Visit Saint Emilion underground city and monolith cathedral
• See Arcachon and its beautiful bay
• Biarritz walking tour
• Bayonne walking tour
• Visit Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
• Walking tour in Bilbao
• Walking tour in San Sebastian
• Excursion through the French Basque Countryside
• 10 nights hotel accommodation, sharing a double room
• Breakfast daily
• Deluxe motor coach or minibus with A/C
• Lunch or dinner daily as mentioned in day- by- day itinerary
• Free wifi at hotels
• English speaking local guides for all tours and visits
• Chef and food expert Aliza Green to accompany the tour and provide in-depth culinary commentary
• International flights arriving in Toulouse,departing from Biarritz
• Single supplement + $815
• Private transfers between the airport and the hotel, or vice versa, in case of different time of arrival and departure from the group
• Other meals except the ones indicated as included
• Beverages with some of the meals
• Travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance
• Other entrance fees
• Gratuities to guides and drivers
• Personal expenses
• Any other item not specified in the itinerary
• Passport and visa fees: If you are not a US citizen a visa may be necessary ; a green card is compulsory. All passports must expire after March 12, 2021
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