When most people think of the south of France they think, “Provence.” But there is another south of France just waiting for you to discover. From the Mediterranean Sea to the Pyrenées Mountains, the diverse region of Languedoc-Roussillon is a rich garden of contrasts and cuisine. On this culinary adventure, enjoy local award-winning products from the source. Sip the original “sparkling” wine in the world’s largest wine producing region. Walk along Roman roads and discover medieval fortresses and castles. Spend time in hillside vineyards beside the blue sea and meet the local people. Uncover some of the secrets of Languedoc Roussillon, its traditions, culinary wealth and breathtaking scenery!
7 days 8 nights
DAY 1: TOULOUSE
Arrival and overnight in Toulouse. Optional guided tour of the city.
DAY 2: CASTELNAUDARY ~ CARCASSONNE
Breakfast at your hotel. On the way to Carcassonne, visit an authentic pottery workshop -one of the few remaining workshops that makes the cassole, a dish used in cooking and serving of cassoulet. Hint: Buy one to take home for your kitchen…you can’t find them in the States!
Continue to Castelnaudary for a short guided tour to discover the world capital of cassoulet. We suggest lunch in Castelnaudary to try the cassoulet – your first taste of the delicious and hearty specialty. After lunch, drive to the fortified hilltop city of Carcassonne, a maze of narrow cobbled streets, ramparts of thick walls, turreted towers. Learn about the history of the city with your guide. Check into your hotel inside the city walls. In the evening enjoy your fantastic surroundings.
Overnight in Carcassonne
DAY 3: LIMOUX ~ ST. HILAIRE
Breakfast at your hotel. Depart for St. Hilaire and Limoux to learn about the oldest sparkling wine in the world (and you thought it was champagne!) A visit to the St. Hilaire Abbaye reveals the actual cellars where sparkling wine was first discovered in 1531. Sip the famous Blanquette de Limoux and several other wines of the area during an explanation from a wine master. If you’re hungry, this afternoon is remarkable: Take a cooking course with a local chef and get the knack of making your own cassoulet – compare yours to the one you dined on in Castelnaudary. After enjoying the fruits of your labor for dinner, you’ll have the traditional recipe, a souvenir apron and your new-found skill to share with family and friends.
Overnight in Carcassonne.
DAY 4: NARBONNE
Breakfast at your hotel. Drive to Narbonne, city of “art and history.” Discover the old town, its gothic cathedral and parts of the Roman road, the via domitia, with your guide. The tour ends in Les Halles – the famous covered market of Narbonne. Indulge in some of the regional specialties before making your purchases for a picnic lunch. You’ll have free time before a late afternoon tasting of Minervois and Corbières wine at your hotel.
Overnight in Narbonne.
DAY 5: FONTFROIDE ~ GRUISSAN
Breakfast at your hotel. Leisurely morning to enjoy the hotel’s surroundings before going to the beautiful Abbaye de Fontfroide. Take time to smell the roses (and herbs) in the largest rose garden of the south of France. After lunch take in the beauty of La Clape, the oldest wine growing area in the world. Here, learn about and taste the wine with an in-depth explanation at a local vineyard. Next, marvel at the unique, charming maritime city of Gruissan to see the Barberousse Tower, part of the 11th century castle found in the quaint circular village. Take time for shopping and dinner in Gruissan.
Overnight in Narbonne
DAY 6: PERPIGNAN ~ COLLIOURE
Breakfast at your hotel. Depart for the charming town of Thuir for a tour of the unique caves of Byrrh. You may think you’ve never heard of it, but you’re sure to recognize the label when you visit the cellars…and you’ve seen the posters in Pottery Barn catalogues! Byrrh is a fortified wine made from grapes grown on the hillsides of Roussillon. If you love the seaside, you’ll love your next visit to the picturesque village of Collioure. This small Mediterranean port on the Vermillion coast has inspired several famous artists. What else is Collioure known for? Anchovies! Want to try these local delicacies? After lunch, you’ll see how they are prepared and preserved at a local factory. Explore the quaint fishing town and take lots of photos. Near the town of Argelès-sur-mer, visit a local olive oil mill. You’ll learn the secret behind extra virgin olive oil and have the opportunity to savor some yourself. You’ll want to take a bottle or two of this mild, velvety olive oil home as a great souvenir of your visit here!
Overnight in Perpignan.
DAY 7: MARKET VISIT AND COOKING CLASS
Breakfast at your hotel. Today affords the opportunity to learn more about Catalan cuisine. The chef will guide you through the market as he purchases and points out regional products for you to prepare during your cooking class. Dine on your own creations for lunch, paired with regional wines, of course! Then shop for more French goodies for your suitcase before prepare for your trip home.
Overnight in Perpignan.
DAY 8: TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
Breakfast and check out from hotel.
Package starts at $1540 and includes:
7 nights in 3* and 4* hotels (optional upgrade to 4*-5* hotels)
2 cooking classes
Olive oil tasting
Visits to artisanal shops and factories
Guided walking tours as specified
Entrance fees according to the program
Lunch and dinner suggestions
Package does not include:
Rental Car (can be included upon request)
Meals unless specified
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