Food, Wine and Historical Discovery of the Loire Valley and Brittany
A two-week Regional Food and Wine Tour
September 4 - 17, 2017
Elan Travel and Chef Eric Arrouzé are pleased to offer a unique two-week cultural, food and wine tour stretching from the Loire Valley to Brittany. You will visit two very different regions, starting from Orleans; fief of Jeanne-d’Arc and Nantes, duchy of Anne de Bretagne. We will stay in different hotels, Chateaux and 5 nights in a comfortable house near Quimper. Perfect for amateurs of history, sculpts and coast-lines, as well as foodies and wine amateurs.
A fairy-tale realm par excellence, the Loire Valley is studded with storybook villages, time-burnished towns, beautiful vineyards along the Loire River producing crisp and balance wines. You’ll also enjoy an abundance of food specialties, such as pastries and cheeses, and—bien sûr—the famous châteaux de la Loire. These postcard staples, like Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise and Chambord, just to name just a few, are strung like a strand of pearls across a countryside so serene it could win the Nobel peace prize. Chef Eric will take you on an amazing and unique cultural and gastronomic journey through the famous vineyards and cellars of the Loire Valley. You’ll travel east to west from Chateaux to vineyards in Pouilly, Sancerre, Tourraine, Vouvray, Bourgeuil, Chinon, Saumur, Anjou, Coteaux du Layon and Muscadet.
Brittany is for explorers, so bring your trail shoes, your hat and be ready for all types of weather. Its wild, dramatic coastline, medieval towns and thick forests make the excursion well worth the detour off the beaten path. This is a land of prehistoric mysticism, and a proud tradition and culinary wealth, where fiercely independent locals celebrate Breton culture, and Paris feels like it’s a world away. The entire Breizh region in Breton, has a wonderfully undiscovered feel once you step beyond world-famous sights such as stunning Guérande, Vannes, Pont Aven, Quimper, Pointe du Raz, Perros-Guirec or Saint Malo. Unexpected Breton gems, rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches, charming islands and “joie de vivre” are everywhere you look.
This is a rare opportunity to explore two remarkable regions, extremely rich in food, wines, history and culture. You will sample great French wines, French gastronomy at its best, and meet passionate food producers, farmers, vintners and wine producers.
Day 1: Afternoon arrival in Orleans. Chef Eric will greet the participants at the hotel in the afternoon. Visit the historical district, following in the steps of Joan of Arc and visit of the Cathedral Ste-Croix. Overnight in Orléans.
Day 2: Scenic drive along the Loire River to Pouilly sur Loire with lunch en route. Guided visit of the world-famous Pouilly-Fumé vineyard: Domaine de Ladoucette with tasting. This renowned Chateau produces outstanding Loire Valley wines, including the Pouilly Fumé de Ladoucette, Baron de L and Comte Lafond. Welcome dinner and overnight in Sancerre.
Day 3: Visit of the premier Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc producer since 1834 in the troglodyte caves. Picnic in Chambord and self-guided visit of the Chateau de Chambord. This exceptional piece of architecture is an emblem throughout the world of the French Renaissance. Overnight in Blois.
Day 4: Morning: Visit to the Chateau de Cheverny and its garden, a grand estate which has been in the same family for over six centuries. Cheverny has always been inhabited and is fully furnished. Lunch in Chenonceaux. In the afternoon we will visit the Chateau de Chenonceaux spanning the River Cher, one of the best-known châteaux of the Loire Valley. Overnight in Amboise.
Day 5: Scenic walk around the Royal Chateau d’Amboise. Visit to the Château du Clos Lucé. The place is famous for being the official residence of Leonardo da Vinci from 1516 until his death in 1519. Lunch near the Chateau. Scenic drive to Saumur along the Loire Valley and encounter of many more scenic chateaux like Château d'Azay-le-Rideau and wineries. We will make a stop in Bourgeuil and visit a vigneron for a wine tasting. Overnight in Saumur.
Day 6: We will continue our scenic drive, following the Loire River from chateaux to vineyards with a visit to a Savenierre and Muscadet producer. Lunch en route. Afternoon check-in at a hotel near the famous beach of La Baule. A 12-kilometer-long sandy beach in Britanny. Overnight in La Baule.
Day 7: Drive to the Guérande salt marshes. Visit of “terre de sel” and learn the salt-making process and its history. Guérande salt has been harvested on the peninsula since the Iron Age. The first salt works to use the storage capacity of the lagoon goes back to the 3rd century, shortly after the Roman conquest. Lunch in Guerande in a classic Creperie. Visit of the historical town of Guérande. Stroll and explore the narrow streets of this medieval fortified town. Enjoy local pastries and delicacies. Overnight in Vannes by the beach.
Day 8: Visit to the Conserverie La Belle-Iloise, a gourmet canned fish factory. Lunch in Quiberon. Stop in Carnac. The Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the village of Carnac, in Brittany, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs. Grocery shopping and check-in at the ocean front house for 5 nights. Casual cooking class dinner. Overnight in Douarnenez.
Day 9: Continental breakfast. Visit to Quimper with its handsome half-timbered houses. Casual cooking class dinner. Overnight in Douarnenez.
Day 10: Continental breakfast. Visit of a “Biscuiterie” with various samplings. Trail walk along the cliffs of "le Chemin des Douaniers" to the Pointe du Raz. Picnic on site, with local goodies and kouign-amann. Visit and walk to Pointe du Van. Casual cooking class dinner. Overnight in Douarnenez.
Day 11: Continental breakfast. Departure for the Armorique Natural Regional Park. The only regional natural park in Brittany. Lunch in the park. The park protects a mosaic of landscapes featuring the heather clad moorland, mysterious forests, granite tors, a marine park and rugged coasts. We will finish our tour at The Crozon Peninsular with a relaxing time on the beach, known to be one the most beautiful beach in the country. Overnight in Douarnenez.
Day 12: Continental breakfast. Visit to Perros-Guirec, pretty beach and small town on the exceptional Pink Granite Coast of northern Brittany. Casual cooking class dinner. Overnight in Douarnenez.
Day 12: Continental breakfast. Drive to Perros-Guirec along the exceptional Pink Granite Coast of northern Brittany. Overnight in the Perros-Guirec region.
Day 13: Lunch in Saint-Malo. Visit to Saint-Malo and walk over the tall granite walls that surround the old town, which was once a stronghold for privateers (pirates approved by the king). The Saint-Malo Cathedral, in the center of the old town, was built in the Romanesque and Gothic styles and features breathtaking stained-glass windows depicting the city’s history. Overnight in Saint-Malo. Optional: Celebration Dinner (Not included).
Day 14: Hotel check out by 11 am and end of the program.
The fee is $8200 for single or double occupancy (conditions apply) and includes:
- Continental breakfasts in hotels.
- 5 continental breakfast in the house. Food is provided in the morning.
- Daily light lunches (plat du jour) in restaurants or picnics.
- Food workshop and multiple wine tastings.
- 1 welcome dinner in Sancerre.
- 4 “pot luck” dinners at the house with a casual cooking class.
- 8 nights’ accommodation in 3 or 4 star hotels or equivalent.
- 6 nights’ accommodation in a comfortable ocean view home in Douarnenez.
- Transportation during the program, starting in Orleans and ending in Saint-Malo. (Participants will travel in a rented 7-passenger van).
- Daily cultural visits and tastings of local food delicacies.
- Visits to vineyards with wine tastings.
- Visits to numerous national, cultural heritage and UNESCO sites.
- Airfare is not included but may be purchased through our partner Elan travel.
- Note: This tour may be booked privately all year and customized as desired. Contact me for a detailed quote.
Deposit and Payment of Fees
50% deposit with a non-refundable deposit of $2000 is required with your preliminary application. The remaining balance is due by June 4th, 2017. Booking after that date, is 100% of cost upfront.
No refunds will be issued after June 4, 2017.
*Fees for this program are subject to change without notice based on the currency exchange rate or other reasons beyond Chef Eric's control. Some restrictions may apply. We reserve the right to change dates, itineraries, carriers, institutions and tour guides for this program. A standard release form must be signed by all participants.
Applicants must be at least 19 years of age. Applicants will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis, provided that the $1500 deposit is submitted with the registration form. Final acceptance is conditional upon receipt of the remaining balance and written agreement to program conditions. Please do not make travel arrangements until the program has been confirmed by Chef Eric Arrouzé.