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  • Fly-drive touring holiday from Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley to Provence

    Chateau de Gilly

    Chateau de Gilly

    Chateau de Bagnols

    Chateau de Bagnols

    Chateau de Bagnols

    Provence Sunflowers

    Auberge de Noves

    Auberge de Noves

    Fly-drive touring holiday from Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley to Provence

    9 nights and 10 days
    A leisurely tour from Burgundy to Beaujolais, then south to the Rhone Valley and the lavender beds and Mediterranean feel of the Vaucluse in Provence.

    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Having landed in Paris, collect your hire-car and bask in the freedom and beauty of the French open road. As you drive southwest towards Burgundy, you’ll pass the Forest of Fontainebleau, a former royal hunting park and home to one of France’s largest royal châteaux. Approaching Auxerre, you enter Chablis wine country, where you will drive past endless vine-clad vistas of rolling pastoral countryside. Admire the wonderful views from your car and perhaps consider a diversion to the mediaeval town of Semur-en-Auxois. Your first hotel is Château de Gilly, situated amidst the revered vineyards of the Côte de Nuits and Côte d’Or. As well as the wine houses, be sure to take in the visually splendid, 15th-century Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, and the city of Dijon, most famous for its mustard but also in possession of one of the best-preserved mediaeval centres in France. Following the southerly course of the Saône, drive through the Côte de Beaune, past Maçon and into Beaujolais country, where you’ll spend a further two nights at La Pyramide Hotel. Make the most of your hire car by exploring and sampling the cultural and viticultural delights on offer. Continue south along the mighty Rhône River through the patchwork panoramas of the undulating Beaujolais hills, breaking your journey at Lyon for a wander around beautiful architectural masterpieces reminiscent of Tuscany. Stay two nights in the hilltop hamlet of Crillon le Brave in  Provence, before continuing on to your final hotel Le Mas des Herbes Blanches. Here you’re well placed to discover the extensive treasures that abound in this historically, culturally and visually rich region. Finally, drive to Marseille for your flight back to the UK.

    PRICES
    Prices for this fly-drive holiday from £1980 per person

    What's included:
    - Three nights’ bed and breakfast at the Château de Gilly in Gilly-lès-Cîteaux
    - Two nights’ bed and breakfast at the La Pyramide Hotel in Vienne
    - Two nights’ bed and breakfast at the Crillon le Brave in Crillon le Brave
    - Two nights’ bed and breakfast at Les Mas des Herbes Blanches in Joucas
    - Scheduled flights with British Airways (London - Paris, Marseille - London)
    - Group A car hire for the duration of your stay

    Burgundy, Beaujolais & Rhone Valley to Provence

    Day-by-Day Itinerary

    DAYS ONE TO THREE
    Drive from Paris to Gilly-lès-Cîteaux in Burgundy

    Gilly-lès-Cîteaux is situated deep in the agricultural countryside of Burgundy, a region known for its good food and good wine. Nestled between the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, the hotel Château de Gilly is perfectly placed to begin exploring this wine region. Having travelled along the Chablis wine road, why not stop off in the town itself to try the white wine it produces. Or take a tour of Montagny-lès-Buxy, a favourite tour among visitors in a hillside village known for its excellent white wines. Closer to your hotel, however, is the Château du Clos de Vougeot. Though the château no longer offers wine-tasting opportunities, it does house four large 12th century wine presses that are open to the public to view. The vineyards around Vougeot supply 70 different wine-makers. North of Gilly, in Beaune, lies the Clos-du-Ray, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and home to a Musée du Vin. However, the most famous Côte de Nuits wine is Chambertin wine, grown and made in Gevrey-Chambertin, so a stop at this small village is essential to any trip to Burgundy. On your second or third day in Gilly, we recommend a trip north into Dijon. Take a self-guided tour of the tombs and monuments that line its streets, and stop off at the Musée de Beaux-Arts to view some classic French art. Walk around the spectacular Cathédrale Saint-Benigne de Dijon, and later view the Puit de Moïse (Well of Moses). On the Rue des Forges, arguably the hub of Dijon itself, stands a statue of Bareuzai the wine-grower, and the guiding spirit of the town’s residents.

    DAYS FOUR TO FIVE
    Drive south to Vienne

    As you drive south into the Beaujolais region you will be struck by the golden ochre hue of the 15th century village buildings, attributed to a local type of limestone. Perhaps visit the vineyards of Richard Rottiers, or the Clos de la Roilette, owned by the traditionalist Alain Coudert on the way to Vienne, where you will stay for two nights. Like Burgundy, wine-production is central to the way of life and identity of the region. Vienne itself has a rich historic and cultural history with numerous Roman monuments and buildings to visit. Visit the Temple d’Auguste et de Livie, the roman amphitheatre, still used as a venue today, or the Roman Pyramid that is located near the hotel and stands 20 metres high. Be sure to visit some of the other sights of Vienne too with the Romanesque Gothic Saint- Maurice Cathedral. Perhaps venture further from the city and visit the renowned vineyards of the Rhone Valley or even to Lyon, just a 35- minute drive away. Wander the streets of Lyon, taking in the tremendous Roman, Gothic and Renaissance architecture of the city. Take time to visit the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, the Cathedral that has Romanesque and Gothic origins and whose façade is embellished with 280 stone medallions. Also suggested is the Museum of Fine Art and the charming streets of the old town. Located on the edge of the Natural Park du Pilat, Vienne also makes for an excellent location from which to explore the surrounding countryside by foot or by bike.

    DAYS SIX TO SEVEN
    Enter Provence

    The next stop on this tour is the hilltop village of Crillon-le -Brave which enjoys spectacular views over the surrounding Provencal countryside. Make the most of the picturesque landscape exploring the neighbouring vineyards and olive groves by foot or by bike. Provence is known for the huge variety of grapes that flourish in its heat and the fertility of its soil, but make sure to specifically try the local Rosé wines at local restaurants or wine estates to really taste the best of the Aix-en-Provence and Côtes –de-Provence regions. Excursions can be organised to the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras vineyards, among others. To accompany the wine, try the local pork and trout in one of the nearby market towns, or Crillon-le-Brave itself. For the more adventurous visitor, cycle up the winding path to the summit of Mont Ventoux, at the base of which the village sit, to look down from the rocky, chalky mountain top over the lush green fields below. Crillon-le-Brave is less than an hour’s drive from Sault and also from Valréas, both sites of more famous lavender festivals, with an opportunity for a tour around some botanical gardens in Sault. Another suggested day trip is Avignon situated just a 40 minute drive away from the hotel, with its impressive Palais des Papes, combination of ancient and medieval architecture, and the numerous hidden gardens around the town centre. The Avignon Theatre Festival, founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, is believed to be one of the greatest in the world, featuring a colourful explosion of dance, theatre, and various readings.

    DAYS EIGHT TO NINE
    Travel onwards to Joucas
    Situated just east of the sunflower fields that link Carpentras to Avignon, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches in Joucas is the stop on this touring holiday best suited for viewing those surreal golden fields that fascinated Van Gogh. Joucas is a picturesque stone village with paved streets that bloom with colourful flowers, overlooking the ochre cliffs of Roussillon. Various hiking and horse-riding trails are available around the village for the active tourer, or remain in the village for the festival at the end of August. Drive just over an hour southwest to Arles to see the seat of Van Gogh’s inspiration, or south to Aix-en-Provence and Cézanne’s beloved Sainte-Victoire Mountain. His atelier and the point from which he painted the mountain are still open to the public today. For something a little more off-the-beaten-track, visit the small village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, built around a subterranean spring from which flows exquisitely clear turquoise water, filtered by the local rock. Just a 20 minute drive from the hotel, near the little village of Gordes, is the Abbaye de Sénanque, also a suggested stop, a former Cistercian monastery, it now boasts one of the finest examples of traditional Provencal lavender fields in the region, and also offers tours around the church and cloisters. 
      
    DAY TEN
    Drive to Marseille for your return flight

    After a relaxed morning exploring the hotel and its extensive grounds, take the short drive to Marseille, for your return flight.

    Driving times for this touring holiday:
    Paris to Gilly-lès-Cîteaux: 3 hours 5 minutes
    Gilly-lès-Cîteaux to Vienne: 2 hours 15 minutes
    Vienne toCrillon le Brave: 2 hours 30 minutes
    Crillon le Brave to Joucas: 1 hour
    Joucas to Marseille- 1 hour 30 minutes

    Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhone Valley, to Provence v2

    Hotel Information

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    Château de Gilly
    Gilly-lès-Cîteaux
    The Château de Gilly is a former residence of the Priors of Cîteaux; still moated and very much palatial in ambience, it offers high standards of accommodation and cuisine and is beautifully situated at the heart of the Burgundy vineyards. The elegant, vaulted restaurant ‘Le Clos Prieur’ was once the palace cellar and is just the place to enjoy a gourmet dinner accompanied by fine local wines. ‘Coté Terroirs,’ a new restaurant, offers local specialities. Breakfast is served in the restored historic Pierre de Nivelle room and musical soirées are held regularly in the Tapestry room. The 48 bedrooms have been refurbished to offer modern comforts whilst retaining their individuality and fine architectural features. To the front of the hotel are remarkable formal French-style gardens. The hotel features an outdoor heated swimming pool.
    Find out more here.

    La Pyramide Hotel
    Vienne
    Located in the centre of historic Vienne, this 4- star Relais & Chateaux property is perfect for those seeking elegant and comfortable accommodation, an excellent location and a gourmet culinary experience. The interiors of the hotel are minimalist and sophisticated and yet preserve the building’s character. Consisting of just 19 rooms and 4 apartments the ambience is peaceful and exclusive, a perfect retreat after a day spent exploring the region and Vienne itself. In the evenings indulge in the hotel’s unmissable culinary experience, either in the double Michelin-starred restaurant run by Patrick Henriroux, or in the more understated L'Espace Ph③. La Pyramide is an elegant yet warm hotel in an excellent location for exploring the historical and cultural sites of Vienne.
    Find out more here

    Hotel Crillon le Brave
    Crillon-le-Brave
     
    Hôtel Crillon le Brave near Avignon in Provence is named after its hilltop hamlet setting in the foothills of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, this Relais & Châteaux property symbolises the essence of boutique luxury in an authentic and charming environment. Comprising seven village buildings – former houses, stables, a school and presbytery - this unique hotel offers 32 beautifully and individually-appointed rooms and suites, each connected by secret courtyards and quiet alleyways, which add to the charming atmosphere and character. Most rooms overlook Mont Ventoux or the Rhône Valley and feature high-quality amenities such as Bose Wave sound systems, Italian linens and luxurious bathrooms. Just a stone’s throw from some of the greatest names in wine – Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape to name but a very special few – Crillon-le-Brave provides the perfect base for those looking to spend their days touring the excellent vineyards of this rich wine-growing region. Naturally, the restaurant features a wine list bearing the names of the finest Rhône vintages to accompany an elegant and refined menu, packed full of locally-sourced, regional cuisine. Al fresco dining on the terrace in the warmer months exploits the magnificent Mont Ventoux backdrop. The Hôtel Crillon Le Brave has an inviting outdoor pool, mini-spa, boules court and guests can explore the area by bike.
    Find out more here.
     
    Les Mas des Herbes Blanches
     Joucas

    On a slight hill a couple of miles outside the hill top village of Joucas in the Vaucluse between Ventoux and the Luberon, the Le Mas des Herbes Blanches enjoys privileged views over the Luberon and the village of Roussillon. Built of local stone in the style of a low, Provençal 'mas' or farmhouse, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches is a supremely comfortable, 4-star, Relais and Châteaux hotel. Yet, for all its quality of surroundings and service, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches is unpretentious, cosy, and relaxing: a divine holiday hotel, thoroughly deserving of a stay. In its own grounds of olives and sycamores, with clumps of lavender and vineyards just below, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches offers comfortable lounges, a stylish, rustic modern bar, a sun terrace and open air swimming pool with panoramas of the greeny grey Luberon hills and, of course, the restaurant with its modern fire place, views and elegant and calm atmosphere. The food is outstanding and the quality of flavours, presentation, and taste, superb. The bedrooms all have telephone, television and mini bar and vary in size. All have balcony or terrace, bath and wc and air conditioning, but the Standards tend to be north facing, whilst the Superiors are larger with terraces and spacious bathrooms. The decoration is simple in a stylish way, but fitting for the climate with white-washed walls complementing sands and ochres in material and furnishings, and comfortable. We cannot recommend Le Mas des Herbes Blanches highly enough either for a long, relaxing stay in this delicious region or for just a couple of nights if you want to tour Provence and the south of France.
    Find out more here.

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  • France

    Find out more about France

    France FAST FACTS

    Capital

    Paris
    Airport
    Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24)
    Size
    Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long
    Population
    66 million
    Average temperature
    Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round

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