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  • Fly-drive touring holiday of the gastronomy of southwest France

    Le Saint James

    Le Saint James

    Le Saint James

    Le Moulin de Madame

    Le Moulin de Madame

    Le Moulin de Madame

    Chateau de Salettes

    Chateau des Salettes

    Chateau des Salettes

    Hotel Parc Victoria

    Hotel Parc Victoria

    Hotel Parc Victoria, Superior Room

    Fly-drive touring holiday of the gastronomy of southwest France

    8 nights and 9 days
    Discover the food and wine of south-western France, staying in three different hotels in the regions of Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees. Start near Bordeaux, a city whose name is synonymous with fine wine, before driving to the Dordogne, the vineyards of Tarn. Stay for two nights in each location, with the option to dine in each hotel’s gastronomically excellent restaurant.
    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Fly from London to Bordeaux, where you collect your hire car. Drive under half an hour to Le Saint-James, a unique Relais & Châteaux property on a hillside perch in the village of Bouliac. As the largest wine-growing area in France, the Bordeaux region is home to numerous high quality wine merchants who offer cellar visits and wine tastings, whilst seven Michelin-starred restaurants can be found in the city of Bordeaux itself. Following a two- night stay at Le Saint-James, drive eastwards to Trémolat. Here you will find Le Vieux Logis a peaceful hotel occupying a pretty manor house dating back around 400 years. Spend three nights enjoying the local specialities here before continuing your journey south to Le Château de Salettes, a superb wine-making hotel which is located amidst the rolling countryside and fertile vineyards of the Tarn Valley where you will stay for two nights. Finally head northeast back to Bordeaux airport where you return your hire car and catch your flight back to the United Kingdom.

    PRICES
    Prices from £1720 per person for 8 nights on a bed and breakfast basis

    What’s included:
    Two nights’ bed and breakfast at Le Saint-James in Bouliac
    Two nights' bed and breakfast at Le Vieux Logis in Trémolat
    Three nights’ bed and breakfast at Le Château de Salettes near Gaillac
    Scheduled return flights from London Gatwick to Bordeaux
    Hire of a Group A car for 8 days

    Fly-drive touring holiday of the gastronomy of southwest France

    Day-by-Day itinerary

    DAYS ONE TO TWO
    Fly into Bordeaux and spend two nights in Bouliac at the Le Saint-James hotel

    Perfectly situated for tasting the best of the Bordeaux wines, Le Saint-James is the ideal first stop for this touring holiday. Its elegant restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that take full advantage of the rural views which form the backdrop for the fine dining offered by the hotel’s Michelin-starred Chef, Nicolas Magie. Here you can enjoy dishes inspired by the Aquitaine region and wines from throughout the country which are featured on the extensive wine list. You can also try the house wine which is produced using grapes from the vineyards to the west of the hotel, and take tours of the wine cellar with the sommelier, sampling the numerous wines and champagnes. At harvest time, you also have the chance to learn about the process of wine production from start to finish, from the picking of the grapes by hand to winemaking in the hotel’s cellar. The Château Rauzan Gassies and the Château Mouton Rothschild are very popular locations for tasting the local wines; the best of which are the fruity Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. If the opportunity arises at a wine-tasting session, be sure to smell the aroma of coffee and vanilla that long-aged barrelled wines from this region develop. Follow the Gironde Estuary north to find the likes of Margaux and the Médoc Peninsula, among other smaller vineyards, or head east out of Bordeaux to find the internationally renowned vineyard of Saint-Émilion and its many prestigious châteaux. The best wines of the area really are ripe for the tasting, with the exquisite cuisine of Le Saint-James to accompany them. For a brief taste of the heritage of Bordeaux, we would highly recommend the Château de Lanquais, reputed to be one of the greatest historical monuments of the area, or the Amphithéâtre de Bordeaux dit Palais Gallien, as well as the Opera House, Cathedral, and Basilica.

    DAYS THREE TO FIVE
    Drive from Bordeaux south to Trémolat , and spend three nights

    Arrive at another attractive French commune, Trémolat, which sits just a short distance from the larger city of Bergerac. Make the most of your days in Trémolat, walk into the centre of the village to appreciate the imposing and austere Saint Nicolas Church. Its riverside position makes it ideal for sailing, fishing, and water-sports enthusiasts, while the neighbouring hills make for fantastic hiking trails. To the east of Trémolat lies Sarlat-la-Canéda, which offers a comprehensive tour of the Palaeolithic caves of the region, ending in the famous Lascaux Cave II. If time permits, spend an afternoon in Perigeux, a larger town just north of Trémolat, famed for its gastronomic specialities. Once an important Roman centre, its progressive history can be read in the Vesone Tower and the Amphithéâtre, the medieval Château Barrière, and the Cathédrale Saint Font surrounded by the town’s boulevards and medieval houses. Have lunch or an afternoon coffee in one of the chic cafés on the Place de Navarre. Be sure to try the best produce of the region to be found at local markets in the region. The town of Sarlat, is famed for its ancient, ochre-coloured buildings and its Saturday market that bursts with the freshest local produce, including walnuts, Foie Gras, black truffles, wild mushrooms, cheeses and pork delicacies. Perhaps venture into the vineyards that surround the town of Bergerac not far from the hotel. Tour the vineyards of Montbazillac, Chateau de la Jubertie or the Pécharmant Vineyards and try the local vintages as well as learning about their methods. A renowned wine producing region, it is highly recommended. Travel an hour and a half south east to the famous Cahors wine estates of Château de Chambert in Floressas and the Château du Cèdre in Bru or sample some veritably fine wine from the region, seek out the Clos Triguedina wines, highly recommended for wine enthusiasts.

    DAYS SIX TO EIGHT
    Drive to the Gaillac vineyards and stay for three nights

    Set in the heart of the Gaillac vineyards, Le Château de Salettes produces its very own red and white wines which can be sampled along with a selection of other wines from the cellar. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves creative and refined cuisine, with a tasting menu that allows guests to sample an assortment of dishes, accompanied by matching wines. Cahuzac-sur-Vère, the official home of the Château des Salettes, is known for its sugared almonds, biscuits with jam, and the excellence of its chocolatiers, making it the ideal gastronomic stop-off point for any food-lover with a sweet tooth. Drive out to the Musée de l’Art et du Sucre in the Maison Prunet at Cordes-sur-Ciel to see the high quality sugar products and chocolate turned into works of art. As home to some of the most renowned wine estates in the area, Cahuzac-sur-Vère itself has much to offer. To whet the appetite, perhaps, visit the Domaine des Tres Cantous and sample the Vin d’Autan and Vin de Voile. Venture out into the Gaillac vineyards to discover the fairy-tale, fortified villages and their particular wines. Famous as the area is for its dry and sweet white wines, look out for Mauzac, Ondenc, Muscadelle, Sauvignon, and Loin de l’Oeil on your travels. For a concise overview of everything wine-related that Gaillac has to offer, head into the town itself, and the Maison des Vins de Gaillac, to learn more about the wider variety of grapes grown in the area and to taste more of the wine available.

    DAY NINE
    Drive north back to Bordeaux for your return flight

    Leave Gaillac after one last meal in the poolside restaurant, ready for the flight back to the UK from Bordeaux.

    Driving times for this touring holiday
    Bordeaux airport to Bouliac: 20 minutes
    Bouliac to Trémolat: 2 hour 15 minutes
    Trémolat to Gaillac: 2 hours 50 minutes
    Gaillac to Bordeaux airport: 2 hours 40 minutes

    Gastronomic tour of the Southwest 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.

    Le Saint-James
    Bouliac, near Bordeaux
    This Relais & Châteaux property is a unique find on a hillside perch on the borders of the sleepy village of Bouliac, just outside Bordeaux. Le Saint-James’ unusual architecture was designed by Jean Nouvel to resemble the tobacco-drying barns of the region, where the original 18th century farmhouse buildings contrast industrial-style pavilions – home to the guestrooms. From here the views are spectacular, sloping through orderly vineyards across the fields to Bordeaux. The 15 rooms and 3 suites feature a sparse décor with white walls and bed linens allowing the colours of the landscape to stand out. A marvellous feature of the rooms is that the beds stand elevated to the level of panoramic windows, allowing sunrise views to greet you when you wake. You can opt to take breakfast in bed to make the most of your unique accommodation. At the restaurant, floor-to-ceiling windows take advantage of the hotel’s westward-facing aspect, and sunlight and rural beauty becomes the backdrop for fine dining from Michelin-starred Chef Nicolas Magie. Here you can enjoy dishes inspired by the Aquitaine region, filled with market ingredients. For more low-key dining, it is a short walk to the authentic village cafeteria Le Café de l’Espérance for hearty, home cooked goods from specials lists chalked onto blackboards. Both venues are run by Le Saint-James and serve the home-grown house wine, Vin du Jardin. Food and wine is central to the Le Saint-James experience with a service that includes tours of the wine cellar’s 2000 labels, wine tasting and the exclusive addition of a cookery school. Côte Cours operates a schedule of events that is suitable for all ages and abilities, with thematic classes led by the sous-chef to Nicolas Magie. The pristine conservatory setting of the teaching kitchen even hosts a ‘Little Chefs’ package for youngsters to be introduced to the French Classics. Le Saint-James is perfect for guests seeking a rural lifestyle with emphasis on good food and good wine, while access to urban Bordeaux is just a stone’s throw away.
    Find out more here.

    Le Vieux Logis
    Trémolat
    Le Vieux Logis is outstandingly pretty; a manor house dating back 400 years built in the regional style in a quaint, authentic Perigord village in a bend in the river Dordogne. Surrounded by lawns and beautiful gardens through which a stream flows, Le Vieux Logis is a 4 star Relais and Châteaux hotel of exceptional charm and character. There are cosy lounges with open fire places, comfortable sofas and armchairs, walls decorated with pretty prints, pictures and ornaments which create a homely atmosphere. The rooms at Le Vieux Logis vary in size, some are situated in the main manor house, others in delightfully refurbished houses across the driveway in the garden; but all are furnished individually to the same exceptionally high standards, with antiques or rustic local furniture, ornaments and pictures, rich coloured fabrics that complement the natural material of the building; the stone and the timbers. All have private bath and wc, telephone, television and mini bar. The atmospheric restaurant is situated in what was a tobacco drying house and the focus is on regional specialities in season. There is also a cosy bar. Le Vieux Logis is the sort of place you could ensconce yourself in for days on end with a few good books, perhaps venturing out to visit a local market, for a walk along the river or to potter in the pretty villages of golden stone.
    Find out more here

    Le Château de Salettes
    Gaillac
    The delightful four-star Château de Salettes is set in the heart of the Gaillac vineyards on a chalk outcrop, just a 15-minute drive from Cordes-sur-Ciel and 30 minutes from Albi. The hotel dates back to the 13th century and seamlessly blends a traditional château exterior with a modern interior décor. The Château de Salettes occupies an idyllically rural setting amidst the Tarn countryside, with far-reaching views over pastoral landscapes of rolling hills clad in vines. The outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace sit atop a rocky spur, affording the ultimate in privacy, tranquillity and panoramas whilst, indoors, a range of beauty treatments are available. The 13 rooms and five suites at the Château de Salettes are contemporary in design, with a minimalist feel and a light, neutral colour scheme. Varying in size and outlook, the rooms are situated in the main château and tower, featuring air conditioning, mini-bar, WiFi, telephone, television and king-size beds. Some also have a Jacuzzi bath. The Château des Salettes in Tarn boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant with al fresco dining on the shaded terrace in warmer months, accompanied, of course, by some of the finest local vintages.
    Find out more here.

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