Paris, the city of light, never fails to surprise. The birthplace of Notre Dame cathedral, the French Revolution, and the UNESCO baguette is an architectural wonder. While Paris is a vast city, it feels like a bunch of small villages stitched together with neighborhoods which are called “arrondissements” each complete with its own particular character. We’ll explore its bistros and foodie shops, learn how to cook a proper French meal and experience a leisurely lunch the French way at a local's home. We’ll then journey two hours South-West of Paris to Bordeaux, a UNESCO protected city nestled between wine country and the Atlantic coast. We’ll visit Bordeaux’s superb farmers’ markets and try their famous oysters while overlooking the Garonne river. And then we'll taste our way through wine country with its vast rolling hills topped by its crown jewel, St. Emilion, where we'll savor Bordeaux wines and excellent cuisine. Here we'll visit a unique underground church while riding electric bikes, and then we'll take time to relax in an award winning spa. The gastronomy of France at its best.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Arrive in Paris where you will hop in a cab and arrive at the beautiful and hip Hoxton Hotel in the 2nd arrondissement.
The adventure begins at 6pm where you will meet up with your crew in the lobby for champagne and homemade gougères.
Afterwards, we'll all go for dinner at Joia restaurant, Helen Darroze's restaurant that combines her traditional French cooking with inspiration taken from abroad. This Michelin award winning chef's restaurant is just a 4-minute walk away.
Today is the foodie tour day as we indulge in amazing French food and pastries. You will begin the day in the 6th arrondissement at one of the oldest boulangeries in France, Poilane, followed by stops at a cheese, épicerie and then a macaron shop to pick up items for a picnic lunch in the illustrious Jardin du Luxembourg.
On the way back to our hotel, we will stop at the oldest cookware shop in town, E.Dehillerin in the heart of Les Halles is where Julia Child purchased her copper pots. (And they ship!) We'll continue walking towards Rue de Nil where we'll enjoy a wine tasting at Frenchie Caviste.
After our banner day, you'll be ready to get back to the hotel for a little rest.
Refreshed, we'll head out for dinner at a local bistro, Juveniles on rue de Richelieu. Here they focus on natural wine and small plates.
Wake up at your leisure and have breakfast at the hotel.
In the early afternoon you will meet Veronique at the farmers market to shop for local, seasonal ingredients. Then we'll head back to her place for a cooking class followed by a relaxing sit-down lunch enjoying the fruits of our labors.
The afternoon is yours to relax, shop or do whatever you please.
In the evening, we'll head over to the Marais for a galette at the famous Creperie Breizh.
Cooking Class and Lunch
After breakfast and checking out of the hotel we will all meet up in the lobby to catch the 9:00am TGV train to Bordeaux where we'll arrive at 11:07am. We'll check-in to the stunning 5-star Villa Foch Hotel.
After dropping our bags we'll head over to learn about the local specialty at the Dune Blanche pastry shop where we'll pick up dessert for our picnic of baguette sandwiches made of delicious French butter, ham and cheese*.
Then we'll continue to the Jardin Public in Bordeaux to enjoy our lunch. Then, visit Le CAPC, musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux. Afterwards, walk around the Chartrons district.
The evening will be spent at your leisure.
*Vegans, vegetarians and those on special diets can always be accommodated.
Today we’ll take off for the medieval village of St. Emilion, a UNESCO world heritage site. Weather permitting we’ll rent electric bikes and visit Chateau St.George for a tour and tasting, followed by light lunch in the village at Chai Pascale.
Afterwards, we'll explore with a guide the incredible subterranean monolithic church in the town square and then walk through the charming streets of the village.
We'll finish off a delightful afternoon on out bikes through the bucolic countryside ending the bike tour at Château Troplong Mondot.
Dinner tonight will be at the Michelin Star restaurant, Les Belles Perdrix on the Chateau's property.
After a leisurely breakfast and relaxing morning at the hotel, you will meet at 11:00am take a tram to the Capucins covered market in Bordeaux where we'll lunch at the rustic Au Bistrot.
After lunch we'll take a short drive to Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte aka wine lover's paradise. We'll start the afternoon by being pampered by vinotherapists at their renowned spa, Les Sources de Caudalie and then we'll top off a perfect afternoon with wine tasting hosted by a local sommelier.
Head back to Bordeaux for an evening spent at leisure.
After checking out of Villas Foch, meet at the Chartrons Sunday marché to tour the market, followed by a cooking class and a sit-down lunch at a beautiful Chartrons apartment overlooking the Garonne.
All good things have to come to an end. After lunch you will catch a late afternoon TGV train to Paris, but your memories will last a lifetime.
Cooking Class and Lunch
The Hoxton, Paris is a grand 18th century residence in Paris’ 2nd arrondissement with original staircases, plentiful Parisian flair, and camera-baiting corners aplenty.
When you enter the Villa Foch Hotel, you enter an exceptional architectural complex in a city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This exclusive 5-star hotel is the essence of the city's grandeur.
Valerie is the lucky daughter of a French mother and an American father. Her culinary savoir-faire comes from an adventurous life immersed in French kitchens. As a young girl, Valerie spent summers in diverse regions of France watching many wonderful chefs make simple yet extraordinary food.
She launched her career in the food business after winning a cooking competition on PBS cooking show. Since that day, Valerie’s been teaching culinary classes in people’s homes, catering events, and leading groups to France to dive into the French way of life, a life immersed in food!
Tricia is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Los Angeles. She has worked as a personal chef, caterer and cooking instructor since graduating from culinary school in 2013. She began her career in the film & publishing industries, and has lived and worked in Los Angeles, London and New York City.
Valerie and Tricia met in the film business years back and have been friends and colleagues ever since!
An amazing cultural and wine experience
You are in for a real treat with this trip. Visiting two of the best cities in France. Paris is a picturesque dream destination. Spread over the banks of Seine River in Northern France, it stands out for being one of those glitzy metropolises of the world. Bordeaux isn't just a city with the same name as the famous French wine. With 350 historical buildings and monuments, dozens of museums and art galleries, some of the best and most famous wineries in the world. Not to mention the food. Some of the best food in all of France.
Everything stated in the itinerary below including all meals (except where otherwise noted) 2 glasses of wine with dinner
All transport, taxis, trains to and from Paris are included.
English and French speaking host and facilitator included
GG2W welcome gift
A luxury spa treatment
Museum and other entry fees
English & French speaking host
Two French cooking classes
Dinner at a Michel Star restaurant
Two wine tastings
Four and Five Star hotel stays
Roundtrip airfare to France
Meals and drinks not stated in the above itinerary
Trip and Medical Insurance (required)
All personal souvenir expenses
You are going to want to fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
The trip officially starts on the evening of October 2nd, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to France, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will take care of booking your room for you and make sure that you are kept in the same room as you will be in when the trip starts.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
The climate is quite comfortable in October. Temperatures range from a high of 70F to a low of 54F.
Airport transfers are included on the day the trip starts. If you are arriving early they will not be included in the cost of the trip but we can make arrangements to have you picked up at the airport and brought to the hotel.
You are extra lucky on this trip. You have two guides. Valerie Sapienza and Tricia Davey. You can see more information about them in the host's bio section on the website.