A Private France Food Tour: From Paris to South of France

A 10 day trip to France 
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Discover the food-lover inside of you during your culinary exploration of the iconic gastronomy of France. Relax in stunning chateaus that overlook emerald vines and rolling hills in the countryside. Indulge in the flavor of creamy sauces and fresh produce. Traverse narrow lanes filled with market stalls touting freshly picked fruits and hardy mushrooms. Wander through villages on a country road connecting historic wineries. Sample unforgettable cuisines prepared by private chefs during a cooking course tailored to your tastes. French cuisine turns simple ingredients into indulgent pleasures during your handcrafted tour, where every bite contains flavor and meaning.   

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General Information

Photos
Tasty plate of fresh oysters.
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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Paris, Lyon, Beaujolais, Avignon, Cote d’Azur 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: A City of Endless Flavor

Parisian streets frame a picture of intimacy. Local shops and charming markets create a village ambiance encompassing the various neighborhoods of the metropolis. Iconic architecture rises alongside the cobblestone avenues. The gargoyles of Notre Dame protrude from the sloping ceiling, looking out onto the quiet waters of the Seine River below. Serene bistros and Michelin-starred restaurants pride themselves on exquisite preparation and quality ingredients. Pastries fill the windows of local boulangeries (French bakeries). Decadent cheeses fill glass cases in narrow fromageries (cheese shops). Your private transfer meets you at Charles de Gaulle Airport upon your arrival in the city.

Settle into your hotel in the heart of classical Paris. At dinner, you have an introduction to the richness and quality of French cuisine with a dinner at a celebrated restaurant located on the Left Bank. The restaurant’s private gardens produce up to 40 tons of fresh ingredients per year. The sleek and simple décor of the interior allow guests to dine with their senses, focusing on beautiful plating, sensual aromas, and delectable flavors. A small bowl of carrot and garlic velouté, one of the five main sauces of French cuisine, arrives at the table. You find traces of smoked bacon inside the crème soufflé. The meal sets the magnificent standard for your entire culinary exploration. Consider learning more about your tour companies in Paris that strive to create a unique experience that's highly personalized in regards to your particular interests and tastes. 

What’s Included: dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Culture and Cuisine Combined

In the morning, small cafes place tables along the walkways of the city. Parisians enjoy sipping cappuccino as the city passes them by. Lush trees shade the walkways. The aroma of fresh macaroons emanates from the quaint boulangeries (French bakeries). After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Marché International de Rungis, the largest wholesale food market in the world, spanning more than 573 acres. The market began in the city center in the 10th century but relocated in the 1960s due to high demand. The high quality and fresh products, along with the large quantities of ingredients from fruit to fish, keeps the market in high demand from the chefs of Paris.

The lanes of the market begin to bustle at 4:40 am until 8 am. The bright aroma of tomatoes blends with the herbaceous scent of the flower market. Boxes of raspberries and asparagus add to the colors of the spacious warehouse. After your insightful tour of the city’s largest market, along with an immersive meal, your guide leads you through the cultural beauty of the city at Sainte-Chapelle. The 13th-century Gothic church has a 249-foot tall vaulted nave. Stained-glass windows glow along the walls highlighting images of Heavenly Jerusalem, filling the interior with the stunning illumination of a jewelry box.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Art of the Sweet Tooth

Monet’s water lilies decorate the elliptical rooms on the top floor of the Orangerie Museum. The colors burst from the canvas to create an illusion of willow trees, lilacs, and the lilies floating on the rippling pond. The vibrant hues of macaroons in the bakery windows evoke a similar sense of wonder. Your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you along the cobblestone streets to a celebrated cooking school. The aroma of sweet cream and custards fascinates you. Your guide who is also a chef introduces you to the history of French pastries, along with its celebrated traditions in the culinary world. Follow your guide through a step-by-step demonstration of how to produce an elegant Mille-feuille, also known as a Napoleon.

The labor-intensive dessert is well worth it, consisting of a rich pastry cream sandwiched between many thin layers of pastry. The image of your final creation is a masterwork, topped only by the delectable flavor you captured in every bite. Continuing your sweet tooth tour of Paris, your guide leads you through the historic neighborhood of Le Marais. Narrow cobblestone streets wind along the medieval buildings. In the nearby antique district of St Germain, the aroma of decadent chocolate spills out of Un Dimanche Á Paris. The hot chocolate has a velvety texture and dark flavor. Confections fill the display cases with mouthwatering displays. Decorative boxes and gifts line the walls behind the counter. You can see the pastry chefs working in the kitchen using taking full advantage of their creative capabilities.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Luxuries of Lyon

In the morning, boulangeries (French bakeries) pull out the first collection of croissants. Their exterior has a golden brown color. The narrow walkways of the fifth arrondissement fill with the stalls of the Marché Mouffetard, once described by Hemingway as “a moveable feast.” Grocers present fresh produce, along with charcuterie, cheeses, and patisseries. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to Gare de Lyon train station. Board your first class cabin on the high-speed train to Lyon. The cityscape fades away, replaced by the lush rolling hills and plains of the countryside. You arrive in France’s third largest city and meet your guide.

A sophisticated atmosphere emanates from the dynamic cultural life and magnificent boutique stores. For fans of food, Lyon provides a gastronomic wonderland. Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere rises above the plaza of Bellecour in the heart of the city. The square stands beneath the Rhone and Saone Rivers. An equestrian statue of Louis XIV adorns the plaza’s center. At dinner, your guide leads you to a restaurant that is seemingly from a former era. The colorful exterior evokes the image of a half-timber village in the Alps. The relaxed home-style environment adds to the experience. The restaurant cooks traditional Lyonnaise cuisine to perfection.  

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: The Wines of Beaujolais

The gentle morning breeze sweeps across the gardens of your chateau accommodation in the heart of the Beaujolais wine region. The Lord of Oingt erected the castle in the 13th century to equal the size of the aristocracy and clergy. At breakfast, you sip a refreshing cappuccino and enjoy the elegant view of the manicured hedges filling the garden. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel, ready to escort you to the valley floor and foothills, visiting a number of local boutique vineyards. The Saone River runs along the eastern border. The mountains of the Central Massif frame the western edges of the region. The 3,600 vineyards comprise nearly 55,846 acres collectively.

Travel along the Wine Route, connecting Villefranche-sur-Saone to St-Amour. The village of Vaux-en-Beaujolais combines luxurious wines with fairytale architecture. Stone buildings perch atop a rocky spur. A sea of emerald vineyards encircles the town. The wine cellar of La Cave de Clochemerle was created in the 1950s and represents a wide range of the regional wines. Walking trails lead into the vineyards, where you can touch the earth and feel the grapes ripening. Sample the Moulin-a-Vent to find deep red and purple colors. A delicate blend of spices accompanies the aroma of black fruit, along with a hint of violet. The long, complex finish lingers with a note of spice. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Growing Appetite in Avignon 

The city of Avignon rises above the River Rhone with elegance and prestige. The 800-year-old crenelated ramparts continue to border the cityscape. The 14th-century hilltop palace overtakes the riverbank as the former home of seven consecutive popes. The towers define the skyline. Trees shade the tranquil squares filled with café tables. Boutique shops inside medieval structures line the narrow winding streets. You depart from Lyon after breakfast and arrive in the majestic city of Avignon eager to explore the cultural monuments and cuisine of Southern France.

The central square of Place de l’Horloge remains the center of Avignon life. The Town Hall frames the west. The 19th-century Hotel de Ville contains a 14th-century clock tower. A life-sized figure atop the clock strikes the hour. Medieval paintings and antique sculptures located inside the Musee Calvet provide insight into the Provencal masters. Nutmeg adds to the delightful aroma of roasting coffee. The cuisine of the city intertwines the history. You wind down your day with a glass of the celebrated wine from the region Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation 

Day 7: Countryside to Coastline

The sunrise in the east glints off of the Palais de Pape. The aroma of espresso accompanies the buttery aroma of freshly baked croissants. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you at the hotel. You begin your journey to the Cote d’Azur, stopping in the captivating city of Aix-en-Provence along the way. The sun bathes the cobblestone streets and cream-colored buildings in natural light. Emerald trees cast refreshing shade over the graceful boulevards. The 16th-century clock tower with its astronomical clock and the 18th-century Place d’Albertas emanate the charms of Old Town.

Cafes and boutique shops line the shaded walkways along the Cours Mirabeau. Locals linger at the outdoor tables, nibbling on a chocolate croissant or sipping a glass of wine in the afternoon light. Picasso, Cezanne, and Camus all dined at the Brasserie Les Deux Garcons. Three fountains grace the avenue, including the warm spring water trickling from the Fontaine Chaude at the center of the street. Follow your guide on a tour of the 700-year-old marketplace. Visit the specialty shops and first-class boutique stores, from local butchers to the fromageries (cheese shops) to sample the unique flavors of Provence. The proprietor of the cheese shop slices off a sample of a goat cheese enriched with thyme. The crumbly texture and herbaceous flavor pleasantly linger. The city exemplifies joie de vivre.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Splendor by the Sea

In the morning, you wake up to the aroma of pine and sea salt. The restaurant at your chateau accommodation looks out to the Mediterranean Sea. A refreshing breeze rustles through the cypress trees lining the driveway. Behind the chateau, verdant forest blankets the hills. Mountains overtake the horizon. After breakfast, your guide greets you in the lobby. The edifice is a historical tour in of itself, having been erected in the 4th century AD. The Roman road connects the antique structure to the city of Vence. Spend the day absorbing the culture of the villages around Cote d’Azur, from Eze to Vence.

Fresh air fills the hillside town of Vence, located beneath your hotel. The scent of budding flowers blends with the olive groves and orange trees bordering the streets. Art galleries display works from past masters, such as Matisse and Chagall, along with newer French artists who reside in the city. A mountain spring feeds into the 19th-century fountain in Place Peyra. A marble plaque lists the various minerals present in the water. Locals play Pétanque in the gardens, a game similar to Italian Bocce Ball. Chapel of the Rosary contains dazzling stained-glass windows and a collection of three murals, each 12-square-inches in size.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Leisurely Coast

In the morning, the sun-drenched buildings on the shore glow against the turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea. Orange tiled rooftops create a classic image of the Cote d’Azur. At breakfast, you indulge in the decadent flavor of your frothy cappuccino and the sensational view of the countryside from the hotel balcony. The day is yours to indulge the wonders of the seaside from Cannes to Monaco. Relax on the sandy beaches bordering the medieval town of Antibes or stroll along the lavish boutique shops in Monaco.

For an extravagant culinary experience, you make your way to Nice early in the morning. Your guide is a celebrated chef who works in a historic restaurant in the city. The marketplace of Nice is located in Old Town, which opens to the Promenade des Anglais, the promenade winding along the shore. The seaside aroma mixes with the scent of fresh flowers emanating from the stalls. Learn about the history of the city and how the cuisine tells the story of Nice’s past as much as the twisting, narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town.

Olives, sheep’s cheese, and mushrooms shine beside an array of fish caught that morning by excited fishermen. The chef explains the importance of each ingredient, from a historical and culinary perspective. The chef leads you into his apartment, providing you with fresh coffee and aprons. You begin with preparing a traditional Nice appetizer. You create a thin crepe made of chickpea flour and olive oil, seasoned with pepper. The quick dish is a staple of local food.

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 10: A Nice Departure

A quiet river runs through the old town of Breil-sur-Roya, situated in the foothills of the distant mountains. Olive trees grow along the terraces. Old castle ruins climb the landscape behind the stone edifices. The majesty of the landscape radiates from the village charms, artistic history, shimmering waters, and colorful cities around the Cote d’Azur. The breeze carries the aroma of orange blossoms. The countryside reminds you of a Cezanne painting, a master who had spent time capturing the beauty of the region. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$5,995
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.