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SMALL GROUP BACK-ROADS TOURING


SCENIC BACK ROADS TOURING - SMALL GROUPS WITH UP TO 18 PASSENGERS
GIVING YOU THE LOCAL EXPERIENCE OF TRAVELLING THROUGH FRANCE AT A LEISURELY PACE
STAYING IN BOUTIQUE ACCOMMODATION - OFFERING CULINARY DISCOVERIES

 


By limiting our group sizes to a maximum of 18 passengers, we are experts at providing a friendly, relaxed, and flexible form of touring. In fact, our belief in the advantages of small group travel underpins everything that we do – from the type of vehicles that we use, to the places we visit, and the accommodation that we hand select. In many ways, it couldn’t be further from a typical coach touring experience.


La Belle France

Reference: BRT-FRA18

NORMANDY, BRITTANY, & THE LOIRE VALLEY

  • 9 Day tour
  • 15 passengers maximum
  • Cost per person Early bird deal A$3,599 Twin-share
Enquire Now

NORMANDY, BRITTANY, & THE LOIRE VALLEY


Step into a land of renowned artists and royal crusaders, hilltop monasteries and valley castles. This tour takes us from France’s dramatic northernshores to châteaux-sprinkled countryside, breaking off to see WWII sites, explore centuries-old villages and sample home-grown delicacies.



ITINERARY

DAY 1 PARIS – TROUVILLE

Our first impressions of France are formed in Giverny, Normandy at the home of one of the world’s most celebrated artists – Claude Monet. The vivid colours in every room paint a picture of his life and the gardens outside are brimming with every shade of flower. We carry that image with us all the way to Trouville. The town is a seaside resort on the Cote Fleurie and boasts a long sandy beach, historical markets and is our home for the next two nights. (D)

DAY 2 TROUVILLE – NORMANDY – TROUVILLE

On the menu today is a journey on the road less travelled to Livarot where we have free time to relax. We will track the Route du Cidre towards Beuvron-en-Auge, voted one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. From cool, crisp ciders to heady, amber-hued calvados, it’s here that we pause to taste the fruits of the region’s orchards – a delicious end to our day. (B)

DAY 3 TROUVILLE – NORMANDY BEACHES – CREPON

We turn our attentions to the windswept shoreline of the Normandy Beaches, where we stand at the sites of the D-Day Landings of 1944. Afterwards, there’s the opportunity to pay a poignant visit to the American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. (B,D)

DAY 4 CREPON – BAYEUX – MONT ST MICHEL – DINAN

Time to unfold another layer of Normandy history this morning with a trip to see the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry. That afternoon, we drive on to enchanting Mont St Michel, crossing the tidal causeway to wander the buzzing island village. To top off a charm-filled day, we spend this evening in Dinan. (B)

DAY 5 DINAN

With a whole day to yourself in Dinan, you can really get under the skin of this Gallic gem. (B)

DAY 6 DINAN – ANGERS – CHINON

We’re deep into fairytale territory when we travel towards the Loire Valley, a landscape whose skyline is peppered with the turrets of castles. Our first port of call is Angers, once the medieval stronghold of the Plantagenet kings and later, we move on to Chinon where dinner at a local restaurant awaits. (B,D)

DAY 7 CHINON – CHÂTEAU DE VILLANDRY – CHINON

Our first château of the tour is the last of Loire’s greats: Château de Villandry. Taking in so much beauty is thirsty work, so on our way back to Chinon we enjoy a detour at a regional winery and linger over a glass or two. (B)

DAY 8 CHINON – CHÂTEAU DE CHENONCEAU – MONTLOUIS-SUR-LOIRE

Château de Chenonceau gives us the opportunity to stroll through manicured gardens and explore the fascinating museum. While at our own château, deep in the heart of the Loire Valley, we turn into lords and ladies of the manor with a night spent in stately surrounds – but not before a guided tour of the gardens and an indulgent farewell dinner. (B,D)

DAY 9 MONTLOUIS-SUR-LOIRE – CHARTRES – PARIS

A fitting finale to our tour is a visit to the celebrated cathedral of Chartres, believed to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France and a beautiful image to take back to Paris where we say “au revoir”. (B)


INCLUSIONS
  • 8 nights in boutique accommodation
  • Experienced Back-Roads Tour Leader/Driver
  • Premium mini-coach transportation
  • Daily European-style breakfasts (B), 3 evening meals (D)
  • Cider and calvados sampling
  • A garden tour of Château de la Bourdaisière
  • Entrance included to: Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny, Château d’Angers, Bayeux Tapestry, Mont St Michel, Château de Villandry, Château de Chartres and Château de Chenonceau.

Paris to Nice

Reference: BRT-CBA18

CHAMPAGNE, BURGUNDY, THE ALPS, PROVENCE

  • 9 Day Tour 
  • 15 Passengers maximum
  • Cost per person Early-bird deal A$3,825 Twin-share 
Enquire Now

CHAMPAGNE, BURGUNDY, THE ALPS, PROVENCE

Glasses glinting with bubbles and rich red wines. Windows that open out on soaring mountains, charming villages and fragrant fields of flowers. Join us on a bon voyage through quintessential France as we go on an adventure infused with Gallic charm.


The Difference 
  • Taste your way through famed wine-growing regions such as Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Rhône Valley
  • Soak up the peace of Grande Chartreuse Monastery, set in a remote valley of the French Alps – and sip the monks’ famous green liquor
  • Explore grand Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the inspiration for the Palace of Versailles

ITINERARY

DAY 1 PARIS – CHÂTEAU DE VAUX-LE-VICOMTE – REIMS – AY

So lavish that its first owner was arrested for daring to outdo King Louis XIV, Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte makes a magnificent opening act for our adventure. Glasses glinting with bubbles and rich red wines. Windows that open out onto soaring mountains, charming villages and fragrant fields of flowers. Join us on a bon voyage through quintessential France as we go on an adventure infused with Gallic charm. Next comes Reims in Champagne, where treasured reminders of its medieval heritages stand beside elegant art deco buildings. One such gem is the UNESCO-protected Cathedral of Our Lady, which we take time to explore. Finally, our road winds into Ay, a quiet town in the Champagne region where we enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)

Overnight: Hotel Castel Jeanson (or similar)

DAY 2 AY – CHAMPAGNE – AY

The pop of a cork. The fizz of thebubbles. The clink of toastingglasses. Today is devotedto discovering Champagneand its liquid riches. Epernayis arguably its epicentre, sowe pause here to stroll upAvenue de Champagne, linedwith many famous merchantshouses and cellars. Then it’s onto La Côte des Blancs, wherewe visit an artisan producer.After wandering through thevineyards and watching thepressing and distillation process,we sit down together to enjoya crisp, refreshing glass or twoof the final product. Our roadback to Ay takes us through thebeautiful Montagne de Reimsarea, known for its Pinot Noir. (B)

Overnight: Hotel Castel Jeanson (or similar)

DAY 3 AY – CHABLIS – DIJON

Now to swap fizz for the dry, pure white wines of Chablis. Here we visit a traditional cellar, where barrels are piled high under arched ceilings that have stood for hundreds of years. Guided by an expert tasting master, we sip the best local wines. Afternoon brings us to Dijon, where you have the evening free to explore this attractive city known for its gothic grandeur. (B)

Overnight: Maison Philipe Le Bon (or similar)

DAY 4 DIJON – BEAUNE – BEAUJOLAIS – LYON

Walled Beaune, the beating heart of the Burgundy wine region, is our first port of call, where we visit the peaceful Hospices of Beaune. Founded as a hospital for the poor in the 15th century, it also has its own vineyards and hosts a prestigious wine auction each year. Next we drop by a sprawling wine estate in the verdant Beaujolais countryside before continuing to Lyon. A warm welcome comes courtesy of a meal in a traditional Bouchon Lyonnais – a type of bistro known for a convivial, relaxed atmosphere that accompanies authentic, hearty dishes. (B, D)

Overnight: Grand Hotel des Terreaux (or similar)

DAY 5 LYON

Today you’re free to explore Lyon at your own pace. Saunter along the riverside, whose banks are flanked with tall, colourful houses. Learn about everything from the early days of cinema to classic cars at the museums. Visit traditional ateliers, where time-honoured crafts are still practiced. Or simply take a seat in one of the many restaurants to discover why Lyon claims the title of ‘gourmet capital of France’. (B)

Overnight: Grand Hotel des Terreaux (or similar)

DAY 6 LYON – RHÔNE VALLEY – URIAGE-LES-BAINS

We’re back on the wine trail as we venture into the Rhône Valley, home to some of France’s oldest vineyards. After a private tasting session at Tain l’Hermitage, source of the famous Hermitage wines, we climb into the French Alps. Take in swoon-worthy mountain views from Villard-de-Lans, before we continue on to the romantic spa town of Uriage-les-Bains. (B, D)

Overnight: Grand Hotel d'Uriage (or similar)

DAY 7 URIAGE-LESBAINS - SAINT-PIERRE-DECHARTREUSE - URIAGE-LESBAINS

Deep in a green valley between towering peaks, we find Grande Chartreuse Monastery. Before we see the complex itself, we drop by the Chartreuse museum to learn about its history – along with the origins of the Carthusian Order who built it. We stroll to the monastery and enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the stunning scenery, before driving on to the monks’ distillery in Voiron. Here they make the famous Chartreuse liquor, whose recipe dates back to the 18th century – and we’re treated to a taste. (B, L)

Overnight: Grand Hotel d'Uriage (or similar)

DAY 8 URIAGE-LES-BAINS – SISTERON – FORCALQUIER

Our road turns south towards Provence today, with Alpine slopes giving way to rugged hills and wildflower meadows as we drive through the Drome region. We stop in Châtillon-en-Diois, a pretty town surrounded by sheer cliffs and forests, before continuing to Sisteron. This medieval commune, strewn over a deep turquoise river between a mountain pass, is the gateway to Provence. The citadel, which crowns an impressive rocky hilltop, pairs fascinating history with sweeping views. Finally, we reach Forcalquier, where we settle in for a farewell dinner and final overnight stay at a charming 18th century farmhouse. (B, D)

Overnight: Hotel Charembeau (or similar)

DAY 9 FORCALQUIER – ENTREVAUX – NICE

Our closing day takes us deeper into exquisite Provençal countryside. Entrevaux, a medieval town set between rolling green countryside and a deep blue sky. Nice, elite resort and shining capital of the French Riviera, soon beckons. And it’s here that our tour ends, among the golden beaches and clear waters of the Côte d’Azur. (B)

Pick-up & Drop-off

This tour commences from Best Western Plus La Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75013 Paris, France at 8.30am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.

The tour finishes at 5.30pm at Hotel Beau Rivage, 24 Rue Saint-François de Paule, 06300 Nice, France.


Tour Inclusions
  • 8 nights' accommodation in boutique hotels
  • Driver/tour leader
  • Mini-coach transportation
  • European breakfast daily
  • One lunch
  • 4 x evening meals
  • 4 x wine tastings
  • One liquor tasting
  • Entrance fee included to: Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, Reims Cathedral, Hospices of Beaune, Musée de la Grande Chartreuse and Citadel of Sisteron..

A taste of Bordeaux region

Reference: BRT BORD18

Bordeaux Region - Biarritz - Lourdes - Carcassonne - Albi and Sarlat...

  • 9 Day tour
  • 15 passengers maximum
  • Cost per person Early Bird Deal A$3,825 Twin Share
Enquire Now

Biarritz - Lourdes - Carcassonne - Albi and Sarlat...


Earthy truffles. Exquisite wines. Take time to savour the finer things in life in South West France. As we seek out Bordeaux’s gastronomic gems and treasured vineyards, we’ll travel over soaring mountains and along the Atlantic coast, into enchanting castles and otherworldly caves. 
 
THE DIFFERENCE  
  • Taste fresh oysters, local sparkling wine and world-famous Bordeaux reds
  • Sleep beneath turrets and towers with two nights in the romantic walled city of Carcassonne
  • Join the hunt for black truffles at a traditional truffle farm

ITINERARY

DAY 1 BORDEAUX – ARCACHON BAY – BIARRITZ

In a region of outstanding natural beauty, where better to begin our sojourn through South West France than in Atlantic Ocean-fringed Arcachon Bay? After stopping to see the Great Dune of Pilat – Europe’s highest sand dune – we get our first taste of coastal cuisine with fresh oysters and a glass of local wine from one of the port’s traditional cabins. To round off our first day, we gather together in Biarritz for a welcome dinner. (D)

DAY 2 BIARRITZ – BAYONNE – BIARRITZ

Time now to indulge our cultural sides in Bayonne, just a short drive from Biarritz – a true cultural art and history hub. This charming  fortified city is brimming with heritage sites for you to peruse at your own pace before we return to Biarritz together. (B)

DAY 3 BIARRITZ – LOURDES – MIDI-PYRÉNÉES

We turn to the east and briefly on to Pau, focussing our camera lenses on this town’s postcard-worthy good looks. We travel onwards through the peaceful Midi-Pyrénées region, pausing en route at the spiritual town of Lourdes that’s been a pilgrimage point for many years. In keeping with the spirit of our surroundings, we settle down for the night into comfortably rustic accommodation before tucking into dinner. (B,D)

DAY 4 MIDI-PYRÉNÉES – CATHARE COUNTRY – CARCASSONNE

On the trail of knights, we continue our own crusade through the Midi-Pyrénées and its picture-perfect Bastides. Onwards through Cathar country, we reach a sociable hour for a glass of wine with a local producer of this region’s speciality – a sparkling Blanquette. Fully refreshed, our final stop of the day is Carcassonne. (B,D)

DAY 5 CARCASSONNE

Today is free to discover Carcassonne chivalric secrets at your own pace. (B) 
 

DAY 6 CARCASSONNE – ALBI – SARLAT

A small town that’s big on charm, historic Albi is this morning’s first stop with an included visit to the cathedral and town museum. By the time we get to Sarlat and check in to our hotel for the night, we’ll have entered the Dordogne region. (B)

DAY 7 SARLAT – BEYNAC-ET-CAZENAC – SARLAT

The itinerary today includes a stroll through stunning Sarlat and a delightful visit to the riverside town of Beynac-et-Cazenac and its châteaux. Returning back to Sarlat, enjoy the night at your own pace. (B)

DAY 8 SARLAT – VÉZÈRE VALLEY – SARLAT

Our travels across the area take in the prehistoric painted Lascaux Caves and the pretty Les Eyzies village, curled up in the heart of the Vezere Valley. The route we take follows the ‘Royal Road’, winding between craggy rocks and flowing river until we get to a local truffle farm. Local guides will give us an exclusive lesson in seeking out these rare delicacies. That brings us to Sarlat to enjoy our last meal together. (B,D)

DAY 9 SARLAT – SAINT- ÉMILION – BORDEAUX

This is the epicentre of Bordeaux’s world-renowned ‘heavy reds’ and our chance to sample some of the region’s best wines – saying a final “santé” before it’s back to Bordeaux. We make time for Saint-Émilion before we end in Bordeaux  (B)

The tour finishes at 5:30pm 


 

INCLUSIONS

  • 8 nights in boutique accommodation
  • Experienced Back-Roads Driver/Tour Leader
  • Premium mini-coach transportation 
  • European breakfast daily (B), 4 evening meals (D) 
  • 2 wine tastings
  • Oyster tasting 
  • Truffle farm experience 
  • Entrance included to: Albi Cathedral, Lascaux Caves and Château de Beynac.

Provence and Fench Riviera

Reference: BRT-PRF18

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, AVIGNON , CANNES & ARLES

  • 9 Day small group back road tour
  • 15 Passengers maximum 
  • Cost per person Early-bird Deal A$4,175 Twin-share
Enquire Now

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, AVIGNON , CANNES & ARLES

The lavender-carpeted fields of Provence. The staggering sight of Gorges du Verdon. The movie star looks of Cannes. The French Riviera has it all, and on this tour we’ll soak up its history, glamour and natural beauty.


THE DIFFERENCE  
  • Take the back roads from the elegant resort of Cannes to quaint towns such as Saint-Rémy-de Provence 
  • Have a Provençal lunch and accompanying wines in a private vineyard 
  • Visit the Roman theatre of Orange 

ITINERARY

DAY 1 NICE – ANTIBES – VENCE

The French Riviera has it all, and on this tour we’ll soak up its history, glamour and natural beauty. Our first stop: Antibes to view the old port. Then, we swap Antibes for Vence, with its colourful canvas of medieval streets and market stalls. (D)

DAY 2 VENCE – CANNES – GRASSE – VENCE

This morning we make our way to the sublime village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Then it’s time to channel your inner film star as we arrive in Cannes – famous for its glamorous festival, glitzy hotels and utterly chic boutiques. Wooing us away from the shoreline is Grasse, a hillside town north of Cannes that’s famous for creating world-class perfumes. Here, we’ll make a stop at the Fragonard Museum to treat our senses to some beautiful perfumes, before rounding off the day in Vence with a guided tour of the light-filled The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence. (B)

DAY 3 VENCE – AIX-EN-PROVENCE

Dotted with gravity-defying mountain villages and reach-for-your-camera scenery, we travel to Aix-en-Provence. When we reach the town of Aix, we dive into a network of narrow streets lined with spectacular architecture and centuries-old monuments. We even get time to pay a visit to Hôtel de Caumont, an elegant château filled with history and beauty. (B)

DAY 4 AIX-EN-PROVENCE – THE LUBERON – SAINT-RÉMY-DE-PROVENCE

After a delicious breakfast, we head off to Saint-Rémy-de Provence with a small detour via the Gordes, pausing in picturesque villages throughout the day. (B,D) 

DAY 5 SAINT-RÉMY-DE PROVENCE – ORANGE – SAINTE-CÉCILE-LES-VIGNES – SAINT-RÉMY-DE-PROVENCE

Our first stop today is the magnificent Roman Theatre in Orange. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is extraordinarily well preserved, especially its striking arch. By this point, we’ll be ready for a flavour of this area’s culinary heritage too. So we make our way to Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes where a private vineyard, delicious wines and a Provençal lunch await. (B,L)

DAY 6 SAINT-RÉMY-DE PROVENCE – AVIGNON – PONT DU GARD – ARLES

Roman engineering. Catholic architecture. It must mean we’re en route to Avignon. We pay a visit to the iconic Pont du Gard, an impressive two-tiered Roman aqueduct that carries us on a journey back in time. Onwards to Avignon to visit the Palace of the Popes, which towers over the historic centre. By the time we reach Arles, in the heart of the Camargue region, we’ll be ready for a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

DAY 7 ARLES

Whatever you feel like doing in Arles, the whole day is at your disposal. There are thousands of years of history and culture to uncover here. (B)

DAY 8 ARLES – LES BAUX-DE PROVENCE – GORGES DU VERDON

We make for the mountains today and venture into the ‘Little Alps’. First up, is the Huguenot stronghold of Les Baux-de Provence where we marvel at the extraordinary Carrières de Lumières and continue to Valensole for an aromatic lavender experience. Finally, we arrive at the sensational Gorges du Verdon – for many, the jewel in this region’s crown. It’s so spectacular that we stay in the area overnight to truly appreciate it, and settle down to a final dinner together. (B,D)

DAY 9 GORGES DU VERDON – CASTELLANE – NICE

Our tour’s last stop sees us in the cobbles of Castellane. Look out for the dazzlingly high Chapelle Notre-Dame du Roc. After that, we return to Nice where we bid one another “au revoir”. (B)


INCLUSIONS
  • 8 nights in boutique accommodation 
  • Experienced Back-Roads Tour Leader/Driver
  • Premium mini-coach transportation 
  • Daily European breakfast (B), 1 provencal lunch with wine tasting (L), 4 evening meals (D)
  • Visit to a local pottery manufacturer
  • Entrances included: Fragonard Museum, The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, Hôtel de Caumont, Sénanque Abbey, lavender museum, Roman Theatre of Orange, Pont du Gard, Palace of Popes and Pont Bénezet, Carrières des Lumières.  

WW1 Battlefileds

Reference: BRT-BFW18

THE SOMME, VIMY RIDGE & YPRES

  • 5 Day tour
  • 15 passengers maximum
  • Cost per person Early Bird Deal from A$1,169 Twin Share

THE SOMME, VIMY RIDGE & YPRES

 


This introductory tour allows visitors to see the major areas of British and Commonwealth involvement across the Western Front. Most importantly, the tour offers flexibility to ensure that visitors from all countries will see the memorials to their country’s fallen, as well as gaining a greater understanding of the overall conduct and strategy of the war.


THE DIFFERENCE 

  • Take time to pay your respects at relatives’ graves
  • Tour Vimy Ridge trenches and tunnels
  • Hear the Last Post at Ypres

ITINERARY

DAY 1 LILLE

Arrive in Lille then meet your Tour Leader for an included welcome dinner. Over the following days, we will visit the major areas of British and Commonwealth involvement across the Western Front including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India together with America. With a unique opportunity to see the memorials to each country’s fallen as well as gaining a greater understanding of the overall conduct and strategy of the war, this guided tour offers an unforgettable experience. (D) 

DAY 2 LILLE – THE SOMME – AMIENS

We commence our first day by exploring the region of the Somme. Synonymous with great losses on the first day of battle, 1st July 1916, we will visit Newfoundland Memorial Park, where the original trench lines have been preserved, the Ulster Tower and Pozières. We will complete our first day at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme before heading to Amiens for our overnight stay. After an insightful and history-fuelled day, rest easy tonight and enjoy time at your own leisure. (B)

DAY 3 AMIENS – VILLERS-BRETONNEUX – YPRES

We leave Amiens and travel to the Australian National War Memorial & Cemetery  at Villers-Bretonneux. Later, we make time to visit the Canadian Memorial Park on Vimy Ridge before we reach Ypres. (B)

DAY 4 YPRES – YPRES SALIENT – MENIN GATE – YPRES

The beautiful city of Ypres was totally destroyed during the war, and sits in the epicentre of British endeavours during four long years of conflict. There is much to see around Ypres, including John McCrae’s Dressing Station at Essex Farm Cemetery, the German Cemetery at Langemarck, Vancouver Corner and the Hooge Crater trenches museum. As a fitting end to the day, you will be invited to attend the daily playing of the Last Post under the Menin Gate Memorial. (B,D)

DAY 5 YPRES – FROMELLES – LILLE

After breakfast today, it’s time to prepare for a full day ahead. We spend today exploring Hill 60 and the area around Fromelles, Pheasant Wood Cemetery, VC Corner and the Australian Memorial Park. We visit the recent exhibition to commemorate the finding of 250 previously unknown set of remains in 2009 and their now marked burial place at Pheasant Wood Cemetery. Later, we end in Lille and say farewell to the group. (B)


INCLUSIONS

  • 4 nights in boutique accommodation
  • Experienced Back-Roads Tour Leader/Driver
  • Premium mini-coach transportation
  • Daily European-style breakfasts (B), 2 evening meals (D)
  • Entrance included to: Ulster Tower Memorial & Visitor Centre, Canadian Memorial Park, Newfoundland Park, Memorial to the Missing, Victoria School & Adelaide Cemetery, John McCrae's Dressing Station at Essex Farm, German Cemetery at Langemarck, Vancouver Corner, Commonwealth Cemetery, Last Post Ceremony, Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial
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