Your voyage starts in the Basque region – specifically, San Sebastian off the north coast of Spain known as the city of gastronomy and is considered the Spanish epicenter of private culinary societies, exotic beaches, and rolling hills. It is here in this particular area one can really enjoy the different flavors of the epicurean adventure – seafood, cured meats, spices and superb wines from the Rioja region and visits to gourmet markets and shops. Looking to partake in a paella cooking course or attend culinary school complete with wine pairings? Or how about learning the art form of pouring cider in the Basque traditional customs? A trip to San Sebastian will provide all of this and more. Consider a day or overnight trip to Rioja (only two hours away from San Sebastian) where guests can indulge in castles, vineyards and Grand Reserve tastings of the most privileged wines in the world. For those who enjoy art, a day or overnight visit to Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim is another worthwhile venture.
Moving forward your next stop is in Biarritz, France along the Basque coastline known for its glamourous beaches, historic lighthouse, and eleven amazing golf courses with panoramic views of the ocean, thereby making it the ideal destination spot for avid golfers. A resort town nestled between mountains and the sea, visitors can indulge in other extreme water sports ranging from surfing to rafting. A cruise along the French Atlantic coast offers guests a trip to fishing ports and quaint villages such as Saint Jean du Luz. A visit to Lourdes – a religious pilgrimage to the Grotto is yet another wonderful day trip.
With Bordeaux merely two hours away by car, the next leg of your adventure awaits. Bordeaux was recently named the number one destination in Europe. Rich in history with many medieval UNESCO sites, vineyards jurisdictions such as Saint Emilion and Cussac-Fort-Medoc, and incredible food products such as foie gras, caviar, and oysters as well as prehistoric caves and its colorful engravings dating back more than 15,000 years ago, it’s no wonder this French region continues to hold such a dominant fascination for both visitors and locals alike. A land rich in castles from the Middle Ages enables one to enjoy a hike and indulge in a picnic along its grounds or perhaps the idea of renting a castle complete with a Michelin star chef can make one feel like a king!
Bordeaux is not ashamed to boast of its Michelin star restaurants such as Pierre Gagnaire’s hot new restaurant only fifteen minutes from the town center and award winning prestigious appellations. Visitors are invited to invent their own wine, create their own label and attend customized workshops and privileged visits to exceptional cellars and chateaus. Trips to Medoc, Margaux, Saint Emilion and Pauillac are a must. Past exceptional wine cellars and picturesque chateaus with award winning cuisine, cooking lessons with famous chefs, and truffle hunts, Aquitaine embraces many valleys to explore such as Dordogne where one can visit oyster farms and a walking trek through Sarlat as you visit truffle, nut oil, and foie gras markets and farms. It would be impossible to not mention a special visit to Saint Emilion – a medieval village perched on a hill with limestone cellars and cobblestone streets. This quaint and beautiful village is steeped in more than 2,000 years of history with underground galleries, monuments, and cloisters dating back to the 14th century. When not exploring the region by a torchlight night tour, consider playing golf at one of 50 amazing courses surrounded by historic ruins, UNESCO sites and lush farms and hills.
July – Jazz Festival
September – San Sebastian Film Festival
September – Winemaker Dinner
June – Bordeaux Wine Festival
September – Contemporary Art Fair