We have amended our original tour because we discovered that there were very few vineyards large enough to take a group and their tastings facilities were miniscule as they are used to individuals rather than groups.
As a result, we have shortened the visit to Vezelay and added a Loire Valley element. Vezelay is an attractive hilltop town and starting point for one of the French Pilgrim’s Trails to Santiago de Compostela. Surrounded by hills and woodlands, it is a pleasant place to stay as many famous people have found in the past, including Winston Churchill. Our 3* Hotel de la Poste et Lion d’Or is an old building but renovated to modern standards with a fine reputation for cuisine. It has a lift.
The latter part of our visit is to the Loire Valley which needs no further introduction
Saturday - We pick up as indicated below and drive to Portsmouth to catch the 2015 ferry to St Malo. A 2-berth cabin is provided but upgrades are available.
Sunday - Our journey today takes us south eastwards via Rennes,La Mans and Orleans to Vezelay where we stay for three nights. Dinner at the hotel.
Monday – This morning sees us making a leisurely drive a few miles out of town to Domaine la Croix Montjoie for our first tasting. We return to Vezelay for sightseeing. In the afternoon we travel just outside the town to visit Cave Henri de Vezelay and after this tasting we return to the town for more sightseeing. Dinner at the hotel.
Tuesday - Today we drive to Chablis and our fist tasting will be at William Fevre which we have visited many times previously and after the tasting we’ll have a light lunch at the Bistro next door. There’s time for sightseeing before our next visit to La Chablisienne. We now return to Vezelay for dinner and overnight.
Wednesday - We leave Vezelay today and head westwards to visit Sancerre for a tasting at the prestigious Michel Redde. We now drive into Sancerre for sightseeing in this lovely small town. In the afternoon we resume our drive into the Loire Valley and our ultimate destination, Saumur and the Hotel Adagio where we stay for three nights. Dinner at the hotel tonight.
Thursday - Our first tasting today will be in town at the caves of Ackerman who make fine sparkling wines. We will have lunch on the premises after our tasting. Afterwards there will be a little time for sightseeing in the town and in the afternoon we will visit the Cave de Saumur. Rteurn to the hotel for a free evening.
Friday - Today we are off to Domaine des Vallettes at St Nicolas de Bourgeuil where at 1030 we have a tour and a tasting of their red wines made from Cabernet Franc. We now continue into the centre of Chinon for sightseeing and lunch at leisure. Henry II of England built his castle at Chinon, the centre of his French Empire and died here in 1189. Ten years later his son, Richard the Lionheart died in the old town at Hotel des États-Généraux on Rue Voltaire. In the early afternoon we visit another vineyard at 1400 for a tasting. We have dinner at the Hotel Adagio.
Saturday - We leave the hotel after breakfast and travel westwards to St Georges sur Layon where will visit and taste at Domaine du Guichoux at 1230.
Settle back as we now drive northwards and eventually into Normandy to Ouistreham where we have dinner at the Restaurant Le Normandie before boarding the ship for the 2300 sailing to Portsmouth.
(The cost includes; ferry with cabin on two crossings; coach and all road travel; three nights with dinner and wine at Vezelay; three nights with two dinners at Saumur and one lunch; dinner at Ouistreham; Tour Escort)
Single supplement - £195
4-berth for 2 - £80
4-berth outside cabin for 2 - £95 (per cabin,return)
Pick up points: Plymouth - Newton Abbot - Exeter - Bridport - Portsmouth.