This 10 night trip will take you on a magical tour through Europe’s cultural and gourmet heart, giving you a true Black Tomato insight into La Vie en Rose. Get your beauty sleep in some of the most luxurious boltholes in all of France, before embarking on our favourite expertly-guided adventures and experiences that will see you enjoying the very best of the country’s offerings. From the gothic grandeur of Paris’s Notre Dame, to the serene landing beaches of Normandy, to a breath-taking hot air balloon ride over the châteaux of The Loire Valley; enjoy the most priceless gems of our favourite European treasure trove.
The City of Lights
Touchdown in Paris where your driver awaits to transport you to your residence for the next three nights – the majestic Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal. Overlooking the Palais Royal Garden, you’re in the perfect location to get acquainted with the city sights. So soak up the Parisian chic of your luxury quarters and get some much needed shut eye – tomorrow will see you embarking on a full day tour of Paris’s best architecture, gardens, and culture with your private guide. From the world-famous art of the Musée du Louvre to the vibrant lights of the Moulin Rouge; you’ll feel like you haven’t left a single cobbled stone unturned. Be sure to take a well earned lunch break at our favourite Parisian brasserie, Café Marly. The finest spot in Paris to admire Ieoh Ming Pei’s famous glass pyramid, their croque-monsieur is easily the best we’ve ever eaten.Read more
Rise refreshed the following morning as you head to the intricately landscaped gardens and mirrored halls of the Château de Versailles. Walk in the footsteps of King Louis the XVI and the infamous Marie Antoinette as you breathe in the history of France’s most celebrated palace. We feel it’s time for Paris’s famed cuisine to take the driver’s seat, so this afternoon embark on a food tour that will see you enjoying some of the world’s crunchiest baguettes and creamiest cheeses.
Step back in time
Historic Normandy is your next port of call, and a private transfer from Paris will take you to the birthplace of the Impressionist art movement – Claude Monet’s home in picturesque Giverney. His stunning art immortalised the town’s lush flower gardens and the water lilies on his private lake, and seeing them in person will leave you marvelling anew at the finesse of his art. After a relaxing lunch overlooking the gardens at Le Jardin des Plumes, your driver will take you to your home from a home for the next two nights, La Ferme Saint Siméon. This beautiful 17th Century Norman House boasts a panoramic Seine Estuary view, whose magical lights fascinated the masters of Impressionism just as they will you too.
A sombre and humbling experience, the next day will see you walking in the footsteps of the great soldiers of the D-day landings as you make a visit to Omaha Beach. Pay your respects to the fallen at The Normandy American Cemetery, the final resting place for 9,387 brave Americans, and Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the centre of the huge airborne operation that involved the dropping of 15 000 US paratroopers.
Gourmet indulgence on the West Coast
Your next stop is Bordeaux and the West Coast idyll of Ile de Re, home to some of the oldest and most prestigious vineyards you’ll ever see and justly acclaimed wine capital of the world. Stay for the next three nights at Villa Clarisse, an 18th Century mansion dedicated to luxurious relaxation whilst preserving the soul of the traditional houses that make up its island location – World Heritage Site Ile de Ré. Spend the next couple of days indulging in fine wine, strolling along the beaches of secluded Ile d’Oléron, or (a Black Tomato favourite) visiting the oyster village of Le Cap-Ferret to try your hand at shucking before snacking on fresh oysters from the surrounding seas.
Fairytale Living in the Loire
Your final destination calls, so let your driver transport you to the garden of France; a region famous for its mild climate, castles and vineyards. There is no better way to explore the rich Renaissance architecture of the Loire Valley than by air, so take to the skies in a hot air balloon tour that will see you breezing gently over the Châteaux of Clemonceau, Blois, and Chaumont – the region’s undulating hills and quietly flowing rivers providing the perfect backdrop. Continue the fairytale upon arrival at your hotel for the next two nights, Domaine de la Tortinière, where you can expect boutique luxury in a residence that reflects the great Loire châteaux traditions. Spend your final day enjoying the valley’s rustic culinary delights, starting with a local market tour. Here you will gather seasonal ingredients before learning how to prepare a delicious provincial meal in your guide’s countryside kitchen. Adequately stuffed, sit back and enjoy your glass of wine – the perfect moment to reflect on what has been a truly magical trip.