Start with a couple of nights in sophisticaled Bordeaux, on your last day, pick up your rent a car and proceed to your chateau or inn of choice in the Cognac Wine Region.
COGNAC WINE REGION
Poitou-Charentes (as the region is called) is a sunny and serene land of green meadowlands, sandy beaches, pine forests, romantic marshlands and Romanesque churches overlooking a luminous landscape of cognac vineyards.
Cognac is a medieval town with narrow medieval cobbled streets and elegant Renaissance facades. It is here that the fabled nectar has been brewed since the 17" century and air one breathes is permeated by the heavy scent of spirits evaporating from oak casks held in storage: this aroma is referred to as the "angel`s share'. World famous firms such as Camus, Hennessy, Niartell, Otard, Prince Hubert de Polignac, Remy-Martin, Courvoisier, and Renault-Bisquit are located here; each distillery has its own secret and unique process for mixing the various blends of its eaux-de-vie.
La Rochelle is most famous for its old harbor and its three outstanding medieval towers, it's also a haven of style, good times and lively quayside cafes. The vibrant lifestyle attracts an international set and there are trendy bars and excellent restaurants aplenty.
Angouleme sits crowning a hill with a superb view of the valley, the city is surrounded by medieval ramparts. The Cathedral of St-Pierre is a fine example of Romanesque architecture.
Ile de Re is linked to the mainland by a toll bridge. Whitewashed houses with green shutters, narrow little streets bordered with bright hollyhocks, long fine sandy beaches, colored church spires rising from villages and harbors, salt pans that form as patchwork of watery fields, make the island a paradise for holidaymakers and a haven for cyclists.
Poitiers, one of France?s oldest cities, is set on a majestic hilltop. It is filled with history and tales of antiquity; whether it be Joan of Arc, Richard the Lionhearted or Eleanor of Aquitaine. There is a trove of Romanesque art and architecture, museums, a 4th century Baptistery (one of the oldest Christian edifices in France) as well as the entirely renovated Romanesque church of Notre-Dame-La-Grande.
Saintes is a 2,000 year old town that was once the Roman capital of southwestern France. The presence of one of the oldest remaining amphitheaters as well as Roman baths attests to this. Between visits to the cathedral of St-Pierre and the church of St-Eutrope, be sure to stroll through the wonderful medieval city of narrow streets and markets.
Futuroscope (located just 5 miles from Poitiers) is a science amusement park offering a voyage into a wonderland of new technology devoted to the moving image. With the most advanced film projection techniques, the world's largest screens and a multitude of mind boggling activities to choose from.
After your stay in the Cognac Wine Region, continue to the Loire Valley and a stay at another one-of-a-kind chateau or inn.
THE CASTLES OF THE LOIRE
In the very heart of France, the Loire Valley marvelously combines fantastic architecture and natural heritage. The region is unspoiled and exceptional with its rich historic past. Formerly very popular with the French Royalty, Val de Loire is renowned for sumptuous castles and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Loire Castles, all compete with each other for their beauty and their elegance. Magnificent parks and gardens, and also unspoiled nature, offering a series of rivers, forests and lakes makes this region de Garden of France.
Heading from east to west, the most popular and visited chateaux in the region include:
There are also several classified `Most Beautiful villages of France'`dotted around the Loire countryside to discover and explore.
These include Lavardin; Candes-Saint-Martin (6 miles SE of Saumur); Apremont-sur-Allier (9 miles SW of Nevers); Montresor (12 miles E of Loches); St-Benoit-du-Sault (12 miles SW of Argenton-sur-Creuse); Gargilesse-Dampierre (6 miles SE of Argenton-sur-Creuse) and Crissay-sur-Manse (18 miles SW of Tours)Then proceed to Paris for your last nights in the `City of Lights`
Bordeaux - Cognac - Loire - Paris
Start with a visit to Bordeaux, on your last day, pick up your car and proceed for a stay at one of the charming chateaux or inns in the Cognac Wine Region, the process to the Loire Valley for another stay at a chateaux or inn and finally end with a couple of nights in Paris.
Price history for this itinerary (past 14 days):
From Chicago Ohare Intl, IL for 8 nights
$2,225 * incl.tax
Paris and the Castles of the Loire Valley; Loire Valley - Burgundy and Nice; Paris - Loire - Burgundy - Champagne; more >>
Bordeaux (14) France (289) Paris (259)
Recomended for 8 to 12+ nights.
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