France: Bordeaux to Burgundy, with the Dordogne and Lyon; plus Optional Paris - SOLD OUT - WAIT LIST, May 14 to 29, 2019
Join us for a fascinating journey across the very best of France. We start in the wine country of Bordeaux. Next, we dedicate several days to one of France’s best-kept secrets, the Dordogne region, which is often characterized as “a cross between a fairy tale and a movie set,” before ending up in Burgundy, considered the culinary heart of France. Our itinerary will be timed to coincide with the final days of the performing arts season in Bordeaux, Lyon, and Dijon, offering three operas, a symphony concert, and an early music program featuring one of Europe's finest choral/instrumental ensembles. All along the way we’ll explore historic, artistic, culinary, as well as musical delights true to the essence of Dean Dalton Tours.
Following a full two-week program (three days each in Bordeaux, the Dordogne, and Lyon, plus four days in Burgundy) packed with visits, wine-tastings, fabulous dining, and music, you will have the option of returning to Houston or continuing with us to Paris for a relatively unstructured 3 to 5-day extension, enjoying a variety of exciting musical offerings and following your own lead. Whether you know Paris well or this is your first time, we are happy to facilitate your visit.

This tour is limited to 22 participants; space will be allotted according to the order in which deposits are received.



Basic two-week tour
sharing a double: $5,495
single occupancy: $6,595

3 to 5-day Paris extension
sharing: $675 to $1,175
single: $1,110 to $1,965

Note: Extension prices include only hotel accommodations, with breakfast, plus transfer to the airport for departure, discounted by the cost of the included night at the airport hotel that you won't be using.

In most hotels,
singles will occupy a double room

Prices are stated in
U.S. Dollars
based on an exchange rate of
$1.20 to the Euro.

Prices include:

Accommodation in the following four-star hotels:

Hotel de Sèze
in Bordeaux, 3 nights

Hotel Plaza Madeleine
in Sarlat (Dordogne), 3 nights

Okko Pont Lafayette
in Lyon, 3 nights

Mercure Centre Clémenceau
Dijon (Burgundy), 4 nights

Oceania Roissy

1 night at the Paris Airport,
to facilitate your departure
  Hotel Bachaumont
3 to 5 nights optional in Paris
(one replacing the airport night)

Breakfast each day

Lunch or dinner ten days

 At least four wine tastings

Gastronomic tours and tastings

Airport transfers included for those traveling on the suggested flights or at about the same time

Ground transport by
private coach

 Four performances

 Tours with expert guides
as described at the right

Suggested Flights:

Outbound via Air France or KLM 
Departing Houston May 14,
one stop, arriving Bordeaux
May 15 at about 11:00 AM

Return from Paris
non-stop on Air France

(whether booked through
AF, KLM or Delta)

Arriving Houston early afternoon

If there is sufficient interest,
we will explore the potential
for a Group Air Package

Advantages of Group Air:

♦Best available prices
♦Prices locked in
♦Advance payment
not required
♦In case of delay or cancellation,
the group is usually rebooked together

If you wish to participate
in group air arrangements,
we need to know
as soon as possible.

You may be take advantage of group rates, even if you wish to return to Houston at a later date than the group or the extension.

We recommend against
making non-refundable
flight reservations
until we confirm that we have enough people to guarantee
that the tour will operate.

You may make a tentative reservation by submitting the online form, accessed via
the button below.

We will then send you the
official reservation form;
your place on the tour
will be guaranteed
when we receive that form,
along with your deposit.


BORDEAUX AND SURROUNDINGS (May 15-18): The city of Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, abounding in art and history: our tour through Old Bordeaux will open your eyes to the beauty of St. Andrew Cathedral, the four city gates, the Garonne riverfront, the elegant Place des Quinconces, and the Grand Théâtre, one of the last 18th-century theaters remaining in the world, where we will attend a recital by French baritone Marc Mauillon.  We will stay at a centrally located hotel, close to both the Grand Théâtre and L’Auditorium, where we will attend the opening night of Wagner’s Die Walküre. A day is free to explore the city on your own. You may want to visit The Fine Arts Museum, re-opened after several years of in-depth renovation: set in the gardens of the splendid baroque Palais Rohan, it contains work by some of Europe’s greatest painters (Rubens, Titian, Hals, Brueghel, Van Dyck, Delacroix, Seurat, Matisse, Renoir, Kokoschka, etc.) as well as works by all major Bordeaux artists such as André Lhote, Albert Marquet, and Odilon Redon.
Bordeaux is the oldest and largest wine-growing region in France. The appellation covers more than 300,000 acres and hosts some 10,000 producers. A day-trip will take us to the Médoc region, where some of the most famous Bordeaux wine châteaux (Latour, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild) rise amid the featureless flatlands like “ancien régime seigneurs.” We will enjoy several château winery tours, including a special “art and vine” tour offering an innovative blend of contemporary art and fine wines.
On our way to Dordogne, we will stop in St. Emilion, one of the most beautiful and historic villages in France, situated on the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela. The 11th-century monolithic cathedral in St. Emilion is a church literally carved out of a limestone rock, and is the largest underground church in Europe.
DORDOGNE (May 18-21): En route to Sarlat-la-Canéda, the ideal spot in the heart of the Black Périgord from which to explore the picturesque Dordogne, we will visit Grotte de Rouffignac. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Rouffignac Cave is one of the largest cave systems in the world with more than 5 miles of passageways, containing over 250 original engravings and paintings of mammoths, horses, bisons, woolly rhinos, and ibex (mountain goats), all works of the Cro-Magnon. We will explore the cave system via an electric train, allowing us to stop at various points to get off and admire the cave art, up close.
Our guide in the Dordogne is a native of the Périgord and an expert in pre-historic art and medieval architecture; he has just completed a book on the artistic patrimony of the area. The region is known for its unforgettably charming stone villages, ten of which are on the list of the “152 most beautiful villages of France” (more than any other department in France!). We will visit several, including Domme, Loubressac, Carennac, and La Roque Gageac (where we will take a cruise on traditional flat-bottomed boats called gabares). Sarlat-la-Canéda, once a rich medieval merchant town, also boasts Renaissance and 17th-century architecture. The surrounding countryside is dotted with dozens of stunning medieval castles: Beynac, Castelnaud, Marqueyssac and Les Milandes, among others. Rocamadour, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built on the face of a sheer 400-foot cliff, is one of the most dramatic pilgrimage sites in Europe, with an extraordinary 13th-century chapel complex. According to legend, St. Amadour, a witness to the martyrdom of St. Paul and St. Peter, became a hermit there. The chapel contains a Black Madonna and a 233-step Great Staircase (modern-day pilgrims can take an escalator to the top). The gardens of Marqueysssac, designed by a student of André Le Notre (creator of the gardens at Versailles), is a "crazy" formal French-style garden: a befitting description given the mass of swirls, whorls and rounds of the box hedges, creating a dynamism not often seen in this type of gardening.
Dordogne is also world-renowned for its foie gras, truffles, walnuts, duck confit, cabécou (soft goat cheese) and vin de noix (walnut aperitif), and is close enough to Bordeaux to receive the finest wines straight from the vintners’ cellars.  The hearty local cuisine and the exceptional culinary creations of famous restaurants will make every meal memorable.
LYON (May 21-24): En route to Lyon, we stop at Clermond Ferrand, whose Cathedral Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, constructed from dark volcanic stone, is considered one of the great Gothic cathedrals of central France. Another important church is the 12th-century Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Port, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which was a stop on the medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Lyon is France’s capital of gastronomy, silk, and ancient capital of the Gauls. A stroll around the Renaissance district of Old Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, will acquaint us with the “traboules,” the narrow, cobbled passageways used by silk manufacturers and other merchants to transport their products, which have been credited with helping prevent the occupying Nazis from taking complete control of these areas during World War II. We will include a visit to the impressive Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist with its famous Astronomical Clock. We will also explore Lyon’s Halles de Paul Bocuse, a famed indoor food market offering the very finest produce available anywhere, bringing together the crème de la crème of the region's artisan cheese-makers, delicatessen butchers, bakers, fishmongers, pastry chefs, and more. An afternoon is free-to-do-as-you-please: you may want to explore the Confluence district, Lyon’s futuristic showcase, or wander around the Carré d’Or (Golden Mile) shopping district.
In Lyon, you will see two performances, with a choice to make. One night, we all attend George Benjamin's Love and Violence, an opera with libretto by Martin Crimp. Based on the story of King Edward II and Piers Gaveston, it was premiered to great acclaim in May 2018 at the Royal Opera House, London. Another evening offers the choice of Coronation Music for Louis XIV, performed in an era-appropriate setting, the Chapelle de la Trinite, by one of Europe’s finest period vocal ensembles, Correspondances, accompanied by original instruments; OR a concert by the Orchestre National de Lyon, conducted by Leonard Slatkin and featuring Renaud Capuçon in the Brahms Violin Concerto; also on the program, music by Copland and Saariaho.
BURGUNDY (May 24 to 28): On our way to Dijon, we visit the 17th-century Château de Cormatin, one of the most beautiful in Burgundy, showcasing the great success and wealth of nobleman Antoine du Blé. Furnished in the style of King Louis XIII, its renowned “Gilded Rooms” are painted, carved, and decorated with gold leaf from floor to ceiling. The gardens are as magnificent as the beautifully decorated and furnished palace. After lunch in a lovely hamlet nearby, we will drive the short distance to Brancion, the most authentic of the medieval villages in Burgundy. You will be at your leisure to explore this lovely hilltop town, from its castle to the little Romanesque church with exquisite 14th-century frescoes. At the top of the village there is a magnificent panorama over the area.  Before we get to Dijon, we stop at a family-owned (7th generation) wine growing estate in the Côte d’Or region.
Former capital of the mighty dukes of Burgundy and relatively undamaged in WW II, Dijon enchants with great historic buildings, from medieval churches to ducal palaces and “hôtels particuliers” (private mansions) built on a grand scale with splendid facades. A must is “Well of Moses" at the Charterhouse in Champmol: an extraordinary example of the splendors of medieval Burgundian sculpture. Dijon is also a great place to initiate ourselves into fine Burgundian cuisine; the walking tour in Old Town will give us the opportunity to taste the Truffle of Burgundy and various truffle-based products in the superb setting of a 15th-century cloth maker’s house; we are also planning for a lunch in a private mansion (hôtel particulier), prepared by the owner.
An all-day tour will take us south to Brochon to taste the famous Époisses De Bourgogne cheese; then we visit Clos de Vougeot, a historic Cistercian winery set in the heart of Burgundy’s Grand Cru Vineyards, and the world-famous Hospices in Beaune, a former charitable almshouse, one of the finest examples of French 15th-century architecture. The hospital for the poor now houses a museum of medical history, with a collection of around 5,000 items of furniture and objects, ranging from tapestries and paintings to sculptures and pharmacy pots. Among its treasures, is a large polyptych altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden. Commissioned to provide both comfort and warning to the dying, the Beaune Altarpiece (c. 1445–50), often called The Last Judgement, is one of the absolute masterpieces of the golden age of Flemish painting. After lunch, we visit a family-run mustard-manufacturing business, one of the last remaining in France. We’ll cap the day with a tasting of 6 emblematic wines at Maison Joseph Drouhin: this family has been making fine Burgundy wine for well over a century, and its cellar is one of the most magnificent in all of France.
A day is free for you to explore Dijon on your own; you may wish to take our optional day-trip to Fontenay Cistercian Abbey (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Flavigny-sur-Ozerain (one of the most beautiful villages in France, where Chocolat was shot), and Semur-en-Auxois (a stunning medieval town with pretty squares, mansions, and half-timbered houses).
We have secured tickets for a performance of Bizet’s Carmen in Dijon. The cast includes Antoinette Dennefeld in the title role, Geogy Vasiliev as Don José, with Elena Galitskaya as Micaela and David Bizik as Escamillo.
En route to Paris (May 28): As we make our way toward Paris (whether the airport or the city center), we stop at Vézelay, yet another of the "most beautiful villages of France," to see the Basilica of St. Madeleine, one of the country’s greatest Romanesque monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to have our final lunch together with the entire group.
From that point, you have two choices:
Go directly to Charles de Gaulle airport where you can relax at a very nice hotel that offers shuttle service to the nearby terminals, making your trip home tomorrow as easy as possible.
Continue to our hotel in the heart of Paris for three to five days – you tell us how long. We’ve arranged for rooms at the excellent hotel where we stayed in 2017. Centrally located, it’s within 15 minutes (whether walking or by public transit) of the Opéra Garnier, Louvre, Pompidou Center, or Théâtre du Châtelet, and just about 30 minutes from the Opéra Bastille, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, or new Philharmonic Hall. We’ll send you a list of “what’s on” in the many Paris opera houses and concert halls and get tickets for the events of your choice. If several of the group agree on an itinerary, we can set up special tours with Bernie, our great specialist on Paris history, art, and architecture; if not, we’ll help you find the best ad hoc tour to suit your interests.
Among the major performances already announced for our days in Paris:

May 28 – Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Sonya Yoncheva (the new Philharmonic Hall)
              – Monteverdi’s Orfeo (Théâtre des Champs Elysées)
May 29 – Puccini’s Tosca with Jonas Kaufmann and Martina Serafin (Opéra Bastille)
              – Handel’s Agrippina featuring Joyce DiDonato (Théâtre des Champs Elysées)
              – A solo recital by Pianist Murray Perahia (Philharmonic Hall)
May 30 – Mozart’s Magic Flute (Opéra Bastille)
June 1   – Puccini’s Tosca with Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros (Opéra Bastille)
              – Offenbach’s Maître Péronilla (Théâtre des Champs Elysées)

It is almost certain that other venues, including the Salle Pleyel, Châtelet, and Opéra Comique, as well as various churches and museums that offer concerts, will be announcing performances later on; we’ll let you know as events of interest appear.

Place Royale, Bordeaux
Place Royale, Bordeaux
Bordeaux Cathedral
Bordeaux Cathedral
Grand Théâtre, Bordeaux
Grand Théâtre, Bordeaux
Vineyards near St.Emilion
Vineyards near St.Emilion
Chateau Pinchon Longueville
Chateau Pinchon Longueville
Monolithic Church, St. Emilion
Monolithic Church, St. Emilion
Sarlat street
Sarlat street
Dordogne River Valley
Dordogne River Valley
Marqueyssac Garden
Marqueyssac Garden
Castelnaud as seen from our gabare
Castelnaud as seen from our gabare
Pastry shop, Lyon
Pastry shop, Lyon
Chateau de Cormatin
Chateau de Cormatin
Well of Moses
Well of Moses
Ducal Palace Dijon
Ducal Palace Dijon
Foie Gras
Foie Gras
Clos de Vougeot
Clos de Vougeot
Vezelay Abbey
Vezelay Abbey
deandaltontours  | 2011
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