The Art & Wine of Languedoc/Roussillon (6 days)

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Fall means “wine” add art and you have a unique trip to France. The Art & Wine in Landuedoc/Roussillon is a rare opportunity to visit this often overlooked gem of a region “where grapes are grown by the sea” discovered by the likes of Matisse and Piccaso years ago. Medieval villages, local artistry and some of the best tasting wines from notable boutique vineyards all make for an unforgetable adventure. Stroll through the narrow cobblestoned streets of the historic old quarter of Pézenas, explore Faugères and Saint Chinian and visit 13th century castles. The Art & Wine of Landuedoc/Roussillon is your chance for a unique adventure off the beaten travel path!

October 1 – Montpellier
Arrive in Montpellier where you will be met at the airport and driven to Chateau de Lignan near Beziers. The Chateau was built in the 9th century on the banks of the river Orb. Its history as a fortress has been well preserved. The Chateau was the summer residence of the Bishop of Beziers in the 17th and 19th centuries. Today Chateau de Lignan has been fully refurbished with works of internationally known artists gracing the walls. After you settle in explore the grounds. In the adjacent park 300 year-old Lebanese cedars add a feeling of lushness. In the evening enjoy a Welcome/Orientation dinner given by Michael Donahue, your wine expert, who will be your escort for the next 5 days. Chateau de Lignan (5 nights)

October 2 –Pezenas/Domaine Alquier (Faugeres)/Saint Antonin
After breakfast, drive to Pezenas. Stroll through the narrow cobblestoned streets of the historic old quarter of Pézenas and walk back in time. The entire old town, one of the first in France to be protected by the state historic department, is rich with “hôtels particuliers” or period mansions which have wonderful wrought iron balconies, stone sculptures and ornate doorways. Located in the heart of the Coteaux du Languedoc vineyards, Pezenas is also rich with art. Enjoy visits to local art galleries and craft shops. Continue on to Domaine Alquier in Faugères. Alquier is one of the best-known names in Languedoc as is Faugères, a village known for its high quality wines. Taste their traditional lush smoky reds from Syrah, Mourvèdre and old Carignan & Grenache Faugeres is also known for its windmills. After lunch, enjoy a wine tasting at Saint Antonin vineyard located on 12 hectares. Taste traditionally made wines at their best. Return to Chateau, Beziers.

October 3 – Saint Chinian
Morning at leisure Drive to Saint Chinian vineyards which lay in coteaux, meaning that they cover one side of the hills, the ones facing at the sea. Saint Chinian is famous since the 14th century although the first vine was planted during the 9th century. Saint Chinian is usually more tannic than other Languedoc red wines except Faugères strong red wines. However some skillful wine makers manage to compensate with a delicate and full flavor wine. With the quality still improving, Saint Chinian is definitely an appellation to follow. Return to Chateau, Beziers.

October 4 – Roussillon/Clos des Paulilles/Collioure
Morning drive towards the Roussillon. Visit and tasting at the Clos des Paulilles followed by lunch at the domaine. After lunch, drive onward and explore Collioure. Once the most important port in Aragon, this quaint medieval village is dominated by the 13-century castle built by the Templars. Collioure was discovered in 1905 by Henri Matisse, and many other artists followed, including Picasso. But it was Matisse who was most inspired by the place and conducted his experiments in Fauvism. We visit the castle which also houses the modern art museum and Notre-Dame-des-Anges, the church often painted by Matisse and many others. Return to Chateau, Beziers..

October 5 –Corbieres Terroirs
Visit and tastings in the Corbieres terroir. Today, you will discover Corbieres and Minervois wines. Corbieres wine takes its name from the arid hills where it is produced, between Carcassonne, Beziers and Perpignan. It includes 11 areas and claims a large proportion of Carignan grapes. Most of the production yields a rich full bodied red wine, slightly spicy, with aromas of dark berries and thyme. Corbieres wine goes well with grilled red meat, game and goat’s cheese. Minervois wine comes from the rolling plain north east of Carcassonne, covering 45 villages such as Siran, Minerve and La Liviniere. Rich reds have pride of place but the dry white and fruity rosé are equally pleasant. Minervois wine can compliment almost any food but some experts recommend it especially with cold meats and Brie. The aroma is said to be of blackcurrant, violet and cinnamon. Farewell dinner at a private vineyard. Return to Chateau, Beziers.

October 6 – Depart Chateau/Montpellier
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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