Paris
Paris
13°
14°
Sat
14°
Sun
14°
Mon
15°
Tue
18°
Wed
    • :
    • :
  • Mel
    Mel
    19°
    13°
    Sat
    14°
    Sun
    16°
    Mon
    17°
    Tue
    23°
    Wed
    29°
    Thu
    • :
    • :
  • Syd
    Syd
    24°
    23°
    Sat
    19°
    Sun
    20°
    Mon
    22°
    Tue
    23°
    Wed
    29°
    Thu
    • :
    • :
  • #SFSC News

    SFSC’S ULTIMATE ROADTRIP

    10 September 2019

    The ultimate French road trip for food lovers (which you can win!)

    There’s nothing quite like the go-at-your-own-pace freedom of a road trip. At SFSC, we live for discovery, freedom and curiosity – it’s why every year, in partnership with our friends at Renault, we give away a 10-day road trip to France to one lucky duo.

    Curious? Find out how to enter here

     

    Below, we take you through our road trip (our biggest one yet!) in detail, as a guide to some of our favourite stops in the French countryside. All the tours here were designed especially for our lucky Francophiles with some help from our friends at Entire Travel Group (and include transfers so you can enjoy some wine between your own drives) as well as our favourite places to stay. Special merci to So Frenchy So Chic travel agent JP Boutefeu who supply the airfares.

     

    Start planning, add to your #FrenchyBlackBook and stay tuned to our social media (@sofrench.sochic on Instagram and Facebook) for more must-visits. And scroll down to the bottom of the page to view our Road Trip To France prize in detail.

     

    Paris

    The city of love, art, style and passion truly needs no introduction. There’s a reason it is one of the most visited places by Australians and visitors from around the world. Here is where your road trip will start. After landing, make your way to the bohemian Montparnasse and head for the Hotel Le Littré, a hotel specially selected by us for its central location.

     

    Before your journey beyond Paris over the coming days, take some time to explore the historic surrounds. Revel in the beauty and romanticism by wandering through the divine Jardin du Luxembourg, or stroll to the lively Latin Quarter, also nearby.

     

    If you don’t want to wander too far, Montparnasse and the surrounding area is home to many must-sees, from the skeletons of Les Catacombes to the chic Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain – not to mention the magnificent Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the iconic Café de Flore. The choice is yours. This is a wonderful chance to get lost in the laneways and tiny stores, dine in the bistros and soak up one of the richest parts of Paris, once loved by authors and thinkers like Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre.

    Stay: Hotel Le Littre, Paris

     

    Champagne

    The home of champagne awaits on the first stop of your road trip, with two nights at the elegant Hotel de la Paix. Lavish in a full-day tour of some of the most iconic producers of this finest of luxuries. There is also the exquisite gothic architecture loved by kings, queens and artists in both Reims and Epernay. What can you expect to experience here? Heaven.

    Our ‘Bubbles Tour’ starts in Reims, at one of the last Grandes Maisons de Champagne to still be independent and family-owned; Tattinger. Spanning 288 hectares, this Grande Maison has a trove of millions of bottles in its cellars. The subterranean stash is housed in what remains of the 13th century Benedictine abbey of St Nicaise and old chalk quarries dating from the 4th century – which are also listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Here, your tastebuds will get their first drop of the delights of Champagne.

     

    A drive through the streets of Reims will pass other famous champagne houses as you reach some of its most beautiful monuments: La Place Royale, the city hall, Place du Forum and the magnificent cathedral. UNESCO-listed, the 13th century Notre-Dame de Reims is one of Europe’s most important Gothic structures. It is here that King Clovis was baptized around year 498, giving birth to the Kingdom of the Franks and starting a long-lasting tradition: except two, all of the Kings of France would be crowned here.

     

    As you make your way to Epernay, you will pass through the Marne Valley. Make sure you stop by one vineyard to meet a very special figure of the area: Dom Pérignon. Now buried in the church of the former Benedictine abbey of Hautvillers, Pérignon is famed for finalising the process to elaborate champagne and highly contributed to the revered beverage as we know it today.

     

    Epernay is known worldwide as the ‘capital of champagne’ and its stunning main street is an exhibition of opulent mansions housing the most illustrious Maisons de Champagne; Laurent Perrier Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouet, Mercier, to name a few. Here, dine at one of the many bistros for lunch, wander through the streets and indulge.

     

    Stay: Hotel de la Paix, Reims

     

    The historic Loire Valley

     

    Calling all foodies and history lovers! The Loire Valley, magnificent home of kings, queens and nobles is next. Located in the middle stretch of the fertile Loire River, this beautiful area in central France is one of the most opulent in both gastronomy and style. With two nights at the stunning Hotel Choiseul, Amboise, and some very special tours of the area’s architecture, wine and history  – there are plenty of ways to let your curiosity run wild.

     

    Our bespoke ‘The Greatest Day’ tour kicks off at the Château de Chenonceau, beautifully spanning the River Cher, a tributary of the Loire. This is most exquisite château in the area, thanks to its unique architectural mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance. Nicknamed the “Ladies’ Château”, Chenonceau is linked to many stories around important women of French history, such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Its magnificent Renaissance gardens make it even more spectacular, and aside from the Royal Palace of Versailles, it is the most visited château in France!

     

    Then, head to Amboise for lunch at one of the many, many delicious local restaurants. Or, if you prefer, why not enjoy a platter of cheeses and charcuterie and a divine dessert at Les Caves Duhard, our next destination? Founded in 1874, and specialising in vintages from the Loire Valley, here you will be able to experience a journey of the senses, with an informative tour and wine tasting with a sommelier.

     

    After lunch, something special awaits: the breathtaking Estate de Chambord. Located on a national game reserve as large as inner Paris, the château de Chambord is one of the most photographed and recognisable châteaux in the world. A beautiful example of French Renaissance architecture, it blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was commissioned by King Francis I. It’s said, but remains unconfirmed, that Leonardo da Vinci designed its magnificent double staircase. Two spirals ascend three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above at the highest point of the château. Here, a guided tour will take you through the incredible history of this monument and its gardens.

     

    Stay: Hotel Choiseul, Amboise

     

    Burgundy

    Burgundy is one of the premier destinations for gastronomic culture in the world. After driving here in our Renault, passing rolling green hills dotted with flowers, vegetables, vineyards and mustard fields and scattered with tiny medieval villages, this is our roadtrip’s final destination before heading back to Paris. Here, staying at the luxurious 5-star Hotel le Cep in Beaune, you can completely indulge and get lost in your senses.

     

    Our ‘Divine day tour’ has been specially crafted for wine lovers, and will pair you up with a local expert on Burgundy wines, gastronomy and history. After tasting a minimum of 10 wines, you will be dropped back to your hotel with a new taste, knowledge and lust for Burgundy wines (and perhaps a heavier suitcase!).

     

    The tour will start with a scenic drive through the beautiful villages of Côte de Beaune: Pommard, Volnay, and Meursault, and along the Route des Grands Crus, via Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. Then there will be some sightseeing of the famous vineyards of Bâtard-Montrachet, Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet.  At all these destinations, a guide will take you thought what makes this French passion so special – What is the difference between the appellations ‘Village, Premier Cru’ and ‘Grand Crus’? You’ll soon find out.

     

    This very special tour will also land you at a private estate in the heart of Beaune. With the owner, you will taste white wines such as Saint-Aubin, Meursault Premier Cru ‘Les Charmes’ or the famous Grand Cru Corton – Charlemagne. And no doubt, they will recommend the best local place to dine for lunch between your vineyard stops.

     

    The afternoon will take you along Route des Grands Crus and to one of the most prestigious names in Burgundy, the famous Romanée-Conti, which produces the most expensive wine in the world.

     

    Finally, as the sun begins to make its way down, a guided tour of the Château du Clos de Vougeot will round the day out with a beautiful taste of wine history. Founded in 1098 by the monks of the abbey of Cîteaux, the vineyard of the Clos de Vougeot represents more than 50 hectares of vines owned today by more than 80 different owners. Its wine is one of the most famous Grands crus of Burgundy. Today, the chateau welcomes the different “chapitres” (dinners) of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (the Brotherhood of the Knights of Tastevin). This, say the locals, is the spirit and heart of French culture.

     

    Stay: Hotel le Cep, Beaune

     

    Finally, as you drive back to Paris, you’ll return with memories of charming vineyards, orchards and villages; freedom and joie de vivre to treasure forever and the spirit and taste of French culture on your tastebuds.

     

    WIN THIS ROAD TRIP

    This year, SFSC’s Roadtrip to France prize is our biggest yet, and includes:

    20 hours of French classes at Alliance Francaise

    Return airfares for two to France (courtesy of JP Boutefeu, SFSC’s preferred travel agent),

    Two nights in Paris at Hotel Le Littre

    Two nights in Champagne at Hotel de la Paix

    A full day “Bubbles Day” tour of Champagne, courtesy of Tempo Holidays (including transfers)

    Two nights in Loire Valley at Hotel Choiseul, Amboise

    A full day “Greatest Day” tour of Loire Valley, courtesy of Tempo Holidays (including transfers)

    Two nights in Burgundy at Hotel le Cep, Beaune

    A full day “Divine Day” tour of Burgundy, courtesy of Tempo Holidays (including transfers)

    One final night in Paris, at Hotel Le Littre

    Renault car hire.

     

    ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN ROADTRIP TO FRANCE HERE