Day 1 | Arrival
Véronique, your host, guide and driver picks you up at Baraqueville or Rodez train station or, Rodez airport. After a very short drive and upon your arrival at your new home, take time to settle in. Unpack your luggage, relax and explore your home for 10 days. Get organized in your bedroom and its private en suite bathroom. At home, you will enjoy an apéritif followed by a gourmet meal with multiple local wines to taste if you wish to do so. Meals included: lunch, dinner and wines.
Day 2 | Aubrac Adventure
Breakfast then you'll spend a full day on the Aubrac plateau, tasting the local dish; "aligot-saucisses" with local wines. Be enchanted by the scenery and the authentic local life. Discover the history behind this local dish. Time for a short walk on the plateau. Drive back to Rodez and on the way be enchanted by postcard-like villages. Some barely changed over centuries. Have dinner with other local wines in a Rodez restaurant. A short drive and you're home again. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines.
Day 3 | Hunt for Chocolate
After breakfast, Véronique will drive you to discover a geological marvel, more amazing villages and a chocolate treasure. First stop will be at Bozouls. The village is perched on tall cliffs overlooking a tiny stream. You'll be impressed by a splendid cirque in the shape of a horsehoe, We'll stop at a viewpoint that might be enough to make you feel dizzy. As we'll stop there for lunch as well, you'll have the option to go for a Segway tour down to get a anotehr view. Lunch at a Bozouls restaurant with local wines. After lunch, we'll visit Espalion and Estaing, two marvelous medieval villages on the famous Way to Santiago de Compostela. Then we'll visit the Bonneval Chocolate Factory run by the nuns of the abbey since 1878. Their chocolate is absolutely unique, guaranteed with no preservatives, artificial flavors, dyes, vegetable fats but only pure cocoa butter! On our way back home, we'll stop in the village of St. Côme d'Olt, wander through the village and be amazed by another marvel. This time made by men. The church ahs a twisted spire, a real carpentry tour-de-force. Back home and a nice gourmet dinner with wines after a local apéritif, ratafia or a porto. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines.
Day 4 | The Best Market Around and Cooking Class
Today, we're going to Villefranche de Rouergue and wander through the market stalls. It is the largest one around and filled with hundreds of local producers. We'll buy our fresh produce to prepare a French ratatouille when back home. After the market we're heading to Najac and its medieval château. But before going for a full visit of the village, the church and the village, let's stop at Najac restaurant for lunch. Although not a Michelin one, it is a very gourmet one and deserves to be known. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines.
Day 5 | Visit an Organic Farm and Meet the Locals
After breakfast at home, we'll visit a very special organic cattle farm. It is now owned by the same family for centuries. Véronique's cousin, Benoit, is now running the farm with his wife and a whole team. You'll get to enter in the 18th century main house that you'll be able to visit. It used to be a summer house for the local clergy. Refreshments such as an apéritif will be served and you'll get to know Véronique's cousins and aunt. Then you'll have the opportunity to have your lunch at the farm and eat a very local meal. In the mid-afternoon, we'll wander through what we call the "vallon", just a few kilometres away, where there are lots of wine makers and vineyards. You'll visit the cellars and taste, get tips from the local oenologists as well. you'll be impressed by the red stones, particular to the area, where houses have been built with. The evening will be another enjoyable moment at one of the villages' producers markets. Evening producers/farmers' markets are only happening during July and August. The markets are located in the villages central squares. You'll have your food and wine at large trestle tables, entertained by local music and folk dancing. You'll be sitting down with locals enjoying the lovely, welcoming atmosphere of small town France. And there are seldom tourists around. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines.
Day 6 | A Michelin Star Restaurant Experience
After breakfast and a few kilometres away, we'll visit Gramond and the fortified church of Bousssac. Then we'll go to Sauveterre-de-Rouergue. You'll discover one of the labelled "Most beautiful villages of France". There are less than a hundred in France and ten are located in Aveyron. Although quite a small village, Sauveterre-de-Rouergue is quite active and hosts a lot of artisans and artists we'll visit too. Then we'll be heading to a Michelin-starred restaurant where you'll get an amazing gourmet experience. In the afternoon, you'll visit Toulouse-Lautrec childhood château where numerous of his early drawings have been kept. Dinner, after apéritif will await you at home, your home for 10 days. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines
Day 7 | A Tour of the Vineyards
A breakfast at home and we'll be heading to a different area full of vineyards. First, we'll stop at Monestiès where we'll visit the village, go to the small museum Bajèn. Monestiès is as well bearing the label: "Most beautiful village". At the museum, we'll admire paintings of Francisco Bajèn as well as of Martine Vega. Then, we'll go to the St Jacques chapel, an ancient hospital on the route to Santiago de Compostela. There, we'll find a group of 20 statues, protected as Historic Monuments, made of painted limestone and showing the scenes from the Passion of Christ depicting the last three Stations of the Cross. Lunch will be at a Monestiès restaurant, on the central village square. After lunch, we'll discover vineyards from larger operations to tiny, from organic to traditional ones. Time to taste, sip, sample and savour local wines such as reds, whites and rosés wines directly on the production site, at the cellars. You'll not only taste but get insights from the professionals, the oenologists. By the afternoon end, we'll head back home where you'll get dinner after an apéritif. You'll be able to taste again the wines we just brought back with us too. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines
Day 8 | Canoeing and Lunch by the River
After breakfast at home, we'll be going to the south of Aveyron and the Tarn gorges. These dramatic and very scenic gorges were formed by the Tarn river. At one point we'll stop and get your canoes/kayaks. The Tarn river is quite a lazy river. As you went first through the gorges from up, you'll have a very different view from the river. Along the way, you'll discover a castle, now converted as a hotel and restaurant as well as a village, only accessible with a zipline cable from the other side. You'll have lunch and wines with you in your individual canoes and will be able to stop wherever you'd like to. There are numerous beaches on the way down the river. The river temperature should be welcome as it might be hot in the gorges. So you'll be able to go for a swim if you wish to do so. Expect to be on the river 3 to 5 hours. Véronique will pick you up by one of the pre-determined stops by the afternoon end. We'll then head back to home. However, on our way, we'll stop to get a perfect view of the Millau Viaduct. The Millau Viaduct is the tallest cable-stayed bridge in the world. It was designed by Sir Norman Foster and engineered by Michel Virlogeux, a French structural engineer and bridge specialist. Dinner either at home or at a Baraqueville restaurant. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines
Day 9 | Birdwatching and Roquefort Cheese
Breakfast at home and we'll drive south again. We'll go to an area called "Le Rougier". "Le Rougier" is a rust-red river basin made up of fertile farmland with pockets of oak woodland and poplar plantations. Erosion has sculpted narrow ravines and contoured slopes forming unusual landscape features. Here a wide range of typical farmland birds can be found such as Red-backed Shrike, Corn Bunting and Quail. In the arid rocky areas Rock Sparrow can be found, forming large groups in the winter months. Along the Dourdou river which flows through Le Rougier, Bee-eater can also be found as well as Great White Egret. Many raptors hunt and nest here, Black Kites are abundant nesting in poplars and Hobby sometimes use old crow nests on electricity pylons. In recent years there have been post-nuptial movements of Lesser Kestrel to this area and Black-shouldered Kite have also bred successfully here. As we'll be in teh area where the Roquefort cheese is produced, your tour will include a visit to a traditional sheep dairy farm where milk for the famous Roquefort cheese is produced. Tasting of cheeses and wines will be organized. Dinner will be at a restaurant. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner and wines
Day 10 | Au Revoir
After breakfast, Véronique, your host, guide and driver during these 10 days will drive you to Baraqueville or Rodez train station or, Rodez airport. Meal included: breakfast. If your departure is in the afternoon, lunch and wines will be provided too.
Usually, we do charge US $4000 per person for a 10-day all-inclusive tour. This tour price has been slashed by 50%!!
So, only US $2000 per person for an all-inclusive 10-day tour with tons of planned experiences!
Our main condition is; bring at least 2 friends and enjoy the authentic, intimate French experiences we've hand-picked for you.
As you'll be registering for more than one person—with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8—please contact us here to discuss details. All our tours are fully customized, and there are many options for how we'll spend our time. We'll decide how together.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN EXPERIENCE (MY) FRANCE TOURS?
- Pick-up in Aveyron, at Rodez airport or Rodez train station.
- The accommodation at Véronique's art-déco house for the 10 days/9 nights in Baraqueville, 20 min away from Rodez. The house is truly YOUR home for 10 days as well as conveniently located at a crossroads to experience the most of the area you'll discover.
- No shared bedrooms. On the top, each bedroom has its own private en-suite full bathroom.
- Regional wines hand-picked by Véronique and/or other beverages during meals as well as wines during the wine tasting experiences. We're talking more than 20 bottles of wine over 10 days!
- Private tours where planned, and according to your needs, wants and desires where permits.
- Food (all breakfasts, all lunches, and all dinners over your 10-day experience) and wine tastings where/if planned.
- Entry fees to museums, castles, exhibitions, as well as all gratuities and other planned experiences.
- Services of Véronique, your bilingual local guide/host and personal driver.
- Transportation during the tour in a comfortable air-conditioned car or van depending on the size of your own group, the one you formed with your family, friends and/or companion(s). As there's a lot to experience close-by the house, we drive an average of 90 miles all in all a day so around 150 km.
- A tour that will be designed at your own pace. Yes, we can spend more time wherever you'd like to. Your tour could be more or less active as well as we welcome all fitness abilities. Keep in mind, so far each single tour has been unique and entirely à-la-carte.
That's what we consider a VIP tour—without the cost—as well as a real, authentic and private French experience.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
- Airfare or any travel expense to and from the pick-up location, Rodez.
- Lodging and/or guiding BEFORE or AFTER your tour.
- Special wines and/or beverages other than those included during meals. This restriction does not apply to the wine tasting experiences whereas included.
- Personal items purchased during your experience in Aveyron.
- Shipping of your purchases and/or associated cost(s).