We have been offering tours to Bordeaux, our "pays natal" for close to twenty years. What differentiates us from others is that we are native but living part time in the US for more than 25 years, we know what is dear to our guests and what they are looking for when they come to France.
I was born and grew up in the vineyards around Bordeaux. My family owns seven world-renowned chateaux. I know the little roads, the different mentalities, the fibers of the culture, the special places, the artisans. Jean-Pierre, recently retired, was head chef at Chez Panisse for over twenty years. Together we restored a seventeen century barn on one of our vineyards near St. Emilion. We live in France part of the year.
Jean-Pierre and I have designed our tours around what we know that is the hardest to find in Bordeaux: meeting local people, artisans passionate with their arts (cheesemaking, chocolate baking, charcuterie, special organic vegetables, barrel making...). Bordeaux is a difficult place to enter. The famous chateaux are not open to the public. You need special connections to visit the most well known ones. Being natives who live in the U.S.A., we know that a visitor to Bordeaux from a foreign country needs pampering and is really looking forward to an intimate discovery of this bountiful part of France. Bordeaux is so rich in experiences and landscapes. Most visitors can't get beyond a few visits to Chateaux and some wine tastings. It is Bordeaux, but there is so much more to discover to really understand Gascony.
What makes our tours different is the strong emphasis on leading our guests to places, people, insights they could not find by themselves. We want the trips to be an adventure full of unexpected good surprises.
Jean-Pierre cooks using local ingredients and vegetables grown in his vegetable garden just out side the kitchen door. He goes out of his way to find the best local lamb (agneau de prés salés), duck, guinea hen, and mushrooms. The meals are light and fresh with lots of flavors. They are taken in different private homes, mostly chateaux. It is a way to see very special interiors, beautiful architecture and decor and to mingle with the locals.
We want to offer an authentic and enlightening experience of France. We also would like to think that we are bridges between two cultures and countries who have misconceptions about each other. Both of our countries are fascinating for diverse reasons and can benefit from their different values. We hope you will join us.