Guest post by lbogotay
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Paris
Landed in Paris, France around 8 AM, took a cab to our B&B – Relais 12bis, been in the family forever. Stayed there for 2 nights. It’s a 3-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. Since we only had 2 days, we wanted to stay close to the things we wanted to see.
Ambled around nearby streets until our room was ready. Took a nap around 2. Did a 1-hour river tour of La Seine. Definitely worth it because it helped us get our bearings of the city, highly recommend.
Had dinner at La Fontaine de Mars, based off a recommendation from Michelle Obama. Lived up to expectations, excellent. We walked back and sat by the Eiffel Tower, bought a couple bottles of champagne, sat on the grass, and listened to music. There was a guy playing piano. Don’t pay more than $20 per bottle of champagne, and the second bottle will be so much cheaper. You can haggle with the guys walking around with coolers. Sitting on the grass with some champagne and the lit-up Eiffel Tower looming nearby is one of my best memories of the trip.
Day 2: Paris
- Louvre Museum
- Notre Dame
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Angelina Paris
- Montparnasse Tower
Ate breakfast and took a cab to the covered markets because it was raining, but it was Sunday so they were closed. Wandered around and miraculously landed at the Louvre. We walked through the courtyard and that was enough for me. You get a feel from how big the museum is, and we didn’t have time to go in it anyways, but it was really neat. Walked along the river and ate at Maison Maison, an underground restaurant.
Went to Notre Dame, the line moves fast and it’s free. 100% worth it, breathtaking architecture. Then walked to the Luxembourg Gardens, nice stop. Right next to that is Angelina, the best hot chocolate in Paris. Had to take another nap, went out for dinner and tried to go to Montparnasse Tower. Took a cab there and they said it was low visibility. We decided to go up anyways, couldn’t see anything so we just had a drink.
Day 3: Dijon and Vosne-Romanée
After breakfast we had a train to Dijon at 11 AM. Picked up a rental car in Dijon. Checked in to Le Richebourg in Vosne-Romanée. Typically people stay in Dijon and Beaune when visiting Burgundy, but we wanted to stay in the smaller villages and we could always drive into the towns.
Lunch at Nuits St George and dinner at La Toute Petite Auberge. Had classic Burgundy dishes: snails and eggs poached in a Burgundy wine sauce. Amazing. The server told us the bottle of wine we were drinking was in the owner’s personal wine cellar, and we got to go down and meet him and his daughter. Surreal experience, the love of wine was the only thing we all had in common as he didn’t speak much English. His daughter translated for us. We ended up buying several bottles of wine to take home, even though we didn’t know how we were going to do that. One of the bottles he told us to drink now, and another to drink in 20 years, and a third to only drink with the 2 of us, in a park, on a blanket.
Day 4: Private Vineyard Tour
Full day private wine tour that started at 9 AM. We drove through all the vineyards, learned more than we could have imagined. Had a good amount of knowledge going in, but we learned a lot that will help us when buying wine at home, too. Went to Philip Le Clerc in Gevrey Chambertin and bought a LOT of wine. The tour company works with the shipping company and they work with the vineyards. We were able to order it duty-free, so that essentially paid for the shipping. Had lunch at La Trapets, Boeuf Burgenone. Got to taste the Trapets wine, which you can’t buy unless you’re on a special list of people. Toured the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot – really interesting history. Ended the tour with a “unique wine experience,” which was a private club wine cellar in Fixin. They purchase wine, and people in the club can buy it from them.
Dropped off at Le Richebourg, grabbed one of the bottles of wine and went to the top of Clos de Vougeot. Another very special moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Had dinner at Le Richebourg after, was fantastic.
Day 5: Beaune
Checked out and drove to Beaune to explore. Le Bistro Des Cocottes for lunch – not a tourist spot, where the locals go. Great food. Hung out in the city center and ate dinner in a local café – croque monsieurs were delicious and so welcome after eating lots of 3- and 4-course meals in the days prior.
Checked in to Le Montrachet (Olivier Leflaive) in Puligny-Montrachet, where we stayed for 3 nights. It’s only 30 minutes from Le Richebourg.
Day 6: Cote de Beaune Wine Tour
Half-day wine tour in the Cote de Beaune (https://www.beaune-tourism.com/tasting/wine-tasting/chemins-de-bourgogne-674403), which is a little more southern and means more white wines. We took a jeep into the highlands of the vineyards, so it was a completely different experience from our previous full-day tour. We went to the top of St. Aubin, and you feel like you’re on top of the world there.
Afterwards, went back to Beaune city center and found Domaine Drouhin, a family-owned winery. One of the daughters opened up a winery in Oregon. One of the oldest cellars in Burgundy, and we took an hour and a half tour and tasting – highly recommend.
- Château de La Rochepot
- Hospices de Beaune
Chateau de Rochepot is a castle up in the vineyards, and Hospices de Beaune is an old hospital from the 15th century. More of a touristy day, both were neat and worth going through.
Day 8: Drive to Marseille
Woke up early to drive to Marseille (5.5 hours) – not a bad drive at all, pretty scenic. We returned the rental car and grabbed an Uber to the Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port where we were staying. Had dinner and went to bed early.
Day 9: Marseille
There’s a jogging/walking path along the Mediterranean Sea, around 10 miles total. We walked about half of it, lots of people out, and just a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. Had tuna tartare for lunch – fantastic.
Went back out to the port and had drinks at an Irish pub called O’Malley and watched Marseille vs Nice futbol match with locals – a lot of fun.
Outside of the port, Marseille really wasn’t what we expected. It wasn’t the best area, but the pier and our hotel were really nice.
Day 10: Back to Paris
Taxi to train station and headed back to Paris. We took an Uber from our hotel, which was right by the train station, into Paris. Went back to the Montparnasse Tower since we couldn’t see anything during our first attempt, and it was clear and perfect. Glad we went back. Just walked around Paris for the rest of the day, cabbed back and went to bed. Flew home the next day.
By the time we were heading out of Paris, we were ready for something quieter. And when we were done there, we were ready for a place with more people – the amount of time we spent in each place was perfect.
In a sad way, this trip ruined wine for us because it’s the best wine in the world, and we live far from it.
People were so friendly everywhere we went. We didn’t have a single experience with rude people, which everyone said we would run into before we went. Everyone was genuinely amazing.
If we go back, I’ll want to learn more French phrases. Especially for the not-so-touristy areas in France where English isn’t widely spoken.
The weather in April was perfect spring weather. Some rain, so glad we had a jacket, but sweater-weather and comfortable.
Traveled in April 2018