August 18-26, 2022
Join Ryan & Malaka Hilton for a 7-night French Wine Experience in Champagne, Cognac, and Bordeaux!
In Champagne, prepare to delight your palate with a welcome dinner at the very first champagne house, Ruinart founded 290 years ago. We’ll continue our tastings by visits to all of the great Champagne houses with a special tasting at one of our personal faves (and a fan favorite): Veuve Cliquot!
Following our delicious time in Champagne, our group moves on to the quintessential town of Cognac. Located in the south west of France, Cognac is famous for its local spirits and historic city center. Here we will be wined and dined at the renowned Royal Chateau of Cognac followed by a very exclusive private experience at Remy Martin.
We end our trip in Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-growing region where we will have a very special surprise host, details to be announced!
Call 1.888.722.3401 to secure your space on this unique journey (scroll down for journey details)
DAY 1: Welcome to France!
Meet & greet upon arrival at Paris CDG Airport – private transfer to your hotel in the heart of Champagne: Royal Champagne.
Champagne is the name of the famous sparkling wine but also the name of the region where this wine is produced. Only sparkling wine produced in this very specific area located north east of Paris can be labeled ‘Champagne’.
Afternoon at leisure to relax.
Private dinner at Champagne Ruinart
Start your program in Champagne with a short drive to the Ruinart Champagne House – the oldest Champagne house in Reims founded in 1729. You will start with a visit of the cellars located in the mid-18th century chalk quarries hollowed under the city of Reims. Classified in 1931, this imposing site extends over 3 levels (38m deep) & 8kms of galleries creating the perfect location for the fermentation & maturation of Ruinart wines.
After an aperitif in a private salon, you will enjoy a 4 course dinner paired with different Ruinart champagnes
Day 2 – Reims & Montagne de Reims
Walking Tour in Reims
According to the legend, Reims was founded by Remus, Romulus’ brother who founded ancient Rome. The Celtic tribe who lived in the region might have taken therefore the name of Remes. From antiquity to the present days, Reims offers a variety of historical sites: Gallo-Roman, medieval monuments.
We will include a visit of the 800-year-old Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame de Reims, where all but 2 of the French kings were crowned.
Notre Dame de Reims
Visit & tasting at Veuve Cliquot
One of the established legends of Champagne, Veuve Clicquot has played a central role since the 19th century. The house remained in family control until 1987 when it was acquired into the LVMH group of luxury brands.
Thankfully, corporate ownership has not damaged the quality of the wines, especially the famous cuvee prestige, La Grande Dame. One of Champagne’s greatest wines, it astonishes all who taste it with incredible complexity, depth and power. Veuve Clicquot is a spectacular house to visit, with its grand architecture and legacy in Champagne; a truly unforgettable foray into the area.
Veuve Cliquot | Reims, France
Private lunch at Manoir de Verzy
Where time stands still, overlooking the undulating vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the romantic Manoir de Verzy has been part of the Domaine Veuve Clicquot for over a hundred years.
Surrounded by a rose garden and paths bordered by hedges, the manor opens onto a sumptuous view of Champagne. The surrounding vineyard slopes give the Manoir de Verzy a wonderful feeling of timelessness.
Today, this majestic private mansion will open its doors & gardens for a private lunch reception – a relaxed lunch in the gardens with of course champagne to complete the picture-perfect scene.
After lunch, drive through the ocean of vineyard to your hotel: The Royal Champagne.
Manoir de Verzy
DAY 3: Champagne Estate Tour
This morning you will depart for a full day tour of the Champagne region exploring a smaller producer along with a big-name renown worldwide.
Visit & tasting Champagne Henri Giraud.
This is one of the region’s smaller Champagne producer – there are hundreds of them in the area & are often unknown despite their excellent Champagne
Champagne Henri Giraud is located in the Grand Cru village of Ay & produces high quality Champagne served in Michelin star restaurants all over the world.
Connected to dreams of perfection and to freedom to innovate, the family creates great that concentrate and transpose the energy of the Ay Grand Cru terroir. Pinots Noirs and Chardonnay grape varieties are revealed in the heart of noble materials: Argonne oak casks, terracotta, or sandstone. Without any stainless steel and with the minimum of interventions and sulphur, the creative and natural wine- making process leads our wines as closely as possible to the truth of the terroir and of the grape varieties.
Champagne Henri Giraud
Walk in the village of Hautvillers
The charming village of Hautvillers is your next stop (UNESCO-listed village). There, trace the origin of Champagne and visit the church where the famous monk Dom Pierre Pérignon is buried. This monk – who gave his name to a famous brand long after his death – is also known as the inventor of the Champagne blending process.
Lunch at Au 36
Stop at this charming wine boutique in the heart of the village for lunch. Every day they offer a selection of ‘tapas’ that they call ‘Champardises’ that will allow you to discover & explore culinary specialties based on regional products from local producers. This will be served with 3 very interesting champagnes paired perfectly with the food.
Private visit & tasting at Champagne Moet & Chandon
In the afternoon stop in Epernay at the world-famous Moet & Chandon Champagne house, located on the Avenue de Champagne. The Moet & Chandon cellars are an exceptional heritage of the House, the unique testimony of several centuries of winemaking. Guardians of a real treasure, they represent the talent and the work of several generations of men and women. The cellar walk through, led by an inhouse ambassador, will invite you to discover the Moet & Chandon expertise of our oenologists and the legacy of a know-how developed over time and passed through several generations of cellar masters.
Private visit at Champagne Le Gallais
End the day with a short drive to Champagne Le Gallais. This domain is in the village of Boursault, few kilometers from Epernay, in the heart of the Marne valley.
The property was built in 1843 by Madame Veuve Cliquot, and her great-grand-daughter, Uzès Duchess, sold the domain in 1913 In 1927, Hachod Fringhian, Charlotte Morgain Le Gallais’ predecessor, bought the Domain of Boursault. After 5 generations, Charlotte still runs a part of the domain: 7 plots with their own particularities, in the familial clos, overlooking the Marne Valley.
At the end of the short visit, learn how to saber a bottle of Champagne & enjoy a glass with one of the most fabulous views of the region.
Back to your hotel early evening.
Champagne Le Gallais
Lunch at Le Distillerie
When the chef imagined La Distillerie, his intention was to create a modern brasserie with a menu based on fresh, locally sourced produce and seasonal eating.
La Distillerie serves traditional cuisine with a modern twist in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
Afternoon at leisure to relax.
Evening at Chateau de Cognac
The Royal Château of Cognac overlooking the Charente river was initially a 10th-century fortress designed to stop Norman invasions, and then in the 15th century became a stately home which was the birthplace of one of France’s most illustrious kings, Francis I.
Baron Otard, who had founded its Cognac House in 1795, quickly understands that the thick walls provide exceptional aging conditions for his eaux-de-vie. He purchased the Château, saving it from total destruction.
You will start your experience with a visit of the historic property including the State Room where kind Francis Premier used to receive guests. Continue with the Chateau Cellars where the cognac ages quietly in excellent conditions.
At the end of the visit, enjoy a signature cocktail before sitting down to dinner in the heart of the chateau in the room where the King François I was born.
Chateau de Cognac
DAY 5: Cognac
Today you will continue exploring the fascinating region of Cognac.
Private experience at Remy Martin including lunch
Since 1724, Rémy Martin has produced cognacs to the highest requirements of excellence.
Rémy Martin has always been a family business, run by two families who share the same values: the Rémy Martin and the Hériard Dubreuil families. It is one of the very rare houses in the region created by a family born & raised in Cognac.
Over the course of 3 centuries, a handful of extraordinary people have shaped the history of this brand – from an astronomer to the first female cellar master.
You will start the day with a short drive to the town of Juillac Le Coq for an Introduction to the Grande Champagne terroir – this is the name of the region where the grapes used for these exceptional Cognacs are grown. Visit the distillery & learn all about the process.
Then, drive back into the town of Cognac to visit the historic vat room along with the cellars where the barrels of ‘eaux de vie’ have been resting for decades.
The visit will end with a tasting before you sit down to a gourmet lunch in the private club house.
Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at the hotel.
Evening at leisure.
Day 6 – Travel to Bordeaux – explore Saint Emilion en route
This morning your driver & guide will meet you at your hotel in Cognac & you will south to Bordeaux.
En route, stop to explore the famous region of Saint Emilion.
Cross the Dordogne River and arrive in the enchanting medieval village of Saint-Emilion, classified by Unesco in 1999. A luminous, ochre-colored jewel built of limestone and Roman roof tiles, it’s perched on a plateau and completely surrounded by a sea of vineyards. The steep and narrow cobblestone streets are lined with remnants of monasteries and convents dating from the 11th to 18th centuries that tell the story of the village. We will also include a visit of the very impressive underground monuments
Exclusive Experience at Chateau de Ferrand, Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion
Château de Ferrand was founded in the 17th century by Elie de Bétoulaud and remained in the possession of descendants of this family for over two centuries. The château dates from 1702 and was bought by the Bich family (owners of the Bic brand) in 1978. Since they purchased the estate, they worked hard on renovating the vineyards, cellar and winemaking facilities. In 2012, the winery was classified as “Grand Cru Classé” for the unanimously acclaimed quality of its wines. This ranking also rewards châteaux that have been able to develop their architectural heritage.
Chateau de Ferrand
Upon arrival you will be welcomed by the general manager of the estate for a walk through the property before entering the private chateau belonging to the family.
A vertical tasting of 4 wines will be served in a very special room before moving to the dining room for a traditional lunch served ‘à la française’. A truly unique & exclusive experience of French art de vivre.
Transfer to your hotel in Bordeaux at the end of the visit.
DAY 7: – Bordeaux
Spend the day exploring the fascinating city of Bordeaux.
OPTION: Private viewing at Bassin de Lumières before opening
The Bassin de Lumières is the world’s largest digital arts centre located in the former German submarine base. Inaugurated in 2020, this is the latest highlight in the city of Bordeaux & an exceptional venue for a very special evening. You will be dazzled by the projections over every surface of the 110m long & 12 m high chambers of the base. A fine example of the city’s quest to rehabilitate & modernize the different neighborhoods.
- 2020: Gustav Klimt & Paul Klee
- 2021: Monnet & Chagall
- 2022: TBA.
Arrive before the museum is opened to the public for a private viewing with coffee & pastries.
Bassin de Lumières
Walking Tour of Bordeaux
Previously named “the sleeping beauty”, the city is coming out of a 20 year renovation program that has brought it back to its former glory. Part of the world heritage since 2007, Bordeaux is a jewel of 18th century architecture with a rich past starting in the Gallo roman period. Bordeaux is known to have the second largest patrimony of the 18th century after St Petersburg. This tour is the occasion to discover most of these treasures along the waterfront: Palais de la Bourse, the Triangle d’Or the Grand Theatre and some private mansions. Discover the unique cityscape where the traditional buildings contrast with the modern, more recent constructions.
Lunch at Bistro Le Gabriel
Le Gabriel offers unique culinary experiences through its bar, bistro and gourmet restaurant run by chef Alexandre Baumard (1* chef at the Logis de la Cadène in Saint-Émilion).
Offering a wonderful and exceptional view over the former Royal square and only a few meters from the famous “water mirror”, this restaurant offers a “bistronomic” cuisine that uses the best seasonal products selected with precision and rigor from the best suppliers; an approach to tradition that combines respect and creativity, at the balance point between elegance and sophistication
Private visit & tasting at Le Millésime, a famous wine merchant
Explore the world of wine merchants with Millesima.
During the visit, you will learn more of the business-orientated aspects of the Bordeaux wine industry, such as how and why wine is sold en primeur and what is the role of the négociant (merchant).
Next you will enter Millésima’s famous cellars, where they age millions of bottles of the very finest French wines before they are shipped to our customers. T The Bibliothèque Impériale, remains unparalleled in the world and houses some 10,000 large format bottles from magnums to impériales. This unique experience will end with a tasting of 3 wines.
Evening at leisure in Bordeaux.
DAY 8: Medoc
Meet with your guide & driver in the lobby of your hotel & depart for a full day tour in the iconic Medoc Wine Region.
There is nothing than wine lovers enjoy more than driving along France’s D2 highway, the route des châteaux just north of Bordeaux on the Médoc peninsula, hemmed in on both sides by row upon row of vineyards as far as the eye can see. The names on road signs tick off a fabulous list: Latour, Lafite and Mouton Rothschild, Palmer, Léoville Barton, Pichon Longueville, Cos d’Estournel.
VIPLane Surprise Experience this afternoon / Details to follow!
Visit & lunch at Chateau Phelan Segur, Grand Cru Classé, Saint Estephe
With its unique architecture and its stunning view over the Gironde, the nobility of its terroir, Château Phélan Ségur is a great classic benchmark. From the vineyard to the cellar, the visit allows you to discover the spirit of a family, the terroir of Saint-Estèphe and the secrets of the vinification of Phélan Ségur. The tasting, led by a member of staff, includes a vertical of 3 vintages.
After the tasting, we will take you for a lunch in the Chateau or, if weather permits, in the pristine park. The chef revisits the great classics of French gastronomy – champagne aperitif, 3 course lunch paired with the perfect vintage.
Back to your hotel at the end of lunch.
DAY 9: Departure
Meet with your driver at your hotel. Private transfer to Bordeaux Airport
Cost: $11,950 per person, based on double occupancy
Please call Isabelle Finly to reserve your space on this unique departure. 941-951-1801 ext. 105 or email Isabelle@AdmiralTravel.com
A $50 per person Admiral Travel Booking Fee will apply
A Minimum of 10 guests is required for this departure.
• 25% non-refundable deposit due to secure your space
• Second 25% deposit due November 18, 2021
• Final payment due February 18, 2022
• All payments non-refundable. We highly recommend a trip cancellation and interruption protection plan. Please ask your advisor for information.
All payments made to or on behalf of Admiral Travel are non-refundable unless stated otherwise
- Founder’s Journey will always be priced at or below published rates, but never higher.
- Travel with like-minded individuals on these exclusive departures.
- Enjoy a welcome cocktail party to meet your fellow travelers.
- A hosted dinner will be offered during one night of the trip with the Hiltons.
- On many occasions, optional shore events are offered as an option that only our group is invited to join.
- Special global relationships that the Hiltons have formed over the years will allow you privileged access opportunities.
- Trips are offered well in advance to give ample time for your future planning.
- Minimum numbers must be met in order for the Hiltons to host the journey.
- The Hiltons reserve the right to adjust the duration of their participation should any schedule conflicts arise.