Southern Rhone Wine Tour


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The Rhône Valley is the second largest wine-growing region in France and possibly the most exciting. This tour will focus on the Southern Rhone, where the stunning landscape is dotted by steep hills, lavender fields and olive groves. The Mediterranean climate brings warmth and wild herbs which scatter the hillsides. The region is famous for the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Lirac,Tavel, and other appellations, and of course Cotes-du-Rhone. The city of Avignon, where we will stay, is an architectural treasure trove, with the Palais des Papes and numerous other heritage sites, and it’s the perfect base for exploring the vineyards.

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Day 1: Friday 5th May
Arrival, Lirac and Welcome Dinner
Meet at Marseille airport at 13.40 (to coincide with the British Airways flight from London – see Travel information). Transfer by coach straight to a producer in Lirac for an afternoon tour and tasting. Continue to Avignon and check in at Grand Hotel, our base for the next 4 nights. This evening there will be a welcome group dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Saturday 6th May
Rasteau, Cairanne and Vaison-la-Romane
Today we head to 2 less famous but upcoming appellations – Rasteau and Cairanne. We’ll visit one producer in the morning and one in the afternoon. There will be a group lunch today at a restaurant. We hope to have some free time to see the city of Vaison-la-Roman, which, as the name indicates, has a rich Roman heritage with some impressive remains. Late afternoon return to Avignon. Free evening.

Day 3: Sunday 7th May
Today we visit the most famous appellation of the region, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. We’ll see the ruins of the Castle, have tastings at 2 contrasting producers, and a group lunch at a restaurant in the quaint village. Late afternoon return to Avignon. Free evening.

Day 4: Monday 8th May
Avignon City
Today is all about exploring Avignon. This morning we’ll have a walking tour with a private guide. We’ll see the main architectural highlights and learn about the history of this remarkable walled city. Lunchtime and this afternoon are free for further exploration – you may want to see the Palais des Papes and the Museum Calvet. Note that today is a Bank Holiday in France so some shops will be closed. This evening we’ll meet up again for a group dinner at a restaurant in the city.

Day 5:Tuesday 9th May
Gigondas and Vacqueyras
After breakfast, check-out and drive back to the vineyards. Today we will concentrate on Gigondas and Vacqueyras, the 2 most important appellations after Chateauneuf-du-Pape. We’ll visit 2 producers today and there will also be a final group lunch. Early evening drive to Marseille airport to arrive by 7.30pm in time for the British Airways flight to London Heathrow.


Please note that winery visits are subject to confirmation and we may need to change the order of the itinerary.



Please note that flights are not included in the cost of the tour so you will need to book your own travel to/from Marseille airport. The recommended group flights are with British Airways:

  • Friday 5th May BA 336 departs London Heathrow 10.40 arrives Marseille 13.40
  • Tuesday 9th May BA 371 departs Marseille 21.35 arrives London Heathrow 22.30

Transfers by coach from/to Marseille airport are included and will tie in with the above flights. If you make alternative travel arrangements you will need to be at Marseilles airport in time to meet the BA flight on 5th May. The tour will end at Marseille airport around 7.30pm on 9th May.

Alternatively, if you prefer to travel from Gatwick, on 5th May Easyjet departs 08.00 and arrives Marseille 11.00. On 9th May Easyjet departs Marseille 21.40, arrives Gatwick 22.30.

Travel throughout the tour in an air-conditioned minibus.



For all 4 nights of the tour we will be based at the 4-star Grand Hotel, Avignon.  Situated just outside the medieval city walls, a 10 minute walk from the main sites, the hotel has a reception area with bar, gardens, outdoor swimming pool and fitness area.

The spacious en-suite rooms have flat-screen TV, safe, tea and coffee making facilities. Weather permitting, breakfast can be enjoyed on the private garden patio, or in the breakfast room which features large windows.

Room Upgrade to Junior Suite (3 available and only for two people sharing a double or twin room)



Price includes:

  • £1,300 per person sharing a double or twin room.
  • Ground transport throughout in an air-conditioned coach
  • Four nights’ accommodation with breakfast sharing a double or twin room with en-suite facilities.
  • 3 lunches and 2 dinners with wine
  • Tours and tastings at 7 wineries
  • City Tour of Avignon with a Private Guide
  • Services of Tour/Wine Guide from Criterion Wine Tours.


  • Single occupancy of a double/twin room (limited number of single rooms available): £250
  • Room Upgrade to Junior Suite (3 rooms available and only for those sharing a twin/double room) £100 per person

A non-refundable deposit of £325 per person is payable when booking. The remaining balance is due eight weeks before the start of the tour. Your money will be held in a secure Client Deposit Account and is fully protected.

05-09 May 2023