Paris is a rite of passage for world travelers, perhaps with a few added days on Cannes’ beaches or in the lavender fields of Provence. Yet like one of its premier cru wines, France is a country rich with nuances and details detected only by the more sophisticated palate. Our Tour d’Elegance journey invites you to rediscover this culturally complex land in a number of sumptuous ways. Consider:
Scouring the Saint-Ouen Flea Market — If one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, than Les Puces de Saint-Ouen is a trove without equal. Lovingly known as Les Puces (“The Fleas”), the world’s largest flea market actually comprises 15 different marchés; spend the day scouring stalls displaying wildly diverse goods ranging from rare books to kitchenware, trendy clothing to tapestries, crumbling photographs to castle railings.
Champs-Elysées in a vintage Citroen — You’ll turn heads near the Eiffel Tower in one of these iconic French motorcars. First produced in 1948, the Citroen Deux Chevaux or 2CV (“two horses”) was beloved for its stripped-bare style, go-anywhere suspension, and bon-marche price (around $650 at the time). When the last one was built in 1990, a veritable Citroen cult emerged, spawning hundreds of clubs around the world with fully restored models selling upwards of $25,000.
Champagne supernova — When French merchant Alexandre Louis Pommery died in 1858, his widow Jeannie turned a burgeoning wine business into one of France’s most respected Champagne houses. She also totally transformed sparkling wine from its overly sweet origins to the dry, delicate “brut” version still preferred today. A true visionary, Madame Pommery built a grand chateau in Reims to accommodate future visitors including Tour d’Elegance guests, who are treated to a private tour and tasting in a manner that lives up to Pommery’s motto: “Do not imitate anyone, even yourself.”
A privileged view of Vieux-Lyon — One of Europe’s largest Renaissance centers, Lyon’s old town stands frozen in time. It was designated as France’s first “secteur sauvegardé” (protected historic district) in 1964, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. A private, guided tour reveals Vieux-Lyon’s three, perfectly preserved districts: The medieval Saint-Jean quarter, named for its dominating cathedral; the Saint-Paul section, built by wealthy merchants in the 15th and 16th centuries; and the Saint-Georges area, home to Lyon’s famous silk weavers until the 1800s.
Elevated dining in Eze — Escape the crowds of Cannes and St. Tropez to discover a more civilized side of the Côte d'Azur. Perched some 1,400 feet above the Mediterranean, the ancient village of Eze charms with a rustic elegance. After exploring its labyrinthine streets and 12th-century castle ruins, settle into your luxurious hotel, Le Chevre d’Or, where dinner at the two Michelin-starred restaurant takes you to new gastronomic heights.