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This tour is recommended for people who haven't visited this region of France before
but of course will still be enjoyed if you're revisiting!

DAY 1 - Welcome to the 'Real' South of France...

Today you will be picked up from Narbonne train station or Carcassonne train station or airport (other pickups by prior arrangement).

You will check-in to our award winning B & B which has been ranked in the top 25 in France!

Sleep on deep sumptuous super king mattresses with the finest 100% cotton linen usually found in exclusive hotels.  All of our contemporary en-suite bathrooms have luxurious pure cotton bath towels and beautiful organic bathroom products.

Award winning Sainte-Hélène Chambres d'hôtes; 'Real' South of France Tours; Luxury small group tours

This evening you will join us for our fun and informative tapas and wine tasting evening presented by one of our local wine masters.

Sainte-Hélene Chambres d'hôtes © LMW

DAY 2 - UNESCO listed La Cité of Carcassonne & Cabrespine Cavern

This morning we visit the world renowned UNESCO listed La Cité, the old walled town of Carcassonne which is the largest medieval fortress in Europe. It has picturesque cobblestoned streets and houses, the beautiful Basilica of St Nazaire, and ramparts containing 52 towers – all of which we will explore. We also view it from afar so you see the full grandeur of this imposing site.

Lunch today is a gourmet picnic in a hidden relaxed location in the heart of the Minervois wine region....

This afternoon we visit Cabrespine Cavern which is the largest cave in France open to the public.  It’s taller than the Eiffel Tower and quite spectacular!  

Time for a well earned rest before heading back to Sainte-Hélène to relax before dinner at a local restaurant.

UNESCO La Cité, Carcassonne; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

UNESCO Listed La Cité of Carcassonne © SS

Cabrespine Cavern; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

Cabrespine Cavern © LMW

DAY 3 - A Taste Of The Corbières 

Route des Corbières: 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

This tour to the Corbières & Lagrasse will take you to a place of contrasts where cicadas sing, and buzzards circle lazily against a blue sky above the wild and windswept Corbières hills.

We first make our way towards our vineyard visit in the Cru Boutenac. This is an area dedicated to the culture of the vine since Roman times and currently the only cru in the Corbières.

Sainte Lucie d'Aussou 2.jpg

Corbières Wine Domaine - photo courtesy of the vineyard

We will enjoy a tour of a winery which was created in 1869 on a Gallo-Roman site. Whilst this Domaine is ancient it has been modernised to use the latest techniques to produce fabulous Corbières wines.


We are happy to be able share the wines of this château, all of which are remarkable and of constant quality.


The award-winning reds are made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre and the whites from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Marsanne and Rousanne grape varieties.

After a tasting of Corbières and Corbières-Boutenac wines we will head further into the Corbières hills to the beautiful village of Lagrasse and enjoy a delicious lunch accompanied by wines from the Corbières at an award winning restaurant.

Plus Beau Village of Lagrasse; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

Plus Beau Village of Lagrasse © LMW

After lunch you will take a fascinating stroll around Lagrasse which is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and learn some of the history that spans at least 1000 years. Your route will take you along the narrow cobbled ‘ruelles’ and along the way, between the town and the abbey, in squares and behind facades, there are stories to be told and a fascinating medieval history to be revealed.

Now it’s time to head off to our final visit of the day which is to a local vinegar maker where we will learn the secrets of making fabulous artisan wine and balsamic vinegars and also have the opportunity to savour some samples of his fabulous products.

This evening we will share a platter in the Sainte-Hélène courtyard...

DAY 4 -Plus Beau Village of Minerve and Canal Boat Tour

This morning we take a short drive to visit another beautiful Plus Beau Village, Minerve, perched above the confluence of the rivers Cesse and Brian (pronounced Bree-on!).  As well as it's natural beauty, Minerve has a long and storied history dating back to Roman times. It also played a significant role during the Cathar crusade, when the village was the site of a siege by Simon de Montfort in 1210.

Plus beau village of Minerve; 'Real' South of France Tours; Luxury small group tours

Plus Beau Village of Minerve © LMW

Today lunch is at the renowned restaurant Aux 2 Rivieres in Minerve overlooking the Brian and Cesse Gorges.

In the afternoon we enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the UNESCO listed Canal du Midi  leaving from the pretty village of Le Somail.

UNESCO Listed Canal du Midi; 'Real' South of France Tours; Luxury small group tours

UNESCO Listed Canal du Midi © LMW

Tonight we will enjoy a dinner together at Sainte-Hélène...

DAY 5 - Olonzac Market and Cooking Class

A foodies delight! 

This morning we will visit the lively Olonzac market which is the largest in the region and only a couple of minutes walk from your front door! There are plenty of stalls to sample the fantastic variety of local produce – wine, cheese, meats, honey, olives, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as everything else you would expect to find at a great market!

Olonzac market day; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

Olonzac Market © KMW

At midday we will share a light lunch at Sainte-Hélène with produce bought from the Olonzac market. 


After lunch we will head to the foothills of the Black Mountains to cook and enjoy 'French food with a twist' with Chef Nathalie Nahoum. We will be using seasonal produce all sourced from within our region.


The cooking classes with Nathalie are relaxed, fun and not too technical!   You may be a skilled cook who wants to be “hands-on” or someone who just likes to sit back, watch and learn...


You'll be shown traditional and modern methods providing you with useful skills and simple tips that help you to create French cuisine with a modern twist! You will also learn to adapt each dish to suit the produce available and share tips on traditional techniques.

Cooking Class; 'Real' South of France Tours; Luxury small group tou

Cooking School ©KMW & Nathalie Nahoum

THEN ENJOY – in the early evening you will relax and enjoy the meal that you have prepared accompanied by local wine. 

DAY 6 - Narbonne  & Fontfroide Abbey

Following breakfast our first stop is Narbonne where we will explore the beautiful Cathédral de St-Just and view the Archbishops Palace and even see a slice of the Via Domitia, the first Roman road built in the region linking Italy and Spain. We will also visit the last remaining building from Roman times. The picturesque Canal de la Robine runs right through the centre of the city.

Just before lunch we visit the famous covered food market called Les Halles, which is open every morning of the year. In 2022 it was voted the best indoor food market in France!  We have time to enjoy the sights and smells of the market before enjoying a tapas style lunch together with locally produced wine.

Les Halles, Narbonne; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

Les Halles, Narbonne © LMW

Mid afternoon we head to arguably the most beautiful abbey in our region and our personal favourite, Fontfroide Abbey which is a fully preserved former Cistercian monastery built in the 12th Century.

Fontfroide Abbey; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

© Fontfroide Abbey

The Abbey is situated in 2 hectares of restored terraced gardens from the 16th Century including one of the largest rose gardens in southern France. We tour the abbey and gardens before heading back to Sainte-Hélène to relax before sharing a platter in the courtyard.

DAY 7 - Olive Tour and Gruissan
Lucques olives, Languedoc; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

The fabulous local Lucques olives © LMW

First stop today is a tour of one of the best olive producers in France. We learn how the olives are grown and harvested and made into oil with particular emphasis on local varieties including the premium olive variety called Lucques.  We enjoy a tasting of olives and olive oil with time to enjoy their fabulous shop.

Today lunch is at a restaurant in the grounds of a beautiful chateau near Gruissan...

After lunch we will the amazing landscape of the local pink salt pans.  You will have time to visit the salt museum and salt shop where different varieties of salt can be purchased as well as the fabulous local pottery and art.

Salt pans, Gruissan; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours
Salt pans, Gruissan; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours
Salt pans, Gruissan; 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours

The salt pans, Gruissan © LMW

Time for a well earned rest after a fabulous week before we have our sensational private farewell dinner...a food and wine spectacular!

DAY 8 - Farewell...

After breakfast we say farewell to our new found friends as we transfer you to our designated drop off points to continue your travels.


Friends made on 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours
Friends made on 'Real' South of France Tours; Small group tours
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