The Cote D'Azur's Charming Nice and the Wines of Bellet
This pre-cruise program is not yet available for purchase. Specific details for this program are not yet finalized and the tour elements are subject to change. An email announcement will be sent to all confirmed group members 6 to 7 months before departure.
Join your fellow wine cruisers to spend two-nights in the Cote d’Azur’s charming city of Nice and explore France’s smallest appellation located in the wine region of Provence, Bellet.
The Côte d'Azur, also known as the French Riviera, is one of Europe's most glamorous summer holiday destinations. It twists and turns along the southern coast of France for a little less than 100 miles, and is dotted with glitzy legends such as St. Tropez and Cannes. In the heart of the Côte d'Azur lies the city of Nice and in the hills just behind is the appellation of Bellet. Here the vineyards are terraced and the soil is full of pebble stones, sand & clay. The area is kissed by the sun and benefits from fresh winds from the Alps and, in the afternoon, humid winds from the sea.
One of the first regions in France rewarded with the AOC in 1941, Bellet consists of only 1,600 acres, 120 of those are grown between 650 -1,000 feet above sea level. Today there are eleven producers who proudly claim to bottle an AOC Bellet wine. Many are family-owned and operated, small boutique productions with an annual bottle output of less than two hundred thousand bottles a year.
Day 1 – Independent arrival to Nice & Welcome Dinner [D]
You arrive into Nice independently and transfer to your hotel. Once you check in to your room you’ll have time to relax before you meet your guide and fellow cruisers for a welcome dinner paired with local Provençal wines.
Day 2 – The appellation of Bellet [B, L]
Your day starts with a delightful buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant. After breakfast, board a luxurious motor coach and travel approximately 30 minutes to the Château de Crémat. Built in 1906, the troubadour-style château overlooks acres of vines planted on small, terraced parcels. Built on top of underground galleries dating back to Roman times, Crémat’s cellars once served as storage for Roman garrisons. The crenellated towers, reminiscent of those Roman troops, create an interesting counterpoint to the elegant stained-glass windows that adorn the château. Appearing throughout the property, you will notice the famous interlocking C’s, a logo that Coco Chanel fell in love with during her frequent stays here in the 1920’s. The logo was gifted to Coco by the château’s then owner, an American socialite who hosted spectacular parties for an international jet set, and now that famous logo belongs exclusively to Chanel. After changing hands a few times, the château is now owned by Cornelius Kamerbeck and the estate’s wines are dorned with his initials.
After a tour of the château, its cellars, and gardens and a tasting of their estate wines, an al fresco buffet lunch will be served on the terrace, weather permitting, or in one of the salons. In the mid-afternoon, you’ll return to the hotel and have around three hours to spend on your own. In the early evening you’ll meet up with your guide and the group for a walking tour of Old Nice that ends with a wine and cheese tasting in the city’s oldest wine cellar, the historic Cave Bianchi. Located in the 17th century underground vaulted cellars of the St. Dominique cloister, Cave Bianchi is considered by many to be one of Nice’s best kept secrets. It’s one of the oldest wine shops in the region. Greeted by the charismatic owner, you’ll enjoy a tasting of fine wine paired with a selection of local cheeses.
At the end of the tasting, you are free to return to the hotel at your leisure or stop in one of the many restaurants along the way to sample some local flavors during dinner on your own.
Day 3 – Optional tour of flower market & transfer to ship [B]
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel and check out of your room. You can store your bags with the hotel and either enjoy the morning on your own or join your guide for a tour of the flower market in old-town Nice. Before noon you’ll board the motorcoach for the drive to board the ship.