Sojourner Tours

A boutique tour company specialized in gastronomic sojourns in France. Go beyond the typical tourist trip: immerse yourself in French culture and discover authentic places loved by the French.

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Book early. SPACE IS ALWAYS LIMITED.

Groups are kept to eight guests so you can visit authentic places, stay in charming boutique hotels and eat in the real restaurants where locals dine.

BEST KEPT SECRETS FRENCH-SWISS ITINERARY


SUNDAY:

Arrive in Besancon, the Regional Capital

AFTERNOON: Upon arrival, you have time to settle into your comfortable room in the charming boutique hotel Le Sauvage*. While other guests are still arriving, you can relax at the hotel or start exploring the city as you please.

RECEPTION & DINNER: At 6 pm, you will join your guide and the rest of the group in the hotel to celebrate the beginning of the tour French-style with a typical apéritif and a laid-back dinner catered by the hotel.

*A similar hotel may be substituted if room availability is low: reserve early to help secure the best rooms.


MONDAY:

Roadtrip to Remote Villages in Wine Country

Baume les Messieurs

Baume les Messieurs

Chateau Chalon

Chateau Chalon

Cheese cart at your restaurant in Arbois.

Cheese cart at your restaurant in Arbois.

On e of the many cascades along the hike.

On e of the many cascades along the hike.

MORNING:  Your first stop is the wine producing village of Chateau-Chalon which is part of France’s smallest wine region: the Jura. Perched on a massive limestone escarpment with a panoramic view over the vineyards, this village and its medieval houses proudly bear the title of “Most Beautiful Village of France”.  There you will taste the highly esteemed Vin Jaune or “yellow wine”.  Then you'll head back down in the valleyfor either a hike in the back country or a leisurely lunch in a nearby village.

AFTERNOON:  You'll choose one of two options:

  1. OPTION: You will eat typical seasonal foods in another of France's "Most Beautiful Villages". Following lunch, you will visit a Medieval abbey and have free time to stroll around the cobblestone village of Baume-les-Messieurs, ranked one of "the most beautiful villages in France".

  2. OPTION: Hike down a small mountain to marvel at the awe-inspiring succession of small and large Hérisson Waterfalls. You'll have a rustic lunch at a chalet that caters to hikers.

DINNER: On your way home you'll stop in the regional "wine capital" for dinner.


TUESDAY:

Getting to Know Your Basetown

(Moderate physical challenge: there will be a total of 3-5 miles of walking in the city.)

MORNING: Tour Besançon’s historic city center and wander through the centuries as you encounter Roman, medieval, Renaissance, 18th & 19th-century buildings, and learn about the city’s unique blend of German, Spanish, and French heritage.

  1. OPTION: You can start your day with a guided visit of the historic heart of the city of Besançon & it's specialty boutiques. The tour will begin at the ancient cathedral located a stone’s throw from the hotel. You will then tour the city’s Roman Triumphal Arch and other Roman remains located next to the cathedral. Other nearby points of interest that you will visit include: Victor Hugo’s birthplace and museum (author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame); a Renaissance era mansion; pedestrian streets and squares. You will walk through the pedestrian shopping district and cross the river to visit Besançon’s medieval neighborhood. As you tour the city you'll be stopping in local specialty shops and the covered market to buy things for tomorrow's picnic.

  2. OPTION: Explore the city at your own pace.

LUNCH: You will enjoy a meal in a lovely local restaurant.

AFTERNOON: After lunch, You'll have free time to continue to explore the city at your own pace, climb up to the citadel (a UNESCO world heritage site), take a hike up to the remains of fort Bregille on a hill overlooking the city or stroll along the riverbank fortifications.

DINNER: You will be free to select your own restaurant for dinner (your guide will be happy to make recommendations).

Besancon

Besancon

Restaurant set in a building from the Spanish period

Restaurant set in a building from the Spanish period

A view of the Citadelle and Besancon from a hill near Fort Bregille

A view of the Citadelle and Besancon from a hill near Fort Bregille


WEDNESDAY:

Kayaking in "Little Venice"

(Moderately high physical challenge: the canoe ride down the river is not strenuous but will last two to three hours.)

MORNING: A short scenic drive through the countryside will take us to the town of Ornans, nicknamed "Little Venice" by locals because of the houses that line the river. It is the hometown of the 19th-century Realist painter Gustave Courbet, so you will begin this day trip with a visit to the Courbet Museum which is housed in the artist’s childhood home. You will have time to stroll through the small town.

LUNCH: You will eat in a simple gastronomic restaurant. The fine food and picturesque historic building with a terrace overhanging the river make it a local favorite.

AFTERNOON: After lunch,  you will explore the river valley, you can choose either an active outdoor adventure or a leisurely drive:

  1. OPTION: We will go a bit upstream so that you can take a pleasant kayak ride down the river through the town of Ornans, under its bridges and continue through the lush countryside downstream. Your canoe ride will last two to three hours, ending at the foot of a small privately owned castle still occupied by an aristocratic family. There are a few rapids that your expert local river guide will coach you through.

  2. OPTION: Hop back in the van for a ride through the countryside along the river. The van will stop in some particularly picturesque villages so that you can stroll a bit or enjoy a coffee in a little cafe and really soak up the surroundings.

DINNER: Everyone will meet back at the kayak rental shop for a riverside picnic featuring the regional specialties that we purchased at the covered market and specialty boutiques in Besancon the day before. You will be back in Besançon around 8:00 p.m., after which you will be free to relax at the hotel or go out to explore the nightlife on your own.

Ornans

Ornans

The House-Museum of Painter Gustav Courbet

The House-Museum of Painter Gustav Courbet

Canoeing on the Loue River

Canoeing on the Loue River


THURSDAY:

Salt

(Light physical challenge)

Arc-et-Senans

Arc-et-Senans

Restaurant in Château de Germigney

Restaurant in Château de Germigney

MORNING: You will first take a guided tour of the Royal Saltworks in Arc-et-Senans, a UNESCO world heritage site, where you’ll discover a utopian village designed by the ground-breaking 18th century architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux.  

LUNCH: You will stop in a small riverside village to dine in a Michelin star gastronomic restaurant set in a modest castle built in the 1700s as a hunting pavilion.

AFTERNOON: You will head to Salins-les-Bains. Along the route you’ll stop in a local ceramicist’s studio where you’ll have an opportunity to buy one of the unusual local salt shakers made of stoneware.

  1. OPTION Visit the Great Saltworks and the Museum of Salt, then stroll around town.

  2. OPTION: Take a thermal salt bath.

DINNER: You are free to choose your restaurant back in Besancon.


FRIDAY:

Road Trip to Switzerland

 (Moderate physical challenge: there will be a total of 3-5 miles of walking in the city.)

Chateau Chillon

Chateau Chillon

Dessert at a Michelin star restaurant specializing in local products.

Dessert at a Michelin star restaurant specializing in local products.

MORNING: Driving through the lush green mountainous landscapes and pine forests of Eastern France will take us to the balmy “Swiss Riviera” city of Montreux at the foot of the Alps. Upon arrival, you will have free time to explore the city and its palm tree studded Mediterranean vegetation at your own pace.

LUNCH: You will be free to choose your own restaurant.

AFTERNOON: Later in the afternoon you'll have three options:

  1. Continue to enjoy the city on your own.

  2. Join your guide to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the scenic shore of Lake Geneva to Switzerland’s most notable castle: Chateau-Chillon, where you will take a narrated tour.

  3. Leave the city a little later than the walkers and ride in the van to the castle where you'll join the walkers for the narrated tour.

DINNER: The trip back to the hotel will take us past a popular local vacation spot where you'll stop for dinner: a village on lake Saint-Point, where chef Marc Faivre creates contemporary recipes using seasonal local ingredients. His gastronomical country-style restaurant, which was once his family’s farmhouse, makes the sophistication and refinement of his food even more astonishing. This restaurant boasts one Michelin star.


SATURDAY: FAREWELLS


Breakfast at the hotel.
Departure.

SOJOURNERS: AT HOME IN THE WORLD