Gastronomique Tours

Appetizing Adventures

Our culinary adventures include Champagne-Alsace, Burgundy, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. Our travellers enjoy wine tastings, visits to vineyards, learning about the love the vintner's have for creating their wine, picnics, gourmet dinners, cooking classes, visits to local markets, caviar farms, oyster farms and local cultural events. But the most rewarding part of these trips have been the friendships and memories we have made.

2023 Provence Itinerary

Explore the Adventure

“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures”
— Michael Broadbent

Previous Tours

Check Out the Good Times Our Guests Have Had

Bordeaux 2022


Champagne-Alsace 2019

Provence 2018

Bordeaux 2016

Loire Valley 2015

Burgundy 2005

Champagne – Alsace 2004

Champagne – Alsace 2003

Chef Denis Meurgue

A passion for travel & food

If you look long enough, you are usually able to find at least one French chef with a zest for love and life. Chances are he has a reputation for the most creative cuisine, served with artistry, complemented with excellent wines and all in a cozy setting. On Marco Island, that would be award winning Chef Denis Meurgue.  

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Chef Denis Meurgue and wife Lisa

If you look long enough, you are usually able to find at least one French chef with a zest for love and life. Chances are he has a reputation for the most creative cuisine, served with artistry, complemented with excellent wines and all in a cozy setting. On Marco Island, that would be award winning Chef Denis Meurgue.  

Born in Pont-a-Mousson, in the northeast part of France, Denis studied and trained in France. He then spent five years with Club Méditerranée, where chefs change location every six months. This allowed him to work in Spain, Greece, Mexico, Martinique and the Bahamas, where he met his wife and partner, Lisa. A stylish cuisine evolved through his whirlwind experience and allowed Denis to absorb many different cultures and cuisines prior to his arrival in the United States in 1987.  

After his arrival, he worked in several Chicago area French restaurants, honing his skills. In August 1992, his talents caught the attention of Rockresorts who appointed him Executive Chef at Little Dix Bay Hotel, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. Denis brought a new culinary awareness and an excellent range of quality food to an eager clientele. While at LDB, he led his culinary team to a first place victory in the BVI culinary competition. He also captained the BVI team, winning 5 bronze medals in the Taste of the Caribbean competition in Jamaica.

Rosewood Management took over after Rockresorts, and transferred the Meurgue family to their larger sister resort, Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI. While at Caneel, he led his culinary team to a first place finish in Jamaica the following year. Two years and two hurricanes later, Denis was offered the opportunity to return to a unique setting in Europe-Mount Juliet, Kilkenny, Ireland. He was appointed as the first Executive Chef of this mid-eighteenth century, 1400 acre country estate, earning them their first coveted Rosette. At this world class establishment which included a Jack Nicklaus golf course, Denis designed and executed a menu to satisfy the most discriminating tastes in Europe.  

After this exciting culinary odyssey, Denis knew it was time for a change. After successfully leading the culinary operations as Executive Chef at the AAA Five Diamond Omni Houston Hotel, he arrived at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. It was while at the Biltmore, that Denis was chosen as one of the top 10 Chefs of the Year in south Florida.

In 2000, yearning to strike out on their own, the opportunity to own their own establishment, presented itself in the Island Café on Marco Island. During their stint on Marco Island, Island Café was voted Marco Island’s Best French Restaurant. Under their ownership, Denis and Lisa earned the coveted OTC Blue Chip Community Business Award, which recognized their ability to overcome adversity.  

In 2008, Bistro Soleil at the Olde Marco Inn offered a unique opportunity to return to the island for Lisa and Denis. The couple added Petit Soleil in May 2013.  

Denis has a well deserved reputation as a chef as comfortable in the traditions of classic French cuisine as in the regional dishes of the many countries where he has worked. Denis continues to create innovative presentations which showcase the varied cultures that combine in the cuisine that is uniquely Denis Meurgue.  

​While at Island Café, guests would ask for recommendations about visiting France. From these conversations and Denis' colleagues in France, his idea to share their passion for food, wine and France was born. 

Fun Facts

Learn Some Interesting Items About Our Tours

Gastronomique Tours evolved in 2003. Denis came up with the idea as our restaurants guests would always ask us where they should go, what they should see in France. Denis thought it would be nice to organize a trip in September when things are slow in Marco Island.

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  • We do everything and some things off the beaten path, for example, as restauranteurs we often have access to vineyards/tours not open to the general public
  • While Executive Chef at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Denis met and formed friendships with many Michelin, well known chefs as the Biltmore had a program called “La Tour des Toques” where a 1,2 or 3 Michelin Star chef spent a week at the Biltmore cooking with Denis and conducting classes
  • Dining in all different types of restaurants, markets to casual/bistro to brasseries to fine dining to Gastronomique/Michelin Star restaurants
  • Picnics in vineyards
  • Cooking classes
  • Bordeaux included trips to an oyster farm and a caviar farm
  • The Loire Valley included a trip to an auberge where they make foie gras
  • Cultural visits include a visit to the Puy de Fou, a historical theme park with more than 2 million visitors a year, visiting the National Equestrian Center of France, visiting Chateau Versailles and experiencing their theatrical production
  • Made our own mustard in the Burgundy region
  • We visit local markets seeing all the wonderful produce and products that are sold on a daily basis
  • Wine tastings, learning about the wine making process, learning about the champagne process, dining in wine cellars and the passion the creators have for their wine and champagne
  • Denis chooses all the menus and chooses a variety of dishes so we experience different things every night, including some things we don't usually find in restaurants here
  • Denis and I enjoy sharing our love of food, wine and the culture of France with our guests. There really is an art and passion by the wine makers for what they do. They explain all the rules that are involved for example, they are not allowed to water their vineyards, they must rely on the weather which plays a part in the taste of the wine from year to year. They exude a passion for what they do and it’s great to see and hear that. One vintner shared, “Wine is not meant to be drunk, it is meant to be discovered”
  • Not only is the trip about another culture but many of our guests develop friendships as, for the most part, they all have something in common, Marco Island
  • Over the course of these trips we have brought 108 guests to France
  • Some interesting things about our guests:
    • The first year, one couple brought their three adult children and their spouses which inspired other couples to bring their children on future trips
    • We have had nine couples travel with us twice
    • We have had one couple travel with us three times
    • In addition to the family traveling with their adult children the first year, after that, we had other couples bring their grown children
    • We had one couple bring two of their grown grandchildren
    • We have had 4 single guests travel with us as well so it’s not a trip for couples only
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