Bike Cruise Bordeaux area: famous wines and beautiful chateaux
8 days / 7 nights | Ship MS Bordeaux | Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde in South France
During this new tour you will explore one of the most beautiful, famous and beloved parts of France: The region of Bordeaux, located in sun drenched, south - western part of France is the perfect setting for a bike and boat tour. Set at the confluence of the Garonne River and the Gironde estuary, it is one of the most prolific and famous wine growing regions in the world.
Caressed by Atlantic breezes, the vineyards that cover the rolling hills of the region have for centuries produced France's most remarkable wines. Appellations such as Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, Médoc and Margaux have made Bordeaux wines world famous. Daily cycling tours through these famous wine regions: you will visit many of them and probably taste various excellent wines. Bordeaux does not only offer the finest wines; it is also home to finest, scrumptious, distinct tasting culinary specialties. The cuisine on board is outstanding and menus will include regional specialities, prepared with fresh ingredients. The bar on board offers a wide variety of excellent local wines to enjoy during dinner or Classic Bistro Style simply to taste them during your person al "cocktail hour"... At the region's heart, the city of Bordeaux is the cultural center.
Once known as the Sleeping Beauty, the UNESCO World Heritage Site stretches along the Garonne river banks, inviting visitors to savor its grand architecture, tempting cafés and shops and superb museums. The probably most bicycle - friendly French city sleeps no more! Cruise the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers and cycle through the French vineyards on carefully chosen routes and experience this region to the fullest! You will live and travel on board of the ship "BORDEAUX" with 49 cabins for max. 96 passengers. The bike tours are semi-guided or optional fully guided. This cruise will be offered in opposite direction on alternate weeks.
Route from Castets-en-Dorthe via Bordeaux to Fronsac
Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Fronsac/Libourne | optional round tour (Cycling 10–15 km / 7–10 miles)
Individual arrival and optional bus transfer from the meeting point at the Gare St. Jean train station in Bordeaux to the mooring location of the MS Bordeaux in Fronsac/Libourne on the Dordogne River. After settling in to your cabin, try out your cycling legs with a short first bike ride in the Libourne / Fronsac region. In the evening, a welcome cocktail awaits you on board.
Day 2 (Sun): Fronsac/Libourne, Saint Émilion & Pomerol vineyards round tour (Cycling 35–50 km / 21–32 miles) | Libourne/Fronsac – Bourg
Your day starts with a visit and stroll to the picturesque Libourne city square lined with buildings dating as far back as the 16th century and the (partly covered) commodity market. In Libourne your exploration of the famous Pomerol and Saint-Émilion wine areas starts. You will enjoy cycling through this unspoiled UNESCO World Heritage landscape on small picturesque back roads and paths. Along the way you will pass the prestigious Angelus, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Petrus châteaux and vineyards – some of the world's most famous wine estates – a true paradise for wine lovers! Highlight is a visit of Saint Emilion. In the evening the ship will cruise down the river to the small town of Bourg at the conjunction of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers where you will berth for the night.
Day 3 (Mon): Bourg – Blaye round tour + Blaye Fortress (UNESCO Site) (35–50 km / 21–32 miles)
As you cycle, you will visit village squares and towering chateaux. Be enchanted by the 'douceur de vivre' (sweet life), so typical for this wine region, the Côtes de Blaye vineyards. While the wine from this region may be lesser known than some 'neighbors' in the St. Emilion, Pomerol and Médoc areas, the quality of the wines produced is second to none. As you cycle you will see endless vineyards, fairy tale chateaux and elegant manor houses. Since the Middle Ages countless numbers of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain have passed through this region. In Blaye, take a short loop through the Vauban citadel to admire the military masterwork of the architect of 'Sun King' Louis XIV. Return to Bourg via the 'Corniche', a scenic, quiet road along the Gironde estuary.
Day 4 (Tue): Bourg – Lamarque | Lamarque – Margaux (Médoc) round tour (Cycling 40 km / 25 miles) | Lamarque – Bordeaux
This morning you will enjoy breakfast while sailing the wide Gironde estuary to the jetty of Lamarque. Later, as you wind your way through the vineyards, you will pass some of Margaux's best wineries including the châteaux Palmer, Issan, Lewis Brown, Rauzan Segla, Ferrière, and last but not least, Château Margaux . You will have the opportunity to stop at one of these great wine estates for a visit / tasting (optional). In the late afternoon the MS Bordeaux will sail along the Garonne River towards the enchanting city of Bordeaux. The ship will berth for the night in the city center where you will see the region's most prestigious panorama: the Stone Bridge, Place de la Bourse and Quai des Chartrons.
Day 5 (Wed): Bordeaux: Heart of Bordeaux round tour (Cycling 15 km / 10 miles) | Bordeaux – Cadillac
The highlight today is a visit of the city of Bordeaux where you will have the opportunity to explore the historical city the best way possible – on two wheels. Enjoy fantastic views of the old city's waterfront during a bike ride on the new bike paths along the Garonne river. You will have an introduction with the town's historical background, followed by the exploration of some of its main attractions, walking of by bike; the royal entrance of the city (Cailhau Gate), the Big Bell of Pey Berlan, the Golden Triangle, the Girondins column, the water mirror and Place de la Bourse… and more. Visit historic squares, a hidden garden and quaint locations where you can stop for a tasting of Bordeaux's renowned "cannelés" and coffee or take some fresh oysters and white wine. There is free time in the afternoon to shop or explore. Be sure to explore the town's streets and shops where fine wines are still stored in underground cellars carved in stone or to visit the newly opened La Cité du Vin. After dinner you will cruise the Garonne to the picturesque town of Cadillac.
Day 6 (Thu): Cadillac – Sauternes round tour (Cycling 35–50 km /21–32 miles) | Cadillac – Castets-en- Dorthe
Today you will discover the Sauternais region, famous for the sweet dessert wines produced in the area. Part of the route follows the winding banks of the small Ciron River, whose icy waters flow into the warmer waters of the Garonne. In autumn, when the climate is warm and dry, the combination of the two different temperatures produce a mist that descends on the vineyards, promoting perfect conditions for the famous Sauternes wine. The country roads are dotted with picturesque chateaux whose elegant turrets rule over an ocean of colorful vines. Time seems frozen in a medieval era when Englishmen ruled the region. In the evening cruise further upstream to the scenic village of Castets-en-Dorthe, the end of the navigable part of the Garonne River.
Day 7 (Fri): Castets-en-Dorthe – Entre-Deux-Mers & Graves round tour (Cycling 40 km / 25 miles)
Today's cycling itinerary takes you through this "Premieres Côtes de Bordeaux" winegrowing area on the northern bank of the Garonne river, widely recognized as the birthplace of Bordeaux wines. You will have the opportunity to visit the former residence of the writer Francois Mauriac and Malromé Castle, the home of the painter Toulouse-Lautrec, built in the sixteenth century. Wine tastings are offered here! Your last dinner on board is in Castets-en-Dorthe.
Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Castets-en-Dorthe (optional transfer back to Bordeaux)
After breakfast on board, it will be time for a return transfer (optional) to the pre-agreed drop off point at the Gare St. Jean train station Bordeaux. Disembarkation before 09:00 AM.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.