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Tour

France - Bordeaux

France - Bordeaux

Degree of difficulty - B

To go to Bordeaux and not sample the wine would be remiss, but there is a lot more to this area than just wine. This is a journey around a beautiful and memorable area dotted with vineyards.

We stop off at many chateaux where the owners show off their traditional skills and pass through the extraordinary landscape and fishing villages of the Bas Medoc. The vineyards continue as the scenery changes to beautiful wooded hillsides as we pass through St Emilion and Bergerac. The river is wide but full of islands and rapids, and the medieval Bastides, both French and English, at St. Foy Le Grand, Lalinde and Limeuil remind the visitor of the fantastic history of this area.

After a day on the saddle what better way to indulge yourself in guilt free dinners all washed down by the finest local wines.

The tour includes a set collection from Angouleme train station to the first hotel and a drop off at the end of the tour to Bordeaux train station.

DAY 1 Saturday
Make your way to Angouleme train station where set transfers are arranged to Les Eyzies at Moulin De La Beune

DAY 2 Sunday Les Eyzies to Lalinde 24 miles / 39 km
We’re off, this isn't wine country yet, but it is beautiful country. Our cycling holiday takes us over the 'Cingle de Tremolat' where we're treated to wonderful views across the Dordogne valley. We take a lunch break at the lovely Bastide town of Limeuil where the Dordogne and Vézère rivers meet. We end the day at Lalinde, another Bastide and once an important town where the canal took boat-traffic past the rapids of the Dordogne.

DAY 3 Monday Lalinde to Sainte Foy la Grande 38 miles / 61 km
Today we enter Bordeaux wine country. We're headed for St Foy La Grand, en route we visit two very special areas within the Bergerac vineyard.  First up is Pécharment, locally styled as 'The St Emilion of Bergerac'. We'll partake in wine tasting at Château Tiregand, courtesy of Le Comte de St Exupéry. The Comte is a great host and as well as being one of the most respected winemakers in the region, he makes wine tasting interesting and a great pleasure.

In the afternoon we continue our cycling tour through Monbazillac, home of exquisite sweet wines and extremely difficult to make. The yields are tiny, and as you'll see the vignerons are justly proud of their wines. Dominique Vidal, of Chateau Fonmourges where we'll partake in wine tasting this afternoon, is a specialist with an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject.
We end the day in St Foy, one of the best preserved Bastides in France. En route we pass through Bergerac, with a beautiful 'old town' and a rich history.

DAY 4 Tuesday Sainte Foy la Grande to Saint Emillion 28 miles / 45 km
Today we follow the Dordogne, first passing through the appellation of Montravel. Most wine-drinkers would be hard placed to locate Montravel, but it's a fascinating appellation.

A single estate can produce wines under five separate "Appellation d'Origin Contrôllée", and at le Puy Servain we meet one of the finest winemakers in the region; the list of prizes runs to several books - literally - and he's been featured more than once in Decanter magazine. Wine tasting at Puy Servain can be a marathon - we'll have to pace ourselves!

Passing the 'monument of shame' (the Monument Talbot, where the English Admiral Talbot finally lost The Hundred Years War in 1453) we cycle through Castillon to arrive in St Emilion. We have the chance to visit Château Belair, one of St Emilion's top wine estates, for a wine tasting and a tour of their amazing underground caverns, and this evening we eat at the restaurant of Francis Goulée.

Of our French cycling tours, this is perhaps the finest gourmet food of all, and in fact St Emilion, with its medieval cobbles, centuries-old wine traditions and ancient monolithic church, is just unforgettable.

DAY 5 Wednesday Saint Emillion to Blaye 39 miles / 63 km
We leave the Dordogne behind us at Libourne and begin our acquaintance with the Gironde that will last the rest of the week. We pass through St Andre de Cubzac, birthplace and resting place of Jacques Cousteau, and we cycle through Pomerol, Fronsac and the Côtes de Bourg on our way to the Gironde port of Blaye, gateway to Bordeaux.

Our hotel tonight is the delightful Auberge de Porches, where the owner has a deserved reputation for her adventurous cooking - she needs almost no provocation to pull out articles featuring her hotel and its gourmet cuisine!. Blaye boasts an absolutely huge Citadelle that once protected the approaches to Bordeaux from the English, who used to own the place.
Depending on timing today, we can taste at one of the premier estates in this under-rated appellation, Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours, and perhaps at the Syndicat du Vin in Blaye, courtesy of the aptly named Monsieur Château.

DAY 6 Thursday Blaye to Pauillac 14 miles / 23 km
We cross the Gironde by ferry to Cussac, and make our way to the Bernard family at Château du Raux in the Haut Médoc. The popular image of wine-making in France, a family estate producing quality wines as a family business.  Patrick, is a highly qualified wine-maker, and provides a fascinating insight into wine - with luck you'll be wine tasting direct from the barrel. The process of extracting wine from the barrel is fascinating if you haven't seen it before, and involves a drill, a crowbar and an ingenious device that holds a glass and a candle.

After lunch we'll visit one of the more famous names of the Haut Médoc at Chateau Lynch-Bages, an opportunity to see one of the finest names in wine-making going about their business. Time and energy permitting, we might also have the opportunity to visit the museum at Mouton Rothschild. Normally we recommend that we avoid the carefully manicured estates of the Grand Cru Classé in the Haut Médoc, but it is fascinating to see how the other half of the wine world live.

Tonight we stay in Pauillac, arguable the world centre of fine wine.

DAY 7 Friday Pauillac 34 miles / 55 km
Today the landscape changes as we 'descend' from the Haut Médoc (literally the High Medoc) to the Médoc, a drop of almost 10 metres! Centuries ago Dutch engineers built causeways between the gravel areas of the Médoc and drained the land in between to reclaim the land that we cycle through today, and the gravel deposits are where the vineyards are.

Leaving behind the well-known estates of the Haut Médoc we have the chance to visit fascinating estates today. At Le Tour de By they still use huge wooden vats that are almost never seen these days, and at Château Loudenne we can see how a superbly organised commercial vineyard works. Our final resting place tonight is a return to Pauillac.

DAY 8 Saturday
An early departure for the train in Bordeaux that reaches Paris in the late morning and London by 3.00 pm in the afternoon.

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier above.

As always please contact us in the office for more information (info@cyclingsafaris.com).

2019 TOUR PRICE
€1640 based on 2 sharing a room
€2035 for single occupancy (if travelling on your own, we will endeavour to find a room mate for you)

Tour Includes

  • 7 nights accommodation in village hotels with breakfasts
  • Seven dinners
  • Guide cycling with group
  • Luggage transfer 
  • Maps and route details
  • 21 speed tour bike/pannier bag
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Cycling jersey
  • SetTransfer from train station (Anglouleme)
  • Set Transfer back to train station ( Bordeaux )

Group tour dates ( Red = booked out / not available, Blue = Limited Availability and Green = available)

8-June,
7-September,

Self Guided Tour Information

Self Guided tours are not available on this route.

     

Below is a list of places that we typically use, although of course this is depending on availability.


Les Eyzies

Day 1 hotel Day 1 bedroom Day 1 Garden

Day 1: Moulin de la Beune


Lalinde

Day 2 hotel Day 2 single room Day 2 Breakfast room

Day 2: Hotel Le Foret


Sainte Foy la Grande

Day 3 Hotel LEscapade Hotel Day 3 Hotel LEscapade room Day 3 Hotel LEscapade pool

Day 3: Hotel L'Escapade


Saint Emillion

Day 4 Hotel Day 4 room Day 4 Breakfast

Day 4: Auberge de la Commanderie


Blaye

Day 5 hotel1 Day 5 pool1 Day 5 room

Day 5: Hotel La Citadelle


Pavillac

Day 6 Hotel Day 6 lounge  

Day 6 & 7: Hotel France et Angleterre

How to get to the start point in Bordeaux:

Local airports: Both Bergerac and Bordeaux are well placed. Bordeaux means a long transfer at the beginning of the week, Bergerac means a long transfer at the end of the week. Both these options can be expensive, so our advice would be:
Bordeaux airport. Take the train from Bordeaux to Les Eyzies, and we'll arrange collection from the train station. At the end of the week the transfer goes via Bordeaux Merignac, which is on the Pauillac side of Bordeaux.
Bergerac airport. Transfer to Les Eyzies. At the end of the week, our bikes are returned to Les Eyzies, via Bergerac airport if necessary.

All details on trains in France are available through the website RailEurope.com. (If you drive you can leave your car at the first hotel.)

On arrival at Angouleme train station you will be met by a tour representative and brought by minibus (90 miles/approx. 2 hrs) to the starting point at Les Eyzies de Tayac. These are the only transfers that we arrange, so it is very important that you are on the right train.

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier.

As always please contact us in the office for more information (info@cyclingsafaris.com).

Tour map


Getting in Touch...

Cycling Safaris
Belfield Bike Shop,
UCD, Dublin 4,
Ireland.

Telephone: +353 1 2600749
Fax: +353 1 7161168

info@cyclingsafaris.com

Office hours:
Monday to Friday 9.30am - 6pm

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