Sail through beautiful landscapes of France missed by many on an immersive rail and cruise journey though Bordeaux.
About the Tour
Sip some of the world’s finest wine while gazing upon ancient cities and exquisite chateaux on this rail and cruise vacation. Beginning in London, travel aboard the Eurostar to Paris and then through the lush French countryside until you arrive in Bordeaux. Arrival in this renowned region presents unbelievable beauty and boarding the 5-star MS Cyrano de Bergerac allows you to experience it from both the land and the water. The luxury cruise ship winds through the Gironde Estuary before joining the Dordogne River. Stops along the scenic route include a guided tour along the Châteaux Route in the Médoc wine region; Blaye, with its UNESCO World Heritage fortress; St. Emilion, where history and wine sit side-by-side; and the walled city of Cadillac, which offers history dating back to the 13th century. Experience the intricacies of these memorable locations with group excursions and leisure time to sightsee as you please. On the ship, the culture of France is brought to life through luscious food that is paired with delicious local wine. As you arrive back in Bordeaux, the old-world hospitality and new-world amenities of this voyage are not soon to be forgotten.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
- Rail travel on board the high-speed Eurostar
- 6-night cruise aboard the MS Cyrano de Bergerac
- 17 meals including 1 Gala dinner
- Excursions to Bordeaux, Cadillac and Libourne
- Cruise the Gironde Estuary
- Explore the Médoc wine region
- Tour the cave of St Emilion
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - London to Bordeaux
Meet your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at our departure office at London St. Pancras. From here, we travel by high-speed Eurostar service to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we connect with our onward rail service on a southerly journey through the verdant countryside to Bordeaux. This world-famous wine region is set on the banks of the Garonne and presents stunning examples of Gothic architecture. We make our way to Bordeaux harbor and transfer to our floating hotel for 6 nights, the MS Cyrano de Bergerac. Take some time to settle into your onboard accommodations, and enjoy a welcome cocktail. Dinner tonight is followed by an evening of entertainment. Overnight ship. (D)
Day 2 - Wines of Médoc
Today’s cruise takes us into the scenic Gironde Estuary. Traditional wooden fishing huts dot the attractive inlets, and there are wild islands, such as Cazeau Island and pretty Patiras Island, that are home to migrating birds. After taking in these charming scenes at a relaxed pace, we arrive in Pauillac, a sleepy port whose quayside is lined with grand stone houses. Take lunch on the ship ahead of our visit to the renowned Médoc wine region this afternoon. On this excursion, see where some of the world's most celebrated red wines are cultivated, grown in sloping vineyards overlooking the river. We follow the famous Châteaux Route, sampling the fantastic local varietals and taking in views of the area's stately homes. Back on board, dinner is served this evening - scrumptious French cuisine freshly prepared by the chef. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Route de la Corniche Fleurie or Underground Tour of Blaye*
Cruising further into the Gironde Estuary, we sail past beautiful marshlands and the ancient Troglodyte dwellings that hug the shoreline on this stretch of the river. We also pass through Meschers-Sur-Gironde, characterized by its brooding cliffs overlooking the river.
In the afternoon we arrive in Blaye, the starting point for an afternoon of possible excursions. One option is a trip along the Route de la Corniche for a closer look at the idyllic and time-honored landscapes. The journey takes us along the narrow cliff-top road that overlooks the Dordogne. Arriving in the idyllic village of Bourg, enjoy time at leisure to explore. This walled village is notable for its charming rustic cottages that are nearly stacked atop of one another as they rise up the hillsides. On our way back to Blaye, we stop at the town’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated citadel. This 17th-century fortress not only holds an amazing amount of history, but it also unveils a magnificent panorama over the river and estuary. Afterwards, we enjoy a tasting of local specialties, all washed down with a glass of regional wine. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
*Please note the 2021 departures will visit Rochefort and La Rochelle.
Day 4 - To Libourne and St. Emilion
We leave Blaye this morning and continue our cruise down the Gironde, joining the peaceful Dordogne River on our way to Libourne. Upon docking, we travel to St. Emilion for a guided tour of this UNESCO-listed city. Soak in sights of the 12th-century monolithic church - the largest in all of Europe - and the centuries-old carved stone homes. Only adding to the ambiance are the rugged cobblestone streets that wind through the city. Following, we visit the Troglodyte cave that was the rumored hideout of St. Emilion in the 8th century. Our day concludes at a local family-run vineyard, where we enjoy a tasting of some popular local wines before returning to Libourne. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Cadillac
A walled city with a rich history dating back to the 13th century, Cadillac is our destination today. As we arrive this afternoon, we tour the Roquetaillade Chateau, a magnificent 12th-century monument that has evolved over the years from a medieval fortress to a family home. Since its initial design, it has hosted kings, cardinals and other important figures, each one leaving his own indelible mark on the architecture and interiors. Today, this castle - which is inarguably the most famous in Southwest France - also produces a fantastic varietal of white wine. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Bordeaux
Following a leisurely morning on the ship, we arrive back in Bordeaux this afternoon. As we disembark the ship, we embark on a guided tour of the city to gain deeper insight into Bordeaux’s history. Grandeur straight out of the 18th century surrounds as we explore its broad boulevards and quaint Old Town. The UNESCO-protected city boasts an exciting diversity that's palpable in many of its attractions, including the massive Place de la Bourse, the high-tech La Cité du Vin and the 15th-century La Grosse Cloche.
If you prefer, you may this dynamic city on your own, taking in the incredible museums and historic sites, and tasting your way through the city’s vineyards and wine bars. Back on the ship this evening, a gala dinner provides a proper farewell to this memorable journey. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Return to London
After breakfast this morning, make your final disembarkation from the ship and transfer to Bordeaux’s train station. Here, we board our high-speed train to Paris, where we connect with the Eurostar service back to London and the journey concludes. (B)
MS Cyrano de Bergerac
The MS Cyrano de Bergerac is compact cruise ship that offers accommodations for up to 174 guests as the ship winds down the Gironde, Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. The ship includes two lounge bars, a fantastic onboard restaurant, 87 well-appointed guest cabins and multiple decks and terraces from which to enjoy the views. The cruise includes exciting shore excursions in multiple ports of call and all the modern amenities guests could desire.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St. Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France, as well as Brussels in Belgium. Guests of the train have the option of several classes of service, including Standard and First Class. In Standard Class, passengers can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet that sells a range of snacks, meals and hot and cold drinks - including Champagne. The seating is configured in an airline style, with two seats on either side of the central aisle, in most cases. Passengers who select the highest class, Premier Class, enjoy a less dense seat configuration with larger seats and more room to relax. Further, Premier travelers enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments delivered to their seats.