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
- Cruise the Gironde Estuary
- Explore the Médoc wine route, including wine tastings
- Tour Rochefort, including entrance to the Corderie Royale
- La Rochelle and Bordeaux guided tours
- St Emilon sighstseeing and private wine tasting
- Flexible excursions in Cadillac
- 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 – Rochefort & La Rochelle
After breakfast, we board a coach bound for Rochefort. Its position on the banks of the Charente River have made it an important maritime destination for centuries. Here, we take a tour that delves into this intriguing past. Entrance is also included to the Corderie Royale, an historic rope-making factory that was the very first industrial building in the country and supplied the French navy for over 300 years.
Our travels continue to one of the most historically important seaports on the European Atlantic coast, La Rochelle. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking on a tour to explore the natural and man-made architecture which makes this destination so unique. There is free time to explore the Old Town and harbor area, or you may wish to visit one of the city's many museums. Back on board, we begin sailing along the Dordogne River to Libourne. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 4 – St. Emilion
Disembarking in Libourne this morning, 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 with a visit to a local family-run vineyard, where we enjoy a tasting of some popular local wines before returning to Libourne and beginning our journey back to Bordeaux. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Roquetaillade Chateau or Cadillac Countryside Hike
Today we arrive in the walled town of Cadillac, boasting a rich history dating back to the 13th century. Here you have a choice of excursions. You could take a tour of Roquetaillade Château, 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. Following the tour of the Chateau, enjoy a tasting of the local Sauternes wine and a guided tour of Cadillac. Alternatively, you may elect to head for the hills on an energetic hike through the distinctive countryside surrounding Cadillac. On this excursion, admire panoramic views of the Garonne River alongside landscapes of lush vineyards before stopping at a family-run farm for a wine paring session. 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.
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