Pristine beaches, delicious wine and some of the most enchanting views one could imagine await your rail and cruise discovery in southwestern France.
About the Tour
Spend 10 days unearthing the wonder of southwestern France on this thoughtful journey, which combines travel by train and luxury cruise ship. We begin with time along the Basque Coast in Biarritz, an elegant resort town that features centuries of history and seaside charm. Even more of the region’s beauty is captured with a ride aboard the La Rhune Mountain Railroad, which takes us through the dramatic scenes of the Atlantic Pyrenees Mountains. From the coast, we travel to the world-famous wine region of Bordeaux by train, and it is here that our floating hotel, the MS Cyrano de Bergerac, awaits. This 5-day cruise through the Gironde Estuary and along the Dordogne River offers captivating ports of call, unforgettable excursions and luxurious amenities. Enjoy experiences in picturesque locations such as the Médoc wine region, Blaye, Libourne, St Emilion, Cadillac and Bordeaux. From wine tastings to chateaux, and from famous caves to 12th-century sites, the intrigue presented on this journey is not easily forgotten.
- Scenic rail excursion on La Rhune Mountain Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 3 nights
- 6-night cruise aboard the MS Cyrano de Bergerac
- 21 meals including 1 gala dinner
- Visit St Jean-de-Luz
- Tour Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Cadillac
- Cruise the Gironde Estuary
- Follow the Médoc wine route, including tastings
- Rochefort city tour, including entrance to Corderie Royale
- Visit the cave of St Emilion
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Transportation aboard a deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 - Arrive Biarritz
Meet your group and Tour Manager at your Biarritz hotel. A welcome dinner is included this evening. (D)
Day 2 - Uncovering Biarritz
Your full first day in Biarritz is free to begin exploring. The resort, with its sweeping promenade and vast beaches, offers a range of activities for you to enjoy. You might like to try your luck in the casino, or visit the town's lighthouse. If you're feeling energetic, you could perhaps take a stroll past the atmospheric Old Port to Rocher de la Vierge, a statue on a rocky headland said to protect the safe return of local fishermen, now connected to the town by a footbridge. (B)
Day 3 - La Rhune Mountain Railroad
On today's excursion we travel by coach to Col de Saint-Ignace, where we connect with the superb Petit Train de la Rhune. This classic rack-and-pinion railroad takes us through the dramatic Atlantic Pyrenees in lovingly restored wooden carriages - overcoming a height difference of 2,415 feet during the journey. The route takes us through steep-sided rocky valleys, with a fabulous panorama over the rolling meadows and impressive foothills of the nearby Basque region. Before long we arrive at the summit of La Rhune, which not only marks the border between France and Spain, but at 3,000 feet also offers a magnificent panorama over the Bay of Biscay. After time to admire the views, we descend the mountain then continue by coach to the lively fishing port of St Jean de Luz.
Here you have a little time to explore; perhaps take a stroll along the promenade, and watch the charming fishing boats bring their catch back to the sheltered harbor. Otherwise, the medieval center is a delight to wander around. We enjoy a three-course lunch with wine in a local restaurant before returning to Biarritz. (B, L)
Day 4 - Bordeaux and Dordogne cruise
Following breakfast in the hotel, we make our way back to the railroad station in time for our train to Bordeaux - the center of one of the world's most famous wine regions and set on the banks of the Garonne. Here we transfer to our floating hotel for 6 nights, the MS Cyrano de Bergerac. After time to settle in, we are greeted with a welcome cocktail. Tonight's dinner is followed by an evening of entertainment on board. (B, D)
Day 5 - Wines of Médoc
This morning we cruise into the scenic Gironde Estuary, passing the scattering of traditional wooden fishing huts dotted around the attractive inlets, such as Cazeau Island and pretty Patiras Island. 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. Following lunch on board we visit the renowned Médoc wine region on an included excursion. Here some of the world's most celebrated red wines are cultivated, grown in sloping vineyards overlooking the river.
The excursion follows the famous Châteaux Route, with views of the area's noted stately homes. Back on board, this evening we enjoy a dinner of scrumptious French cuisine. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Rochefort & La Rochelle
After another delicious breakfast, we board a motorcoach bound for Rochefort. Its position on the banks of the Charente River have made it an important maritime destination for centuries. During our visit, we take a tour that delves into this intriguing past. Entrance is also included to the historic Corderie Royale rope-making factory, which was the first industrial building in France. We continue to La Rochelle, one of the most historically important seaports on the European Atlantic coast. After lunch at a local restaurant, we set out on a tour to explore this destination. Note the natural and man-made architecture that makes this town so unique! After, there is free time to explore the Old Town and harbor area or 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 7 – St. Emilion
Disembark in Libourne this morning and travel to St Emilion. Here, enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO listed city before visiting the Troglodyte cave the monk who founded the town was said to have lived in after escaping the celebrity status bestowed on him for performing a miracle. Additional highlights include seeing the largest monolithic church in Europe and visit to a family-run vineyard, where we enjoy a tasting of some popular local wines. Later, we return to Libourne and begin our journey back to Bordeaux. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Cadillac
Today we arrive in the marvelous walled town of Cadillac, with its rich history dating back to the 13th century. This afternoon we take a tour of Roquetaillade Chateau, a magnificent 12th-century listed monument. This castle is a great example of a medieval fortress that's adapted to changing styles over the centuries. Since its initial design, it has hosted kings, cardinals and other important figures, each one leaving their own indelible mark on the architecture and interiors. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Bordeaux
Following a leisurely morning on board, this afternoon we arrive back in Bordeaux, a beautiful city brimming with 18th-century grandeur. With its broad boulevards and quaint Old Town, the UNESCO-protected city boasts an exciting diversity that's palpable in many of its attractions. We embark on a city tour for some deeper insight into Bordeaux's history. Alternatively you are free to explore at leisure. Back on board this evening, we enjoy a gala dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Tour conclusion
After a final breakfast on board, this morning you disembark the ship and are free to make your way to the airport for your flight back home. (B)
Mercure Biarritz Center Plaza, Biarritz
The 4-Star Mercure Biarritz Center Plaza stands in the center of Biarritz, just 100m from the main beach and the sea. This stylish art deco hotel has retained many of its original features and is recognized by the French National Trust as being a fine example of 1930s seaside architecture. The hotel has a bar serving a range of beverages and light snacks. Rooms come equipped with air conditioning, a satellite television, telephone, safe, minibar and hairdryer.
Hotel Mercure President Biarritz Plage, Biarritz
Overlooking the Bay of Biscay, this modern hotel with a Pop Art-inspired interior is a 9-minute walk from the Biarritz Aquarium and 3 km from the Cite de l'Ocean interactive museum. Contemporary rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and desks, as well as minibars, and tea and coffeemaking facilities.
MS Cyrano de Bergerac
We enjoy this river cruise aboard the MS Cyrano de Bergerac which offers great cuisine, an exciting package of included shore excursions and modern amenities on every deck - all combining to make for a wonderfully enjoyable cruise. MS Cyrano de Bergerac offers great cuisine, comfortable cabins and modern amenities on every deck - all combining to make for a wonderfully enjoyable cruise.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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