Day 1 – London to Biarritz
Meet your group and Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure
Office at St Pancras International ahead of your journey to Paris
on the Eurostar. Once in Paris we join the TGV service right
through to Biarritz, checking into the 4-Star Mercure Biarritz
Centre Plaza Hotel on our arrival.
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.
Day 3 – La Rhune Mountain Railway
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 railway 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 Jeande-
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 harbour. Otherwise, the medieval
centre is a delight to wander around. We enjoy a three-course lunch
with wine in a local restaurant before returning to Biarritz.
Day 4 – Five-Star Bordeaux and Dordogne cruise
Following breakfast in the hotel, we make our way back to the
railway station in time for our train to Bordeaux – the centre 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 5-star 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.
Day 5 – Wines of Mdoc
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 Mdoc 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 Chteaux Route, with views of
the area’s noted stately homes, including the spectacular chteau
of Lafite- Rothschild which is owned by members of this wealthy and
famous family since the 1800s. Back on board, this evening we enjoy
a dinner of scrumptious French cuisine.
Day 6 – Route de la Corniche Fleurie or underground tour of Blaye
We spend a leisurely morning cruising further into the Gironde
Estuary, passing the atmospheric marshlands and ancient Troglodyte
dwellings that feature prominently around this stretch of the
river. We also pass through Meschers-sur-Gironde, characterised by
its brooding cliffs overlooking the river.
In the afternoon we arrive in Blaye, the starting point for an
afternoon of possible excursions. Your first option is a trip along
the Route de la Corniche, for a closer look at the idyllic and
time-honoured landscapes that have been so well preserved here.
The journey passes along the superb, narrow cliff-top road
overlooking the Dordogne. Flanked by lush vineyards, we’ll enjoy
some time to look around the idyllic walled village of Bourg –
where rustic cottages are stacked almost on top of each other high
on the hillsides. On our way back to Blaye, we make a short stop at
the town’s imposing citadel. Constructed in the late 17th century,
the majestic fortress is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and
affords 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.
Day 7 – To Libourne and St Emilon
Early this morning we leave Blaye and continue our cruise,
navigating the Gironde and joining the peaceful Dordogne River on
our way to the attractive wine town of Libourne. Disembarking, we
travel to St Emilion for a guided tour of this UNESCO listed city
before visiting the Troglodyte cave St Emilion stayed in. We’ll
also see the largest monolithic church in Europe. We then call at a
family-run vineyard, where we enjoy a tasting of some popular local
wines before returning to Libourne.
Day 8 – Cadillac
Today we arrive in the marvellous 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.
Days 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
Day 10 – Return to London
After a final breakfast on board, this morning we disembark the
ship and transfer to Bordeaux station. Here we take the train to
Paris, where we connect with the Eurostar service back to
London St Pancras International.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature
the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown
Optional shore excursions are not included in the price of your
tour and are payable on board ship.