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Biking Vacation Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 19 – 38 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 5 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
Pre-trip Extension:
Paris · 2 nights $395

Post-trip Extension:
Bordeaux · 2 nights $245
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Detailed Itinerary  

Please note: For those traveling in 2013, your itinerary may vary slightly from what is presented below.  

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / In flight to Paris

Depart the U.S. for France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Day 2 - Arrive in Paris

Upon arrival at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Please note: Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps our representative identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van to your Paris hotel (approximately 60 minutes depending upon traffic). At this time, please verify with your airport representative the time of your transfer tomorrow to the Paris Montparnasse train station. Important: If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25.

Use the rest of the day to relax or begin exploring the City of Light.

NOTE: Exchange bureaus may not be open on Saturday afternoons or Sundays in Paris and ATM availability can be intermittent once you leave the city. So you may want to exchange some money prior to joining the tour.

Day 3 - All guests meet in St. Emilion / Transfer to hotel

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your Trip Leaders in the lobby of the Hotel Palais Cardinal at 3:30 pm. They will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please contact the first hotel to advise the staff of any travel delays or changes so they can inform your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative in the hotel lobby. The representative will have a group train ticket and help you transfer to the Paris Montparnasse train station, where we board a train for Libourne (approximately 3 1/2 hours). Plan to have lunch on your own and use bathroom facilities before leaving the train and meeting your VBT representative in Libourne. Perhaps buy a sandwich or picnic-style lunch in Paris and eat it on the train. Once the entire group is assembled, you will transfer via taxi to St. Emilion and your first hotel (transfer time approx. 20 minutes).

Please be advised: Your train schedule varies according to your departure date. Trains typically depart between 8:45 am and 11:00 am. Our airport representative will provide you with the meeting time for the transfer. If you would like more information, please contact our Tour Consultants for more schedule information.

Our centrally located hotel in the medieval town of St. Emilion has a relaxing area by the pool, next to the old ramparts of the village. You have free time to relax and settle in before your VBT Trip Leaders offer a safety and bike-fitting session and warm-up ride. Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner.

Day 4 - Cycle the satellite Grand Crus Estates of St. Emilion

After breakfast, we cycle through the surrounding villages of St. Emilion, with their rolling terrain of vineyards. Our ride leads us into tiny, quiet villages and past several impressive vineyard Châteaux, some renowned by oenophiles. Among them are the Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc—both classified as 1st Grand Cru Classe A. We return to town to select from many options for lunch on our own.

In the afternoon, you may wish to venture out again by bike, relax and taste wine in one of the many cellars right in town, or take a dip in our hotel's outdoor pool. Afterward, you are free to select a restaurant of your choice for dinner on your own.

Day 5 - Private walking tour of St. Emilion / Cycle to a home-hosted lunch / Château de Sanse

After breakfast, we gather for a private guided walking tour of the medieval town of St. Emilion and discover its underground monuments. (Please note: as time allows, we might enjoy this walking tour the previous afternoon instead.) We then leave St. Emilion and cycle downhill to the banks and flood plain of the River Dordogne. Enjoy a beautiful ride along the river to the private home of Christine and Emmanuel Courtaud, where we will stop for a picnic-style lunch and time to visit with the couple and learn about life in this splendid region.

After lunch, we continue riding along the Dordogne to Castillon-La-Bataille, the site of the end of the Hundred Years' War, and through small villages, vineyards and fruit orchards. Keep an eye out for white egrets and buzzards perched on markers along the trail. We finish our ride at our hotel, the intimate Château de Sanse. Here, we can enjoy the pool or relax on the terrace before a typical dinner in the Château.

Day 6 - Cycle the vineyards / Picnic lunch / Wine tasting

After leaving the hotel, we cycle through a small wood to the top of a nearby crest before a long and pleasant downhill meander. Then, pass through Ste. Radegonde and eventually arrive again on the banks of the Dordogne. Look out for the charming traditional windmill on the way. 

A lovely outdoor lunch, prepared by your Trip Leaders, will be waiting for you at a scenic picnic site. 

Our cycling today also takes us past a 13th-century castle in the small town of Rauzan and the abbey at Blasimon dating from the 12th century. An endless tableau of vineyards and rolling cattle pastures also mark our progress. Before dinner in the Château tonight, we visit with Claire Poncet at the Château Font Vidal. She will explain the entire process of wine production on her estate, and then offer us a tasting.

Day 7 - Cycle the Dordogne / Ride into villages

After breakfast, we cycle into the Dordogne region. Our ride takes us back down to the banks of the River Dordogne. You may wish to stop at the tiny store in Pessac Sur Dordogne to buy a sandwich and fruit for a picnic lunch along the way. Continuing to the small village of Eynesse, you can stop for a snack or beverage in the rustic café on the main square. Then, we pedal south on a more undulating road through small hamlets and villages that line the picturesque Gravouse Valley. In the small village of Les Leves et Thoumeyragues, you'll find a restaurant that serves as another possible lunch option.

Our road takes us next through small woods and past vineyards to our home for the next two nights, Château des Vigiers. Once settled in, you have time to relax before gathering for dinner in the hotel's bistro.

Day 8 - Local market visit / Farming hamlets

After breakfast, we cycle to the medieval town of Sainte Foy la Grande, a walled town on the banks of the Dordogne dating to the 13th century. Here, you can wander through the town square, with its arcades and half-timbered houses, while enjoying the town's Saturday market. You can find a wide range of high-quality local produce, as well as clothing and local handicrafts. This wonderful gem is rated as one of the 100 most beautiful markets in France. You may wish to purchase fresh-from-the-farm ingredients for your lunch here.

Our cycle route continues along the banks of the river to the hamlet of La Grande Font. Later, we head back to our château where you can enjoy some free time in the outdoor pool, in the spa or on the golf course. Tonight, we celebrate with a special farewell dinner in one of the hotel's dining rooms

Day 9 - Transfer to Bordeaux / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, you will be transferred to our Bordeaux hotel, arriving at approximately 11:30 am. Your tour ends here, where taxis can be arranged for transfers to the Bordeaux railway station or airport. Important: Train departures from the Bordeaux train station prior to 12:30 pm are not recommended. Guests departing earlier must make transfer arrangements at their own expense from the last hotel to the train station or airport in Bordeaux. Taxi cost is approximately €200 euros (travel time is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes).

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, we transfer to our Bordeaux hotel by private motorcoach. Here, you have the rest of the day to relax and explore this magical city. There are several self-guided walking trails through the various districts, including one that passes through the lovely public gardens. This park has played a significant role in Bordeaux history. Several French artists contributed to the park design. During the French Revolution, it was used for official ceremonies until Napoleon redesigned it as a classic English garden. Today, it's the perfect place to rest and relax. 

If you want a glimpse of art or history in Bordeaux, all you need to do is walk through the city's streets. Many buildings in Vieux Bordeaux have retained their charm and character over centuries. If you're looking for historical views of the city, you can walk through the Quartier Saint-Eloi. There, you can see the Grosse Cloche, the great bell which once rang from the old Town Hall's belfry. If you continue along Victor Hugo Avenue, you can see the Porte de Bourgogne, a huge stone arch that was once an entrance to the city.

Another interesting place to explore is the Palace Royale. Built in 1755, this building is a fine example of French classical architecture. During its construction, the building's beauty influenced the style of its surrounding neighbors. The result is several miles of the most beautiful architecture in the city.

While Bordeaux is famous for its wine, it is also celebrated for its food, as you'll discover during dinner on your own this evening.

Day 10 - Depart for U.S

After breakfast*, transfer to the Bordeaux airport for your return flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time**.

*For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

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