Depart from 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 the 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
NOTE: Exchange bureaus may not be open on Saturday
afternoons or Sundays in Paris. You may want to exchange some money prior to
joining the tour since ATM availability can be intermittent once you leave
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 at 8:30 am. The representative will have a
group train ticket and help you transfer to the Paris Montparnasse train
station, where you 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).
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
After breakfast, we gather for a private guided walking tour
of the medieval town of St. Emilion and discover its underground monuments.
(Please note some groups may have this included 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 socialize with the couple.
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 to the top of a nearby
crest through a small wood 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 traditional windmill on the way.
A picnic lunch, prepared by your Trip Leaders, will be
waiting for you at a local picnic site.
Our cycling today also takes us past the 13th
century castle in the small town of Rauzan and the abbey at Blasimon dating
from the 12th century as well as through an endless tableau of
vineyards and rolling cattle pastures. Before dinner, which is again served 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 very small 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 very 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.
The 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
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, whilst enjoying the town's Saturday highlight – its
wonderful market. You can find a wide range of high-quality local produce, as
well as clothing and local handicrafts. It is rated as one of the 100 most
beautiful markets in France. You may wish to purchase local produce for your
Our cycle route continues along the banks of the river to
the hamlet of La Grande Font. Later, we head back to the hotel, 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
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. The 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 (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 time. 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
Another interesting place to walk around 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
*Please note: 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.
Please note: 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.