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Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne

A perfect cycling vacation awaits you along the fertile banks of the Dordogne River, home to some of the finest vintages in the world, sumptuous cuisine, and thrilling pastoral bikeways.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 19 - 38 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate
  • Plane

2016 departure dates now available below!

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne

For centuries, Bordeaux has been synonymous with some of the world’s finest wines. Join us, and discover that it is also home to some of the world’s best cycling. Tracing the course of the tranquil River Dordogne, you'll discover the quiet country lanes and bucolic landscapes that line its fertile banks. Immerse yourself in the local culture as we share a picnic lunch with a Bordelais couple, explore one of the 100 most beautiful markets in France – and, of course, sample the region's vintages. Accommodations at charming boutique hotels and châteaux further ensure an intimate ambiance you can enjoy only with small-group travel.

Cultural Highlights

  • Delight the eye as you cycle through villages, woods, vineyards, fruit orchards and cattle pastures
  • Embark on a private guided walking tour of the medieval town of St. Emilion
  • Visit a local tobacco farm, meet the farmer and his family
  • Learn about wine production at a private estate – and enjoy a tasting
  • Wander the charming streets of Sainte Foy la Grande, a 13th-century walled town
  • Browse through one of the 100 most beautiful markets in France
  • Relax at the pools, golf courses, and other recreational amenities of your hotels

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. Ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists.

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Bordeaux
May 67°  Jun 73°  Jul 79°  Aug 79°  Sep 74°  Oct 64°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Bordeaux
May 2.8  Jun 2.6  Jul 2.1  Aug 2.3  Sep 2.8  Oct 3.4

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star French hotels and châteaux
  • 13 meals – 6 breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches, 5 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 3- and 4-star French hotels and châteaux
  • 15 meals – 8 breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches, 5 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Paris – 2 nights for only $445 • Post Trip: Bordeaux – 2 nights for only $345*

*Please note: For those traveling in 2015, the Post-Trip Extension is $245, single supplement $145.

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with your Trip Leaders and fellow travelers
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
Dates & Prices

2016 departure dates are available! Click on 2016 under "Departure & Return Dates" and start planning your 2016 vacation today!


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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $745 | Land Only Single Supplement: $545

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015/2016 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly Overnight to Paris

Depart from home 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 on 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.

Please 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.

Hotel: Hotel Franklin Roosevelt

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 p.m. 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 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. 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 an inviting area by the pool, next to the old ramparts of the village. You have free time to 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.

Hotel: Palais Cardinal
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 4.5 miles (7.5 km)

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 Angelus 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.

Hotel: Palais Cardinal
Meals: B
Daily Options: 12.6 or 27 miles (21 or 44 km)

DAY 5: Private walking tour of St. Emilion / Cycle to 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, passing Castillon-La-Bataille, the site of the end of the Hundred Years’ War, to the small local restaurant La Table Rouge for lunch.

After lunch, we continue riding along the Dordogne 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.

Hotel: Château de Sanse
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 26.5 or 38 miles (42.5 or 61 km)

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.

Hotel: Château de Sanse
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 13 or 32 miles (20 or 51 km)

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.

Hotel: Château des Vigiers – Relais
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 19 or 34 miles (31 or 55km)

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 as it is one of France’s last remaining authentic markets where it is possible to buy direct from the local producers. You may wish to purchase fresh-from-the-farm ingredients for your picnic lunch which you can eat at the farm of Laurent Rougier. Laurent is a very traditional tobacco farmer and will show you around his farm, explaining his various farming methods and introducing you to several of his animals.

Our cycle route continues back through the agricultural land 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

Hotel: Château des Vigiers – Relais
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 16 or 20 miles (26 or 32 km)

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 a.m. 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 p.m. 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 that 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.

Hotel: Bayonne Etche Ona
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for Home

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.

*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.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. 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.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Château de Sanse

Set against a backdrop of spectacular vineyards and woodlands, the Château de Sanse has been meticulously restored from the ruins of a magnificent 18th-century Château. During your stay at this landmark yet intimate accommodation, savor fine dining in the hotel restaurant, enjoy the attention of an English-speaking staff and relax in your uniquely decorated room, offering a satellite television, telephone and in-room safe. Complimentary WiFi is available in the lobby and in select guest rooms.
Free WiFi Included

Château des Vigiers - Relais

The Château des Vigiers is known as “Little Versailles” because of its similarities to Louis XIV's Château in Versailles, including its use of natural springs to feed small dams and fountains. Our rooms are located in the Relais des Vigiers, which was inspired by the region’s ancient tobacco-drying barns and constructed to eco-friendly standards. The Relais features the same 4-star quality as the Château itself and offers its own breakfast room, heated pool and state-of-the art fitness center. All of the unusually spacious rooms feature a balcony or terrace, walk-in shower, LCD television, minibar, coffee/tea-making equipment and air conditioning. Please note that all rooms are non-smoking. Enjoy fine dining at the hotel's restaurant, Les Fresques, awarded one Michelin star.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Franklin Roosevelt

The Franklin Roosevelt hotel, located in the heart of the Golden Triangle – the prestigious region between the Champs-Elysées and the Seine. From here, you’ll enjoy easy access to the city’s monuments and museums, as well as chic shopping and restaurants. Breakfast is served in a charming glass-roofed lounge, and at the end of the day, you might relax in the cozy bar with its wood paneling and leather armchairs. Your elegant room features air conditioning, flat-screen satellite TV, telephone, minibar, in-room safe and Internet access.
Free WiFi Included

Palais Cardinal

The Palais Cardinal is located along the medieval walls of St. Emilion, overlooking the region’s vineyards. Its rooms are welcoming and cozy after rewarding days of cycling. The hotel produces wine which ranks high in the international market.
Free WiFi Included

Bayonne Etche Ona

Located in the heart of Bordeaux, in the city's Golden Triangle, the Bayonne Etche Ona is housed in an 18th-century building that was completely renovated in 2004. Enjoy the hotel’s atmosphere of elegant refinement and easy access to historic attractions, museums, restaurants and shops. All 61 rooms are soundproofed and tastefully appointed, and offer air conditioning, LCD satellite television, minibar and Internet access.
Free WiFi Included
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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Paris

2 nights for only $445

Post-Trip Extension - Bordeaux

2 nights for only $345*

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