Fronsac - Castets-en-Dorthe, MS Bordeaux
Wine, rivers and castels around Bordeaux
Fair Weather Cyclist
- 8 Days / 7 Nights
- Self-guided tour
Arrival as arranged by you in Fronsac. There is an optional bus transfer from the meeting point at the Gare St. Jean train station in Bordeaux to the mooring location of the MS Bordeaux in Fronsac/Libourne on the Dordogne River. After settling in to your cabin, test out your bike with a short first bike ride in the Libourne / Fronsac region. In the evening, a welcome cocktail awaits you on board.
Fronsac/Libourne, Saint Émilion & Pomerol vineyards |Libourne/Fronsac – Bourground tour 35-50km
Your day starts with a visit and stroll to Libourne's picturesque city square lined with buildings that date as far back as the 16th Centur. You will also see the (partly covered) commodity market. Your exploration of the famous Pomerol and Saint-Émilion wine areas starts in Libourne. You will enjoy cycling through this unspoiled UNESCO World Heritage landscape on small picturesque back roads and paths. Along the way you will pass the prestigious Angelus, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Petrus châteaux and vineyards – some of the world’s most famous wine estates – a true paradise for wine lovers! The highlight is visiting Saint Emilion. In the evening, the ship will cruise down the river to the small town of Bourg at the conjunction of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers where you will berth for the night.
Whilst cycling you will encounter village squares and towering chateaux. Be enchanted by the ‘douceur de vivre’ (sweet life), so typical for this wine region and the Côtes de Blaye vineyards. Although the wine from this region may be lesser known than some ‘neighbours’ in the St. Emilion, Pomerol and Médoc areas, the quality of the wines produced here is second to none. As you cycle you will see endless vineyards, fairy tale chateaux and elegant manor houses. Since the Middle Ages countless numbers of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain have passed through this region. In Blaye, take a short loop through the Vauban citadel to admire the military masterwork of the architect of ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV. Return to Bourg via the ‘Corniche’, a scenic, quiet road along the Gironde estuary.
This morning you will enjoy breakfast whilst sailing down the wide Gironde estuary to the jetty of Lamarque. Later, as you wind your way through the vineyards, you will pass some of Margaux’s best wineries including the châteaux Palmer, Issan, Lewis Brown, Rauzan Segla, Ferrière, and last but not least, Château Margaux. You will have the opportunity to stop at one of these great wine estates for a visit / tasting (optional). In the late afternoon the MS Bordeaux will sail along the Garonne River towards the enchanting city of Bordeaux. The ship will berth for the night in the city center where you will see the region’s most prestigious panorama: the Stone Bridge, Place de la Bourse and Quai des Chartrons.
Today's highlight is getting the chance to visit the city of Bordeaux where you will have the opportunity to explore the historical city in the best way possible – on two wheels. Enjoy fantastic views of the old city’s waterfront during a bike ride on the new bike paths along the Garonne river. You will have an introduction with the town’s historical background, followed by the exploration of some of its main attractions, walking of by bike; the royal entrance of the city (Cailhau Gate), the Big Bell of Pey Berlan, the Golden Triangle, the Girondins column, the water mirror and Place de la Bourse and more. Visit historic squares, a hidden garden and quaint locations where you can stop for a tasting of Bordeaux’s renowned “cannelés” and coffee or take some fresh oysters and white wine. There is free time in the afternoon to shop or to explore. Be sure to explore the town’s streets and shops where fine wines are still stored in underground cellars carved in stone or to visit the newly opened La Cité du Vin. After dinner you will cruise further along the Garonne to the picturesque town of Cadillac.
Today you will discover the Sauternais region, which is famous for the sweet dessert wines produced in the area. Part of the route follows the winding banks of the small Ciron River, whose icy waters flow into the warmer waters of the Garonne. In autumn, when the climate is warm and dry, the combination of the two different temperatures produces a mist that descends on the vineyards, promoting perfect conditions for the famous Sauternes wine. The country roads are dotted with picturesque chateaux whose elegant turrets rule over an ocean of colorful vines. Time seems frozen in a medieval era when Englishmen ruled the region. In the evening, you cruise further upstream to the scenic village of Castets-en-Dorthe, the end of the navigable part of the Garonne River.
Today’s cycling itinerary takes you through this “Premieres Côtes de Bordeaux” winegrowing area on the northern bank of the Garonne river, widely recognized as the birthplace of Bordeaux wines. You will have the opportunity to visit the former residence of the writer Francois Mauriac and Malromé Castle, home to the painter Toulouse-Lautrec. It was built in the 16th Century. Wine tastings are offered here! Your last dinner on board is in Castets-en-Dorthe.
After your final breakfast on board, it will be time for a return transfer (optional) to the pre-agreed drop off point at the Gare St. Jean train station Bordeaux. Please disembark before 9am.
The route is mainly traffic-free either on side streets with little traffic or on purpose built cycle paths. The route is mainly flat but in the wine regions the route does get hillier and there are several ascents.
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- Tour and accommodation on board in the booked cabin category
- Full board: 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunch during bike tours, 7 x three course dinner
- Bed linen and towels provided (daily change of towels if desired)
- Daily cleaning of the cabin
- Welcome cocktail
- Welcome to the ship and crew combined with a briefing on the first evening
- Daily bike tour briefings in English
- Some short walking tours; individual cycling
- Semi-guided cycling tours: tour leader is not guiding the group, but cycling in the area and can be contacted during bike tours by mobile phone in case of questions, problems or emergencies (fully guided cycling is possible for a surcharge: see above)
- 1 set of printed instructions and detailed maps per cabin
Arrival / Parking / Departure
- If you are flying: fly to Bordeaux
- Transfer on the arrival day at 2pm from the meeting point in the city from Bordeaux to the boat and back again on the day of departure at 9am, approx. 1 hour, approx. € 50, reservation needed.
Number of participants
Minimum of 50 people
- Timetable and program are subject to changes. At times of extreme flooding or low water the boat company reserves the right to transport you by bus or to cancel the whole tour. There is no demand against that (water level is subject to force majeure clause). This is also the case for any unforeseeable incidents like the reparation of a water gate/bridge or if the boat's engine were to break down.
- Please keep in mind that your boat is both your hotel and motor-driven transport. It has to move on at night as well. If you are sensitive to noise, please bring earplugs with you.
Bike & Barge MS Bordeaux
Discover the great region from Bordeaux on your bicycle- and shiptour. With the MS Bordeaux you drive on the Dorogne, Garonne and Gironde.