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The Essential Bordelais with Ile de Re option

Daily Schedule
Tour Dates & Cost

The Bordeaux region, an area in the SW of France, is full of bastides.

Before you get the wrong idea, bastides are fortified towns, many built

by the English in medieval times – we’ll visit several during this tour.  


This area is dominated by the huge Dordogne and Garonne rivers and

its varied mellow golden scenery is unforgettable. We travel through

unspoiled countryside, past noble chateaux and medieval villages


The region is a mecca for sybarites and connoisseurs of the

vivid, intensely-flavoured wines of Bordeaux, Graves and Saint-Emilion,

and the famed white wines of Sauternes and Montbazillac. 


You’ll pique-nique beside the Dordogne and Garonne, explore the forests of the Landes, wonder at the underground cellars in Saint Emilion, visit a 14th century abbey and a fortified windmill. 


Food – superb. Wine – sensational. 


Interested in this tour? Contact Gail for more information.


Ile de Re  – Daily Schedule

Thursday 10 September – Sunday 13 September

Day 1

Meal/s included:  DINNER

This morning, take the TGV from Paris to La Rochelle, hand over your luggage

and spend the afternoon exploring this colonnaded sea port on the

Bay of Biscay.

Late afternoon you will be transferred to the Ile de Re (Island of the King).

Ile de Ré is an island off the Atlantic coast of France, joined to neighbouring

La Rochelle by an impressive, sweeping bridge. The permanent population

is around 17,000 but it is the preferred second home for thousands of Parisians

in August, attracted here by temperatures said to be on a par with those of

the south of France.

 The coastline offers a dozen spacious sandy beaches, many backed by dunes

and pine trees.  Most of the low long fishermen’s houses in the cute villages

have distinctive green shutters.

All the villages and beaches are connected by the 100km of well-surfaced

bike paths and since the island has a high point of 19 metres high and is

only 30km X 5km, it is an easy place to explore by bike, the main means

of transport for the majority of locals. The trails go through forest, over

little streams, past pans where salt is being hand-harvested, and into vineyards.  Many oyster shacks offer enticing tastings complemented by the fresh local white wine. 

You’ll be based in the main town of St-Martin-de-Ré, one of the prettiest fortified towns in Europe, a great spot to enjoy wonderful artisan ice cream, and the stunning fresh seafood straight from the boats anchored in the marina below your hotel.


Days 2 and 3


On your 2 full days here, visit the main villages with their food markets and appealing cafes, and even have time to appreciate the vast range of shops catering to their summer visitors. Vauban’s fort is well worth a visit, as are the antique shops of Ars-en-Re. Picnics and evening meals will inevitably feature the local seafood, but there will be plenty of alternatives too.

Day 4

Meal/s included:  BREAKFAST

Sunday morning, after breakfast, head back to La Rochelle to take

the train to Bordeaux City for the next adventure.


The Essential Bordelais – Daily Schedule

Day 1 
Meal/s included:  BREAKFAST / DINNER

For those who have not taken part in the Ile de Re sector of the tour, transfer to Bordeaux City this afternoon. Explore this beautiful, largely-restored city by tram or on foot. Dinner at a riverside restaurant.


Day 2
Meal included: BREAKFAST
This morning, an escorted exploration of Bordeaux by old-fashioned bike. In the afternoon, an optional visit to the Cite du Vin, spectacular home to wines from all over the world. Dinner is your own choice tonight - plenty of wonderful places to select from. 


Day 3
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Leave Bordeaux City behind and drive to Libourne to collect the bikes for those requiring them.

Explore this old river town, once an English stronghold, and an important wine distribution centre.

Tutored wine-tasting of the wines of the Fronsac appellation at our

accommodation, a manor house right on the banks of the Dordogne

River. Welcome dinner at the accommodation.


Day 4 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST /  DINNER
Explore the Canon-Fronsac and Fronsac appellations, with a multitude
of vineyards and interesting riverside paths.

Dinner at a local restaurant specialising in cooking over 

sarments -grape trimmings.


Day 5  transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST /  DINNER

Our target today is one of the world's most famous wine

towns. The famous premier cru names - Petrus & Pomerol are on our

path to medieval Saint-Emilion with its miles of underground cellars.

Visit the centuries-old underground hermitage and the tower and

learn about the famed St Emilion appellation at the Maison du Vin.


Day 6
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

A circuit through the monoculture of the Saint-Emilion appellation and

along the banks of the mighty Dordogne River, before enjoying a

riverside pique-nique. Return towards Saint-Emilion for a tutored

wine tasting at a reputed winery. Continue your exploration of the

noted attractions of Saint-Emilion.

Day 7  transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

We weave our way through gently rolling hinterland pausing for a lakeside lunch.

Later, we follow the path of the pilgrims going to St-Jaques-de-Compostella through the vine-clad

Entre-Deux-Mers region. Pause in the town square of Monsegur (another bastide, this time English).

Our base for the next few days is in a carefully restored watermill on the Dropt River, below Monsegur.


Day 8
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER 

To Duras market, and take the chance to visit the famous chateau. Follow small roads in the valley

of the Dropt River. Visit a prune farm and the local cave co-operative.


Day 9
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Explore the walled town of Monsegur and learn about the everyday lives of people in small-

town France. Or ride via the fortified windmill of Loubens and the Chateau of

Lavison to La Reole on the other great 'sea', the River Garonne, then follow the 

canal side paths. This afternoon, learn some of the secrets of cooking of this

region, before enjoying them at dinner at the mill.


Day 10
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

A ride through the famed vineyards of Sauternes followed by some exploration in
the forests of the Landes. In the afternoon, kayaking on the Cirons River. This

evening's au revoir  feast in a well-regarded local restaurant.


Day 11
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST

A farewell breakfast, then transfer to La Reole for a train to Bordeaux, and a safe

journey to your next destination.

Cycling along banks of the Dordogne River
Cycling through Saint-Emilion
Accommodation banks of the Dordogne River
Dinner in Bordeaux

Our base on the Dropt River, Monsegur

Beautiful Saint-Emilion

Cycling along the Dordogne River

Au revoir feast


Downtown in St Martin-de-Re

seafood platter Ile de Re.jpg

Seafood platter Ile-de-Re


Tour Dates & Cost

10 – 13 September 2020 Ile de Re
NZ$1500 pp twin share or double basis
13  23 September 2020 Essential Bordelais
NZ$5950 pp twin share or double basis 

A single supplement applies (if you prefer an individual room)

Included in each 11-day tour: 
  • Daily support vehicle (no panniers or backpacks needed).

  • Luggage transfer between localities.

  • Any purchases you make in the markets and antique shops can easily be transferred.

  • Hire of quality mountain bikes.

  • Quality accommodation in properties of character, for the most part with private facilities. We stay two to three nights on average in each place, using the base to explore the environs.

Food and wine
  • Nine gourmet dinners featuring the best of regional specialties – including the special au revoir feast on our final night.

  • Eight lunches including spectacular picnics.

  • Several times you’ll get the chance to ‘follow-your-own-nose’ for midday and evening meals.

  • All breakfasts, including exquisite homemade preserves.

  • Tutored wine tasting and special events.

  • An experienced facilitator with knowledge of the attractions, the people, and the history of the area.

  • Our active gourmet tours offer a range of routes from undemanding to taxing, through the very heart of stunning countryside. High fitness levels aren’t essential though reasonable fitness is preferable.

  • Pre-trip guidance (and cycle instruction is available if required).

  • Daily briefing and guidance.

  • Rest days and independent exploration possible (we supply very detailed maps which allow a choice of routes).

  • Literature, including a detailed itinerary, clothing guide, use of large-scale maps of the area, and general advice on travelling in Europe.​


A sense of adventure is compulsory!


  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

  • Transfers

  • Chateau and museum entry fees (you choose!)

  • Gratuities and drinks

  • Golf club hire and green fees, kayak hire where applicable

  • Fishing tackle hire and lessons where applicable

  • Visas and passports (as necessary)

  • Personal items, eg, laundry, telephone etc.

  • Optional extras


A limited number of days available?

You can join in for a shorter time. We also offer associated walking or car itineraries for non-cycling partners.


Footnote: Please note that there may possibly be changes outside the organiser's control, such as fluctuations between the NZ dollar and the overseas supplier's currency, or changes in prices or services. Prices shown are correct as at  July 2019. The organiser reserves the right to change any details in this outline, should this prove necessary, at any time until full payment is received.


See our FAQ page for more information or email Gail to book.

The vines at Saint-Emilion


Enjoy the diverse range of wine

Keen on a personalised tour?


We will design an itinerary for you, tailormade to suit your needs, interests and time frame. You decide when and how long you wish to tour for, who with and on what mode of transport.


Or we can help you select the most suitable tour from our extensive portfolio of the very best of worldwide activity holidays.

Anchor 7
Tour Dates & Cost

Cycle past fields of poppies

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