Explore the villages and vineyards of this wonderful part of France
Experience a part of France renowned for its beautiful landscape and explore it in the most leisurely way possible, on a river cruise sailing through the picturesque Gironde Estuary.
Good food and great wine are in abundance on this hugely inclusive cruise exploring the Bordeaux region. Enjoy complimentary wine with each dinner and an exclusive wine tasting on board.
We meet at our departure office at London St Pancras and travel on the high-speed Eurostar service to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we connect with our onward rail service southwards through the countryside to Bordeaux - the centre of one of the world's most famous wine regions and set on the banks of the Garonne. Here we transfer to our floating hotel for 6 nights, the MS Cyrano de Bergerac. After time to settle in, we are greeted with a welcome cocktail. Tonight's dinner is followed by an evening of entertainment on board.
This morning we cruise into the scenic Gironde Estuary, passing the scattering of traditional wooden fishing huts dotted around the attractive inlets, such as Cazeau Island and pretty Patiras Island. After taking in these charming scenes at a relaxed pace, we arrive in Pauillac, a sleepy port whose quayside is lined with grand stone houses. Following lunch on board we visit the renowned Médoc wine region on an included excursion. Here some of the world's most celebrated red wines are cultivated, grown in sloping vineyards overlooking the river.
The excursion follows the famous Châteaux Route, with views of the area's noted stately homes, including the spectacular château of Lafite- Rothschild which is owned by members of this wealthy and famous family since the 1800s. Back on board, this evening we enjoy a dinner of scrumptious French cuisine.
We spend a leisurely morning cruising further into the Gironde Estuary, passing the atmospheric marshlands and ancient Troglodyte dwellings that feature prominently around this stretch of the river. We also pass through Meschers-sur-Gironde, characterised by its brooding cliffs overlooking the river.
In the afternoon we arrive in Blaye, the starting point for an afternoon of possible excursions. Your first option is a trip along the Route de la Corniche, for a closer look at the idyllic and time-honoured landscapes that have been so well preserved here.
The journey passes along the superb, narrow cliff-top road overlooking the Dordogne. Flanked by lush vineyards, we'll enjoy some time to look around the idyllic walled village of Bourg - where rustic cottages are stacked almost on top of each other high on the hillsides. On our way back to Blaye, we make a short stop at the town's imposing citadel. Constructed in the late 17th century, the majestic fortress is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and affords a magnificent panorama over the river and estuary.
Your other choice is to take an excursion exploring underground Blaye. Spend time underneath the quaint streets as you discover the historical secrets stashed away below street level. Afterwards we enjoy a tasting of local specialties, all washed down with a glass of regional wine.
Early this morning we leave Blaye and continue our cruise, navigating the Gironde and joining the peaceful Dordogne River on our way to the attractive wine town of Libourne. Disembarking, we travel to St Emilion for a guided tour of this UNESCO listed city before visiting the Troglodyte cave St Emilion stayed in. We'll also see the largest monolithic church in Europe. We then call at a family-run vineyard, where we enjoy a tasting of some popular local wines before returning to Libourne.
Today we arrive in the marvellous walled town of Cadillac, with its rich history dating back to the 13th century. This afternoon we take a tour of Roquetaillade Chateau, a magnificent 12th-century listed monument. This castle is a great example of a medieval fortress that's adapted to changing styles over the centuries. Since its initial design, it has hosted kings, cardinals and other important figures, each one leaving their own indelible mark on the architecture and interiors.
Following a leisurely morning on board, this afternoon we arrive back in Bordeaux, a beautiful city brimming with 18th-century grandeur. With its broad boulevards and quaint Old Town, the UNESCO-protected city boasts an exciting diversity that's palpable in many of its attractions. We embark on a city tour for some deeper insight into Bordeaux's history. Alternatively you are free to explore at leisure. Back on board this evening, we enjoy a gala dinner.
After a final breakfast on board, this morning we disembark the ship and transfer to Bordeaux station. Here we take the train to Paris, and connect with the Eurostar service back to London.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 25 verified reviews
great food, great boat & great tour manager
Food and beverage provision and service was faultless
well org and the sun anised, train and connections. Boat was comfortable and food was good. Am travelling again with GRJ next year, Oh! and the sun shone!
Everything was brilliant including company of fellow passengers and Nigel the courier
Beautifully organised. Excellent accomodation. Food superb.
Enjoyed the slow pace, lovely food and wine. Also the blue decor was very pleasing. Staff quiet and very helpful. All perfect. Have you any more like that
Boat was very good. We found the transfer across Paris tiring as we had long walks between train and coach at both stations.
This was our third River Cruise and was probably our least favourite. The rivers were not as good nor were the excursions. However the boat was very nice , the food and the staff excellent.
The meals were all good and Well presented. The meal service was good and fast,we both enjoyed the meals and there was very little we did not like. The excursions were very interesting and i Would recommend the cruise to a Friends.
There were a couple of factors that were not worthy of excellent. The Ambassador hotel provided an inappropriate breakfast box. Cereal in our room overnight would have been better. The seat on Eurostar outbound was not at a window so the only view was through a small part of a window over the left shoulder. This I felt was not good enough for a tour by GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS. We didn't think Libourne matched the rest of the places visited.
Explore the villages and vineyards of this wonderful part of France