Experience the idyllic landscapes surrounding Bordeaux and explore the most leisurely way possible, on a river cruise sailing through the picturesque Gironde Estuary and along sections of the Garonne and Dordogne. You'll also visit the important maritime towns of the Southwest coast and enjoy great food and free-flowing wines from Bordeaux each dinnertime on this wonderfully inclusive cruise holiday.
We meet at our Departure Office at London St Pancras* and travel on the Eurostar to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we board a coach that takes us from the Gare du Nord to the Gare Montparnasse. Here we board a train that will whisk us southwards through the French countryside to Bordeaux, centre of one of the world's most famous wine regions and set on the banks of the Garonne River. 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 before tonight's 3-course dinner is served, accompanied by free-flowing wine and followed by an evening of entertainment on board.
*If you would like to travel by air, view our Fly & Cruise option here.
This morning we cruise into the scenic Gironde Estuary, passing a scattering of traditional wooden fishing huts dotted around the attractive inlets of Cazeau Island and pretty Patiras Island. After taking in these charming scenes at a leisurely pace, we arrive in Pauillac, a sleepy port whose quayside is lined with grand stone houses. We disembark for a tour through the celebrated Médoc wine route and enjoy a tasting at a vineyard along the Route des Châteaux. We return to the ship for lunch before an afternoon excursion to the seaside town of Royan for a tour that takes us past Belle Epoque villas and the retro houses that line the shorefront. Afterwards, make the most of some free time to truly appreciate the aesthetics of Royan, an official town of 'art and history'. We return to the ship this evening for another freshly prepared dinner.
After another delicious breakfast, we board a coach bound for Rochefort. It's position on the banks of the Charente River have made it an important maritime destination for centuries, and during our time here, we take a tour that delves into this intriguing past. Entrance is also included to the Corderie Royale, an historic rope-making factory that was the very first industrial building in the country and supplied the French navy for over 300 years.
We continue to one of the most historically important seaports on the European Atlantic coast, La Rochelle. After a lovely lunch at a local restaurant, we set out on a tour exploring the natural and man-made architecture that makes this destination so unique. This is followed by some free time, during which you may like to explore the Old Town and harbour area or visit one of the city's many museums. Back on board, we begin sailing along the Dordogne River to Libourne.
Early this morning leave Blaye and join the peaceful Dordogne River on the way to the wine town of Libourne. Disembarking, travel to St Emilion for a guided tour before visiting the exceptional Troglodyte cave of St Emilion himself. You'll then call at a family-run vineyard for a tasting of the popular regional wine.
Arrive in the marvellous walled town of Cadillac on Day 5, boasting a rich history dating back to the 13th century. Here you have a choice of excursions. You could take a tour of Roquetaillade Château, a magnificent medieval monument, followed by a tasting of the local Sauternes wine and a guided tour of Cadillac, or head for the hills on an energetic hike through the distinctive countryside surrounding the town. Admire panoramic views of the Garonne River alongside landscapes of lilting vineyards before stopping at a family-run farm for a wine paring session.
Following a relaxed 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 your own pace. Back on board this evening, we enjoy a gala dinner, the perfect end to our holiday.
After a final breakfast on board, this morning we disembark and transfer to Bordeaux station. Here we take the high-speed train to Paris, where we connect with the Eurostar service back to London St Pancras International.
Whether you are planning a holiday in the UK, mainland Europe or further afield, a Rail Discoveries tour offers you a superb way to experience some of the world's most beautiful destinations. You can watch the wonderful and ever-changing scenery glide past; after all, rail journeys often go where no other form of transport can.
Rail Discoveries believe that experience counts – and as part of the Great Rail Journeys group, they have over 45 years of it. They create interesting and exciting holidays, combining the best or most scenic rail journeys with conveniently located hotels and inclusive excursions so that you enjoy the journey out and back as much as your time exploring each new destination.
One of the most important features of a Rail Discoveries holiday is the added value that the friendly, helpful and knowledgeable Tour Managers bring to every tour, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy your holiday with the knowledge that everything is in capable hands.
You have the peace of mind of 100% financial protection when you book with Rail Discoveries. Their price promise provides transparency and ensures once your booking is confirmed, they won’t increase the price of your holiday, even if their costs go up. They are members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators and flight-inclusive holidays are ATOL or ABTOT protected, while non-flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ABTOT.
See More, Do More, Discover More with Rail Discoveries.