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Biarritz & Bordeaux Cruise

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Swap the sea for two of France’s most scenic rivers

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20202021
10 days From £2,295 £2,195 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys
Booking Offer

Save up to £100 per person on 2021 departures when you book on or before 31/10/2020 -  if booking online discount will be applied post booking.

Terms & Conditions

2021 Tour code: BIR21

About the tour

What better way to start your cruise than with time strolling the sandy beaches and delightful ocean promenade of Biarritz. Travel on the pretty La Rhune Mountain railway as it winds its way through the Pyrenees to rise above the low clouds in the dramatic mountains.

Then swap the sea for the Garonne and Dordogne, two of France's most scenic rivers, as you enjoy a relaxing cruise through one of Europe's most famous wine regions.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Biarritz

Meet your group and Tour Manager at London St Pancras ahead of our journey to Paris on the Eurostar. Once in Paris we continue by rail through to Biarritz, checking into our hotel on arrival.

Includes
  • Dinner
Eurostar
Day 2 - Uncovering Biarritz

Your first full day in Biarritz is free to begin exploring. The resort, with its sweeping promenade and vast beaches, offers a range of activities for you to enjoy. You might like to try your luck in the casino, or visit the town's lighthouse. If you're feeling energetic, you could perhaps take a stroll past the atmospheric Old Port to Rocher de la Vierge, a statue on a rocky headland said to protect the safe return of local fishermen, now connected to the town by a footbridge.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Biarritz
Day 3 - La Rhune Mountain Railway

On today's excursion we travel by coach to Col de Saint-Ignace, where we connect with the superb Petit Train de la Rhune. This classic rack-and-pinion railway takes us through the dramatic Atlantic Pyrenees in lovingly restored wooden carriages - overcoming a height difference of 2,415 feet during the journey. The route takes us through steep-sided rocky valleys, with a fabulous panorama over the rolling meadows and impressive foothills of the nearby Basque region. Before long we arrive at the summit of La Rhune, which not only marks the border between France and Spain, but at 3,000 feet also offers a magnificent panorama over the Bay of Biscay. After time to admire the views, we descend the mountain then continue to the lively fishing port of St Jean-de- Luz.

Here you have a little time to explore; perhaps take a stroll along the promenade and watch the charming fishing boats bring their catch back to the sheltered harbour. Otherwise, the medieval centre is a delight to wander around. We enjoy a 3-course lunch with wine in a local restaurant before returning to Biarritz.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
La Rhune Mountain Railway
Day 4 - Beautiful Bordeaux, the Dordogne and La Rochelle

Following breakfast in the hotel, we make our way back to the railway station in time for our train 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 before tonight's 3-course dinner is served, accompanied by free-flowing wine and followed by an evening of entertainment on board.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
MS Cyrano de Bergerac
Day 5 - Wines of Médoc

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Pauillac
Day 6 – Rochefort and La Rochelle

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
La Rochelle
Days 7-8 - Libourne & St Emilon

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 8, 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.

Includes
  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
St Emilion
Day 9 - Bordeaux

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Bordeaux
Day 10 - Return to London

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Eurostar

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Mercure Biarritz Centre Plaza, Biarritz

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Trains

Eurostar
La Rhune Mountain Railway

Ship

MS Cyrano de Bergerac

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Escorted Holidays by Rail: Europe, UK & Cruise 2020

Escorted Holidays by Rail: Europe, UK & Cruise 2020

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Biarritz & Bordeaux Cruise

Swap the sea for two of France’s most scenic rivers

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Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Luke Simpson
Luke
Helen Laverack
Helen