Bordeaux: 14-20 May 2018
Graves, Medoc, Sauternes, Pauillac, Saint Emilion… all these Appellations are world famous and you will visit them and discover some of the best they have to offer. To complete the experience, a visit at the newly opened ‘La Cité du Vin’ is a must. A unique cultural centre dedicated to the universal, living heritage of wine, it offers a spectacular journey around the world, throughout the ages, across countless cultures and civilisations. You’ll also discover the Bassin d’Arcachon - Famous for its oysters and its upscale resorts at Arcachon and Le Cap Ferret, this little inland sea on the Atlantic coast is also known for its exceptional natural heritage! Protected by the famous sand dune of Pilat (the largest sand dune in Europe), from here it is only a short ‘pinnace’ (local boat) trip to Bird Island (L'Île aux Oiseaux) and its picturesque huts on stilts.
BORDEAUX, Monday 14 May
Meet up in Bordeaux and we will be guided through the city’s highlights.
The city of Bordeaux is among France's most exciting, vibrant and dynamic cities. In the last decade and a half, it has shed its languid, Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty) image thanks to the vision of city mayor Alain Juppé who's pedestrianised boulevards, restored neoclassical architecture, created a high-tech public transport system and reclaimed Bordeaux's former industrial wet docks at Bassin à Flots. Half the city (18 sq km) is Unesco-listed, making it the largest urban World Heritage site.
BORDEAUX - CERONS - BORDEAUX, Tuesday 15 May 2018
The Bordelais love their wines, and it shows. It’s a city that lives and breathes wine. Today’s itinerary takes on both an inner city visit to the Cité du Vin a newly opened and incredibly well received museum and a first tour out into the wine producing hinterland surrounding the city, this time towards the south and the appellation of Graves. Here we will experience a tasting at Chateau du Seuil, and follow that up with a guided visit to Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte to view their contemporary art collection, followed by a small tasting.
BORDEAUX - SAUTERNES - BORDEAUX, Wednesday 16
Stroll and shop through the Marché des Capucins which is the largest market in Bordeaux. In the afternoon, we will visit the 400-year-old Château d’Yquem, and discover an estate that places a premium on art and craftsmanship to produce a rare wine.
In the evening, a dinner-cruise on the Garonne River - board the SICAMBRE to discover the beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage quays and illuminated bridges of Bordeaux, while savouring a delicious dinner. Your meal, inspired by the regional produce of sunny Southwestern France, is prepared on-board in the boat’s own kitchen, using fresh, local produce.
BORDEAUX - ARCACHON, Thursday 17
Today we’ll hit the road early to make the most of the nice weather next to the ocean.
Stunning architecture and a bustling town centre all year round overlooking 7 kilometres of beach… Arcachon has it all. Each quarter exudes its own unique atmosphere and charm: elegant 19th century villas in the Winter Town, sea front and piers in the Summer Town, a lively port in the Autumn Town are the three most known. The highlight will be a private cruise in traditional Boat (Pinasse) and a visit to the Ile aux Oiseaux (bird island).
BAY OF ARCACHON, Friday 18
Shaped by fishing and oyster farming, the Bay has retained its authenticity through changing winds and turning tides. Its microclimate is much appreciated by its inhabitants and visitors alike, as they take full advantage of the landscape and the Gascon culture. The Bay has enriched its natural and cultural heritage thanks to its proximity to Bordeaux and the Landes region.
The morning will see us at a tasting of a French caviar producer, before we head to the dune of Pilat, a great growing sand dune just behind Arcachon. It is worth the trip to the top, 107m above sea level.
After a lunch suggestion by the guide, the afternoon will be spent touring the circumference of the bay, stopping at the ‘House of Oysters’and finally making it around to Cap Ferret. This village is hidden within a canopy of pine trees at the tip of the Cap Ferret peninsula, and is a tiny and delicious oyster-rich village. It spans a mere 2km between the tranquil bay and the crashing Atlantic waves.
ARCACHON - THE MEDOC - PAUILLAC, Saturday 19
The Medoc hosts some of the most famous and distinguished appellations such as Margaux and St-Julien. Extraordinary châteaux pepper these parts, from the world-famous Château Ducru-Beaucailllou to Château Margaux, with its striking cellars designed by Lord Norman Foster in 2015 – where we will experience our first tasting of the day. Lunch will be in the village of Pauillac which encompasses 18 crus classés, including the world-renowned Mouton Rothschild, Latour and Lafite Rothschild. We’ll taste great wine at Chateau Giscours before heading back to the town of Pauillac for the night.
PAUILLAC - SAINT EMILION - BORDEAUX, Sunday 20
Today we leave the Medoc and head to the historic (and internationally protected by UNESCO mandates) St Emilion. The underground church in Saint-Emilion has to be seen to be believed. It dates from the 12th century and does not fail to impress casual visitors and history buffs alike. We’ll taste at Chateau Canon 1er Grand Cru St Emilion classé in the morning, relax for lunch, then have an afternoon with a guided visit of the top historical sights. Afterwards a further tasting – this time at the brand new Chateau Séraphine in Pomerol.
Your tour will end back at your Hotel in Bordeaux.